life is like a box of chocolates

Another month whizzes by and despite the resumption of racing we are still all experiencing strange times and have had to adapt accordingly, bringing lots of fun and varied things out of the box at Fern Farm! Business has slowly picked up in the yard and we now have plenty in ridden work as well as three breakers. My head has been spinning a bit for the past few months, going scarily quiet meant we have ventured into new things and thankfully my super team have been very supportive and we have kept the wheels turning.

It has been a real boost to successfully sell two ex-racehorses in the past two weeks. The first being our gorgeous Maktay who we delivered to his lovely new home in Wales last week. Secondly Amangiri, also from David Bridgwater, who was only here a week and I didn’t even advertise because as soon as I saw him move I knew he would be perfect for a specific person who had asked me to find her a horse – so more very satisfying matchmaking! Terry the Fish, who was sent to us by Jonjo O Neill through the RoR, headed to his new home in Staffordshire on Sunday and we already know he has settled in really well and will be very spoilt in his new life. It is definitely safe to say I am getting great pleasure out of finding these lovely horses their next career- a thoroughly rewarding process.

We had a very interesting morning when Michael Willoughby and his team came to make a little film about our legendary resident Loose Chips. As most of you will know Chipper has a great following still and we took him and Terry round the village and out for a canter so they could get some good footage. Michael is making a YouTube series on life after racing for ex-racehorses and it was fun to be interviewed and hopefully give a little insight into Chipper’s life at Fern Farm. We took him out to a local Fun Ride this week where he gave my mum a great spin and some jumping entertainment. In the above pic you can see him the very next day accompanying my 8 year old goddaughter Evie out on a little ride – this perfectly encapsulates what a gentleman he is and always up for anything. You can see the end result of the filming here.

The other re-homing success story is Charlotte and Richard Fuller’s mare Tamara King who has been with us for two weeks. Hayley who works for me is having her for herself and her daughter to share. I hadn’t advertised her as yet either as she hadn’t been ridden for 7 years, she has had 3 foals and before I allowed people to see her I wanted to get her slightly fitter but Hayley and Lily fell so in love with her and that was that!

We are now on the official approved list of trainers for RoR, so we are hoping that will bring more rewarding challenges and also lots of new contacts and friends. Word definitely gets round quickly and we always have a healthy ‘database’ of lovely people waiting to give a horse a new home and career. If you’d like to be added to the list, feel free to contact us on email, social or through the website, similarly if you are an owner/trainer with a retiring racehorse to re-home please get in touch.

On the pre-training side of things we said goodbye this month to Div Ine Tara and Benny’s Bridge who went back to Fergal O’Brien’s, who very kindly reported back that he was really happy with them. The beautiful Noble Savage also went back to Nigel Twiston Davies, he spent his holiday with us and then six weeks of pre-training and we were pretty proud of how he looked as he left. Amongst our other pre-trainers Bold Red and Sir Bertie are coming along well and we’ve been doing lots of strengthening flatwork in the school, getting them sharpened up and focussed.

On the pointing front we had a really lovely owners morning last week when we welcomed the Western Diva syndicate and some of the Reality Bites crew to watch them having a jump in the school. As per usual the entertainment was washed down with some breakfast rolls and fizz! Coronavirus has made things really difficult in terms of funding these two because we sadly have lost the support of a few of our syndicate members but I am determined to make it happen and serious fun for all involved. Both are going very nicely and will be aiming for the first weekend, please do get in touch should you have any interest in being involved in some great days out.

We have a new baby in the mares and foals field in the shape of Sophie and Charlie Longsdon’s gorgeous filly by Ask. They are all on their own solid food now and are becoming independent mischievous little children that keep us very amused.

The changing weather has made the grass grow like mad and the few remaining holidayers continue to thrive. It’s madness to think it won’t be long until the winter holiday gang return home. Talking of holidayers I must mention some Fern Farm favourites who have been out winning races! We were delighted for Jamie Snowden and team, with College Oak winning at Uttoxeter and Chapmanshype winning at Fontwell. I was also especially excited to see Maninsane winning at a very soggy Stratford under a superb ride from Paul O’Brien. He is following in Loose Chips’ hoofsteps for the Barrels of Courage syndicate and Charlie Longsdon. Charlie and I went to Ireland in February to buy him, when I sat on him I loved him right away but never dreamt he would win his bumper second time of asking! Really happy for all connections and whilst Chipper can never be replaced in our eyes this lad has certainly started in the right way.

Autumn will soon be upon us and as always I look forward to getting out for some days racing, now we are nearly in September it doesn’t seem that far away.

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