Horse welfare is paramount ...

We still have mares to foal

Friday, 28 February 2014

"The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which 

self-respect springs."  

Joan Didion.

Comrade Bond and Swilken

I thought we were going to be lucky this morning and miss the rain, but after having a couple of lots out before breakfast in the cold and dry, the rain is now bouncing off the cabin roof as we have our breakfast coffee and it looks set for the rest of the morning at least. Thank goodness it is only rain and not snow, although Di tells me there was a good covering at 2.30 this morning when she peered out of the window. It had all gone by early morning and we certainly didn’t get any at Dullingham.

My Guardian Angel leading Astrodiamond and Toptempo

We still have several mares overdue for foaling that are not looking very keen or anywhere near having them, but as I have said before, it can all happen very quickly and everybody is on alert and keeping a close eye on them at all times. Sometimes you can turn them out in the morning and one of the mares will sneak off to a quiet corner and try and start foaling, that is why you have to watch them constantly.  We are delighted with the foals we have had so far, who are all thriving and putting plenty of weight on.

A grey, overcast day

I am going to a meeting today at the British Racing School, to discuss everything to do with the recruitment and retention of stable staff, plus the quality we need in the industry. At the moment every yard in town could take on more staff and the shortage seems to be getting worse. I think the whole of recruitment and training needs to be looked into and really centralised and run by one department, rather than a few. The British Racing Schools Chief Executive, Rory McDonald, is an unbelievably good man and has done a great job at the school. However, he has been hampered quite a lot by the powers that be, in his quest to get this problem sorted out. I hope his successor will be given the opportunity to do so. We keep getting told that the unemployment levels of the under 25’s is constantly on the increase. There must be plenty of opportunities to encourage them our way, and the figures would reduce if we did, plus the enticement of our European partners who don’t have any work either. I am not sure of the real answer to this problem but it is one we need to sort out urgently.

Bob, the yard cat, keeping warm and dry

There is plenty in the papers today, and on the radio, about the gambling industry and the machines which make them all the money. They are an addiction for many people. Since these machines have been installed in the bookies, they undoubtedly have produced plenty of profit for the companies. The problem is they have also encouraged a lot of people to spend more money than they have, and the number of problem gamblers, or gambling addicts, has increased. The public don’t go into betting shops like they used to do, to have a flutter on the horses or the dogs, the majority now just go to play the machines. Don’t forget these shops are open until 10 o’clock each night. They are just mini casinos. It is a real problem and both the betting industry and our industry, must work together to find a proper solution. It has been allowed to go on for too long and the bookmakers have learnt to rely on the profits from this side of the business for too long. The government really needs to get involved and once and for all get the whole industry sorted out and on the correct path but sadly every time we think we are getting somewhere, the minister or ministers involved get moved to another department and the next incumbent has to start all over again. It is so frustrating.