A very well deserved winner of the Longines Ladies Award ...

Even the horses need regular haircuts

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

"The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been."

Madeleine L’Engle.

Toronado at stud

It was pouring first thing, but as the day has gone on it has cleared and at present we have got blue sky and a bit of winter sunshine. It certainly has not turned as cold as the forecasters tells us it is going to get, but I am sure all of the snow and ice is on its way. A quick call to the clerk of the course at Fakenham at 6.30 this morning, told me that the ground was on the soft side and we decided not to run Topamichi and needed to let everybody know as early as possible. A visit to the Al Bahathri with a few gallopers was first lots exercise and then the rest of them stayed Bury Side or in the indoor ride.

The stud groom showing off the stallion, Lethal Force

We are on our second round of clipping at present. We clip all the long hair off the horses in fast work, just leaving a saddle patch as a bit of cover. The rule of thumb is to keep clipping until the end of February, as the summer coats will start to be on their way during March. I have taken to clipping the yearling’s right out as well these last few years, as they tend to get quite sweaty and warm, and it is much easier for them to be cleaned up after exercise. You would start the clipping process around November time when the winter coats are starting to come. Some take three or four clips over the winter and others only need a couple. It is a very itchy job though, with hair getting in places you never thought it could get and a good smock and hat is always required, plus sharp clipper blades. It reminded me to do this piece today as I must go and buy a new set of blades for our clippers.

 Medicean ex Astrodonna and behind Nayef ex Seasonal Blossom two-year-old colts

The mares are in under lights now on the stud and the covering season will start getting underway from 15th February. We have started to get all the swabs done. It is now very scientific as to when the mares are covered, and they must have all their swabs and vaccinations in order. This all costs money, but it is a must for both the mare owner and the stallion owner, as you don’t want any diseases spread between them. Newmarket has its own set of stud rules and all the stallion masters combine together to issue a ream of forms which need filling in before the mare can visit the stallion. It has worked well so far and let’s hope it continues to keep us disease free.