I’ve been unsure on exactly how to write this blog post without being repetitive and boring. After all, I was only at Olly’s last week!
I considered going down the route of doing loads of research into facts, figures and statistics; but I felt like that’s not who I am as a person, and it’s not why I’m interested in racing. For me, what makes racing so exciting is the horses and the people; and I think the ‘audience’ that follow my adventures with my exracehorses, (for the most part) feel the same. Besides, my intentions with the blog are for it to be less of a ‘racing blog’ and more of a blog about thoroughbreds. Especially as my interest stems from owning exracehorses.
So consider ‘Olly Murphy 2.0’ an insight into the horses and the people that made my day and a bit about what I think makes riding race horses different from other equestrian disciplines. I hope that I can write it in a way that makes you feel the warmth inside that I felt.
Firstly, I decided to ask if I could revisit Olly’s for a few, entirely selfish reasons; I wanted to ride out, I’d heard all round good guys Jack and Tom of JTW Equine Images were going to be there, and I wanted to feel that yard, team atmosphere again.
So 4am alarm set, to get myself up, ready, fed and watered and to drive down to Stratford. It was a ghastly morning in Nottingham but as I got closer to the beautiful Wilmcote, the weather started to clear and the dreaded nerves set in.
It’s not everyday you get to ride a fit, in training racehorse if you’re not in the industry and I really didn’t want to get in anyone’s way or be a nuisance. Which I probably did anyway.
So I arrived at the yard and was met by the lovely Gerard, Olly’s Assistant Trainer, who funnily enough was at Alan King’s at the same time as my lad Grumeti.
Gerard arranged some tack for me and pointed me up to the top barn to get Mizen Master ready as my ride for first lot. Mizen is a sweet little horse who is one of the Warren Chase originals and once my bum hit the saddle, I started to feel more relaxed.
Gerard then buddied me up with one of the riders, Charlotte on the gorgeous Grey Spirit and off we went.
I had a blast, got back to the yard covered in sand but elated. My confidence in the saddle is something I have continuous battles with, and to go out and have some fun was just the pick me up I needed.
How thoroughbreds in training are ridden is completely different to how I ride on a daily basis. When they’re in training the riders emphasis is on remaining still and balanced; the more you move, the faster the horse will go.
What I’ve learnt from my dressage training is that you are always giving instructions to your horse with your seat, hands and legs, so there is a lot more movement from the rider.
The position of the rider is also completely different to how I would ride for dressage or showjumping.
With training my own horses my aim is to be sat tall and straight in the saddle with a long leg, arms forward with a straight line from my elbow to the horses mouth. So being up and out of the saddle and in a more forward seat is a completely different way of balancing as a rider so this felt pretty unnatural to me, but still so enjoyable.
So back to the yard to wash Mizen Master off and onto the walker and then out on Oscar Maguire with Larry & Jordan from the yard and wash, rinse, repeat.
I then stayed to watch a few more lots with Jack and Tom as they took more photos and had lots of cuddles with a couple of my favourites, Brewin’upastorm and The Butcher Said who just don’t seem to have a care in the world and love the attention.
It’s great to see these equine athletes be so relaxed in their home environment which can sometimes be a huge difference to how they behave in their work or at the races.This is the point where I’m going to struggle to not repeat myself from the first blog post, so I’ll wrap it up here.
The yard is great, the horses are great and the team are lovely and made me feel insanely welcome yet again. I wish them all the best of luck for the future and can’t thank them enough. (Hope the beers went down as well as the chocolates!)
I really hope I can find an excuse to come back again. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the experience has just further cemented to me that Grumeti really is my horse of a lifetime. Because without him, this opportunity wouldn’t have come about and it really was a fantastic and somewhat cathartic experience and a real change from my daily routine.
And what more could a girl want than a fun day with lovely people and lovely horses? Well maybe cake, but that’ll be in next weeks blog post! (Hint, Hint.)
Thanks so much for reading.
Huge thanks to Tom and Jack for the stunning photos.
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Photos ©JTW Equine Images