23rd June 2015
Starting from scratch.
In May we bought three young National Hunt horses, the work began on them as soon as we got them back as there is a lot to be done before they get a rider on their backs. Tim has alot of experience with breaking in horses and he usually starts the process by getting them used to having a saddle on and a bit in their mouths by using long reins as illustrated below.
Even when the horse is used to having a rider on there is a massive amount of work to do, at a minimum it takes around 6 months before they will be ready to hit the racecourse for the first time.
One of the things we do a huge amount of is jumping, it is imperative that when a horse has its first race over jumps it knows how to get from A to B with a good technique and loads of confidence. It is important firstly to minimise risk to horse and jockey, horses can fall even when they have been very well schooled but if I ran a horse that was not 100% ready and it hurt itself or the jockey I would never forgive myself. Secondly if a horse does not jump quickly and accurately it will be losing ground and momentum at each obstacle which will make it very hard to win.
Aside from alot of jumping with a rider on the horses back we also do a lot of loose schooling, this is a great way to start a horse jumping as they learn how to organise themselves without any help. Below is a link to a video of Zanianka, a three year old filly that we bought from Doncaster. She took to the loose schooling really well, you will see that she makes a mistake first time over and knocks the barrels, after this she gets better and better. I was delighted with the way she jumped, she is clearly a natural and I hope that she will have a big future.