Have you ever watched horse racing and wondered about how racehorses are trained? Perhaps you’ve been to one of the many Family Friendly horse racing events that are held across the country each year, and wondered whether the horses are well looked after and cared for? If you have (and really even if you haven’t!) National Racehorse Week 2021 is the week for you.
This year in the UK’s first ever National Racehorse Week which will run from 12th -19th September trainers across the country will open their yards to the public (for FREE) so that you can witness first-hand the care, love and attention that goes into looking after racehorses and the fantastic lives that these magnificent animals lead.
In order to understand what National Racehorse Week is all about, I was invited to take the girls to Manor House Stables in Cheshire to meet with trainer Tom Dascombe and his assistant Arthur to get a taste for what people will experience if they visit a trainers yard during National Racehorse Week.
We arrived at Manor House Stables around 10am and were greeted warmly by Arthur and our trip around the yard commenced. Both myself and the girls were amazed to realise that there was a swimming pool on site for the horses so we made our way straight there.
I knew nothing about why a horse might want or need to swim so I asked and I also googled a little when we got home too.
Swimming is sometimes only considered when a horse sustains an injury and the vet rules out ridden exercise (rehabilitation of the horse in an equine pool helps to maintain muscle tone, general fitness and mental health) however incorporating swimming into racehorses general training program greatly assists in preventing injuries and improving performance.
The horses then got out of the pool and entered a drying room to make sure they didn’t catch cold when they went back outside. Lily and I noted that we would like to add a drying room to our swimming routines too.
After the swimming pool we made our way through a yard full of horses and people working, mucking out and cleaning to watch the horses be led out of the yard, and do a couple of walks around a smaller circuit before heading to the gallops.
The horses are ridden in small lots and so the riders at the yard do this for most of the morning. It was becoming quite apparent that it really does take quite a lot of people to train a racehorse. You can see the number of people involved at Manor House Stables here.
Tom then arrived with his truck and for what was perhaps one of the most fun parts of the day for the girls, he took us up to the gallops with the girls in the back of a truck and we watched the horses fly past.
There are around 70 horses kept at Manor House Stables at any one time and the weekly exercise regime usually consists of fast gallop work a couple of times a week, steady trotting and cantering the rest of the week, with Sunday often a rest/quiet day depending on the schedule of races planned for each horse.
The horses even have their own pharmacy and vet station on site and the vet assigned to the stables tend to spend some part of every day at the stables checking the horses and making sure they are fit and well. There is also a lot of food eaten and mucking out to be done.
During the morning the girls were also lucky enough to have a ride on Glittering Choice, a racehorse that will actually race at Haydock this Friday. I’m pretty sure this isn’t part of the official racehorse week though, just a lovely bonus on the day.
You can take a look at my Instagram stories for more of what we got up to on the day, or take a look at this reel too.
Other yards might included different things in their tours including refreshments, meet the horses, water treadmill demonstration, farrier demonstration and schooling.
You can find a local open day via the postcode search on the website though do book soon though as lots of yards are seeing lots of bookings.