Owning a racehorse is a great experience, as any of our current owners will tell you. All owners are welcome to be involved in the horse’s training as much as possible, and above all, we want to be with you every step of the way to ensure you horse reaches its true potential, and hopefully exceed expectations. Little beats standing in the owner’s enclosure, cheering your racehorse to the finish line.
We have helped many owners find a horse with the ability to win races. Find out how we can help choose the right horse for you, our success as breeders, and how we go about backing and re-schooling horses to help turn them into champions.
Buying the right horse is just as important as how you train it and we are more than happy to talk anyone through our process. It is possible to buy horses with or without form, privately or at the sales and it all really depends on the depth of a purchaser’s pocket.
We are very aware that it costs the same to train a bad horse as a good one so most of our owners have bought unbroken horses as they are cheaper to purchase for obvious reasons. Horses with form will run quicker but can be terrifyingly expensive if they have shown potential. However, it is possible to pick up a horse that we can improve if we have been able to find out about its background and if we can see that it has an inkling of talent, our training will then be based on trying to nurture them and develop their confidence and ability. Horses off the flat can improve if they enjoy being taught to jump and are happier with the slower pace in National Hunt races, while there are always some horses that have not thrived in big yards and who may improve with more individual attention.
Plaid Maid is probably the best fairy tale breeding rags to riches story ever and we have always taken advice from those working in the breeding industry which appears to have worked well!
We work with owners to identify possible dams of interest but final decisions are always made at the sales when we get to look at each horse in the flesh, see them move and judge how they cope with the stress and atmosphere of the sales.
Every sale is exciting and usually very rewarding. There is a certain thrill from seeing a horse we like on paper and judging that it is a potentially good buy. Having been to plenty of sales over the years, we have a very good eye for spotting talent and ensuring we get value for money.
We purchased Plaid Maid for the small sum of £3,000, and she went on to win seven races before retiring to stud where she was responsible for producing our stable stars, Carruthers, Coneygree and Flintham. This is one of the reasons why every time we are at the sales looking for unbroken horses we always keep an eye out for another possible Plaid Maid. This super mare had correct conformation, natural athleticism and balance combined with a good pedigree.
Without the bottomless pockets of some of the big players, we try to spot that special horse; one that has been missed by others, and this can sometimes be easier with mares. There is no reason that a mare can’t be as good and talented as a gelding (Dawn Run and Quevega are prime examples of this) but they need to be handled more carefully which, as everyone knows, is our catchphrase.
The process of starting to handle and then work with a young horse is carefully planned and taken gently. Making sure they are comfortable and stress free at every stage is crucial and always gets the best results. Every horse is different and we work at their pace as we gradually get them used to being handled, wearing tack and learning the basics. From the very beginning each horse learns to go forward from the leg while listening to direction from the reins. Commands such as halt and changing the direction of travel (known as changing the rein) are also fundamental at this stage.
Our process for backing youngsters begins with schooling them on long reins, we will then introduce poles and small jumps as they gain in confidence and begin to understand what we need from them. Backing them then becomes a natural progression as trust is built between horse and rider. Once the horse appears settled and happy to work under the rider, we will begin to introduce more schooling exercises, to help develop and continue their education.
Patient but firm handling is key when dealing with youngsters, and should only be carried out under expert guidance, as it can be all too easy to spoil a horse’s early years by inconsistent or incorrect training. We are lucky that we have extensive experience in backing horses, and were able to learn from some of the biggest names in National Hunt racing.
Please do get in touch if you are interested in buying and would like our help or would like us to train your horse.