What happens on a raceday?

On a raceday, the routine is much the same for those horses not running. Depending upon where we are going racing and how early the lorry needs to leave, there may or may not be time for us to ride out a lot or two.

Each horse that is to be racing will be bandaged and well rugged up before loading. The lorry will already have in it the hamper containing, bridles, paddock sheets and rollers, lead ropes, sweat rugs and any additional rugs for travelling home. There will be buckets for washing down, a grooming kit and a hay net for the return journey, and, of course, the jockey’s colours and the horse’s passport.

We like to have the horses at the racecourse a minimum of two hours before their race, as this gives them time to relax and to get plaited up and ready for the paddock. They arrive in the paddock 30 minutes before the race. Once the jockey has weighed out, the saddle is collected and the horse is saddled. After this, all hopeful connections are met in the paddock and tactics are discussed.

After the race, the owners are either greeted in the Winners enclosure or not, depending on the outcome. There is then usually time for a quick drink to celebrate or commiserate and often to plan the next day out. During this time, the horse is taken back to the stables and washed down and walked about in order to give all the muscles time to cool down and avoid stiffness.

When the horses are relaxed and cooled, their legs are bandaged, often with cooling clay for tired legs and tendons, and then they are ready to go home. We always leave the horses for one hour after they have raced before they travel home.