It’s been a slog through the worst of the winter at The Glanvilles Stud, but Lucy Procter is excited to see the results of all the hard work starting to shine
August disappeared in a swelter of dust, heat and flies. The following months disappeared in a steadily spirit-sapping mixture of storm and freeze, punctuated by the occasional dry hours or days which afforded some blessed relief from the drudgery of constantly being very wet or very cold. Or both.
Back in the summer the horses were having to cope with the extreme heat but come the autumn and it has been the endless rain and consequent mud that has been the challenge.
The majority of the broodmares have been stabled at night since November, going out into the all-weather sand turnout during the day. A few are going out singly or in pairs into the dryer fields for a couple of hours and some of the youngsters are now in a barn; they won’t go out again until the ground dries up in the spring.
Having grown thick, woolly, grease-filled coats, all the horses have their own natural protection from the elements. However, some of the broodmares are more susceptible to rainscald (constantly wet coats can lead to a skin infection which causes scabs to form in places along the horse’s neck and back), so we do rug any mares we’re concerned about when it’s wet during the day. Others cope just fine and are left unrugged.
However, youngstock are left without rugs all the time. Young horses are just like children: they play, they investigate, they chew. Put rugs on them and they might get tangled in each other’s rugs whilst playing. Or they might pull them off each other and, again, get tangled. Or they might just chew them and rip them to shreds!
When there’s a storm, it’s actually the wind that makes them feel really cold, so it’s best to let their natural coats protect them from the rain and instead to ensure they are in fields with hedges that can protect them from the worst of the wind.
TGS homebred racehorses
We are currently prepping three of last year’s foals for the Doncaster National Hunt Foal sale at the end of January. Technically they all turned one and became yearlings on the 1st of January, but for the purposes of the January sales ring, they are still referred to as foals. These three have been stabled at night and walked in-hand for half an hour every day on their way to their day turnout field throughout December. We walk them to make sure they are fit enough to cope with the sales, when they will be brought out of their stables and walked in front of prospective purchasers a number of times during the day. It is important that they are fit enough to walk as well for the last viewing of the day as they did for the first.
We are also training four homebred young racehorses here at the stud. Two of these are due to go to trainers very soon to do their last few weeks in a licenced yard before they run. Our son Freddie has been busy schooling our Monmartre four-year-old and he is loving his jumping – see video – so we are excited for his hurdling debut in a month or so.
The third is a three year old out of Honeysuckle’s sister, sired by Motivator, that we re-backed in early January and is now happily hacking out. She will shortly go to a trainer for a couple of months work before returning here for a break with a view to running next autumn. The fourth we plan to keep training and run her in point-to-points, but she is just coming back into work after an injury and is unlikely to be fit enough to race before April.
Foaling is just around the corner, with the first three mares due in early February. Two of these are ‘bagging up’ already (udders beginning to fill with milk), and we will once again be sitting up watching them on the cameras overnight very soon.
The rest of the mares are happy with glistening coats and fat with foal.
We are looking forward to seeing the foals that last year’s mating plans have produced – it’s the time of year when we can all dream. And it’s the dreams that get us through having to be outside all day in this hideous weather. We all need a dream to get us out of bed in the morning!