A Day In The Life Of A Work Rider - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly & The Family

Elf On A Shelf

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28 February 2011
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A few random moments thrown together from the last week or so.

Friday - I was woken up just after 4am by a rather loud boom, the flat rattled and then a bright light illuminated the sky. Thundersnow! I do love a good thunder storm! It was over 15mins later but I couldn't get back to sleep. I stared up at the skylight watching the snow layer up on the pane of glass. I hate snow. I teally, really hate snow. If I had mty way we would have the 5 day snow rule and this would happen once a year - over Christmas. Day 1 - about 7-8pm in the evening, when all is done outside snow falls in big, thick white flakes, heavy but beautiful to watch out of a window whilst sitting next to a roaring fire. Day 2 - there is about 4in of snow on the ground. Enough to play in and have fun but not enough to be an inconvenience. Day 3 - more fun in the snow, snow ball fights, building snowmen etc. Day 4 - it all melts. Day 5 - you will be lucky to have slush left in the gutter. But alas we got 2in of soggy wet snow that everyone seems to completely fail to drive in. Either crawling along at 4mph or cannoning along just waiting to slide off a bend into a field. I really hate snow. By the time I got up to do my lot the snow had turned to rain so it wasn't so bad.

Over at yard 1 my first horse was one I really, really do not like riding. I don't trust him, he is a nappy sod who thinks nothing of flinging himself sideways into whatever or whoever gets in his way, he also doesn't care if he falls over his own feet in the process. "Right sunshine, no shenanigans today, I don't feel like being buried in snow." I said to him as we headed out of the barn. He had one little nap, a half hearted side step then thought better of it and carried on out to the gallop. He is actally fine to ride when he is going, takes just a nice hold on the bit and goes forward. Weirdo horse.

Next lot was wee Thistle who is just on easy work so we just pissed about for 15mins.

Over to yard 2 I had Big Bad Boris just once up the gallop. He was in good form with himself, tootled away up, pulled my arms out all the way down, bounced home with a spring in his step! The less said about how he ran yesterday though the better ... As we got back to the yard Erin always jumps off and leads her horses the last 10 yards in. Except for today πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ as she jumped down her feet hit the floor and she slipped on the slush πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚ she almost saved herself ... but then didn't πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚ she got spun around, landed on her backside and got dragged a few steps along the road by Stella who hadn't realised what had happened. Bless her, as soon as she realised she stood stock still and let Erin use her to help herself up. "Stupid biped" Stella said with her eyes. I could do absolutely nothing for laughing πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ˜‚ When Erin comes off (thankfully very very rarely!) She does it with style! πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

My other lot at yard 2 was Big Midnight who was going 3x up. 1x "come on you big lump, drop your head and do it properly, I don't care what people have been letting you away with this last week you don't get to be a giraffe with me." I said to him as we set off. 2x up he worked away nicely, 3x he tried to drop off going through the dip "ah ah ah! Nope! No stopping there sunshine! Like I said I don't care what others let you get away with, you don't do it with me." So Midnight heaved in an exasperated breath and strode on properly. He did get his revenge though. Going down the gallops he is grand until you hit the flat bit at the bottom then he tends to lean his whole body weight on you and refuse to pull up from a steady canter. Today was no different. Snatch, plunge, snatch, plunge, snatch, plunge, JAM ON THE BRAKES!!! Is Midnight's moto. Your arms are out of their sockets then you nearly fly over his head as he almost stops dead at the end of the gallop knowing he isn't allowed to go off the end. Dick.

Did I ever mention how much I hate the snow? Most of it had gone by this point though and we were dripping wet from the heavy rain.

Saturday rolls around and I am off to Wetherby with 2 fillies for the bumper. There are 3 of us in the 2 stall and me being the smallest ended up sat in the middle. Where I couldn't move my legs. At all. 4.5 hours each way not moving. I tied up. I was sore from riding for the first time in a week the day before and then sitting unmoving. Getting out the truck was hugely entertainkng for the 2 people with me! My thighs were absolutely KILLING ME! On the plus side one filly ran well, the other not so much and is already no longer a racehorse. We had a runner at Aintree who we sadly lost. He shattered a hind leg on the flat between fences. Murt was such a dude, everyone loved him and he will be truly, sorely missed around the yard 😭😭

Sunday - I have never been so glad to hop in the truck and get out of the yard in my life! You know when you are so used to doing things your way then other people start doing things a different way and it really, really, really bugs you?!? Yeah that was me on Sunday! I was just off to pick a horse up from the vets but that was so much more preferable to doing the yard their way!

Monday was racing at Musselburgh, non-descript, bog standard days racing.

Tuesday was a day of clipping - no disasters nor stitches required this time!

Wednesday - the dreaded Hexham! My god I hate that place! I really do! It's dire, it's just a pit of mud! Thankfully it's over now until March! We had 3 horses at Hexham. The filly ran well! Then it was Big Bad Boris's turn. Can we just forget about the whole thing!?!!!??? Really!?!?!?!?! Please!?!??!! ..... ok! FINE!! I guess not! When we got to Hexham I plaited up BoJo, god knows what he has been doing to his tail as it was barely plaitable! And I know it hasn't been clipped as I am the only one who hs ever clipped him! I got it done though, got him all dolled up and out to the paddock. Scu and I saddled him up in the saddling boxes and off I went round the paddock again. Just as I pulled my 1/4sheet off they announced that horse no 5. Overworkedunderpaid had won turnout. Just at that moment Callum Bewley noticed that Boris has the no.5 saddle cloth on, his horse wasnt in the paddock yet. And so we realised that the jockeys had been handed the wrong number clothes at the scales. I didn't notice as I don't pay attention to the horses race number, Scu hadn't noticed, Laura Morgan hadn't noticed when she saddled her horse with Boris's no. 3 cloth and so we had a mad dash back into the saddling boxes to swop numbers! You don't think to check because the clerk of the scales should notice the number and so you always assume the jockey hands you the right number.

So off Boris goes to the track, right number cloth in place. As I head back up to get my sheets the guy who chose the turnout prize came over and appologised to me. Boris had indeed been the intended turnout winner but it was when he had the no. 5 on and so he had to give it to the girl with Laura's horse who was actually no. 5 even though it had no plaits or anything in. By this point I really didn't care. The horse was saddled, on the track with the right number. Thats all that mattered. Then he ran attrociciously badly. So we won't speak of that again.

As I popped him back in his box, after the obligatory vet check and dope box round. I passed a horse that was absolutely exhausted. It just about went down next to me on the concrete whilst I still had a hold of Boris. All I could do was clap my hands and shoo it back up to it's feet. I launched Boris in, popped a rug on him then grabbed whatever water buckets I could spare.

This is where racing comes into it's own. There were about 20 people all helping with this exhausted horse who was massively over heating. 3 people manned hose pipes keeping a constant stream of buckets flowing, about 12 of us were lauching water over the poor horse from every angle. No one cared if they got wet. The horse needed the help and it needed A LOT of it. There were 3 vets there too obviously monitoring, giving jags, launching water and the trainer himself was dragging the horse round and round and round trying to keep it moving, trying to keep it on it's feet. The last thing you want is a horse like this to go down. It's incredibly hard to get them back up and a lot of the time they give up and die. But we weren't letting that happen. 20 minutes, more water than you could ever imagine, a lot of soaked people, a lot of relieved people and turning Hexham stable yard into even more of a swamp than ever the horse was deemed ok and the water cascade could end.

Yes the vets had to be there, yes the trainer and the horses lass had to be there but the rest of us? No we technically didn't have to help but not a single person in the stable yard that wasn't busy that very second launched in to help with thinking. The ones who were busy ran over to give any spare water buckets they could lend. That's what makes racing what it is. It's a family, we help each other regardless.

BoJo ready and waiting:
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Snowy days on Big Midnight
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Jeni the dragon

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2 August 2019
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Always love hear about your days!
I couldn't believe how loud the thunder was, we had around 4 inches of snow so more than I'd have liked!
Always great to hear how everyone works together to help a horse that is struggling. Pleased it made the difference to him.
I was very sad to hear about Murt, he sounded a real character.
 

Elf On A Shelf

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Joined
28 February 2011
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Another great write up, so look forward to them. Have a lovely Christmas and hope you have a day off,
I am not working xmas day this year. The first xmas in 16 years I haven't worked! It will be strange just doing my lot on xmas morning and not spending xmas eve making either bacon rolls or bacon & cheese turnovers for everyones breakfast on xmas day!
 
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