A Day In The Life Of A Work Rider - The Horses Are Coming Back In!

Elf On A Shelf

Well-Known Member
28 February 2011
The horses have started to come back in from their holidays and they all look great! I love seeing them all ridiculously fat and well with themselves. It makes it all the more satisfying when they hit the track stripped fit and ready to go. They come in it batches a week or two apart and come in from the field on a Thursday ready to get front shoes on on Friday and start work on Monday. We try to keep the back shoes off for as long as possible so they can still live out in pairs or small groups overnight for as long as the weather holds for them to. The horses love it this way and are generally a lot calmer and happier to be back in work for it. No real wild lunatics thankfully!

I have been off using up holiday days for 2 weeks and my first week back at work consisted of 2 days racing, 2 days of pulling manes and day of yard work before I sat on a horse on the next Monday batch. Nothing like chucking you in at the deep end! I had 6 to ride on Monday! My first lot at yard one was wee Champles. Everyone loves Champ - for the most part! He has been in for a couple of weeks so his work was trot fields trot 2 lob 1 up the straight. So we set off trotting up the gallops from the gate halfway up, off the top and round the edge of the schooling field, down into the chicken farm field, round the bottom then back onto the gallops to trot all the way up, down, up, down, then lob up. Trotting fields and 1x was no bother, Champ was being his usual dude-ish self. 2x up in trot and just as we get to the gate all of a sudden Champ went flying through the air! Neeeeerrrroooooooom! Landed and did it again! "CHAMP!!! You utter ratbag! Get your 4 feet back on the ground and trot forwards! Little shit!" I roared at him. Of course Champ didn't care and just shoogled his head, giggled and cantered off to catch up with the horses in front of us before settling back down to trot again. Lobbing up he has clearly been being ridden by kids as he tried to open his mouth, put his head to the floor and shoot off. He doesn't get away with that with me! So we had a rather frank discussion at the bottom of the gallops as we set off. "Ah balls, El's back. Can't get away with that nonsense with her" Champs said to himself. After that he lobbed away quite the thing like the good little pony he can be.

My next lot was Westy, a mare. I don't like mares. I've never really got on with them for the most part. This one is OK though, she tootles along quite the thing on a loose rein in trot. Canter is a different story though. She sets off taking a nice, even hold and would stay that way if you left her be. Sadly I didn't get that option. "Scottie you absolute moron!" Came a shout from just in front of me as the horse jammed on and slammed sideways across the gallop. This then meant that I had to take a pull on Westy to avoid crashing into them. 'RRRAAAAAWWWWWWRRRRRR' was Westy's response as she opened her gob as wide as she could, flung her head right up and back at me and shook it around as though I had just electrocuted her tongue. "All right mare, settle down, seriously no need to break my nose. That idiot is front is being just that, an idiot so you just ignore him and lob away nicely again please" I said to her. She grumbled a little but did as asked and dropped her head again nicely.

3rd lot was an absolute disease of a French thing that I hate. He is a pig. He never used to be this bad but the lass that used to look after him let him get away with blue murder and so he is now just a spoilt little ersling. Trotting along he nips and narks at any and every horse, he spooks and slams sideways at the most stupid random of things like a blade of grass moving and he has thee most uncomfortable trot on the planet. Honestly he moves more like a Hackney than a thoroughbred. The trouble with him is you can't really tell him off because that makes him 100x worse so you just have to sit and suffer whilst cursing him under your breath. Honestly he is horrible. Cantering he just fling his head around like a windmill when he wasn't snatching and plunging forward. If I never have to sit on that creature again in my life I would be so so happy!

We now ride 4 lots before breakfast and my 4th one was Dickie. Dickie is lovely! The complete opposite to the French thing. He is a big, solid 16.2hh old fashioned chaser who moves for absolute fun. So long and smooth and he carries himself beautifully too! He really is a joy to ride. We were just trotting that lot so off we toothed the gallop, round the field ignoring the pleb of a mare who was flinging herself sideways next to him. 2 years ago he would have pooped his pants at that and buggered off away from her but he is getting there with his trainer hack training. Down through the chicken farm field where he opted to jump the boggy bit rather than walk through it "Silly boy" I say to him as I pat him. Along the bottom then BOOM! Dickie slammed on the brakes and shot sideways because he had spotted the starting stalls. He has never been in them, a national hunt horse through and through. "Oi! Plebasaurus! What do you think you are doing!?!" I ask him. 'Sorry! I thought they were going to come eat me! They just appeared out of nowhere!' "No they didn't buddy, they have been there for months. Get a grip." I reply. I can just feel him now chuckling away to himself underneath me. We successfully negotiated trotting twice up the woodchip with no further incidents.

After breakfast is Myles, again just trotting thankfully! He can be one heavy, numb headed, on the forehand beat you could ever wish for at times. Trotting he is fine, cantering he just puts his head to the floor, dumps all his weight on your hands and tows.

Lot 6 rolls around and this time it's Thunder. Another horse that can be very heavy on your hands so I have had him in draw reins the last few days to help pick him up off of the floor then asking him to collect and work properly. He is getting the idea but obviously when he gets tired he reverts to on the forehand. But I have got him to the point now where when he gets tired I ask him to bring his head up and trot completely freely with no restraints and he is moving much better for it. Cantering he is again a bit on the forehand but nowhere near as bad as he is in trot. We had one of the girls dogs out with us that lot and it just followed along quite the thing all the way round the field etc before she wandered off. "Watch to your right Stephen" I said as I saw the long grass shifting rapidly. The next second the bloomin dog jumped out of the grass and onto the gallops straight in front of us. Needless to say both Max and Thunder jammed on in fright. The dog? She just stood there in the middle of the gallop looking at us as if we had 3 heads! Then moorhen off to sniff the grass the other side of the gallop. Every time we went past her after that I was just expecting her to jump out and be squished or for Thunder to throw his toys out the pram and explode as he has been known to do once or twice. "Good lad, just ignore the rat dog, it is of no concern to you" I say to him and scratch his neck. 'I got this El, don't worry, the dog doesn't bother me' Thunder replied. And true to his word he didn't blink an eye at it wandering around the gallops.

My last lot (thank god!) Was another wee filly called Yorkie. She is a sweet wee thing but she needs to be up front. She can't cope trotting in behind and just throws her toys completely out the pram and dances sideways. But not today as I had managed to nick the driver seat of the string - score! She has a lovely, loose trot to her which is surprising as she isn't the best put together and you don't really feel her dish when she is moving forwards. We got round all the trotting with no issues and then we got to the Cantering part. Snatch, sideways ping, snatch, sideways ping, snatch, sideways ping, snatch, charge off, snatch, come back, snatch, charge off, snatch, settle into a nice strong hold. Not the worst horse I have ever sat on for snatching. She only tugs enough to say she wants a few more inches of rein. The problem is is if you give her all she wants then they will be like washing lines and you won't be able to bring her back when she charges off 😂😂 to be fair to her she is a sweetheart who just wants to get on with the job in her own way.

I managed to get a half day as I am due a few and so being the glutton for punishment that I am I went home and rode the Welsh cob 😂😂 he is 12yo, was backed as a 5yo but has done nothing since due to lack of time. But it about time he earned his keep, especially since I have fully retired GrayMo. He has done a couple of weeks of work but it is obvious he has no idea how to carry himself so I popped draw reins on him for a couple of days and that was all he needed. He has got the idea that working with his head lower than a giraffes is actually easier and whilst he is by no means perfect he can walk nicely about 90% of the time, trot nicely about 70% of the time and we will work on canter when we get to that stage.

My final ride of the day, Gerry.


Big Midnight taking this holiday malarkey very seriously! He is in during the day and out at night. Screenshot_20210709-192126_Gallery.jpg

Arthur is thoroughly enjoying his retirement!



Well-Known Member
22 February 2016
Thank you for telling us about your day. Reminds me of my youth. Though not in racing but with the eventers and hunters where I worked.
I adore my tb ex racehorse. She is literally the nicest horse I have ridden. I don't think it's because I am biased as I felt that way the first time I ever sat on her. 🥰🥰🥰