Wednesday, 13 January 2021 12:30

January 12th

Well we have had all types of weather in the last couple of weeks. Torrential rain, cold winds, snow and ice, which has not made things easy for the team but well done to all of them in keeping the horses exercised safely, warm & fed.

Huge relief that we can continue to race during the latest lockdown, which is a testament to all of the hard work put in by the BHA and everyone involved in our sport. It’s very strange racing with no-one there, but everyone that is there is so respectful and careful that, touch wood, you do feel very happy to be there. The closest you get to anyone is in the stable yard, but it is a lot better than going to the garden centre or supermarket, so fingers crossed that we will be able to continue as we head into further weeks of lockdown.

We are also missing seeing everyone at the yard – and I think it fair to say that this lockdown is a lot tougher than the last  with the dark evenings, happily the weather is not encouraging people to go out, so a few less walkers and loose dogs on the farm, but still a marked increase on normal times. However hopefully in a couple of months when the vaccine has been rolled out and the weather improves things will start to get back to normal and we will be able to have visitors back at the yard before Terry forgets how to bake a cake!

The following horses have run over the last couple of weeks:

Mr Palmtree ran at Wincanton on Saturday, Given a good ride by Tabitha he made progress from the back and was in with every chance turning into the straight. He started to tire two out but kept on gamely to finish 3rd, only beaten 6 lengths behind a winner that is probably pretty decent. The ground rode much softer than the good to soft going report, and as always post frost, was dead & sticky which would not really be to his liking. Mr P always gives his all and hopefully on better ground he will be moving up the placings in the near future.

Fitz Well did not appreciate two miles at Newbury and now just needs one more run for a handicap mark. He will be much more effective over further, as he showed us at Hereford.

Scorched Earth is coming down in the weights slowly and he ran much better last time, at Wolverhampton, although he still needs kidding into putting his best foot forward!

Wrynner has been for a wind op! Enough said!

The rest of the string are in good heart many waiting for a bit of an ease in the underfoot conditions – looking at the forecast that may not be this week!

Romance in the air over the holidays & Huge Congratulations from all connected with Hill Farm to Jack Quinlan and Molly Mae who got engaged on Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020 17:05

December 23rd

We complain when we have no rain but it has not stopped raining recently and it makes the going everywhere hard work for the horses.

A few runners since the last blog with mixed fortunes.

Glen Mooar and Oneida Tribe made the short trip to Warwick. Glen Mooar was having his first run for The Goodies & The Tricksters and his first run over hurdles. He ran well making ground down the back and was in the leading group coming into the straight before tiring. He will come on from the whole experience and is a horse who, I am sure will give his owners much enjoyment over the next few years. Glen followed up with another very pleasing run at Huntingdon, and was our last runner before the Christmas festivities.

Oneida Tribe ran well but could not go with the field when they increased the pace 4 out.

Onto Hereford with Mr Palmtree, who showed much more enthusiasm with blinkers on for the first time. He jumped his way to the front 5 fences from home but unfortunately made an uncharacteristic error three out, and horse v fence caused a very rapid change of speed propelling Tabitha up his neck, and virtually out of the front door! Tabs did extremely well to stay on board but the mistake stopped him dead, and cost him any chance he had in the race, and he finished 4th.

Southwell in the rain for Cheer’s Delboy. Back over fences for the first time since his injury, he hated the ground which went very soft and Jack did the correct thing in pulling him up at half way. He will wait for some better ground.

Williamdeconqueror ran at Ludlow and showed much improvement on his previous runs staying on to finish 7th. Will need to go further in time.

Wrynner, a new horse to the yard, ran in a bumper at Hereford. Last race on the card and the ground was very deep by the time she ran which she did not like. She enjoyed the racecourse experience and hopefully will have some better ground when she runs next time.

Harriet & her team made the long trek north to Alnwick with For Fitz Sake & Fitz In, both having their first runs pointing. The five & a half hour drive each way totally worth it, when the FFS dotted in by 8 lengths, and FI finished a very close second.

Congratulations to Harriet for training her first point to point winner! The horses both went to Goffs Yorton sale last week and we will follow their progress with great interest.

We would like to wish you all

‘A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy New Year’

2020 has certainly been a challenging year for each & every one of us, and we can but hope for a more normal 2021.

Thank you to The Team for their loyalty & hard work and Thank you to all of our lovely owners for trusting us with their equine athletes & without whose support we wouldn’t be here.

Monday, 07 December 2020 11:36

December 7th

Apologies for there not being a blog update over the last couple of months but there has not been enough hours in the day.

Happily we have all continued to remain virus free so it was disappointing to hear that we have been put into Tier 3 from the 2nd December although with a number of racecourses going to be allowed to have spectators hopefully more of our owners will be able to watch their horse in real life rather than via the television. I know so many are desperate to get back for their racing fix.

Unfortunately it is unlikely that we will be restarting our monthly Open Mornings until the Spring. We are missing seeing everyone, and our Air Ambulance box is feeling very light, but we will start up again as soon it is safe & practical to do so.

We have had some changes to our staff since the last blog so a big welcome to Kathryn and Regan, and also our ‘Saturday boy’ Olly who is now here full time.

Congratulations to Jack Quinlan, our stable jockey, who rode his 200th winner at Fakenham recently. Hope you ride many more Jack.

Summarised below, in no particular order, is what the horses have been doing at the races.

Cheer’s Delboy returned to the course at Southwell after an absence of over 800 days following a serious tendon injury. Praise must be given to his syndicate owners who have supported him over this long period out of action. He passed the vet at the racecourse with flying colours, which is a requirement now after a long period off the course and enjoyed his day running well until getting tired coming into the straight. Most importantly he came back sound and was fine the next day therefore hopefully his owners can look forward to an exciting future.

Mr Palmtree ran a pleasing race first time out this season at Uttoxeter over hurdles. Reverting to fences he then went on to win his next two races at Huntingdon and Hereford very well, resulting in the handicapper putting him up a total of 19lb! He then ran another good race off top weight at Ludlow finishing 4th. It is hoped he will be back in the winner’s enclosure again in the near future.

Black Kalarosa ran well for a long time in her first run of the season at Warwick cheered on by some of her owners from the car park by the side of the course. She had her next run in the heavy ground at Leicester where she was hampered by the horse which ran out, got tired in the ground so pulled up by Tabitha.

Oneida Tribe has had an operation to remove a tumour in a sinus since his last run nearly a year ago so it was pleasing to see him back on the course, at Exeter, running for the Racing Club. He travelled and jumped really well, but as we thought, he just needed the run and went for his girths after two out. The run will have brought him on.

Phoebus Lescribaa has had a few nice runs over the last couple of months which included a good 3rd at Stratford, and has gone home for a mid season break.

Dontminddboys had his first run after 250 days at Ludlow and tired from 3 out. He will come on for the run.

Anti Cool stayed on very well to finish 2nd at Warwick finishing well clear of the 3rd and probably would have won if the race had been over an extra 100 yards, and also if he had not had to negotiate a jockey between his hind legs!. He had a disappointing run at Ludlow last time when he was pulled up. He then went to Leicester where the ground went against him following the continuous rain. He is another for a mid season break until it dries up a bit.

Fitz Well ran his first race on a course at Hereford. He showed a lot of promise in finishing 4th staying on well. A nice horse to look forward to.

Some Finish ran in the race at Hereford which was won by Mr Palmtree. He ran well for 2/3rds of the race before making a mistake 5 fences from home resulting in him being pulled up. Ran next at Leicester and was in with a good chance 3 out but did not finish his race off. Lorcan reported that he heard a noise and let him come home in his own time. He has had a breathing operation following the run.

Williamtheconqueror is a home bred out of Dancing Daffodil. Taking him to the races for his first run at Stratford was nerve racking as we have had him since the day he was born. He ran in a bumper and finished mid field. He then had his first experience of running over hurdles at Leicester. The ground went heavy on the day and as he is still a youngster he struggled in the tiring ground. Better days will hopefully come for him in the future.

The little legend that is Galactic Power, ran a blinder to finish second at Ludlow this week, after over 200 days off. Coming with his usual late run he could have done with another half a furlong and was only beaten 1 ½ lengths.

Tara Well ran at Chepstow but unfortunately burst a blood vessel. We have decided to retire her to have children, and she is off to Ireland to join Lillian & Mary Barry’s herd of brood mares. Tara has given us a lot of fun and we are happy that we know where she is going to be in retirement.

Bally Lagan, Bob Maxwell, The Lion Man and All is Good have all been retired from racing. All four have found amazing new homes.

Bally Lagan was a good servant to the yard winning 4 times and being placed 11 more times in chases. Age has caught up with him and he has a new home in Wales.

Bob Maxwell did not quite have the opportunity to show his true ability during his period with us and has a new home in Somerset.

The Lion Man was the worst named horse in racing, and although he did win, and was placed on several occasions, he did not really have the heart for racing, and has a lovely new home with a young girl not too far away from here.

All is Good won once and was placed on 7 more occasions. He has developed a foot condition which means he needs an easier life, and he also has a new home in Somerset.

Thanks to Retraining of Racehorses for helping to find these horses new homes after their racing careers have ended and we wish them all well, and look forward to watching their progress away from racing.

Monday, 06 July 2020 10:20

July 6th

For some reason my last two blogs have not published on here which is annoying - especially as I have only just noticed!! Consequently it  has been a long time since an update appeared!

 

Its been a weird time for everyone over the last few months & hard to believe its already July! Happily we have all been virus free up here at Hill Farm, although I do think that there is a strong chance that some of us had the virus earlier in the year. If it was now we would certainly be isolating having had all of the symptoms that are fired at us as indicators of Covid 19!

The team have all been furloughed for a couple of months, but we are at last starting to get back to some sort of normality, with the horses gradually coming in again and getting back to action. the farriers have been busy getting shoes back on and the team bedding up and sorting out the lovely clean stables with new beds, rugs out of storage etc etc! Everyone (horses and people) have summered very well, (and most have a good amount of lockdown pounds to lose!)

The protocol for a resumption to racing appeared at 50 pages long, which initially looked very daunting, but was actually very easy once you got to the guts of it, and all reports were that it was easy to adhere to at the races.

There has been much talk of the limitations put on owners attending which is understandable, but only a temporary measure, and a jump through some hoops to get things going. Admittedly baffling when you can go to the pub/tescos etc etc (including a nice riot if you are that way inclined!) Changes will need to move forward pretty quickly.

They might also need to get moving at BHA HQ, where there is no one in at all apparently! Phone calls are straight to answerphone and an email sent last week remains unacknowledged. With Weatherbys providing their usual efficient service all through lockdown, and racing now going ahead, its hard to accept that British Horseracing are un-contactable!

Royal Bassett has been our only runner so far since racing resumed. He ran a blinder at Newmarket to finish third at odds of 300/1, Softer ground and a completely different track suited him well, and made all the difference, with him staying on very well. He is such a laid back character and is now schooling very well over hurdles as well. He and Phoebus Lescribaa went to Warwick last week to jump hurdles on their very well watered schooling ground. Tabitha & Ceris rode them and both jumped very well.

Its a great initiative for Warwick to provide this facility especially this year, when everywhere at home is like concrete, and schooling on grass is definitely not a thing!

Our newly resurfaced round gallop is looking and feeling fantastic - a lovely even surface that is bloody hard work to walk on but provides plenty of spring as well, it will be a massive improvement to our facilities this year, and should make preparation a whole lot easier. It is also good to jump on, and we have had the schooling hurdles out on it as well.

Its been great to see so many faces up here at Hill Farm, as the lockdown restrictions eased. easy to social distance up here, and the weather lending itself to outdoor coffees and chats.

Its so nice to see the pleasure that people get from seeing their beloved horses again, and humbling to see quite how much the horses have been missed by everyone when visits could not be part of people's week. We just need Terrys'  cakes & life will be back to 'normal'.

We won't be starting our monthly Open Mornings quite yet, but they will hopefully return as normal in the Autumn. In the meantime if you would like to visit just get in touch & you will be most welcome (cake or no cake!!)

  

Thursday, 23 April 2020 08:32

April 23rd

Another week of lock-down, and another week of summer jobs ticked off. Just  one barn left to pressure wash - sterling work from the girls, made easier by Nic lending us his super powered, diesel pressure washer, which although very noisy, did help get the job done a lot quicker!

A good pile of the wood-chip mole hills now gone, but plenty still to go, cant wait to finish that job now and get it all tidied up.

Just a couple of horses in light work, the rest looking relaxed and happy out in the front fields, although the grass still not very forthcoming & badly in need of some rain. A field change due next week which always causes a stupid amount of excitement! 

We did have an interesting interlude on Monday night to break up the boredom! As we went to bed there was a power cut, didn't think too much of it, and it came back on after a short while, nodded off to be woken at midnight by Western Power ringing the gate, accompanied by a fire engine! To cut a very long story short, a power line had come down over the hill gallop, and into the field where the mares are! Cue live line then shorting out & setting the carpet on fire! Cue Darren & Claire running around in our pj's locating all of the horses & making sure they were safe, rehanging gates & mending fences also broken by said power line, accompanied by the men in uniform! Fire was luckily near to the water trough so put out relatively easily, and happily all horses present & correct - if a little un-nerved.

We made it back to bed by about 1.30, but the boys still up the pole till about 4 am, which was all fine except that the alarm in the house then proceeded to go off every time they did something to the electricity supply! By 4 am was feeling just a little jaded!

Tuesday morning then spent replacing the burnt out electric fencing and mending all the gaps! It could have been so much worse & thank goodness no- one was injured. A hefty bill heading Western Powers' way I feel to replace the burnt surface etc etc!

Even in lock-down there is never a dull moment!!

Sadly going to have to furlough another two of the troops from next week, which we ave tried to avoid doing with the team that live here, hopefully only for a short period though if the hoped for return to jumping starts on July 1st. Lots of mowing to do, and I'm sure that they will be able to find ways to amuse themselves up here. Harriet & Dominic have created a whole new veggie patch which is now planted and has a flower border around it! At this rate we will be digging up some fields to plant more veg & also getting the odd cow to milk. Chickens are doing sterling work at present, and if nothing else we have plenty of eggs! Three chicks hatched in the incubator yesterday which very cute, two broody bantams too so shouldn't have to buy any more hens for a while as long as no visits from Charlie!

We hope you are all still well & staying safe, and that we will be able to welcome you up to Hill Farm very soon.

 

 

 

Tuesday, 14 April 2020 08:21

April 15th

Another week into lockdown, and I can't realistically see that changing anytime soon. Tough for many but apart from only two to ride not much change in the routine up here.

The gallop is finally finished - all we need now are some horses to ride on it! The mole hills of old surface still piled up & waiting to be cleared, which we can hopefully do before it starts to rain again.

Unbelievably dry now, thank goodness we got all of the rolling done before it went rock hard, and the only comfort at having no runners is that it would have been too firm to run them anyway!

Not really a lot to report from Hill Farm this week, Robin a bit under the weather but the Docs think not the dreaded lurgy thank goodness. The rest of us all OK so far, although when we get out of here there is a fair chance we will emerge as a bunch of fat alcoholics! 

Having said that we are pretty busy, Harriet T & Frankie are pressure washing (horrible job!), the rest of us are fencing, clearing up after the installation of the new gallop surface & generally catching up on a lot of jobs. The housework pledge went out of the window last week once the temperature got up - far too nice to be inside. the weekend was then freezing cold, so a spot of hoovering suddenly looked a bit more attractive!

We now have a veggie patch & raised beds with veg in too, so hopefully not too many night frosts to kill off future dinners!!

The horses are all out with the exception of a couple nursing injuries, and a couple in work. They all look very well and relaxed out, even though there is not an abundance of grass. some rain forecast at the w/e, which would be welcome to get the green going!

We do feel very lucky to be up here and away from it all as much as we possibly can. I cant quite understand these folks flouting the rules about going out - I wouldn't go anywhere unless I had to! We have had an out break of walkers & joggers - some fine, some definitely not fine. Loose dogs, and people walking off the footpath does not fill us with joy - especially when you get sworn at for asking them to put the dog on the lead!!  They will be sorry when Mr Palmtree chases them!

Graham here for a visit today, first time for a few weeks and quite a long list of bits and pieces to do - very weird just having to leave him to it and work from a list!One of the mares has been cavorting around, and looking very not in foal, so a check needed there - happily a live foal present and correct, so something to look forward to! Timons Tara due anytime but no bag to speak of yet so still here for the moment. 

As always we hope you are all well, covid free & keeping occupied. 

Sadly we hear that John O'Neill (Point of Attack & Just 4 Fun partnerships) is in hospital & we send him our very best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Stay safe & hope to see you soon

Tuesday, 31 March 2020 08:25

31st March

Another week in these strange times we are living in. Happily so far the Hill Farm family are all well, although in danger of getting hypothermia before Covid 19! After a glorious week last week when the horses had a few days with rugs off and were basking in warm sunshine, its been frankly baltic up here and the heavyweight rugs back out again. 

The grass which was greening up nicely has ground to a halt, and its unbelievably dry now. After a long winter of incessant rain its hard to believe that we could now do with some! The who;e farm has been rolled and all the mess created by tractors and hooves in hock deep mud put back. The resurfacing of the round gallop is very nearly completed - that in itself has been a mission, and a big shout out to Dan Allbutt who has been doing the work under very difficult conditions. He has made a minimum of mess and we are well and truly into the final stretch now.

An equally big shout out to the team, who have had the onerous job of picking stones out of a couple of the bales of carpet that arrived contaminated (not a thing to be proud of from the supplier) with some stones, that were not visible until spread out. The hassle of taking it all off was just too much, so the team have been on their hands and knees picking the stones out before the top layer goes on. They frankly deserve a medal, as the bales of carpet stink when opened and I think cleaning the drains has risen above the least popular job to do! 

Frustrating really as once down the surface looks and feels amazing, but at least onto the final couple of yards today, so the end is nigh!

We have roughed off the pointers and some of the youngsters,as no where for them to go, but its too cold to just chuck them out, so in at nights for feeds and rugs very much still on. The rest of the string just ticking over currently and hope that we might start back on May 1st - although personally I have my doubts about that. I guess time will tell as the next couple of weeks statistics unfold.

All the store sales have been put back till late summer,and will be interesting to see what the lack of sales of the four year olds, will do to the store market.

All of ours string look really well, and are plenty fresh enough - neck straps in full use! 

Trying to wade through what help we can get in these difficult times is a tough chore too - lots of reading to do, but no real end goal at present. A massive task for the powers that be to sort out, but at least some decisions made which will hopefully enable us all to get through this unprecedented crisis.Its going to be very tough on many - including us - but we at least feel grateful to be living in such an amazing place and that largely our lives go on, at least in part, as normal.

 

We hope that you are all well, and managing to stay safe from this hideous disease, and that we will be opening the gates at Hill Farm before too long. Please do keep in touch & keep an eye on our facebook & Twitter pages for updates & pictures (I'm still rather struggling to get the pics on here!!)

 

Thursday, 19 March 2020 08:15

Thursday19th March

These are extraordinary times that we are currently living in, and also very worrying.

Currently we are all well at Hill Farm, and although not self isolating, we are very much keeping ourselves to ourselves. Just for the moment we have asked that we don't have any visitors, except the essentials of vet, farrier feedman etc! Very important to try & keep the team safe.

The horses are all well & our current plan is to keep them ticking along for a couple of weeks until we at least get a clearer idea where the virus is heading. All of our flu jabs were due in April so we have decided to bring them forward a couple of weeks to get them out of the way, whilst the horses can have an easy week post jab. At least we won't have to stop again once racing resumes.

Interesting that Ireland have decided to keep racing, even though its one meeting a day & behind closed doors. We can but hope that it works well, and that we will be able to consider the same measures before too long. I believe that the pointing continues too. No overseas runners though so thoughts of nipping over with a few scuppered!

The premature end of this season does not fill us with any sadness, as its been testing few months for us up here at Hill Farm. a bug through the string at the key part of the season dashed many hopes for the year, and although all well again, an outbreak of seconds has been very frustrating. 

We have said good bye to some key owners, with the death of Mrs Merry & of course Cliff Beach last year. Losing people like this who have been part of the team for so long has a big impact on the business. 

We have nearly finished resurfacing the resurfaced new gallop! Having spent weeks & plenty of ££ working on it last summer, the exceptional weather proved too much for it and we have struggled with wet patches, which have kept changing places. Having put in new drains/new surface etc etc, Nic took the massive decision to rip the whole lot up & go again with carpet, and also to do it in February! we now can be seen from space & look as if we have the biggest outbreak of giant moles ever seen! BUT its nearly done! Having not been able to haul away the old stuff its all piled on the side to be dealt with if it ever dries up! (hence the giant mole hills!) hoping to be finished by next week at the latest, weather allowing, and once we are racing again will have a fantastic gallop.

Dan Allbutt doing sterling work in doing a great job under very difficult circumstances. 

Now to get all the jobs done outside that we have not had time to do all winter. Its a bit early in the season for some of it, but the team being amazing and keeping a cheerful face on during an extremely stressful & worrying time.

The implications for the business are very serious, but so many are in the same boat, and we all just have to try & keep the boats from sinking.

Apart from the virus its horrific to see the mindset of the idiots who are panic buying, it makes you ashamed to be part of the same species - none of that at Hill Farm & the team just getting on with things at the moment.

Here is hoping that everyone stays well, and that we will all be able to resume normal service as soon as possible.

Stay safe & keep in touch - it'll help stave off any cabin fever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, 03 February 2020 10:41

Monday 3rd Feb

Nice to be getting back to some sort of normality after our enforced layoff over the festive period. The bloods at last looking a lot more sensible & the horses running better as a result.

Twycross Warrior so nearly got us off on a winner at Warwick - going down by just a head, and then following that run up with a very gallant fourth at Huntingdon - only beaten 2 1/2 lengths. He picked up a nasty cut after the last race so is now temporarily confined to his stable with stitches in the wound.

Mr Palmtree has been very consistent this time following up his two seconds with a good third on the same card at Huntingdon. He missed quite a bit with a wonky blood, so will undoubtedly come on for that run. He & Tabitha have struck up a good partnership & boy does he operate over a fence - especially for a relative baby!

Secret Court now running for the Point of Attack Partnership, ran a decent race at Ludlow - just getting a bit tired in the closing stages. She finds it all very easy at home, and makes her hurdling debut back at Ludlow this week.

Bob Maxwell ran nicely on the flat at Kempton, and Tara Well ran her usual solid race at Lingfield.

All Is Good, is enough to try the patience of a saint, with different niggles, but with some bespoke dancing shoes made by our farrier Charlie Sands, and the skill of the team we managed to get him to Taunton yesterday! He ran well to finish 5th - the lack of a proper run for nearly a year just catching him out on some pretty dead ground. Home fine today as well, so hopefully we can push on towards a reasonably quick (less than three months!!) follow up run!

Open morning last Saturday & great to see so many new & old faces here in a very bracing breeze! At least no rain, and as always plenty of cake thanks to Terry & Mandy Poulson. We sent off nearly £300 from our Air Ambulance collection box this time, so are now well over the £1k for what is such a worthwhile charity.

The other charity that we have been supporting  - the IJF, - (which helped Harriet so much last year after various broken bones) are nearly £700 better off after the Quiz that we had in November raised almost £500 & the calendars, so beautifully produced by Jill Hurst raised £200. Thank you to all who support both very deserving causes.

 

Sedgefield & Market Rasen tomorrow, so a bit of trucking for the team! Fingers crossed for good runs for Vocaliser & Dontminddboys respectively. 

 

Friday, 03 January 2020 07:24

New Year

Its been a pretty quiet Festive period on the runners front at Hill Farm. The horses had not been running particularly well, and although all tests came back negative they were not seeing their races out over the last couple of furlongs. All scopes/trach washes/ etc etc clear and very frustrating for all concerned. Then just before Christmas we started to get a few anomalies in the white cell counts which suggested a 'post challenge'picture. the challenge most likely some sort of virus. annoyingly you mostly do not get a change in the cell counts at the time of the challenge so unless it causes sore throats or snot or temperatures you have no way - apart from bad results - to know what is going on! 

After Taunton with Galactic Power, who always finishes off his races well and didn't - we decided that enough was enough and to not have any runners for a couple of weeks. Everything stayed in work, but no actual galloping just cantering away to keep everyone ticking over, and closely monitoring the bloods.

This weeks results much better, and time to kick on again, with hopefully some improved performances. All the horses look really well, and are of course fresh from an easy time - a few neck straps in regular use!!

As a consequence of no runners the team managed to have a relatively restful festive period, and everyone having either Christmas day or New Years Day off, and apart from John who hails from Co Tipperary, all got home or to where they wanted to be over the holiday period. (John is having a belated Christmas at home in a couple of weeks.) A big thank you to everyone for rocking up with a smile (it could have been a grimace!!)over the holiday. 

Into a new decade - hard to think where the last ten years have gone so quickly - we saw the new year in at home, and I'm still cleaning vodka jelly off the kitchen ceiling!

A few very welcome days with no rain spoilt last night with a heavy storm, and some raindrops back on the forecast for next week - at least time to dry the waterproofs out! Its been a very testing few months one way and another so hoping for a positive start to 2020.

As always thank you for everyones unending support & encouragement and a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR from us all at Hill Farm.

First Saturday of the month this week & I have it on good authority that the cakes are in the oven! See you at open Morning!

 

 

 

 

Monday, 18 November 2019 11:43

Nov 18th

Its a case of all or nothing on the weather front, and having spent all of last season moaning about a lack of rain its now a case of' 'will someone please turn the taps off?''!

Last Thursday was unbelievable, and it just did not stop all night & all day! No chance of getting up Park Lane, and Jack & Badger had to wade through, and negotiate their way around three feet of 'puddle' to get to the waiting taxi to get up the drive! Darren & I on drain clearing duty but the ditches & drains just could not take the water away fast enough. 

We got everyone living away off early, as Great Alne tends to be marooned quite quickly once the river bursts its banks, which it did just after lunch - tractor the only way out after that!

That was assuming that you could find away around all the dead cars that had for some reason been driven at high speed into the torrent!! Unbelievable really, as their were so many either in or around the floods, and a couple in the ditch!

Finally a better day today & some sunshine even spotted! Having had a few days in, all the horses wildly excited to go out - no doubt will be plastered by the time they come back in!

Cheltenham did really well to get the two days of racing in, having had to abandon Friday. Some great racing - no runners for us at HQ, but Tara Well (BTO for Harriet T) finishing third at Uttoxeter. A little disappointed with the run, but probably came up against a very well handicapped winner, and back safely.

Mr Palmtree (BTO for Frankie) ran another improved race at Hereford earlier in the week, to finish second. he jumped very well, and was just a bit green in the closing stages, which considering his experience is so limited yet, can be forgiven.

Twycross Warrior ran a blinder to finish fourth in his first race of the season, both horses ridden by Tabitha.

A busy day at Warwick saw Oneida Tribe, run a nice race, Vocaliser travel better early than he has done, & Black Kalarosa make a nice debut in a very hot bumper.

The team as ever doing sterling work in all the weather that is thrown at them! Clippers going non stop - as soon as you get to the end, its back to the beginning again! 

We welcome John Ferguson & Michelle Burton, who have both joined us recently. 

We should have been at Leicester today, sadly abandoned, and no entries until next weekend now.

A big shout out to Terry & Mandy Poulson, who helped us with the quiz that Harriet organised for the IJF a couple of weeks ago. As she had made quite a lot of use of Oaksey House this year (fractured tibia & wrist!!) Harriet wanted to put some funds back into the pot, and we were delighted to raise just shy of £500 to send to them. Once the calendars have all sold, (please send requests for orders to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or collect at out next Open Morning on Dec 7th, that will be topped up to well over that total. Thank you to all who came & supported & gave raffle prizes etc.

Keep an eye on our facebook page for a cheeky preview or two!

 

 

 

   

Tuesday, 08 October 2019 08:02

Tuesday 8th October

A busy few weeks with all of the horses work building up ahead of their first runs, and fantastic to have the new gallop up & running. As always with a new wood-chip surface it takes a lot of working down as it settles in but it is a  serious addition to our facilities, and we are delighted to have got it finished.

First few runners of the season as well - its so nice to get started again! Anti Cool ran well at Huntingdon to finish third, Bob Maxwell ran a nice race at Stratford yesterday & will come on for the run. Clondaw Sam ran a hugely encouraging race at Warwick, he actually ran all the way to the line,after a big wind op in the Summer. He will want further & probably fences, but at least now looks capable of transferring some of what he shows us at home onto the track.

A nice day at Warwick when we also sponsored the 'Charlie Poste Chase'. As you will know Charlie retired from race riding a couple of months ago, and we wanted to do something to mark the occasion. aside from another picture to hang on the wall, we couldn't really come up with anything, until Barney Simons suggested sponsoring a race!! Light bulb moment!!

A massive thank you to Charlie for all his efforts over the last 12 years, winners, shopping trips, riding out twice a week come rain or shine and a big input with race plans etc. We will miss him enormously, but as he & Francesca are only down the road will have plenty of opportunity to keep in touch.

We were delighted to attend Charlie & Frans' wedding last month as well, which was a fabulous occasion. Perfect day, stunning bride & the groom didn't brush up to badly either.

The team as always doing a fantastic job, especially as we are a man down. Its always disheartening when you give someone a chance and they then throw it back in your face. The work load huge this week as we had our Owners morning on Saturday.Lovely to see so many faces & a huge thanks to Nic Allen & Paul Mohan for all their help with pig cooking and catering, and as always Terry for yet more cakes!!

The horses all looking well, coats suddenly have started growing rapidly so clippers going constantly at present! Plenty of rain about but it did manage to stay away last Saturday, which was a relief!

Harriet & I had a very wet & muddy week in Ireland for her first competition since breaking her wrist. Huge fun, but bloody hard work on the mud, and possibly a rather large consumption of alcoholic beverages to compensate!!

Entries at Ludlow tomorrow, then nothing more until a busy looking time next week

 

  

 

 

 

Tuesday, 03 September 2019 10:07

September 3rd

The refurbishment of the woodchip gallop now on its final week (hopefully) an extension to complete the loop & a complete new top up all round, with a new layout incorporating the existing circle as a roundabout, will make a massive improvement to the facilities here. It also gives us a wide grass strip getting on for four furlongs long, which will also serve as a fantastic schooling ground.

Its always a long old job and 'Digger Mick' doing sterling work - can't wait to be able to start to use it.

Great to have Andrew & Jane Nicholls' Oneida Tribe back after his summer break, and hoping he will have a bit more luck this season.

The new filly from Ireland arrived last week, and it was nice to welcome a good turn out of the National Hunt Racing Enthusiasts to meet her on Saturday morning. Scorpion Sea went off to her new home on Monday, and we wish Bryony & Aero all the best for many happy years of fun together.

Future Boy has gone of to start a new life as well, & hopefully both homes will work out well for horses and their new riders.

The ROR charity is in the news today, and Harriet & I experienced the charity first hand when we took Thomas Crapper to the championships at Aintree last week. Crappy has always loved an occasion and took part in the 'Always a Star' parade on Saturday evening and then did some showing on Sunday.

He won two classes and was third & fourth in two others. He behaved impeccably and was much admired. A big step for a horse so recently out of training, and with a rider on board with a broken wrist!!

He is off to Moreton -in - Marsh show on Saturday for more of the same, having also done his first dressage test on the week which he duely won! TC is such an intelligent horse he can just turn his hooves to anything, and its great to see him setting out on the next phase of his career.

The rest of the string slogging away on the path back to full fitness - at least its a bit cooler now, which makes it a lot easier on horse & riders.

Angel of The North ran a couple of times last week. She is owned by the Mulrine family and Finn is gaining some experience as an amateur. She didn't really get home at Wolverhampton but ran much better at Brighton. She will go back over hurdles before long but its great to get Finn started as an amateur jockey. 

 

Tuesday, 27 August 2019 12:14

August 26th

Very hot here today and it has been baking all weekend.

The horses have had an easy few days as they all had their flu jabs last week ready for the new season. The rules have changed again again after the outbreak earlier in the year, and their once annual booster has to be done every eight months.

We didn't want to be doing them just as everything is ready to run, so have plumped for the six month option which won't then have to be topped up until April.

Just hacking for a week, which in the heat is something of a relief. the troops also managed to have a reasonably ordinary bank holiday Monday - the calm before the storm!

Its been a busy few weeks but has included a week away for us with a welcome break in Greece with the family, which now seems several lifetimes ago!

Straight back to it on return, and off one plane onto another to Dublin & a day at Tattersalls Sales followed by a trip, to West Meath to look at a smart Kalanisi filly belonging to Martin Lynch. Martin has kindly offered to lease her to the NHRE to replace Scorpion Sea whose wind is not letting her be a racehorse. she is looking for an alternative career, and the new filly arrived at 4.30 on Sunday morning.

In between the travelling we had an important evening giving Charlie Poste, who has been our stable jockey for 12 years, and who retired a few weeks ago, a proper send off at the end of his racing career.

Fran & I had managed to hatch a plan, that Charlie didn't know about and a good gathering of jockeys, owners, trainers, and friends all turned up to The Bell in Alderminster to have a drink with Charlie & wish him well.

A fun evening and one which we hope Charlie enjoyed. 

We had many happy days on the track with Charlie & some super winners, and we will miss him immensely. However he & Fran have built up a very successful pre-training/pointing business & we wish them all the very best for the future along with a massive thank you for all of the miles travelled on Dickin horses!

Another good bye was to Toby Collins who has been spending his Summer holidays with us working in the yard. We would have been quite happy to kidnap Toby on a permanent basis but GCSE results loomed & funnily enough his Mum insisted on him going home for them!! Well worth it as some great results - well done Toby & thanks for all your help this summer!

The extension to the woodchip gallop is well under way & will improve the facilities again here at Hill Farm. It will be a mile around the woodchip once finished, also giving us a super grass gallop along side it which will also accommodate our schooling ground. Should all be done by the end of next week and will compliment the stiff hill gallop well.

A couple of runners at the end of the week, but the main gang won't be ready until the end of next month and the season is kicking off properly, hopefully along with plenty of rain.

The days are drawing in massively & Darren is having to turn lights on when he feeds in the mornings, which have a very Autumnal feeling to them already!

 

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