THE festive period is a very busy time of year for ...
THE festive period is a very busy time of year for all of those who work with racehorses. Boxing Day is one of the busiest days racing of the year which means that Christmas Day has to start out like every other day of the year.
We start our Christmas morning at Hackthorpe by gathering with my siblings, all excited for the day, but sure enough in no time we are outside ready to feed, muck out and exercise all of the racehorses, usually by around 8am. Although Christmas is a bank holiday for most, even those who are not meant to come to work are still very happy to come in on Christmas Day. We tend to draft in all family members as well so we can have a whole Christmas ride-out. My favourite memory is of Christmas, 2013, with a total of nine family members and friends riding out, including my dad and brother on horseback.
Once all the horses are worked, had chance of a turnout, rugged up and fed again, then it’s time to open our presents and help out with preparing lunch (although mum normally has it in hand).
By mid-afternoon when most are probably suffering from a food coma it’s time to go back out to the horses for them to receive their third feed of the day, as well as more mucking out and checking that they are all happy and resting ahead of their big day tomorrow.
Finally it’s time to get back outside when the horses will receive their last feed of the day around 6pm. Once they are all settled in for the evening we will get chance to assess the runners’ chances ahead of Boxing Day races, talk tactics and have a feeling of excitement ahead of an early start tomorrow.
Although our Christmas Day involves some work I wouldn’t change it for anything. There is something very satisfying about riding out on Christmas morning with an air of excitement, too.
Jockey and PE teacher EMMA SAYER