Since Calgary’s win in the Skybet Chase at Doncaster on January 28th, racing seems to have come to a virtual standstill in England. The cold weather has really got a grip on the country and the prospects for an immediate return to normal look bleak.
As far as the horses at West Lockinge Farm are concerned it is just a matter of quiet hacking on the roads around the villages plus cantering on our “all weather” gallops which are not well named as they need plenty of care and attention to keep them workable. Despite what the experts and manufacturers say re: these surfaces, we nevertheless scatter salt on the gallops with a fertiliser spreader and then keep using the power harrow. We have currently got a lovely tilth and the horses are moving well. It just gets a trifle monotonous but the horses look happy and contented. They are eating well too. They are creatures of habit and seem relaxed with the new regime.
The Wildlife at the farm is also thriving in the cold. I hate the hundreds of rooks and crows who eat as much grain as they can and steal it from the ducks, geese and chickens but I love seeing the pewits and partridges on the fields surrounding the gallops. We also seem to have attracted a huge number of seagulls though it beats me what they find to feed upon. Hares, deer and muntjaks are also frequent visitors plus about 200 Mallard that fly onto the pond in the middle of the yard. David Attenborough would be amazed by our version of the Frozen Planet around West Lockinge.
If the thaw ever gets here, we will step up the work with the horses and hope to get rolling again on the racecourses. We could take a couple to Kempton on Friday for some of the newly added NH flat races on the all weather track. At least it would give my staff more to do and an interest. The races could well benefit some of the inmates too. WATCH THIS SPACE!
Added on: 08/02/2012