After seeing how interested you guys are reading journal updates on my MASAR journey (thank you <3), here is entry number 2.
This will be based on our time at the British Racing School (BRS) where we spent a good 5 weeks there learning about SO MANY THINGS!
The BRS’s mission is:
As a Centre of Excellence for training in the horseracing world, we aim to provide a range of training of the highest standard to meet the needs of the racing industry, and to meet the needs of our learners.
We had two wonderful instructors, names AGGIE and RAY who took us through not only riding lessons, but also academic lectures, and processes of the racing industry.
We started off on the simulators to learn and get a feel for the post position and learning how to stop. Riding race horses is extremely different than riding jumpers! In order to hold the post position throughout the whole ride, you really need to be physically fit. Therefore, the BRS organized a whole fitness program for us to enhance our strength and endurance.
Since my accident, I barely rode another horse other than Tofino and Alinn, so getting on a race horse made me rather anxious. I was lucky enough to get an amazing ex race horse called GEE MAJOR who was the sweetest and looked after me very well ❤ I did have to ride multiple other horses after him, but he initially gave me the confidence boost I needed and I am forever thankful.
After riding in the indoor, we managed to get into the outdoor ring which was bigger, allowing us to go faster, encouraging us to use the techniques we used in controlling the pace. Deviation was one of the horses I rode who is a big gentle giant that is a lazy bum, but always makes you feel safe. I loved him too!
We were assigned a horse each which we had to look after for the 5 week period. I got a thoroughbred pony named THERE SHE GOES who is so cute!, sassy, naughty, and super sweet when she wants to be especially when you have food :p
We had to clean our their boxes, monitor our horses Temperature, Pulse, Respiratory (TPR), their behaviour, their feed intake, pedigree, special tack they use, research their history in racing, their health and basically become best friends! This part was a great experience, getting to know the horses characteristics and how unique each one is. So meet THERE SHE GOES:
Our horses were not the only ones we had to take care of. Yard management is a big task, and thus, we were also assigned other horses and boxes to clean out and look after, making sure they have clean water and bedding. Let me tell you, it really is a workout! But also soothing especially when you blast your music up as you’re mucking out 😀
Within this time, we also had multiple lectures on different topics. These included paddock care and management where we had to identify different types of poisonous and non poisonous plants, taking care of horses in the field, equine anatomy, motions of a race horse, equine dentistry, pedigree, breeding, nutrition etc,
We also got to dissect a horse leg which was so amazing to see how strong, yet fragile these amazing beasts are! Getting to see how they move and work from the inside really allows you to understand not only the anatomy, but also the functionality of a horses leg. They literally do not have any muscles under the knee, and rely on the frog in the hoof to pump circulation back up the leg. Amazing huh?
Long reining, which is a technique used for younger horses in the “breaking in” process, helps to get them used to commands, moving forward, back, left, right. This was the first time I had ever tried it and it looks easy, as this horse in the video is older and experienced. But imagine doing it on a young horse who would spook from everything >_<
Presenting your horse for racing is big part of a barns reputation. We had a Best Turn Out competition where we were separated into three groups of 3. My team and I selected our horse carefully (KINGS-GATE NATIVE), checking for a good baseline coat, good movement and confirmation. We then had to get working on cleaning his tack, grooming him, plaiting his mane, cleaning his nose, ears, tail, hooves and shining them, and applying his turn out gear.
And guess what? My team won :p all thanks to great teamwork that we were able to communicate well to each other and assign tasks according to our strengths.
Attending Tattersalls and understanding the process of selling a racehorse works was very interesting and surprising I must admit. Firstly, the venue is historic, which was within itself beautiful to see. Secondly, it was fascinating to see how bidders bid on a horse and what they look for: pedigree, conformation, character, gate, etc.
We also attended The Craven Meeting with our trainers and learnt how to read the racing cards here in the UK as they are different from back home. It was super exciting when the first race was a win for Godolphin with AURUM.
Although it was hard work, we always spent our break times either laying on the grass, or with the horses. It was truly therapeutic ❤
All the while, Tofino has been out in the field enjoying the mud 😀
It has been such an amazing adventure, I can never stop saying that! We finished from the BRS temporarily and head back there mid year in order to do our level exams.
In the mean time, we have other exciting things scheduled in so stay tuned to get the updates ❤