| Published in The Independent on 21.05.2020 | A Touch of Frost |
Illustration for Touch of Frost, 21.05.2020

A chicken riding a horse. Both Bryony’s loves.

When I spend time with Bryony I continuously recognise the similarities between my mother and her. Among the various traits they share, both love their birds; my mother has peacocks and bantams roaming her grounds, and Bryony loves her chickens and currently the owl she rescued – which for those of you who know the story, is now learning to hunt for its food. Nowadays, whilst both still love birds, above all, both my mother and Bryony love horse dealing.

This week Bryony purchased a fabulous horse called Saintemilion. Trained by Paul Nicholl’s and previously owned by Kathy Stewart and Terry Warner. The seven year old is a fabulous addition to the yard and we have very high expectations for him.
The next thing is to decide what we do with this amazing horse. Do we keep him for ourselves or do we syndicate him? Whilst it’s very enjoyable to keep all the winnings when it happens, it’s also very rewarding sharing the enjoyment with others. We have made many friends over the years syndicating our horses and sharing race days together. In fact, usually in May we would be holding our owners’ party on our grounds here. An event we know our owners look forward to, but of course this year we have had to put it on hold whilst we still have to social distance.

This weekend it’s decision time. Syndication or be selfish? I will announce the outcome next week, and if we do choose to syndicate him and you fancy joining others in part owning Saintemilion, then give me a call – it’s a lot less too be an owner as you might think.

Last week I mentioned the dangerous situation for horses and riders in Hembury Woods. The National Trust who now own the land, have installed drains to funnel away rain water that are virtually the width of a horse’s foot and could, should a horse get its foot stuck in one, be lethal to both horse and rider. During the week, the publication Horse & Hound showed great interest in the story and hope that by publishing it, it will put pressure on the NT to make the drains safe. Sadly a young girl died when her horse got its foot stuck in the same type of drain in Essex and the horse fell taking the poor girl with her. Our plea for the drains to be covered or widened have so far been ignored.

I write this today half shattered. I feel like this most days since a crow has taken to banging on our bedroom window every morning around 4.45am. This is accompanied by its constant cawing. It only stops when it sees us get up and then it flies off. By that time of course we are both wide awake. We are wondering if it’s employed by the National Trust.

Things are starting to open up at the stables. As of June 1st we will have two staff back in the yard working and preparing the horses for racing – which is not too far off now if rumours are correct. Hadden is busy working three days a week for the famous international eventer Padraig McCarthy from MGH Sport Horse Stud which he is loving. Unfortunately, due to Covid 19, he has not been able to fly back to the States and compete in the steeplechase or timber racing events over there which he is very successful in. However, being given the opportunity to work with Padraig, a legend in his field, has more than compensated for this as Padraig is someone he has admired for years. As one door closes another one opens as they say. Perhaps this is something we all should remember during this challenging times. Lots of us are facing doors closing on us, but remember just because there might not be one open today, another door, an ever better door, could open for you very soon.

Until we catch up next week, keep safe and importantly be kind to each other.

Jimmy