Family fun at the gallops

For the first time in years (I’m thinking it’ll be near to 20 yrs), I spent time with my Uncle and Aunt over the weekend. I’ve never had a large family around me for reasons I won’t go into but it was so nice to spend time with close relatives who also have a love of horses! 

My Uncle (dads brother) was a stable lad for 40+ years and so we took the two boys to the gallops so he could have a ride. He’s knocking on the door of 65 I think and hadn’t been on a horse for 7 years but when he got up on Ara my ex racehorse, he looked like he’d never been out the saddle. He looked so relaxed and natural and when I watched him go round he was so stylish. 

We started on the circular gallops which is 6 furlongs long, setting off at steady gallop with me following behind on Chino. For anyone thinking of having a go on the gallops- keep your mouth closed if you are behind another horse unless you want a taste of sand, dust, shit and anything else that gets kicked up by the lead horse!! 

After a 5 min breather we set off for another circuit. This time I had to hold Chino up as he was pulling and wanting to lead however, I got around the last bend and he surged forward so I let him have his head and started a race!! We rocketed down the final long side with me thinking I was riding the final furlong of the Cheltenham Gold Cup!! I could see Ara and my Uncle in the corner of my right eye but Chino got his nose to the ‘made up’ finish line first before I then Shat myself at the sharp left bend we started to race around!! Brakes…where are my bloody Brakes!!! Ara took some zig zagging to pull up and I was trying to dodge his arse end and pull Chino up whilst also laughing at how rediculus i was!! 

On the walk back to the trailer my Uncle said he couldn’t work out what was wrong with Ara on the final lap- ‘I got him nice and relaxed and he was running smoothly and on the last bend he just took hold of the reins and started pulling…then I saw you fly past you mad woman!!’ 

Once back at the trailer we switched horses and headed for the bottom of the hill gallops me now on Ara and Uncle on Chino!  I was told not to leave him behind as we set off up the 5.5 furlong gallop although trying to tell Ara to stay was easier said than done! As we hit the hill there was unfortunately no holding Ara and off he went leaving poor Chino boy behind. About half way up Ara then ran out of steam and I pretty much had to carry him then rest of the way. After what felt like 10minutes, Chino and Uncle arrived at the finish with Chino puffing and panting like a 50 a day smoker!

All the way back down both Ara and Chino provided the sound effects by farting every three steps and I just sat there thinking, please don’t think it’s me farting!! 

Both horses loaded up and home we went only to arrive back at the field to Archie the escape artist in the cordoned off section of the field!! God only knows how long he’d been in there! 

Sunday, the day of (no) rest and our plans to hack the two boys out changed when bringing them in from the field only to discover Chino had lost a back shoe so off I toddle with Ara on my own. 

I think I burnt more calories on that hack than I would doing an hour of dressage schooling! He jig jogged literally all the way round the 8 miles- thank god I don’t have a weak bladder otherwise there’s no doubt I would have had a soggy saddle within the first mile!! 

So now this week I’m prepping for next Sunday’s competition with the riding club at Rockingham International Horse Trials. Exciting!!! Both the husband and I are in the team although I think I may have pushed myself a little by saying yes to the 1m class having never done a 1m competition before! Yes I’ve done it at home but I’ve not much jumping experience with Chino so perhaps I’ve been a little over zealous with my confidence! Ah well, no better place to push myself than at an event open to hundreds of spectators!! I’m a bloody idiot!!! 🤣

I’m sure they’ll be lots to write about after next weekend so for now, 

Toodle pip 😘


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