TRAINING is carrying on at Harper Lodge Farm, not quite as normal but in many senses it’s business as usual despite the Corona virus lockdown.
It is now a week since the Prime Minister announced the “lockdown” with restrictions on people leaving their home. Apart from being allowed to exercise once daily and go out for food or medical provisions, there is an exception for people who have to go to work.
While trainers and stable staff are not key workers on the front line, looking after the sick, providing emergency services, serving the public in supermarkets or delivering food and supplies to people’s homes, they are essential in looking after the well-being of some 14,000 thoroughbreds in this country.
Just as dogs need feeding and exercising, so racehorses need to be fed, watered and exercised, whether it be on the gallops, in the indoor school or on the horse walker. Racing yards need routine and that is still the case in the current crisis. Mucking out, grooming, picking out of feet…all these things cannot and do not stop just because of Covid-19. Legging up a lad or lass onto a racehorse requires contact within two metres but wherever possible the yard is being run to observe social distancing.
Some horses are enjoying time back at their owners’ studs while some are having a break from training or are recuperating at the famous Childwickbury Stud, just a few miles down the road. So, the yard is not quite as full as it might normally be at this time of year but there’s still plenty to be done!
To keep those in training interested, given that there are no races lined up for them for the foreseable future, it’s important to vary the training regime. So, those in full training will be on the gallops one day, in the canter ring another or maybe having a spell in an outdoor arena.
These are difficult times but one can be sure that the horses at Harper Lodge Farm are getting as always, the best ever care by Head Lad, Chris Scally (pictured) and the team.