Most people know what a racehorse trainer is, but few know the exact ins and outs of our working days. Being a trainer is no easy feat – but it’s a job I love, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Not only do I get to work with some of the world’s most majestic animals, but I get to witness their development into winning racehorses. So, how exactly does a usual day work for me? Here’s a basic outline of a typical day as a Sussex based racehorse trainer.
5:00am: Wake up and Feed
Mornings aren’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m up at 5:00am every day in order to get started on the horses and plan for the day ahead. The first thing I do is head outside to give the horses at my home yard, Copped Hall Farm in Billingshurst, their breakfast. After this, I return back to the house to make a cup of tea, which I will then take with me in the horsebox to Coombelands Racing Stables – my training facility 15 minutes down the road in Pulborough.
5.45am: Arrive at Coomeblands
As soon as I arrive at Coomeblands I feed the horses who won’t be taken out for training in the first lot, before tacking up the next lot to put on the walker and then take out on the gallops. I have four staff that work at the yard, who arrive at 6.30am, to ride out with me. We also have an equine swimming pool, which we use to exercise the horses as part of their morning training routine. The water-based workout provides resistance without pressure on joints or tendons and helps in developing muscular strength as well as maintaining cardiovascular fitness.
Once the first lot of horses has been exercised, we return to feed them their breakfast and then take out the next lot (who by now have let their breakfasts settle).
After the morning exercises are complete, I weigh up the feed for the horses’ meals later in the day. What a horse eats is very important, so I mix up the foods myself to ensure they’re just right. Each horse’s appetite can change constantly, so the amount and type of feed they have also alters frequently. Once I’ve made up the feeds they are left with the staff to dish out later on, and I head back to Copped Hall Farm.
11.30am: Work continues
Once I arrive back at Copped Hall Farm, there are always jobs to do throughout the day on the 40 acre farm, from mowing the lawn to emptying the horse trailer ready for the next race. I’ll also oversee any visitors we have, and these tend to be fairly frequent. The farrier and vet both visit regularly, particularly at the moment as several of our mares have recently had foals, so the vet comes to carry out check-ups and make sure both mother and baby are doing well.
My wife, Louise, works alongside me, and helps to take care of and ride the horses based at Copped Hall Farm. She especially looks after the mares and foals, in between taking care of our three children when they’re not at school or nursery!
Race Days can often work to a different schedule. If the race is in the afternoon at a local racecourse, such as Lingfield, I’ll go to Coombelands as normal in the morning, and then head to the racecourse. However, on some race days I can be at Coomeblands as early as 4am, and if I’m travelling to a further racecourse such as Wolverhampton I’ll often stay overnight and leave my staff in charge of exercising, feeding and mucking out the horses.
7pm onwards: Winding down for the day
In the summer months we tend to work longer hours, as there is always so much to do, and more can be done during the lighter evenings. If I’m not at the races I make time to see my children when they get home from school, before checking the horses are fed and watered for the evening. Horse training may be an exhausting day, but it’s also exhilarating – seeing my horses improve is what makes my day all the more worthwhile. I love it!
I currently have space for more racehorses to be trained at my West Sussex yard – get in touch via the Contact Us page to find out more.