Equestrian

Equestrian

Over the stable door: Only luck prevents jockey mix up

We were asked for a day’s hunting with the Bedale a few weeks ago. It was lashing down with rain as we drove north up the A1, puddles were joining up along the roadside threatening to flood. I could sense Tris was about as excited as I was at the thought of spending hours in a soaking wet saddle but as we neared Masham the clouds hurried south taking the rain with them and the sun shone across James Herriot’s country.

Equestrian
Jo Foster sorting out the tack at her stables at Menston near Leeds.

Over the stable door: Uplifting show of resilience adds to bright mood

It was as if the birds knew January was over and spring was on its way when we rode across the fields earlier this week. As the heavy rain clouds rolled away there came a peep of blue sky accompanied by the hearty sound of Blackbirds and a Robin to cheer us on our ride.

Equestrian
Jo Foster sorting out the tack at her stables at Menston near Leeds.

Over the stable door: Point to point is underway

Today a new Yorkshire point to point season gets underway. A sociable and highly competitive days racing beckons at the Sheriff Hutton track for those willing to brave the elements and watch stars of the future in action. With the huge number of entries taken it promises to offer plenty of excitement.

Equestrian
Cherry Coward who is one of Point to Point's best known Yorkshire trainers, watches jockey Jack Andrews over one of the jumps on her farm at Scackleton, near York.  Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Coward family saddles up to host point to point opener

Excitement is building at Low Moor Farm near Scackleton in the Howardian Hills. This is where Cherry Coward and her daughters Sam and Jacqueline are preparing for the 2017 Yorkshire point to point racing season that is under starters orders at her father’s Newhouse Farm at Sheriff Hutton on Sunday, January 15 - but for one of the three it will be tinged with some sadness.

Equestrian
Jo Foster sorting out the tack at her stables at Menston near Leeds.

Over the stable door: Obsession reined in to enjoy what is important

The new year started with a bang for lady jockeys. On New Year’s Day, four lady riders totted up five winners between them. Lizzie Kelly from Devon won two big races at Cheltenham whilst Bridget Andrews, Lucy Gardner and Megan Carberry rode winners at Catterick, Exeter and Musselburgh respectably.

Equestrian
Jo Foster sorting out the tack at her stables at Menston near Leeds.

Over the stable door: Fond farewells to some great characters

Last week the annual jockeys award ceremony, The Stobart Lesters was held in Coventry. Champion jockeys Jim Crowley and Richard Johnson won the Stobart jockey of the year for flat and jumps respectively.

Equestrian
Jo Foster sorting out the tack at her stables at Menston near Leeds.

Over the stable door: Festive cheer tempered by actions of sneak thief

The Christmas trees are selling fast. Festive fever seems to arrive earlier each year. Customers were turning up in mid-November asking to choose a tree from the pallets which held hundreds of netted Nordmans waiting to be unload.

Equestrian
Over the stable door: Little chance of escape from trenches and trees

Over the stable door: Little chance of escape from trenches and trees

At the moment, I walk out of my backdoor in to something that resembles the Western Front. Lines of deep muddy trenches zigzag across the yard and up the driveway dug out by the builders in order to lay the necessary utilities for the barn conversion next door. Mounds of stones, earth and mud lie next to craterous holes.

Equestrian
Jo Foster sorting out the tack at her stables at Menston near Leeds.

Over the stable door: Training challenge with all but written off Jonny

One of the new horses has surprised us. Jonny the giant had arrived with a blotted copy book in the spring, having been written off by a vet due to back problems and he was deemed unrideable by the yard manager where he was stabled.

Equestrian
The pursuit of hounds across wild Yorkshire countryside is nature at its most breath-taking.

Over the stable door: Exhausted by the hunt in race season down time

Last week I woke to an eiderdown covering of snow laying silently across the valley. Thankfully it had not frozen enough to prevent the wagon making it to the gallops so I could work this week’s runners. Some of my jockeys are winter maidens, having started working at the yard earlier this year missing out on the worst of Bingley Moor’s extremities. They had never experienced the delights of the snow-covered gallop.

Equestrian
Jo Foster sorting out the tack at her stables at Menston near Leeds.

Over the stable door: Female jockeys long overdue recognition

Could it be women jockeys are finally receiving the recognition they deserve?

Equestrian
Writing has many similarities to racing, either in the short story or long story form.

Over the stable door: Why dressing the Patterdale is leaving my baffled

From the moment I wake the days just seem to rush by. At this time of year rising from my contended slumber grows increasingly difficult.

Equestrian
Pic: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire.

Over the stable door: Nasty fall but jockey with a cheeky grin will recover

One of my winning jockeys suffered a nasty fall last weekend. Henry Brooke fell in a chase at Hexham last Saturday. Whilst on the ground he was unlucky to be stood on by another runner leaving him injured.

Equestrian
Jo Foster sorting out the tack at her stables at Menston near Leeds.

Over the stable door: Police chase brings drama... and a broken finger

The battered Fiat screeched to a halt in the middle of the road. Ignoring the threat from oncoming traffic four young lads burst out and leapt over the nearest wall straight in to a field.

Equestrian
Jo Foster sorting out the tack at her stables at Menston near Leeds.

Over the stable door: Ryanair boss takes flight from top Irish trainer

It is being deemed a break up of Brangelina proportions in the racing world. Champion Irish racehorse trainer Willie Mullins has had 60 of his 200 horses in training removed by their owner, the Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary this week.

Equestrian
War Horse tugged at the heartstrings in London for eight years. Picture: David Allan

Over the stable door: Charity to benefit from horse tale told on stage

A number of years ago I was lucky enough to see the National Theatre production of War Horse when it was playing in London. The show is an adaptation of the popular Michael Morpurgo children’s novel written in 1982.

Equestrian
Jo Foster hopes land management measures will prevent her land from suffering as badly as it did last winter when flooding affected farmland across the region. Pic: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Over the stable door: Praying for less pain after major flood-proofing

I’m on the way back from Kelso racecourse and grappling with stomach pains.

Equestrian
Bangor racecourse was Nobles first outing with the ground dry.  Picture: Martin Rickett

Over the stable door: Patience proves to be a most Noble pursuit

A little bay racehorse called Noble arrived at the yard in early summer. Every morning the sight of him whickering to greet me meant more than the usual. His arrival in Yorkshire had been a long time in coming.

Equestrian
New to Sledmere House next weekend is an event called the Festival of the Horse which is taking place to celebrate all things horses and to raise money for the Riding for the Disabled charity.

Equine festival at grand Wolds estate

A grand Yorkshire Wolds country estate is throwing open its gates for a festival aimed at those of an equestrian persuasion.

The Wolds
Jo Foster sorting out the tack at her stables at Menston near Leeds.

Over the stable door: New chapter for yard jockey

Last week the Foster clan was invited to a local wedding. My retired yard jockey Samantha Drake and her fiancé Jonathan England were tying the knot at Esholt village church just a few fields away from the Drake’s farm.

Equestrian
Load more