Last Thursday I visited Manor House Stables, the racing yard of trainer Tom Dascombe. Andy Jackson, Head Lad, gave me a tour and educational introduction to the highly competitive world of professional horse racing.
At 645am I arrived at my sat nav destination. I had been invited along by Tom to demonstrate my work and get an insight into the working of the yard.
Reading about Manor House Stables it soon becomes apparent that it is a highly professional and well invested operation. Boasting a new state of the art aqua complex, all-weather Safetrack gallops and a sports science team of their own the traditional horseman's methods of training are being combined with cutting edge medical and technological advancements. Have a look on the Manor House website www.manorhousestables.com
and follow Tom's blog http://www.manorhousestables.com/mhsnews/
or twitter http://twitter.com/TomDascombe
to discover more about just how advanced this operation is.
Much of my work with horses is done on livery yards with the horse and owner engaging with one another and their home environment. I look to describe the relationship and portrait the character. At Manor House as a guest and without a working brief I wanted to try understand the mechanisms behind the success that this racing yard has had.
My expectations were far removed from the austere regimental conveyor belt i had conjured.
I found Manor House to be one of the most welcoming and friendly yards I have visited. The horses trained at Manor House are high calibre thoroughbreds given the best facilities and medical care money can buy. And yet money can't buy love.
I cannot comment on the detail to making Manor House a success as I do not have the knowledge of racing, training and business. I do know that the best care a horse can receive is when it is loved and has a strong relationship with its owner. On a chilly January day the bright smiles of horse and rider trotted on by. "You gotta love horses to work in this game" said Andy Jackson.