The problem about writing is a blog, is that if you don’t write for a few months, you end up having a 300 page story to tell on your return...
So...where to begin?
Probably June 12th at around 2.45pm, in the Dumfriesshire hills of Overbanks. My last ride out as Cornet, and my first ride out of the year on my ever eager mare. A beautiful summers day, that turned into the darkest of my life. The day that I felt like my life had ended... However it was not my own, but the life of the irreplaceable Mrs Jones that had ended that day... A day that I will never forget for all the wrong reasons.
I can’t really put into words for those of you who don’t have horses, what this pain is like. Other than it’s like losing a close member of your family. A heartbreaking pain that tears out your soul as you lye beside your loved one as they take their final breath.
But somewhere in time’s own space
There must be some sweet pastured place
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
Some paradise where horses go,
For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.
My life goes on and though she will never be forgotten; there was no better way to dealing with the heartbreak than to return to work with 45 of my favourite horses in the world. However for a short time this was only 44, as an excited Rocklim kicked out when I opened a gate for him and caught me on the top of the leg. But I ‘manned up’, despite being inches away from no longer being a man and we are friends again. He said sorry and assured me of a good performance on his next run. Rocklim is such a kind natured horse and it is something he wouldn’t normally do, but you have to be very careful around fresh horses coming back into work and on that day I was caught off guard.
Nevertheless things are all go here at JER and I know that James thinks that this is the best string of horses this year that he has ever had in his 12 years of training. As we approach the jumps season ‘proper’, the yard is filled with exciting prospects for the season ahead. We are lucky enough to have some top class horses and fantastic owners; however we do have some top quality new recruits here on the yard that are still for sale and well worth coming to the yard to see, if you are interested in owning a share in an exciting racehorse visit our Horses For Sale page.
Throughout our summer campaign the stand-out performer was Lord Wishes for Mr Jim Gordon, who’s highlight was a win in a £20,000 Class 2 handicap chase at Cartmel in June and we look forward to his return to the track again soon. This was prior to another win at Hexham, as David MacLeod and myself came back with more winners in the form of Ueueteotl and Sleep In First, prompting some facetious calls for Briony and James to stay on holiday in the Greek sun for a bit longer!
More recently we held our ‘Gallops Morning’ here at The Craig, which replaced the format of the ‘Open Day’, which previously seen horses paraded round the yard in-hand. This year we trialled a morning on the gallops, to which from the feedback received, went down very well. Guests were warmly welcomed to the yard, feasting on a lovely breakfast in the marquee, accompanied with some ‘Bucks Fizz’, before having the thrill of watching the horses work on the gallops.
The idea was to let everyone see what a normal working day was like here at JER and to showcase our exciting prospects for the season ahead. Guest’s got the chance to delve into James’ mind and find out his thoughts on each horse, before they got the chance to explore the yard and see the fantastic facilities and hard work that takes place here at James Ewart Racing. I would like to thank everyone who made this event possible, we were blessed by beautiful weather and it is something that we will expand on next year.
Rather than turning this ‘blog’ into a ‘novel’, I won’t force you to read on much longer. Instead join me soon for ‘part 2’ as I update you with more of the latest goings on, some more summer antics and I promise there will be more upbeat stories!
In the meantime I will leave you with a story from last weekend;
Natalie Moses who has been with us at JER for several years now has moved onto pastures new and we wish her all the very best in the future. She is girlfriend of our stable jockey and local lad Dale Irving.
Dale had the weekend off, so grasping at the opportunity he took a trip to see Natalie and whisked her away to a swanky hotel in Liverpool for the night. Wanting to treat ‘his princess’ (as he has been known to call her), when checking in Dale asks the woman at reception if he could please have a Suite rather than a standard room. The woman behind the desk clearly seeing the love between the two thinks that they may be on their honeymoon. She asks ‘We have two suites available Mr Irving, would you like the Bridal?’ ‘No thanks’ responds Dale, ‘I’ll just hold her ears until she gets the hang of it!