Welcome to the Cheeky Chaps Club - where being rather handsome and sticking your tongue out is imperative!
Uncle Charlie and Arnold
It was significantly warmer today than the rest of the week - thank goodness - and the horses seemed to appreciate the rise to double figures too. It was lovely to have visits from owners Alan Court (Sunhill Lad) and Jen and Joe Richardson (Swift Intrigue) who came to see their horses this morning. The two-year-olds had their first clips yesterday and are all looking very smart, as are the older horses who have also been clipped.
In other news, the BHA have decided to delay the shoeing rule for Jump horses, whereby all horses must run with a full set of shoes, which was due to come into play on 1st February. For the last couple of years it has been mandatory that flat horses are shod all round when racing and the BHA had planned to enforce the same rule over jumps. Previous to this rule, trainers had the option to run their horses without back shoes, or without any shoes at all, perhaps because a horse was highly unruly/dangerous to put shoes on, or maybe they are better suited to going barefoot. It is undoubtedly beneficial to leave shoes off for a while, we often do so during lighter training, it gives the hooves a break and they should strengthen up. But after a while, most horses will begin to feel a little foot sore and need to be shod. You now need written permission to run a horse without back shoes and have good reason for doing so. The drawback to running without hind shoes is that a horse is more likely to slip up due to the lack of grip, something which could be catastophic for horse, rider and the rest of the runners. The drawback to running with hind shoes is the risk of overreach - when the back hoof strikes into the tendon/front leg, which can be fatal. Several trainers have contested the decision, notably Mick Easterby who never runs his jumpers in hind shoes for fear of such injuries. One can certainly appreciate the arguments for and against - which side of the fence do you sit? Should the decision whether a horse needs to be shod or not be left with the trainer or should the rule be enforced?