De Barley Basket has had a very busy month. He started 2 weeks of going on the horse walker on 23rd January to build up some strength before his ridden conditioning exercise started. We always start the horses on a months’ worth or road work, gradually increasing the duration and inclinations, building strength up in their muscles, tendons, and bones. It’s very old school but it does work.

On the 12th of February, Barley once again returned to Plumptons’ Retired Racehorse Stable, and he is becoming so familiar with the racecourse he actually whinnied as we turned up the drive! He thinks he is the Equine equivalent to ‘Brad Pitt ‘ now due to his new-found fame and adoring public. Barley is now Plumpton’s second Equine Ambassador, meaning racegoers can continue to follow his transformation into Eventer/show horse and whatever else comes along our way. We will endeavour to share both the good and bad times as with horses. It’s never ever straightforward. I really love Plumptons’ initiative in the retired racehorse stable as it allows the general public to get up close and personal to see the horses and get to know their characters. I have to say seeing the joy on people’s faces, both young and old when they stroke a horse for the first time is priceless!

Last Monday, Barley was once again a film star, as 2 cameramen, a director, a helicopter, and 2 pilots landed at Barkfold to film a promotional film for their Helicopter company Castle Air. It was a very long day, but Barley was a super star, outstanding actually, showing so much patience and film star qualities along with Kirsty, who was dressed up in Castle Air Livery.  They were filming and taking stills in and around our yard before going up close to their very smart helicopter. Barley is very much relishing his newfound celebrity status!

We continue with the road work, but the weather has been so horrible. we are including some long reigning in our sand school, including over poles, which makes him use his back end a little harder.

I have his first little show in mind. It will be on Sunday 10th March and local to us, and he will do an in hand class along with a ridden class. This project is to get him out and about and see how he behaves amongst a group of horses. The sooner we can get a horse used to different places and activities, the better.

Once again, Barley will be looking to have a new set of shoes on. As a general rule, we look to replacing them every 5 to 6 weeks – Horses definitely get more shoes than I do!

Alex x