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Pastoral Pursuits

Pastoral Pursuits

My 93 year old father has always enjoyed horse-racing. As a child, every Saturday, he would disappear into town for a little bet. On very odd occasions, he would spend a day at Newmarket or Market Racing. As for the annual Grand National – that would turn into a real family event with us all picking a horse and sitting round the TV to cheer our horse to the winning post. Therefore, I had the perfect plan for a day out.

I booked Dad and I onto a tour of The National Stud at Newmarket. As I did not know a lot – if anything – about thoroughbreds and their breeding cycles, I did not realise that on our visit last week, there would be very few horses around. By this time of year, as the stallions have done what is required and the mares are pregnant, they are sent to the other side of the world, Australia, to do their duty. Nevertheless, the tour was fascinating; Dad and I learned so much about the sex lives of horses and we did get to see some magnificent animals. Our tour guide had us all in stitches when she likened stallions to teenage boys as for the majority of horses, when they are retired and come to stud, this will be the first time that they have mated. Some are nervous, not sure what goes where. Others are full of bravado and strutt around. She even told a story of one stallion who, on his first time, got so over excited that he got in a tangle and fell over.

Dad loved his tour, even if there were not many horses around; the cafe was also very good. I would recommend it for a visit.

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These foals were born February/March and had only been weaned within the last two weeks.

These foals were born February/March and had only been weaned within the last two weeks.

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