Snow doesn’t stop play!

The Trainer’s Blog

Hello, let me introduce myself, I am Nick Alexander and I train about a dozen racehorses at Kinneston in East Kinross-shire on the edge of the Lomond Hills.  The horses race on the Northern Jumping circuit – Kelso, Ayr, Musselburgh, Perth, Newcastle, Hexham and Carlisle with occasional forays to places like Haydock and Aintree.  We also train half a dozen point-to-pointers who are family ridden and race at the Northern Area fixtures that take place from January until May, the most Northerly being at Balcormo in Fife and the most Southerly at Hexham in Northumberland.


Kinneston, East Kinross-shire

We thought that it might be of interest to Scottish Field readers to follow the ups and downs of training racehorses via a Trainer’s Blog, we have been training horses for a long time and these sports are woven in to the ways of life of country people, although at a local level the sport is somewhat under-reported it attracts a large and knowledgeable following of enthusiastic supporters.

So, where do we begin, well, right now things are quite tough, two feet of snow and prolonged sub-zero temperatures makes training horses difficult, but what I have found most rewarding in this difficult period has been the commitment and determination of the team of staff here.  Despite the weather 16 horses have been ridden every day and have done miles and miles of steady cantering in the deep snow.  When I look at how the rest of the country appears to have ground to a halt and become incapable of doing anything I am proud of the fact that our horses will have noticed little difference to their routine, they are well exercised, well fed, heavily rugged up and have warm dry beds.  Despite a huge number of logistical challenges I can think of few animals (or people!) that will have been as well looked after, this isn’t down to me but down to the dedication of the staff.


The horses enjoying a snowy rideout

Apart from the challenges the weather adds to training the horses it also causes widespread cancellation of fixtures which is always disappointing, we have had a blank fortnight but there is a chance that Ayr will be able to race on Monday 13th, we have plenty of horses entered, let’s hope the thaw has time to do it’s job…..

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