It’s 6.30am and the clatter of hooves down the shedrow, in the barn housing forty of the hundred-odd candidates for this year’s Ready To Run sale, can be heard from a good fifty yards away. The place is a hive of activity, the saddles are on, and the first string is pulling out.

This place is ready – “paraat”, as they used to say when we had an army. There are twelve in a string and the riders, comprising recruits from the length and breadth of the world, are doing about eight strings a day, involving a thirty minute walk and a trot of roughly two kilometres. We have fourteen riders in the team and by the time we are in full swing we’ll be up to close on twenty, which means that as the work steps up, every horse can get increasing individual attention.

A typical day enables every horse, once he’s completed his daily routines, to enjoy a turn-out of four or five hours in the nearby paddocks. We find this is easier on them mentally, as they don’t have to suffer as horses do in many yards, being returned to their boxes for the rest of the day. There is considerable pressure on young minds in these situations, and being in familiar surrounds with lots of space makes a considerable difference.

The post-lunch period involves the horses being returned to their stables, their feet picked and every horse is thoroughly gone over. At that stage our “veterinary” team starts its rounds, and if there are any bumps or bruises, they’re treated there and then. The breaking team continues educating throughout the afternoon, and we usually wind up between 5.30 and 6.00pm

It’s a long, long day, but its one of our most rewarding tasks. In fact, we love it. That’s why we’re here!

Posted by Tarryn Liebenberg.