This morning was a typical, dry, dusty winter’s day in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands. The sky was crystal clear, the sun shone brightly, but with a chilly easterly breeze. Wrapped warmly in my jacket and cap, I made my way to the sand track to watch the early-morning exercise session for the Ready to Run draft. Still early stages as they were only recently broken in, but already showing balance and enjoying the hint of spring in the air.

The horses are based in three different stable yards on the farm, and I wasn’t sure from which direction the first string would come. I heard them before I saw them, the gentle rhythm of horses hooves on this dry, dusty ground. They came into view at the far end of the track and trotted briskly in the soft sand towards me, the first group of fourteen horses and riders. The fresh breeze caused a few excitable moments and one or two broke into an exuberant canter, but were skillfully brought back to the steady rhythmic trot work, which is so important for building stamina and muscle in the young horse.

Of course, watching almost a hundred horses going through their daily routine is time-consuming, and my mobile phone had already rung several times to remind me office work was needing attention. My job on the farm is varied and so there’s no pattern and little routine, particularly as P.A. to you know who! My mind, therefore, is accustomed to switching rapidly from the peacefulness of the outdoors, back to the meetings, phone calls, reports, correspondence and the million-and-one other things that fill my day. Working for the Champion Breeder is a serious business with some special moments, and I had just experienced one of them, …….. but maybe I could squeeze in a few more minutes to go and look at the new foals – the next generation of Ready to Run horses starting their careers?

Posted by Marlene Breed