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Published on 02/02/2017
Jeremy Scott trains 40 or more horses, predominantly for the jumps, at Higher Holworthy Farm on Exmoor. It’s a team effort with his wife Camilla an integral part of the team. Together they have trained many winners. Here they discuss the principles behind getting their horses race fit.
Treating horses as individuals, building them up gradually and tailoring their work to when they are racing is the ethos behind our training.
We have a four-furlong gallop and riding the gallop correctly is absolutely crucial to our horses’ fitness and it requires skill.
When we first had the gallop installed, the horses wore heart rate monitors so that we could learn correctly the amount of work required to increase the heart rate, but without increasing it too much, so that we are not causing any physical distress or breakdowns from over-training.
Every horse we train is different and we are extremely fortunate to have a large farm with 400 acres so the work can be very varied. The farm is quiet and safe and we are great believers in training the mind as well as the body.
We have a weekly routine that we stick too, recording in detail what each horse does everyday so that we can refer back to it if need be.
We work towards targets so that we build up the training schedule to that day with the week before the race essential in the preparation. We will taper work down so that the horse is brimming with energy on the raceday and we haven’t left the race on the gallop
We do have a horse walker but it is used very rarely and we would rather turn a horse out as it cannot be good for a horse to be walking around in a tight circle, for their limbs, their minds and it certainly doesn’t get them fit. If we have a horse recovering from injury, we will walk it in hand.
The overriding factor to ensuring we do the best for every horse in our care is that each is treated as an individual, and while one might relish coming up the gallops every day, another might prefer to canter around the fields to keep him fresh and sweet. There are no hard and fast rules, but a lot of our principles are based on the science behind training for fitness.