Training and Ethos
At Micky Hammond Racing, we scope out and deliver a unique and specifically designed training and racing programme for each individual horse in training with us. Our owners are fully consulted and involved in the specifics of their horse’s programme.
Typically, racehorses are in training for an average of 9 or 10 months per year, with the remaining months being taken as a break, often ‘out at grass’. This is like having a holiday for horses, with the change of scenery and rest from work often having a refreshing impact on a horse’s freshness and attitude. Sometimes owners have their own facilities for their horses when they take a break, but Micky Hammond Racing can arrange for your horse to take a break at our sister yard.
When a horse comes into training for the first time after a break, it typically takes Micky and his team 8-12 weeks to get the horse race-fit. Even then, horses often get a significant benefit from a run, just like Premiership footballers who need to be “match fit”.
Typically, horses start back in training with ‘road work’ where they are ridden, but just at walking pace, around local lanes. After a few weeks they move up to a gentle canter on the gallops and gradually build up from there. However, the routine is different for each horse – some need less work than others to get fully fit.
Towards the end of this initial period, Micky will plan some specific target races for the horse, in consultation with its owners, mapping out a programme for the following 6-8 months before the horse has its next break.
Typically, the major work is done from a Monday to a Friday, but there is exercise on a Saturday morning too, and some horses do gallop on a Saturday if they are racing the following week. As each race approaches,the training routine is adjusted slightly to ensure each horse is spot on for its race.
Racehorses are often delicate and precocious athletes, and are occasionally subject to minor injuries which interrupt the training programme. Micky and his team have a very good record with the care of horses, but obviously need to adjust the training programme of an injured horse. We use the very best in veterinary care, with regular visits from Phillip Jones, Equine Sports Medicine Clinic, Durham www.equinesportsmedicineclinic.com. Other treatments used are from John Patterson, our “back specialist”, and Sue Watkinson, our Bowen Therapist www.equinebowentherapy.com.
We take steps to understand the needs of racehorse owners, who often have limited time to pursue their leisure interests in today’s busy world. We work hard to put our owners at the centre of what we do – so that we can make their ownership an engaging and vibrant way to spend some of their scarce leisure time.
The quality and ability of racehorses varies greatly. However, our stable team, headed by experienced trainer Micky Hammond aims to get the very best results from each thoroughbred through individual training routines and superb race-planning in order to give horses the best chance to win as frequently as possible.
Micky Hammond has a very good eye for racehorses, and can quickly assess a horse’s career prospects. He believes in being completely frank with owners and potential owners about a horse’s prospects. He doesn’t call geese swans. Unlike some trainers, Micky will not advise keeping a horse in training for the sake of it just so that we generate training fees.
We are extremely dedicated to ensuring the proper development of a racehorse’s career, always putting the welfare of horses above all else. Racehorses are often fragile and precocious animals, and unfortunately injuries and accidents will inevitably happen from time-to-time. However, the Micky Hammond Racing training programmes are designed and implemented to minimise the risks, and to prolong a horse’s racing career. Horses won’t run at the racecourse just for the sake of it if the going is firm or very soft – the team does not want to risk injuries just for the sake of having a run when the horse can always run another day. The training programmes are backed up by the very best in veterinary care.
We also take time to ensure we invest in the training and development of the whole team here at Oakwood Stables, encouraging personal development through obtaining qualifications, including NVQ levels 1, 2 and 3 in horse care and management. Increasingly, the team is looking at ways to ensure our work is as environmentally friendly as possible. There are improvements in the provision of bedding and waste management for horses, and we will introduce whatever we can providing the care of horses is not compromised in any way.
Above all, we are committed to fully engaging our owners in their ownership experience, from visits to the stables, to reports from the gallops to going racing. We have an extensive communication programme to keep you fully involved the way you want to be. For more information about ownership and how to get involved please contact us.