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14th December 2016

Plus 9 and dry when driving in.

Well yesterday was not one of those good days.

It all started to go wrong when Keith and Liz arrived to see their horse Abbreviate.....?

The fog was thick so having driven up the gallops to watch the horses we actually ‘listened  to the horses’ .. just not good viewing.

We then drove back down the hill to watch Abbreviate jump a few hurdles with Mikey Hamill aboard.

Plans looked good, but as Keith and Liz were not really suitably dressed for wading through a mud field I decided that I would foolishly drive them to the schooling ground..

Normally a good idea but the gateway was just mud and my 4x4 slid sedately into the fence where it stayed.

Keith, Liz and their son George decamped and trudged through the mud, suitably ruining their shoes.

Abbreviate jumped well but the highlight (for the Ellis's)was watching Higgs drive his tractor into the field to tow my Amazon out.. how embarrassing was that.

Keith filmed and laughed..I am sure pictures will appear...

''My Range Rover would not get stuck'' said Keith.... bet laid and then Keith drove his RR into the field and out, with great aplomb.. £50 passed from my pocket to Keith's hand and Keith went home happy with a huge smile on his face..''Best car in the world is a Range Rover''.. I hate being beaten…

Grand March did not help my mood when pulling up at Wincanton.

David Bass in this morning .. we worked a few and jumped Battle Dust, Aliandy, Texas Forever and Dueling Banjos..Video can be seen here of the horses schooling.

Third lot Darren Smith was here to see his 3 year old filly by Shirocco.

We have no runners today and I am heading to London for a Christmas lunch at the RAC Club courtsey of Balthazar Fabricius of Fitzdares..I am sure I will bump into TNDGB?

Nick Wentworth-Stanley's (part owner of Laval Noir) Harry and three good friends are curently taking on quite a challenge in memory of  his brother James. They will be competing in the Talisker Atlantic Challenge, a 3,000 mile unsupported transatlantic rowing race from the Canary Islands to Antigua.
They are raising money for the James Wentworth-Stanley Memorial Fund, the charity which is raising awareness of depression and suicide amongst young people.
A particular problem is where to refer those who are at high risk of suicide and we are setting up the first in a series of non-clinical crisis centres to be known as "James’s Place". Currently, those at most risk are sent to the entirely inappropriate surroundings of A&E and it is therefore unsurprising that this initiative is receiving widespread support from experts in the field.
Harry and his friends are aiming to raise in excess of £300,000 for the charity – £100 for every mile rowed – to cover the establishment and operating costs of the first James’s Place centre which is due to open in Liverpool next year.
Their website provides more information on the challenge - and also below is a recent article from The Mail on Sunday and some photos of the team.
It would be wonderful if you felt able to sponsor them. If so, please go to justgiving,

Any support you feel able to give will be greatly appreciated. The Mail On Sunday article can be found to read.

'Leighs blog' from Wincanton.

Wincanton is a lovely course once you get there but it has to be one of the worst places to get to for us! There is no direct route and the lanes are very tight and narrow.

I am very lucky that Thorndale Farm is located in such a convenient spot, it takes no more than 20 minutes to get to the motorway or duel carriageway, or an hour up the fossway to Warwick. It makes life much easier and must be a nicer trip for the horses rather than starting and stopping all the time.

I was pleased to receive a free meal voucher on arrival at Wincanton; this is new for this season (my first time here for a while).

The homemade meals are of good size and the ladies that serve them are always friendly and welcoming.

No runnees today but a trip up north to pick up one, then back to sort everything for a busy day on Thursday!

Finally Happy birthday to Liam Higgins.. Higgs is my longest servicing member of staff. He has worked longer for me than most of my staff have lived...

These things do happen?