Frolicking at Chestnut Tree Stables
On day three of our trip, we visited Chestnut Tree Stables. It was tucked away in a residential area and our tour guide described their farm as a relatively small facility currently housing 30 Thoroughbred horses, where some in the area can have upwards of 300. Although the main trainer, Rae Guest, is notorious for having success with female horses (fillies/mares), they are currently including more male horses (colts/stallions) in their program.
The training consists of flat work through all paces (walk, trot, canter, gallop) on both circular and straightaway tracks. While American racehorses run only to the left, English horses are trained running both to the left and right because of the straight tracks. English trainers also do not focus on times during training sessions. Instead, they make adjustments based on the visual assessment of each horse’s movement.
The farm yards in the area were connected to the training area and practice field through a wooded trail. On race days, instead of trailering horses to the racetrack, they are walked through the town to their boxes at the track. American horses are almost always trailered to their destinations and would not be received well walking down the side of the road.
Another key difference between management styles in England and America is the types of feed used. In America, almost every equine athlete is fed an extruded pellet and additional supplements while more traditional sweet feeds have fallen out of favor. Chestnut Tree Stables uses sweet feed or oats and beet root/carrot mix for a higher energy content. The beet root mixture was included for extra vitamins and minerals. One similarity is that all performance horses have a high risk of ulcers. Both American and English farms treat ulcers with omeprazole and often use a different maintenance product in the form of a feed additive or capsule with daily grain.
While differences between stables in America and England are apparent, they ultimately strive for the same goals in horse health and performance.
English Word of the Day: horse box=horse trailer
*The horse box does not look like your average gooseneck/bumper pull trailer; they look more like a moving van
-Ashley & Natalie