Come the summer, many studs and breeding yards are preparing their yearlings for sale. To find out more about what happens during this time, we’ve been speaking to Josie Eglin who is the Stud Manager at Gazeley Stud based in Newmarket. Gazeley Stud offers a wide range of services to the Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry including full breaking, pre-training and sales preparation to give the horse the best start to its racing career. Here’s what Josie had to say about the sales preparation process…
Nine weeks before the sales the yearlings are brought in from the field, they have their teeth done, are introduced to the horse walker. During week 1-2 the yearlings’ manes are pulled and they are tidied up. They are also bitted with an in hand bridle and introduced to lunging. After 3-6 weeks of lunging they are introduced to hand walking. The work load is gradually increased e.g. longer on the walker and more lunging to increase fitness and muscle tone. Week 6-9 each horse will be individually assessed to see if any changes in work load are needed i.e. increased or decreased. Throughout this whole 9 weeks the yearlings are groomed daily, and their rugs are adjusted according to the weather to ensure that they keep a good shiny summer coat if possible.
Most important things in sales preparation
It is important that the correct level of fitness is obtained for these yearlings to prepare them for the sales mentally and physically, as this will ensure that they will hopefully find the sales a lot less stressful. They need to look in top show quality condition. It is essential that the yearlings are very well handled and taught to show in hand correctly, they will be taught to walk and stand correctly, to enable them to show off their best qualities at the sales.
Problems that can occur
It’s important to monitor the yearling’s exercise programme to ensure that they aren’t asked to do too much too soon which could increase the risk of bone problems. As each yearling is given an individual preparation programme and monitored closely we can identify any changes in their behaviour quickly and adjust their programme accordingly.
Hints and Tips to a good sales preparation
An appropriate diet for the yearlings is vital to reduce the risk of problems such as tying up and ulcers. It is also important to have the yearlings in to condition without too much freshness. Finally, good in hand preparation is also important so that they are used to being handled and can show themselves well at the sales.
How to adjust your feed
This starts to gradually change as soon as they come in from the field over a two week period. The calorie intake will be increased using a high oil feed as this is a great source of slow release energy. It is important to have good quality hay or haylage, and to feed this on an ad lib basis to ensure the horses are getting plenty of fibre to maintain their gut health. The amount of feed will increase with the work load and we spread the feed over four meals a day to ensure that we do not overload their digestive system.
Gazeley Stud consigns to all major sales in Europe and are currently prepping yearlings for the Tattersalls sales in Newmarket that run from the 9th – 20th October. Tattersalls are a book 1-4 sales, each book i.e. catalogue groups the yearlings by potential, the most expensive (or best) horses appearing in book one. You can attend the sales at Tattersalls free of charge and it’s a fascinating and exciting experience to see the horses being presented and hearing the auction take place. If you decide to go and see it for yourself, just make sure to sit on your hands during the sales as otherwise you may find yourself bidding on a very expensive racehorse with one going for £4m at last year’s sales!!!