My trip to Holland
At the beginning of September I went to the Netherlands for a family wedding. We stayed for an extra couple of days and were lucky enough to have a tour of the show jumping stable of the Egyptian Olympian Karim El Zoghby. As well as competing, the stables train young horses and will also try to sell horses for owners.
As you would imagine the facilities were amazing, but as always with these sorts of things it’s fascinating to see how similar many of the management techniques are. For example, they have a small flock of sheep which follow the horses, grazing the poorer quality grass and tidying up as well as hoovering up and neutralising the horse worm eggs.
Each horse would have about an hour on the horse walker (changing direction every 10 minutes) as well as being ridden out and grazed. It was good to see these valuable animals being treated like horses. The only real concession was that they were kept in individual fields to avoid unnecessary accidents.
They had a clever sprinkler system in the stable block that sprayed out an insect repellent and it seemed to work as there were no flies around!
After a tour of the horses and stables we went to watch some of the training and I was allowed to walk one of the horses around the block. He was the same value as my house and it was honestly like sitting in a Ferrari! He was so sensitive to any leg pressure that I found myself desperately trying to hold my legs apart so as not to give him the wrong idea!