‘There is a sociology of horses, as well as a psychology. It is most evident in the world of horse racing, where many horses are gathered together, where year after year, decade after decade, they do the same, rather simple thing – run in races and try to win’ – Jane Smiley
Ever since I was about 5 years all I ever wanted to have my own horse, I had it all figured out, he was going to be called Scout (after Tonto’s horse and the lass in To Kill A Mockingbird) and he would live in the garage.
Obviously, that never happened (garage wasn’t big enough) and i just became obsessed with the Backstreet Boys and (later in life) Cosmopolitans instead.
A couple of years ago when my mum turned fifty, my dad was at a loss as to what to buy her (picking her up from work in a tank clearly wasn’t enough) so as a shot in the dark he found a company called Ownaracehorse and bought her a share in First Rhapsody. Little did he know that little present would have a massive impact on our family’s life.
Cut to a few years later I finally went on one of the stable visits my mum and dad have been going on about for so long (stable visits are one of the bonuses that shareholders through Ownaracehorse get to enjoy). I was still skeptical. Can there really be that much fun in owning shares in a racehorse?
The stables in this instance were owned by trainer Michael Smith and family and the horses we were introduced to were Brunello and Applejack Lad. Michael, the trainer, Sandra his wife, Rebecca is daughter and Wayne who works closely with them talked enthusiastically and passionately about the horses, how old they are, where they come from and their racing form. They also spoke very candidly about how much the horses cost them and how much prize money they’ve won from them, which impressed me, money in these circles is often a taboo subject, so I found their honesty refreshing.
After a brief introduction to the horses that were available to own a share in, we were allowed to mingle around the stables and meet all the other horses too, I took a particular shine to Mr Witmore, a cheeky little 5 year old gelding who seemed to reciprocate the bond until my sister in law pointed out it was probably just the minty chewing gum in my purse he was after!
The training staff and Richard from Ownaracehorse were great to talk to, no question was too big or small and they clearly very passionate about what they do. We chatted at length with Rebecca and Wayne about the different personalities of horses, and how the smell of horses is addictive (weird I know!). What struck me the most though was how informal the whole thing was. There was tea, coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits aplenty (served by Richard’s son Harry – who kept me company with their little Dachshund Josie when i was trying to warm up my frozen hands). I also love that the horses have their racing names and their stable names; Mr Witmore is affectionately known as Foxy in the stables – my kind of horse!
One point it’s important to mention is that the horses appeared to be so happy and were clearly well cared for, they were all massive hams and seemed to love all the attention from the visitors. Horse racing gets a lot of unjustified bad press, particularly around Grand National time but all you need to do is watch the horses who carry on running when they’ve lost their jockey. The horses absolutely love racing; its the closest they get to to running in the wild with their friends.
I couldn’t recommend Ownaracehorse enough if you’re looking for that special quirky gift to get that awkward family member who’s always so difficult to buy for (and we all have them – and it’s usually Dad!) the professional family run,personal service you’ll receive is second to know and i promise you if you didn’t love the smell of horse poo before, you will after you have a share in one!
Here’s what you get:
- One-off payment, absolutely no hidden costs.
- Shares from under £100 for a season which includes 2 yard visits.
- Opportunities to see your horse run as an owner.
Own A Racehorse
Michael Smith Racing: