The finishing line
April 26th 2019 \\ Challenge Completed
When we first set ourselves the challenge of completing all the UK mainland race course in 5 years, it was admittedly a daunting task. Not only were we new to racing, we had both been racing before but not known enough about the sport in general, but we knew nothing about the locations, differences between the disciplines and the nightmares of scheduling and travel.
When we had completed the first 5 courses and we told people of our plan they sort of looked at us sideways, nodded their heads and said, yes, of course you are, and then mumbled “heard it all before” before walking away. Even after 20 tracks, our friends thought we would give up, get bored or find something else to do in the meantime. Her work, my writing, the next novel, poet in residence of a graveyard, all these things take time. Children may have grown, but parents now need support. Nobody thought we would get to where we are now.
Roll the calendar forward two years, and as we approached 50 courses, the tune changed somewhat. Our knowledge had grown, our enthusiasm became almost zealous. The sport had us hooked and Madam Hoof even got me riding lessons. We present the prize at three tracks, picked best turned out horse at two tracks and got interviewed by racing TV in Barbados when we attended Garrison Savannah. We have learned more and started to love Irish racing, been to Compiegne in France and are now planning more bizarre and convoluted odysseys.
Completing the set had made me realise three things. Firstly, our Islands are a beautiful place and we know more about them now. Secondly, racing is a friendly, passionate and infectious sport with amazing people working hard to secure both the future of racing and the welfare of both horses and jockeys. Finally, if you are going to have an adventure, get your own partner in crime, Madam Hoof is far too good to share.