I just found out that one of my neighbours and quite a good friend is involved in dressage and in no small way either. She is competing at quite a high level already and has 2 horses which are in training, her ultimate goal would be to compete for England in the Olympics.

Now I know that she is quite obsessive about them, as she goes out every morning at about 6am to go riding, then back home for a quick change and off to work, then goes out to them again in the evenings.

She also (I recently discovered) has a riding lesson twice a week.


The Racehorse Sanctuary

The racehorse sanctuary and re-homing centre was started and is run by Sue Collins and Graham Oldfield, both having been involved with horses throughout their entire careers. Graham had started another racehorse sanctuary and re-homing centre many years before, however after re-homing over 100 horses, he left and the racehorse sanctuary was started.

If you are concerned for the welfare of retired horses have a look at their site and give them some support.

Horseracing Pictures

I just spoke to a friend who pointed me towards a great site which sells horse-racing pictures. It looks like the people who own the site are horseracing fanatics and are at the races pretty much every weekend, I only had a quick look myself, but from the quality of the images and the exact places they have been taken from, I suspect that they are professionals.

The great thing is that if you are an owner like me, Ahem, well I own a very small share in a horse, probably no more than a hoof to be honest, but you can go on there and see if they have any pictures of your own horse crossing the finish line (preferably first)

The site is called Horse Racing In Focus so have a look and see if you can spot your horse on there, or any of your friends horses either, all the pictures can be bought.

Another nice twist to the usually completely commercial online shops of today, is the fact that they support the injured jockeys fund, so on their signed series (which are some of the better pictures, but signed by the jockeys) a percentage of what they take is donated to the fund.

Horse Drawn Wedding Carriages

There are some pretty impressive horse and carts around these days, especially those used for weddings, most of them are small family run businesses or those who already have the stables and buy the carriage specifically for weddings, i.e a bit of diversification which is all so popular for rural businesses these days.

Now, whilst they obviously do not come cheap, they really would make a big difference in the arrival at the church.  There are however a lot of costs to be covered, such as the obvious cost of keeping and maintaining the horses and carriage, but also the transportation costs, not cheap when you consider the size of vehicle required to transport everything to your wedding venue.  Speaking of which, you also need to have the space for them to set it all up and set off with the bride and her father sat in the back. Then the whole thing has to be manned, so you need a groom and driver as a minimum, so I would imagine the cost would be pretty high.

The recent royal wedding also has probably increased the demand for them too.

Of course, if you went to the lengths of hiring a carriage like this for your big day, you would obviously want plenty of photographs to look back on in the future, so a top noch wedding photographer is a must, and these days you often not only get the standard prints as you did before, but also because the pictures are taken digitally you can usually have the whole set on a DVD too.

Of course, once you begin stepping up the whole thing you then need to upgrade everything else, OK a nice dress is a given, but what about the entertainment too? You don’t want Dazzling Daves Mobile Disco pumping out Abba and Agadoo all night, you need a professional band who really know how to get the dance floor busy and keep it that way all night. There are a lot of good wedding bands about so make sure you listen to what they play and do a good version of all the songs you like.

Then you need to consider the catering, a buffet probably wont cut it with your guests, so a full sit down meal will be required. So it’s worth considering that just because you can afford a wedding with a horse and cart, do you have the spare cash for everything else required to suitably complement it?