Driving Digest – Cambridgeshire & Suffolk

National Stud Visit

Eighteen people turned up for the National Stud Visit and Café meal on the 19th March 2017.

Wendy Millbank our very knowledgeable tour guide and bus driver showed us mares and foals in the fields and two stallions in particular, Marcel and Toronado who was very interested in the mares on the other side of the hedge. Apparently the Queen has a share in him and enjoys coming to see him. Toronado has Mill Reef’s old stable whose grave we passed on the way to the stallion yard, there is also a statue of him on a plinth outside.

We saw the covering barn and the equipment used such as rear hoof boots for the mares and thick leather covers to protect the mares when the stallion mounts.

We were shown the foaling boxes with tremendously deep straw beds and when the mares are there waiting to foal, the students, who have to witness a certain number of foalings during their course, keep watch in turns day and night on rather uncomfortable seating so they don’t fall asleep!

We could see the foals playing and galloping flat out around their field, already racers in the making. They are kept in small groups of similar age so separating the weaned foals is done very gradually by removing one mare at a time so the weaned ones have the support of others which limits any separation distress.

After the tour we all gathered in the Stud Café for our pre-ordered meals which were served up with great efficiency as soon as we arrived and delicious they were too. We were glad to be in the warm again as the wind was chilly to say the least but a good day was had by all and eager chatter ensued about hopes and dreams for the coming driving season.

Thank you to all those who came and please continue to support the upcoming BDS events.

Linda Twitchen