Ruth Carr has closed her yard during the current coronavirus outbreak and hopes the measure is “short-term pain for long-term gain”.
Carr’s Mowbray House Farm near York would usually be gearing up for the start of the new Flat season, but she has taken the painful decision to take all of her 55 horses out of training with the backing of her owners.
Racing is currently suspended until the end of April, and Carr fears a May resumption is unlikely.
“All my owners are happy for me to do what I think is best in the situation we find ourselves in,” said Carr.
“At this stage, I can’t see us resuming in May. The horses are still getting full care and attention, they are out in a field enjoying the sun, but by doing this I’m reducing the footfall into the yard massively.
“I just feel that I’m doing my bit. I don’t like to train – especially older horses – without a goal. They know their job and training puts miles on them physically and it’s not great for them mentally.
“If I reduce the fees to the owners, then hopefully they can look after me long term. If I can look after my business and my team by using the governments generous scheme with the staff getting 80 per cent of the wages, then I will utilise that.
“We have to think of people working in the hospitals, on the front line, and people that are going to lose loved ones. For all that racing is a very big industry, sometimes you just have to see the bigger picture.”
Carr stresses the welfare of the horses will not suffer in their downtime.
“The horses are getting fed well, four times a day, they are happy in the field and it’s part of their normal routine anyway – they are just not doing any formal exercise and they aren’t being ridden. Because they aren’t being ridden, we can reduce the footfall,” she said.
“For all you try hard to disinfect everything – every sweeping brush, every muck barrow, every feed scoop, every gate, every light switch – the list is endless. People would come to the yard and mix with their families, by stopping that I feel I’m doing my part.
“I’m looking at it as short-term pain for long-term gain, that’s my new catchphrase! The sooner we all realise this, the sooner we’ll be out the other side and we can enjoy our days at the races and the other things in life we’ve all become accustomed to.”