There was a lot going on (as usual) at Fern Farm on Thursday but I felt that one event merited its own blog post. I’d met The Real Snoopy and Loose Chips and I’d read about the Barrels of Courage partnership, but I’d never met the spokesman, Stephen Spencer-Jones – aka Spud, until Thursday.
Loose Chips is now officially on his summer holidays at Fern Farm, his regular abode for holidays and pre-training, and he has a new friend to keep him company, The Real Snoopy.
Stephen was introduced to Charlie by Helen Hart (Claire’s mum) six years ago and the rest is history! Both horses are trained by Charlie Longsdon and Loose Chips has given the Barrels of Courage partnership plenty of good days out, racking up 9 wins from 40 starts and earning £131,419 worth of prize money in the process.
These two are real characters and have already formed a bond in the short time that they have been in the field together. Loose Chips even has a bit of a cult following, which is enough for mum and daughter to be talking about the possibility of a Loose Chips open day!
Stephen’s enthusiasm is infectious and he was already talking about plans for next season with Claire and Helen, as well as discussing possible names for the partnership who will be involved in The Real Snoopy. Double Barrels of Courage was mentioned!
We left the pair to finish their lunch and enjoy the sunshine (and their holiday), and it also made me think about the time and effort that Claire puts into this side of her business. The breaking and pre-training is just as important as training the point-to-point horses, and Fern Farm is also a great place to send a horse for a holiday.
There’s a happy and relaxed environment and a great team, the horses respond to this and I also think it’s the perfect environment to freshen up any wise old thoroughbreds that have gone a bit sour. Plus, the views are amazing, whatever the weather!