Stud Work – Open Days!

I’ve only just had the opportunity to upload this as I have just got new wifi in my accommodation at work! So I ended up buying a laptop and then we ran out of wifi so still haven’t been able to upload anything but hopefully this new wifi will be better! So the place where I work hold open days each year where they parade the stallions to clients and potential customers. Once the parade is finished they all head to the marquee where they have food and drinks! Near enough all the staff on the yard help out on the open days. So I helped get the fillies we paraded clean, served champagne and other beverages to those watching the parade and then headed to the marquee where I waited on the clients. I kept a diary almost of how each day went, that why I could just upload it as soon as I got wifi!

Day 1:
So I have just completed the first open day and it wasn’t that bad! We got all of our usual yard jobs done in the early morning then I went and scrubbed myself up, got into my uniform and went down to the stallion area where the parade was. The first part of the day is focused mainly on the stallions and you can understand why when you see them. Beautiful creatures. You can feel their presence. It’s almost like being around royalty. All eyes are on the stallions and it’s probably mostly what the guests come for. Since I have been here there have been 3 fillies that the yearling staff have been working with. They are all bred from the same stallion and have lovely confirmation so they were included in the parade as well. The yearling staff and myself have been getting the fillies used to being handled, groomed and hand walked. The fillies have their good and bad days but today they were perfect! Didn’t put a foot wrong and we were all very pleased with them! Once the fillies had been paraded around it was almost time to serve some drinks. There was champagne, wine, water and beer for the guests to choose from all carried on a tray by the yard girls and myself. It was nerve racking at first as I had to approach people instead of waiting for people to come to me but I was pleasantly surprised at how quiet my anxiety was. Throughout the whole day I didn’t really have any moments where I was overcome with fear and panic. Once the parade was over and done with it was time to head off to the marque where the bar and food were! As the guests walked up to the entrance we stood there with the drinks on our trays. I decided to pick the tray with all the water bottles on as I didn’t have to remember any fancy names (that I probably wouldn’t be able to pronounce) and I knew what I had and there was less risk of any spillage which was perfect as a water bottle did fall off my tray at one point! Once everyone had settled the starters were served and I went round with a bottle of wine topping up glasses. The main was a buffet where guests could help themselves and we just went and topped up any food that was running out. Everything that was left over from the buffet we got to eat and hats off to the chef’s! They nailed the food! Even better…there were some desserts left and I even managed to grab a dessert! I can’t quite remember what I had but it was similar to a sticky toffee pudding so I thoroughly enjoyed it! There were about 100 guests that came today (give or take a few) but I’ve been warned that tomorrow will be the big day. The day where it really will be non-stop as we are expecting 180 guests and with it being a Friday tomorrow, it might class as a day drinking sesh for some. Now that I have completed my first open day I feel a bit more prepared for tomorrow as I know roughly what the routine will be and I have an idea of what I need to do, when to do it and where I need to be. After today, I’m feeling pretty good about myself but I feel tomorrow will be the real challenge.

Day 2:
I still remain adamant that my days were in my mums café were a lot busier than today was. Granted today was busier than yesterday but it doesn’t really come close to some of the busy days I worked at the café. It’s been a good day though! My anxiety was still calm although I did have to sneak off to the toilet at one point just so I could have a minute to myself, run cold water on my wrists to cool me down and give my batteries a bit of a recharge. I just needed some time by myself even if it was only a minute or so. I felt better afterwards. I felt like I could carry on being around people again. Managed to have some left overs again today and I tried a different pudding which was a salted caramel chocolate pudding and it was good! Very good! I will probably be having another one of those! Also brought some left over buttered chicken and rice home with me which I might have for my tea one night this weekend. I managed to see a bit more of the parade today as well which was lovely and the fillies were well behaved again! They’re making all of the yearling staff and myself very proud! Tomorrow is a normal working weekend day for me. The next open day will be on Sunday and I have dogwatch afterwards. So there’s obviously a lot of mares due to foal here. We still have over 50 due in August. All the mares live out in the fields and come into smaller paddocks during the night to make it easier for us to keep an eye on them. Dogwatch is basically where you walk around the paddocks checking on the mares and looking for any signs that the mare might pop her foal out. It’ll be my first dogwatch since being here and my first dogwatch ever so I am both nervous and excited for it but I think Sunday will be a very long day…

Day 3:
Yeah today was a fairly long day but I’ve had worse days! My highlight has got to be getting my first foal on dogwatch! Beautiful little colt (boy) arrived into the world at around 20:15pm and took his first steps at around 20:45pm. When it comes to human births that is a big no no from me but actually watching the horse give birth, oh it was fairly emotional for me! It was just an amazing experience and something so beautiful to witness. When the foal was out, seeing his mum nicker to him and lick him clean really tugged on my heart strings. Today has just been a good day all round! Open day went by quickly and efficiently and the fillies were good as gold again! Managed to eat a fair bit of the left overs and had another dessert which was a sticky date pudding! Found the name out now! They’re pretty good. I prefer sticky toffee pudding but this was still enjoyable. To top the day off we’ve had a good down pour of rain also! Nothing that would make a major difference to this drought but it’s better than nothing! Everyone was thankful for the rain and there was part of me that had missed rain but eventually I got fed up of it and I was ready for it to be sunny again. Thankfully the rain had stopped by the time I started dogwatch so at least I wasn’t walking around the paddocks in the cold and pouring down rain. Just got one more day left and then its back to normal yard work. I’ve actually enjoyed working on the open days!

Day 4:
Final day is now done with and it was another great open day! Everything went smoothly and to top it off we’ve had some very positive comments and emails from the clients who have attended on the open days. All the staff have a evening party tonight to finish off the food and more importantly the alcohol! Looking forward to it! Today I managed to eat even more of the left over food and I got to have a salted caramel chocolate pudding again! I do still remain adamant that my days waitressing in my mums café were definitely a lot more hectic to work than the open days but I’m glad I’ve got past waitressing experience. It’s helped me get through these days and once the first day was done with it was easy to pick up the routine of what to do and when to do it. I have enjoyed the past few days though, kinda gutted it’s all over but it’s time now to look forward to the yearling season and I know for a fact that it will extremely busy but it’s all part of the experience! The open days have made me realise how family orientated Widden is. All the staff are like one family, the yard has been passed through many generations (over 150 years) and is still run by the same family and they take care of their clients and their horses like family would and it’s a nice atmosphere to be in and especially to work in. Many of the staff have been here for over several years and I can understand why. It’s a beautiful place to both work and live in. Well I’m gonna head off for a few drinks now. Well done to everyone at Widden for absolutely nailing the open days!

Sending my love to you all,

Emma xo

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