Ruby Walsh: Horses can’t be turned off like cars… they need fine tuning for coronavirus lockdown

Ruby was speaking on the latest episode of our From the Horse's Mouth Podcast.



With the racing season grinding to a halt I’ve been asked what happens to all the horses that were primed and ready to go.

Well, you can’t just switch them off like a car! They have to be ‘trained down’ to do less and less every day, with their amount of feed being reduced as they use less energy, to help relax the horse.

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But you also have to take the weather into account. It’s been mostly beautiful by day of late, but come the evening still getting pretty cold.

Horses usually get put out for their summer break in the paddock 24 hours a day, but it’s too cold for that just now.

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The grass also hasn’t grown enough. I know people are out mowing their lawns and tidying up their homes to keep themselves occupied at the moment, but the grass isn’t really full or good enough yet for these horses. That’s still a while off.

May grass is usually the best grass, so you’re talking all of April these horses will be stuck in a bit of limbo. They’ll be doing less, but I think they are a bit away from going in to the field just yet.


That being said, they might only have had one or two more runs left this season anyway from when the racing shutdown came into play.

If we’re looking at June for a likely return to action, the winter ground will be gone by then, and no-one is going to risk their best horses on that ground.

The National Hunt season is over in England, and I’m sorry to say I think it’s over in Ireland too.

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What do you think?