I earned my jump racing stripes under Enda Bolger. He had gallops for proper training, but at the end of each day he’d like to take out different horses – for a change of scenery as much as anything, and to help break up their routine.
He’d head out of the yard without much idea which direction he’d want to go. You’d just not have a clue where he was taking you. Enda just seemed to take us off into everyone else’s farms and we’d jump our way from one to the next.
It was an exciting time. Invariably myself or John Thomas McNamara or Ken Whelan would be riding four-year-old racehorses and he’d be on a hunter, so it was always a lot easier for him than us.
You didn’t always know what was on the other side of a wall when out on those rides.
It taught you pretty good balance and would teach us as jockeys how to get set in the saddle. Invariably Enda would go first on the hunter, so you could guess a bit what was coming from his reaction.
It was a good way of teaching the horse to react to whatever came to it. You could jump up a bank and the horse might decide it wants to go left to avoid a tree or a branch. You might be thinking you wanted to go right, but the horse would ultimately be in control of where he was going!
It taught you to react to the horse underneath you, and how to stay on and move with the horse and find the tell-tale signs the way the horse was moving his bodyweight left or right as to which way he was going to go.
You learned an awful lot jumping like that – not knowing what was coming up. And the horses learned to think for themselves too.
You’d barely be out of a trot, probably a canter. It was all very slow, but you still wouldn’t know what was coming and the reactions would need to be quick.
I always went there on a Monday, and if I needed to get out of there early I would orchestrate a fall for myself good and quick.
You weren’t coming home until you had a fall anyway, so the longer you stayed on the longer you would be out. It was as simple as that!
I wanted to be a jump jockey, and Enda Bulger was the best at training so that’s why I ended up there.
FROM PADDY POWER’S RACING ICONS DOCUMENTARY WITH RUBY…
- I took Annie Power home for the summer… and horse joined our family BBQs!
- My biggest Cheltenham regret and one race I’d love to have a second chance at
- Ruby’s hilarious story about dad Ted’s terrible medical advice after nasty leg break