The EquaFlow gallop was the first of its kind to be permanently installed, using technology developed for the stunning equestrian facilities at the London 2012 Olympic Games. It provides a completely consistent surface across the whole width of the gallop, whatever the weather, and ensures the optimum conditions for the horses to reach their peak fitness.
It provides a completely consistent surface across the whole width of the gallop, whatever the weather, and ensures the optimum conditions for the horses to reach their peak fitness.
The gallop is laid out with a 2-furlong loop at the bottom, and has a three-horse width along the straights to accommodate schooling fences. From the loop extends a curving uphill gallop, which is five furlong from bottom to top and has a rise of 45m over the length of the gallop; the overall length of the gallop including the loop is seven furlongs. Situated at the top of the gallop is a small loop around which the horses can quietly pull up to a trot, enabling the horses to gradually cool down on completion of their morning exercise before heading back to the yard.
At Badbury Hill a deep sand loop, measuring 250m round, provides the horses with an ideal opportunity to undertake slow and steady stamina work, as well as allowing a chance for the youngsters to begin their education quietly away from the main yard.
In the centre of the gallop there is also a 20x40m school, complete with show jumps, cross-country style rolltops and a baby hurdle. The facility is primarily used during the day by former international event rider Chris King to school the horses. Chris’ expertise in producing young horses and developing their technique both on the flat and over a fence is invaluable, and he also works with some of our older horses to help keep them supple, and to improve and maintain their technique and confidence.
The latest addition to Team Skelton’s facilities is the impressive set-up at Alne Park.
Installed during the Summer of 2018, the gallops include a deep sand round gallop over a trip of 1000m, a large outdoor school to enable horses to warm up and cool down pre- and post-exercise, and a superb jumping lane with seven flights of hurdles over a 250m stretch.
With such a great variety of facilities between the yards it can make for some fabulous viewing opportunities for visiting owners, as well as making sure that each horse’s training programme can be individually tailored to suits their needs, and to ensure each horse can achieve their maximum potential.
Jumping is an aspect of training that we take very seriously and we bring a unique perspective to educating horses in the art of jumping as a result of our showjumping backgrounds.
The inside two thirds of the bottom loop of our all-weather gallop is dedicated to jumping, which means the weather is no hindrance to our horses schooling programme. We have four plain baby fences and an open ditch, all of which can be varied in height to suit the needs of each individual horse.
When it comes to introducing our young horses to jumping early in their career we have a number of facilities at our disposal. At Badbury Hill Barn we have installed an outdoor school complete with showjumps, cross-country style rolltops and a baby hurdle, which is ideal for starting off the education of our younsters as well as improving the technique of the older horses.
Alongside our Equaflow gallop we have a jumping lane which can be used to educate our youngsters. The jumping lane has been constructed using telegraph poles built up at varying heights, which allows the younger horses to perfect their technique and become accustomed to jumping outside before they tackle the hurdles on the loop.
Installed during the Summer of 2018, the jumping lane at Alne Park is a superb facility which enables horses to tackle seven flights on a straight line, and is ideal for both keeping the older horses’ techniques sharp and encouraging young horses to maintain a positive rhythm whilst jumping.
The variety of schooling facilities across the different locations enables each horse to be trained in a manner which suits their needs, working to improve any areas of weakness whilst building on natural ability and developing all-round proficiency.
Since the development of the yard at Lodge Hill, 97 boxes have been installed complete with rubberised floors for insulation and automatic water drinkers, along with three six-horse walkers, wash-down bays, solariums, an equine spa, Vitafloor (stable with vibrating floor), turnout pens and veterinary treatment room.
The three existing barns at Badbury have been thoughtfully converted for use with the racehorse at the forefront of the design.
Two of the three barns have been converted into stabling for the horses, with the internal structure built by Loddon and Claydon. The partitions of the barn are constructed using recycled polypropylene plastic which promotes healthy and sanitary surroundings; due the nature of the material, it ensures the stables can be cleaned and disinfected to a high standard.
The final barn houses an indoor six-horse walker, wash down bays and solarium, with the entire floor of the barn being rubberised by in order to provide the safest underfoot conditions possible for the horses.
During the Summer of 2018 the existing yard at Alne Park has undergone significant alterations, and the 30-box yard will be a quiet location for any horses requiring periods of rest and recuperation.
With no horses in training it presents the ideal environment for holidaying and resting horses, allowing them to be away from the bustle and bustle of the other yards.
At Lodge Hill we have taken over one of our stables in order to install a Vitafloor, a fully automated vibrating floor system which provides both notable rehabilitative and physical training to the horse through stimulation of blood circulation and muscle activation.
The Vitafloor vibrating floor system comprises a 5 inch platform with a layer of rubber on top. Motors gently vibrate this platform at different frequencies depending on use; the unit can either be used for training or rehabilitation. The system is fully computerized and has a timer which automatically shuts off the program when it has finished.
Vitafloor works by creating ‘instability’ as with each vibration a horse is obliged to perform reflexive actions with every muscle in its body. The result – muscles receive a workout, blood circulation is increased and a remarkable level of health, fitness and/or healing may be achieved.
Research has shown evidence that Vitafloor increases bone density, enhances muscle musculature and improves hoof quality. It is also known to help with joint and muscle soreness resulting in a suppler, looser, stronger and more flexible horse.
For more information on the Vitafloor system please click here.
Our Activo-Med Equine Spa has proved to be a vital tool for rehabilitation & performance, and to help our horses achieve their full recovery potential.
As well as being a useful preventative tool, the Spa can be used for tendon and ligament injuries, inflammation, soft tissue damage, hoof related problems, arthritis, laminitis, concussion, wound healing, maintenance, to support recovery post competition and more.
The cold therapy provided by the spa helps to reduce the risk of injury after exercise but also brings rapid relief from pain, bruising, swelling and recent tissue damage as it decreases blood flow to reduce inflammation. Adding the salt water element provided by the spa helps to reduce swelling further plus can help the natural healing of wounds.
For more information of the Activo-Med Equine Spa please click here.
At Dan Skelton Racing we are lucky enough to have a variety of therapeutic products at our disposal in order to optimise the physical well-being of our equine athletes.
Our FMBS magnetic rug and laser can be individually programmed to suit each horse, and is a great tool for promoting muscle tone and relaxing any tight muscles. The laser unit can also be used on any sore areas or to reduce any swelling which may occur during training or after racing.
We use our Equissage pad and massage unit on a daily basis on any horses around the yard who may be suffering from specific stiffness or soreness, as it acts in a similar way to a human athlete receiving a sports massage.
The healing power of ice is just as potent for equines as it is for human athletes, and in order to harness it we have developed specially designed ice boots for the horse to wear post-exercise, after racing and in the event of any aches and pains. Both yards are also equipped with several industrial ice-makers. Horseware Ireland are the makers of the innovative IceVibe Boots, and we use them regularly at Dan Skelton Racing to aid circulation, manage wear and tear on joints and reduce any swelling and soreness which may occur.
Hot Water Washdown & Solarium
At both Lodge Hill and Badbury Hill Barn we have installed hot and cold water wash down bays, along with a solariums; at Lodge Hill we have four solariums and there is another one at Badbury Hill. This enables us to make use of the wash down bays not only during the warm summer months, when horses can benefit from a cooling post-work hose down, but also during the winter months. For much of the winter when the temperatures are close to freezing, it would be disadvantageous to wash down horses in cold water, and with a hot water supply coupled with our solarium lights it enables horses to benefit from a good wash down under the warm lights after exercise.
The solarium is also hugely beneficial for horses who might be stiff or sore following a hard race, and also helps to keep their coats looking in top condition. It is also something particularly enjoyed by our older horses!
Every yard recognises the need for a horsewalker and we find our two six-horse walkers an invaluable tool for warming up, cooling down and for muscle tone, with the horses walking at a speed of about four miles an hour.
It is also the first step back on the road to recovery for any injured horse, and provides a safe and secure environment for the early stages of fitness training for horses coming back into work after a break.
Turn Out Pens
During the season it can be an huge advantage to turn horses out after exercise. This can be useful a variety of reasons, from ensuring the older horses stay mentally stimulated and to vary their routine, to keeping hard-working joints loose and supple. We have two metal turnout pens provided by Claydon, as well as six sectioned paddocks, and these have proved an essential tool in enabling our horses to reap the benefits that daily turnout can bring.
As we do a lot of work with unbroken horses that have been purchased from the sales in the spring and summer, we have a lunge ring that allows us to interact with the horses without distraction in an enclosed and safe environment.
Our lunge ring also has a waxed synthetic surface supplied by Andrews Bowen Ltd and it is also used for those of our horses who need gentle exercise when recovering from injury and for warming up.