One of the jobs I’ve tried in the racing industry was working at a stud farm.
I managed at Emirates Park in Diggers Rest for a while, which were based at old “Stockwells”. Just after entering the main gates you actually come across the graves of old. I can’t remember the names on three of the graves, but the main front one was the resting place of champion stallion, Showdown. It’s by memory approximately 880 acres. We obviously had mares (approximately 30-40 of the bosses and about the same amount again of outside owned mares at any given time), yearlings (approximately 50 every year) and weanlings (approximately 50 also). We also had a couple of stallions on our roster. El Moxie, Al Samer, Old Deuteronomy and bloody Yasey. Now before I get onto that bugger, I’ll try paint a picture of the stallions for you.
El Moxie. Absolute gentleman. If you had someone wanting to learn how to be a stallion handler, he was the perfect horse to use. The only time any excitement was shown (even then it was just a slow sideward trot, soft on the lead) was walking past the serving barn on his way to his day paddock, from his stable. Oh, and obviously during a serve .
He definitely knew who the boss was in the stallion ranks .
Al Samer. Your stock standard stallion. Respectful of his handler, but liked to test/play games with you. But definitely no malice involved. A lot of rearing and striking, but him just feeling good (you just had to be on your toes when he went up, and hold the lead high away from his legs). Again, stock standard in the serving barn. Obviously got excited, but kept a level head. Old Deuteronomy. Just like Al Samer, but a little funny story I’ll write with him later on………..
Now before I go on about this prick, I will say this. He did have two enormous things going for him, if you didn’t know him , he was jet black. Not one strand of white hair on him. Still to this day, one of the best looking horses I’ve seen. A slightly lighter, longer frame in the mould of Lonhro. So much so, Lonhro is literally my all time favourite horse, and I’m mentioning him in the same sentence as this prick .
Beautiful looking horse. Also, his breeding. Being by champion Japanese stallion Sunday Silence, out of the mare Millracer, this made him a full brother to champion Japanese racehorse/stallion Fuji Kiseki. By memory, Fuji won 4 from 4, with two of those being a group 1 and a group 2 . His dam’s side was riddled with black type. (Group winners, not colour ).
Anyhow, let’s get to his brain. Well f#ck me. You had to see this thing in action when that little thing between his ears was turned on. All he wanted to do was either bite your fingers off when TRYING to get a head collar on. Or he just wanted to eat your face if you went into his yard without a lead to take him back to his stable for food.
My first encounter handling him (after only hearing about his antics as he was usually just in the paddock whenever I’d seen him before now) was picking the shit up in the stallion yards. Definitely through the breeding season and then straight into the sales season, your only chance of picking up their day yards was on your lunch break. Anyhow, we had a stallion handler who’d left on the Friday, and we were still in the process of replacing him. Yasey had been in the stable virtually all weekend (my weekend off) because nobody there would touch him.
Monday comes. It’s taken me about 2 bloody minutes to get the head collar on, then double that with his bit. We are nearly ready to leave his box and he starts rearing. “Geezez, can’t ya wait dickhead” was my thought, dodging his legs. Finally get control of him, out we go and we are on our way to his day yard (about 300 metres away). Well, we went backwards for about 280 metres of the trip as he was being an absolute arsehole. I could understand as he had been boxed all weekend, but faaaaark. We get there and I let him go and he’s off like a headless chook, kicking and farting and double barrelling (it was a magnificent sight in all honesty). Time to get on with work.
Lunchtime comes and time to do the yards. El Moxie, pick up with a few pats and cuddles. Al Samer, pick up with a few pats and cuddles. Now this pricks yard. He is in line with the gate at the opposite side of his yard, just standing there looking around. I stop at his gate on the four wheeler, with trailer attached, and open it. All’s good. Drive in, park, close the gate and drive to the pile of shit. (They are actually very clean in that sense, stallions. Your mares, geldings and babies, they all just shit literally anywhere they want. Your average stallion will usually shit in the one corner of his yard. Don’t know why really, but it’s just one of those things).
Anyhow, gates shut and I ride over to his pile. This time I am corner to corner with him, like imagining a X corner to corner. I get off and start picking up the shit with the rake. After a couple of scoops, ‘be-doom’ ‘be-doom’ ‘be-doom’. The sound of hoofs charging, getting louder. Who is that running around, Yasey. As I look up at him, he is facing DIRECTLY at me with his ears FLAAAAT back on his neck, CHARGING. He is 50…..40…..30…..20…..10 metres away. And not really slowing down.
Hmmmmmmmm, run somewhere, hit him with the rake or try jump the fence. Well he has crashed into the trailer with it going about 20-25 degrees up on one wheel.
He then starts full blown chasing me around the f#cking bike, with ears still straight back. The rake goes flying and I’m off like a f#cking greyhound. After a lap and a half of the bike and trailer, I just line myself up with the foot and a half gap at the bottom of the fence. Nearly full speed I do a roll under it and stop on the other side. Here he is standing there snorting like a pig, rears (striking like Black f#cking Beauty) and then just took off doing laps of his yard for 5 minutes. “Wow horse, you are f#cked in the head” was all that was rockin my head.
I decide I’ll get the bike later, for some reason .
Now for the “funny now but definitely not at the time” part of the story. This is a horse who had only been there just before I arrived, with the day yard story just told happening at the start of the breeding season. In the time he was there, he’d only served about 4 or 5 mares a season, if that. One of his very few to race was a few years ago called Yasey San. So anyway, we are 1/3 into the season and we have our new stallion handler. Been there about a month and looked like a perfect fit for the job. Awesome handling the stallions during a serve, with full control. In the time I was there, I had the duty of handling the mares during the serves (If anyone wants to test out their nerves of steel, go do that once ).
Out of nowhere, Yasey has a serve with an outside mare. Hmmmmmmm, this COULD be interesting for all I thought. The day comes and the owners bring the mare in their own float. We go get her ready in the crush and take her to the serving barn. The barn is approximately 10 metres square, with a little viewing area for staff/owners to watch just next to the mare entrance in the top corner. Down the other end of the barn is the Stallion entrance. So we are standing there waiting for the teaser (a pony stallion) to arrive. The mare has a head collar and mouth bit on, but you also have to use a “twitch” during the serve. It’s literally a piece of poly pipe with a rope on the end with a loop in it. When the stallion arrives you grab the mares top lip with all fingers and thumb, and slide the rope over and twist it until it’s tight. Yes, it sounds cruel but it isn’t. And I can promise you right now with hands on experience, that it’s the only way to control a mare during the serve.
So teaser done, and gone. It’s usually a couple of minutes before the stallion arrives for his job. 10 minutes have gone and still no Yasey. I ask one of the girls to jump on the four wheeler to see what’s happening. Just then you heard it. It was like a f#cking lion, not a stallion. Now when you see the stallions coming into view, they are excited, but not like you think . That comes after a few rubs of the mare, especially if the stallions been busy . Well this bloke has appeared sideways and running backwards SCREAMING. And he was “ready to go”, with it whacking his guts. Sheesh dude, stop wanking and save yourself. Upon entering the barn, I could clearly see that the handler had NO control. I screamed for the 2 owners and 2 staff to leg it immediately before trying to figure out what was going to happen next. I look at the mare. Her eyes are nearly popping out of their sockets with fear. I look back at him, still coming backwards quickly.
BANG. Straight onto her arse with his. Well she has absolutely gone off tap. She has let rip with an enormous double barrel, just as this moron is trying to launch on her. From a backwards, sideways position. , you dickhead. He has literally slide off her, coming right at me upside down. BANG, on his back he goes. Well this f#ck ain’t goin too plan is it, I’m thinking . His head has landed a foot away from me, with legs swinging an inch from my head. All whilst this is happening, the mare has landed after her barrel, taken back off forwards half rearing, half striking. On her last strike as she’s landing, she has comedown straight between my arms. F#CKING CRUNCH on the chest. (Luckily you are made to wear skull caps and vests). I then launch straight back at her jabbing on the bit to try and get her and me the f#ck out of there. Where Yasey was upside down kicking about trying to get back up, he had his handler only having about a metre from the wall on one side and us about a metre on the other side.
With all of this happening in roughly 4-5 seconds, we finally get out of the way of his legs. Just. Whilst I’m still regaining control of the mare and trying to keep her calm, this jerk wants more. While I’m still in between them. The poor handler was struggling. Yasey has charged backwards again at us, still roaring like a lion (LOUD in a small barn) and getting closer. I jump in front of the mare to try get out of the corner, but it’s too late. Just as I’m literally in the air in stride, the side of his arse hits me and sends me into the mares chest. Luckily for me she had froze in fear I think, because had she of reared up she was only going to be landing on me. Straight after he hit me he has swung around now facing her. Thank f#ck or else I was trampled.
The bloody moron has then still decided to try and mount her, side on, up against the wall. Wow, I wasn’t expecting this. By now the handler had some sort of control and reaps Yasey off her. He then backs him out of the barn, now with full control. I walk her away from the corner and just give her a hug and face rub. What now?, I’m thinking. Then from the mares entrance, “F#ck that prick, who else have you got while she’s here?” was all I’ve heard so I look around. Here are the two owners, I presume a couple, holding hands. She was in total shock with her mouth wide open, and he is there holding his head with one of his hands . There wasn’t a serve that day for Yasey, The Prick.
Added note. Both Al Samer and El Moxie had just served themselves that lunchtime, so he chose El Moxie for a serve later that night. They left her there and both returned for their mare the next day and I never heard from them again. For a weird reason, or two . Yasey. Well he just sat in the paddock most of the time before being sold overseas to, by memory, a stud in Korea or China.