National Stud Centre day

I took a week off during the Easter holiday to spend some time with the family.  We didn’t have much time or money so we could only do small things.  Plus, the kids still had gymnastics most of the week.  But the highlight for them was visiting the National Stud Centre in Newmarket.

The girls love horses and have done so since they were babies.  They have not had formal riding lessons (as they are so expensive) but they have gone riding and the guides have always noted that they sit well on a horse.

We had watched the Grand National the week before.  One of the horses in the race came from the National Stud Centre and had not returned when we visited. But it did not detract from the kids’ enjoyment of being around the foals and seeing other former prize winners.

They also learned a little about breeding.  I must admit it was a bit uncomfortable when the older girl started asking questions about how it all worked.  I wasn’t exactly ready to discuss sex and breeding, even if it was about horses, especially in front of other people.  Luckily, she didn’t pursue the subject in detail as her younger sister would have done.  She was more interested in the fact that the workers lived in houses on the grounds.  She hopes to join them someday.

Foal at the National Stud Centre, Newmarket
Foal at the National Stud Centre, Newmarket

The National Stud Centre has a racecourse next to it and they run races during the summer.  There is also the Newmarket racecourse, which was not too far away, so we drove over to see what Newmarket was like.  It was rather small, still retaining some of the old village character.

From there, we decided to go over to Cambridge, as the younger girl hopes to go to King’s College someday.  After walking around the town (it was late afternoon and most of the shops had already shut) and around the colleges, we stopped for ice cream and watched the punters going down the Cam.  As we walked around the back, we took pictures of her and her Pooh Bear with King’s College in the background.  It will serve as a memento, in case she doesn’t go to Kings.

Yesterday, Oxford and Cambridge announced their teams for this year’s boat race on the Thames, to take place on Sunday 29th March.

We plan to be among the 250 000 people who line the Thames rooting for their favourite of the ancient universities. (Hopefully from Chiswisk Bridge as a victorious Cambridge boat crosses the line!)

Traditionally, Americans seem to be more aware of Oxford than Cambridge and root for them accordingly. And with 4 Americans (and no less than 5 Olympians) in the boat it’s likely to be the same this year.

Cambridge have named 1 American, 2 Australians and the rest of the contingent British, 5 of whom were in the losing boat last year.

I’ll be rooting for Cambridge who I tip to beat the heavily favoured, Olympian-laden Oxford boat.