National Stud Centre day

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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.

I may not know the first thing about horse-racing, but I do know that it is extremely popular in the UK. I also know that my two daughters are horse lovers. So what better than to plan a family outing to see a horse race. There are racecourses a-plenty, and so many that are well-known. But which should we go to?

I saw an ad today for the Royal Ascot in June. The image of a socialite at the Ascot is what Americans often see and it is what we associate with British horse-racing. However, if you watch the regular horse races, that is not the case. The Epsom Downs racecourse is another very famous racecourse, which hosts several prestigious races in the year. The advantage is that you can watch this for free.

We’ll have to decide which event to attend, for the kids would love to see a horse race in person. Unfortunately, we will not be able to see the Grand National as it is this weekend and we have other commitments. Having seen National Velvet, we definitely want to be able to see this race at some point in the future.