Martin Keighley’s Open Day – 13 September 2009


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In early August I was delighted to receive an invite to attend trainer Martin Keighley’s invitation only Open Day.


Having asked my friend Lesley if she’d like to accompany me as my guest, I set off from Hertfordshire at 09:10 to pick her up from her home village on the Bedfordshire/ Buckinghamshire border. 


Having collected Lesley, we set out for Aylesbury, then Bicester, travelling across country to reach Chipping Norton – as we needed to avoid Woodstock because the Blenheim Horse Trials were being held today (I knew this because my work colleague Rebecca and her sister spent the weekend at the event).  After Chipping Norton we headed for Stow on the Wold, passing Adlestrop, we then took the Evesham Road, at which point my navigation let me down as I decided to take the first turning signposted  Condicote, and I should have taken the third one!  However I didn’t turn back, instead we skirted the village and took the lane back to Luckley, arriving at around 11:40.


After parking in the field to our right, we followed the many visitors across the lane and soon found ourselves at the horse barn.  Belinda Keighley was chatting to everyone as they arrived and I went to say hello to her and little Freddie, before heading into the barn to see the horses.  I heard a familiar voice and realised it was Alan King who, of course, had been Assistant Trainer with the Duke (David Nicholson) before embarking on his own training career.  Both Belinda and Martin had worked for the Duke, as had Choc of course!    


The first horses we saw were Hareem and King Ozzy ... but there was a sign warning not to touch either of these as they both bite, as does Le Brocquy!   We went to say hello to Belinda’s pony Onny, who fortunately is well recovered from the bout of colic he had in July, and also to Freddie’s little grey pony, Beauty. 


At noon it was time for the parade of horses.  The first to be paraded was new inmate, Brimham Boy, Martin telling us about each horse as their handler led them past.  Benbane Head is a very handsome chestnut horse and is Martin’s current pride and joy.  Benbane Head won the prize for the best turned out horse competing in the NH Flat race (bumper) at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.


The parade of in-hand horses having been completed, King Ozzy with Gerard Tumelty aboard, and Rodrigo Gonzalez (Gonzo) with Warren Marston aboard were paraded before they set off for the gallops, followed by a procession of visitors.


The gallops are located on the other side of the road, and everyone either walked across or was transported across to watch as King Ozzy and Gonzo were put through their paces – first at the canter and then the gallop.  It was then time for lunch.


Martin’s yard sponsors 7 Day Catering were providing the food.  We had a choice of burgers, I choose chicken, and there was salad to accompany the burgers and alcoholic and non-alcohol drinks too.   I recommend the caterers, as the food was very good!


The sun decided to put in an appearance during lunch, although the day was quite breezy.  We took our leave at 14:50, and I thanked Martin for the enjoyable day before we left for home.


Lesley had invited me to stay for Sunday dinner, roast lamb and timings, which her father had prepared.  It was a lovely meal and, having watched Country File (which included a regular feature from Adam Henson’s Cotswold Park Farm near Guiting Power) I set off for home.


A thoroughly enjoyable day with good friends and good company!


And I hope I’ve identified the horses correctly, as I did make notes when I took each photo!

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Badly Bruised

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Benbane Head

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Brimham Boy

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Deep Reflection



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King Ozzy & Gerard Tumelty

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Palmers Peak

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Rodrigo Gonzalez & Warren Marston

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Won More Night

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The beautiful Cotswold countryside at Luckley

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King Ozzy and Rodrigo Gonzalez







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