As each year passes we try to improve the facilities here at Mowbray House. Sadly the gallop used by Grandad for many years has come to the end of it's time. During the dry weather it still rides very well but unfortunately it has become difficult to use during the wet times of which we have a lot in Yorkshire! The serious floods we had on Boxing Day 2015 were the catalyst to plan our next upgrade.
The work is being carried out by my husband Roger who has constructed gallops for Paul Midgely, David O'Meara (Atherington Barn) and Tim Fitzgerald's Norton Gallop which is used by a lot of the Malton trainers. Visit http://www.rgcarr.com/ to learn more about Roger's business.
Follow our progress by visiting this page regularly!
The site still has a standing crop of oilseed rape, showing a view of the beautiful village of Crayke in the background.
Trees are cleared which would overhang the path of the gallop.
Aggregates are delivered ready for the base of the gallop.Ditches are dug and cleaned to improve the drainage. Drainage materials are stock piled in preparation
The rape has been harvested and preparation work on the hedges begins.
Well we have a fair size field for the new gallop. No racing today, so I am getting stuck in to help Roger with some work.
All the woodsides you can see have to be cut back of over-hanging branches. Its a good job for efficient machinery!
Masses of wood and brack to be cleared up and burnt. Mowbray can be seen trhough the clearing.
Roger has worked the ground which has been so rough in places he has had to disc, drag and roll to break up the surface before it is suitable for the horses to work on.
Dad's teamchasers are willing guinea pigs and Richard and I trial ride on the open space to work out the best turns and safest route for the all weather track. It is very important to get this right - the bends can't be too sharp.
There is one last ditch to be dug here along the woodside. In the floods on Boxing Day the bottom of the field was standing in water.
Total drainage around the field will ensure this shouldn't happen again.
We are very pleased with the test ride, but will need a couple more riding days on the track with the opinions of the rest of the team, Jimmy, Tory and Ryan before we can start and peg out the track.
A new culvert has been installed for the water course, to link the existing walk way to the new gallop.
The last ditch has now been dug, and last drains and pipes laid. All necessary preparation before we can start on the foundation work of the actual track.
A final gallop in the dust to plan the route - and now over to Roger to start pegging it out.
Roger uses a purpose built 3m wide bucket to remove the top layer of soil, and is followed by his brother, Phil, who is installing a drain up the middle of the gallop.
The gallop branches off right to join up with the existing walk way. Phil digs out a trench in the track for the drainage.
The membrane is laid, and the drainage piping inserted into the trench, before the stone is finally laid and levelled onto the track. The drainage will link into the newly dug ditches running along side the gallop.
It will be a good few days before this stage is completed.
At last all the stone has been laid and carefully levelled out, and the sides of the track have been banked up with soil.
Now the membrane can be unrolled and laid down before the all-weather surface is lorried in and levelled out on top.
The membrane will ensure that the stones do not penetrate through but allow any excess water to drain through. It looks
rather fluffy and dusty at this stage, but should soon bed down.
Can't wait to get the horses galloping on it!
We continue to lay the all weather surface which is brought in delivered in bales, broken up and then levelled out. Forever impatient, I have to confess on having a sneaky little canter around a small part of the finished surface to try it out on Arnie!
And so far so good, the weeks of hard work are paying off!
The gallop is harrowed and rolled. It's a little bit dusty but should soon settle down when it gets some rain and hooves on it!
Yes - the gallop is open for use! Its great to finally get the horses on the new surface to see how it performs.