Training Philosophies

Training a racehorse is a mix of science, horsemanship and intuition. Many people, are unaware of the processes taking place to turn a homebred youngster into the athlete it needs to become to fulfil its potential.

The KEY to Sarah-Jayne's success have been acknowledging that preparation, education & conditioning of the racehorse, can never be underestimated in its significance to the performance on the racecourse.


"No stone is left unturned"


No matter how sound, how talented, how well bred your horse may be, without conditioning that animal will be destined to failure on the track.....if it makes it that far! This is how the team at SJD RACING have got a fantastic record in improving horses that have not been performing in other yards. Horses such as: ROYAL ACT, CAPISCI, DRESDEN, THE SOCIETY MAN, to name but a few.

We adhere to strict principles:



I pride myself on my horses fitness and many inmates have won first time out after an extended break which is testament to our routine here. Firstly, I evaluate structure, movement & temperament, in developing a training programme for each horse, a successful conditioning program will generally consist of walking, trotting, and cantering the horse over gradually increasing distances and for longer times. Depending on age, previous racecourse experience/injury and condition when starting, a horse may need anywhere from five weeks to nine or ten months of this slow, steady work. This will also improve bone strength and slowly build up muscles. Long, slow distance work is also the basis for aerobic conditioning.

  • We have steep banks of roughly 5 furlong to built muscle and stamina
  • The 4 furlong carpet gallop on the farm is superb for the slow steady conditioning work. It works very well in the wet and the frost.
  • We have miles and miles of quiet lanes ideal for road working youngsters and horses that have had leg trouble to harden up their limbs



In conjunction with the above, our horses health and happiness is very important.

  • Horses are turned out daily in their own paddock to prevent kicks etc
  • All stables are deep bedded with homegrown straw for warmth & comfort
  • The organic straw also prevents stomach ulcers that are common in racing
  • All stables have mirrors so the horses think they have company, this keeps them calm and thus reduces stress
  • The stables are rubber matted to prevent injury
  • Every horse/stable has a wall mounted vitamin & mineral lick
  • The digital scales are used as an aid to monitor their weight and progress.
  • Flu and other vaccinations are done whilst the horse is on a break to reduce the reaction.



It doesn't matter how fit your horses are if you have a virus in the yard. Nowadays due to the ease & regularity of worldwide movement, viruses are prevalent so not only are strict isolation procedures carried out but being vigilant to the early signs are key.

  • Each has its own bridle and set of pads, brushes, rugs etc these are cleaned and disinfected weekly
  • New horses to the yard are admitted to the isolation yard for 21 days
  • New horses from other yards need to come with a clean bloodtest/scope
  • Horses stay 'paired up' for work, travelling, turnout etc to reduce spread
  • Horses are not stressed, got cold, or lowered to reduce 'shedding'
  • Horseboxes are pressure washed & disinfected regularly
  • Jockeys, farriers and other working visitors have to wear a clean SJD jacket



Each horse has a tailor made nutritional programme to match its individual needs and work schedule, with the aim to deliver optimum nutrition in every situation to maintain sustained successful performance.

  • Only top quality, nutritionally balanced, BHA tested feed.
  • Those that have previously 'tied up' (cramps) are kept on a low protein, slow energy release, oat free diet.
  • Each stable has a 'hay bar' that allows adlib access to our homegrown organic hay. Horses are naturally trickle feeders so this satisfys that need.



NH racing is all about the jumping, races are won or lost in the air. All of my inmates go through an intense schooling programme, which involves jumping being equal to galloping as part of their daily training schedule. When a new horse arrives it is assessed as to its previous jumping experience/natural ability. Any one, or all of the following, are then included in their training:

  • Loose schooled or jumped on the lunge without a rider to encourage them to make their own decisions.
  • Taken back to basics over poles, grid work, showjumps
  • Jump fences/hurdles: alone, upsides, in front, behind, fast and slow
  • Worked in the arena over the hurdles to promote balance and teach them to relax