We’ve had rain! After a summer of incredibly hot days and drought we’ve enjoyed a good drop of rain recently. It is amazing how quickly the fields have turned green and the potagers have emerged from their dormancy.
If it hadn’t rained and softened the ground there would have been no racing at Cluny today. If the ground is too hard it is dangerous for both horse and rider. All the showjumping events at the Equivallée have been moved to Mâcon for the whole summer as drought restrictions mean the arenas cannot be watered.
I went with my neighbour’s family and we were invited to cross over to the starting boxes to see how the horses were loaded and the race started.
Most of the horses had to be encouraged to go into the box…
but this one must have been pushed too hard as it shot out the other side.
And they’re off!
There was flat racing, trotting and steeplechasing. The start of the trotting race was chaotic with the starter trying to get the horses to circle and come up to the line together. It was a handicap race so the better horses had to start a little further back.
Steeplechasing is the most exciting. The jumps are enormous and it is fairly certain that somebody will fall. A Croix Rouge ambulance races round the outside of the track to keep up.
An extra item was a parade of working horses. And afterwards a chance to meet the mares with their foals.
See how dark the Percheron foal is compared with his mother.
The syndicate that runs the Hippodrome wants the race days to attract families so there is plenty of entertainment for the children. A bouncy giraffe and free candyfloss. Donkey and pony rides.
So a race day at Cluny is not just for hard-nosed punters but offers an enjoyable afternoon out for everyone. There are two race days left this year, on 30th August and 20th September. It’s well worth a visit.