Enjoying A Day At The Races

Horse-Racing

It is nice every once in a while to treat yourself, without the little ones, and spend some quality time with your friends.  So how about a day at the races?  This is the one time you can have the whole day to yourself, getting fully dressed up and sipping champagne, whilst soaking in the atmosphere and having a little flutter. Or how about having a family day out at the races?  These days the races are perfect entertainment for the whole family, and there are still plenty of meetings left in 2021. If you are interested in why you might enjoy a day at the races, then step this way.

Enjoying a Flutter

Horse racing is one of those sports that combine the excitement of the event, the frill of dressing up, and the chance of winning some money. Horse race betting doesn’t have to mean high stakes, or even be based on some superior knowledge, it can just be fun. If you want to take it seriously, you can study the form of the runners, and their last few performances before placing a bet, either online, or on the day. You may be acting on a tip from a friend or from the Racing Post, who use expert analysis to predict possible winners. You may just be like me, and choose a horse based on the name you like most (I’ve had a few Grand National winners from doing just this.)

Things to look out for when placing your bet are aspects like if the horse has had any previous wins, the horse’s age and weight, it’s top speed ratings, and its latest betting odds.  Handy tips to picking your horse are found easily on various websites, and information is also available at the racecourse itself.

If you are tempted to have a flutter, you just need to set your budget and boundaries, and it will make your day all the more interesting and exciting, and you could end up taking home a few extra pounds.

Upcoming Events

Of course, the biggest racing events of the year like the Grand National, Royal Ascot and The Derby have all taken place this year, but most courses still have regular meetings in 2021. Next week (30th September) sees the Great Autumn Meeting taking place at Warwick Racecourse, whilst if you want to plan a little further ahead, Uttoxeter Racecourse has a jump racing afternoon on Friday 29th October, which, if you want to take the family, is actually during half term.

If you enjoy your racing under floodlights, Kempton Park has an evening of floodlight racing next month, whilst there are also meets at Newmarket, Haydock Park and Epsom Downs, all before the end of September.

Ladies day

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Fashion at the races is all important.  You want to create that right look but need some inspiration.  Dress codes at race tracks usually advise that you dress as you would if you were going to a wedding.  You can get ideas on the formal dress you are looking for, to express your desired look.  Many ladies enjoy wearing hats, which range from the simple design to the flamboyant, which you can pick up at local department stores, or have specially made by a milliner.  Shoes come in a range of shapes and colours, and can be easily found online to compliment your outfit.  Handbags and the right jewellery are the accessories which can finish off your race outfit perfectly.

A family day

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Family days at the races include extra activities to keep your cherubs entertained throughout the day, from an appearance of their favourite children’s characters, bouncy castles, to interactive racing zones.  Whether you live close to a racecourse or are travelling, racecourse websites advise you as where to drive in and park onsite, or local bus and rail information, with many places offering shuttle buses taking you directly to the course, from the nearest stations and town centres.

If you are travelling you also might consider making a night of it, and staying in local accommodation.  Whatever your requirements you might want to splash out on a lavish hotel, to an affordable boutique bed and breakfast, or stay in local flats and rooms.  However you wish to spend it, a day out at the races is a way of having fun with your friends or entertaining your family.

 

Ice Hockey With Buckt and Coventry Blaze

It has to be said, we are a sporty family. We are all a little obsessed with football, supporting West Brom Albion since the year dot and attending as many matches as possible. Joe plays football too, and also boxes twice a week, whilst I love to watch live sport including tennis, cricket and athletics. And now we can add Ice Hockey to our obsessions after attending our first match watching Coventry Blaze, courtesy of our Buckt subscription.

Buckt is the subscription box service that allows you to enjoy a range of cool activities in your area. You don’t have to do them all, often just doing one thing covers the price of the box, but you have the option to do up to five activities in a month. We chose to do Ice Hockey as a family, paying for passes for Joe and his friend, whilst we had our tickets courtesy of our Buckt subscription.

The Coventry Blaze play at the Coventry Skydome,which is a fabulous venue where you can make a real night of it, with a bar, Papa John’s pizza and a small food court. As it is ice hockey you need to dress in your warm outdoor clothes, but the fabulous, friendly atmosphere soon warms you up. The date that we attended was the night of ‘air the bear’ when spectators are encouraged to bring along a cuddly toy which can then be thrown onto the ice when the home team score their first goal, the toys being donated to local children’s charities. This was great fun and it was gratifying to see so many get involved.

Ice Hockey itself is fast and furious, with teams being changed at regular intervals. It was interesting that although the game is split into three 20 minute periods, the clock is stopped at regular intervals, so a third feels much longer. There is also the ‘sinbin’ where players have to retreat for two minute penalties for fouls. Stoppages are filled with live music, songs recognisable to the crowd who often join in singing and dancing. It makes for a fabulous, family friendly, fun atmosphere, and I must admit to be hooked very quickly.

If you’ve never attended an Ice Hockey match I would highly recommend it, it is great fun for all the family.

To subscribe to Buckt, click here.

Things to Consider Before Getting into Horse Riding

There isn’t much to match the freedom and exhilaration you feel when out riding a horse, the experience is particularly unique. For owners however, what comes with that experience is a lot of hard work and considerable expense and it is with this in mind that here we seek to offer some tips on things to consider before getting into horse riding.

Choosing a Horse

Before getting into horse riding and certainly before buying a horse there are several factors to consider and first is the kind of horse that will suit you. For example, inexperienced riders or those who don’t have lots of time to look after a horse may be best advised to buy an older horse as they need less exercise and are more likely to have a cool temperament.

Other tips include taking an experienced horse person with you when looking to buy, checking the animal’s ID and having it looked at by a vet.

The Costs

The cost of buying a horse varies greatly, in fact you can often get one for free, but at the top end of the scale you can pay millions – what is easier to quantify is the cost of keeping a horse.

The average cost of full livery is somewhere in the region of £500 per month, but of course if you keep your horse at home then the price of looking after it will be much less. In addition to this, there are the one-off costs such as saddles, tack, riding protection, clothing and boots.

Having made some calculations, you will soon realise that owning a horse is not cheap, but looking out for promotions such as end of season or Black Friday sales can help a lot.

Consider the Commitment

Perhaps the most important factor to consider is that of commitment. The best experiences come from a scenario where the horse and owner have a great bond and this can only be achieved by taking the time to look after the animal yourself and ride it regularly.

It may sound obvious, but without this long term commitment, you may have the horse for some 30 years, it might be worthwhile reconsidering your plans – you could always attend a riding school instead, then reconsider further down the line.

If, however, you are sure you can afford a horse and are fully committed, you can look forward to a rewarding relationship, better health and some amazing experiences.