Back To Tacking

Back to Tacking

18th April 2020

Bruce Stewart

Southland Farrier Brendon Franks is glad to be back on the job.

Franks shoes for Southland’s two largest harness stables – Nathan Williamson and Brett Gray and he says both barns, under the Civid19 Level Four restrictions, have a small number of horses still on the active list and therefore requiring shoes.

Farriers were not deemed as an essential service when Level 4 lockdown came into effect, but that restriction was recently lifted, allowing Franks to get back to work.

“There’s only a certain amount of time you can leave shoes on a horses feet. They could spring one or stand on a nail, or they could start to grow into the feet as you get stones up in the heel,” he said, adding the horse’s wellbeing is paramount.

He says he’s staying close to home. This week he shod four horses at Brett Grays and five at Nathan Williamsons.

“They’re all keeping their horses half fit hoping we’ll get an announcement, because the horses are three parts there aren’t they.”

Franks says there are strict rules to be adhered to when he’s visiting stables.  “I’ve been living on Dettol spray. I put plastic gloves on the first day to see how it would go but they fell apart after four washes. When I get to the stables I spray myself with Dettol and put plenty on. I actually like the smell of it.”

One horse Williamson has in his jog team is talented trotter Chinese Whisper which Franks and his wife Julie have a share in.

“He’s ticking over. He always looks big. Dark Horse and Chinese Whisper are like pets to Nathan.”

Chinese Whisper after his first win at Ascot Park in March 2019

According to Southern Harness records, about 120 horses are currently on the active list.  When MPI give the industry permission to race and a revised racing calendar is released by RITA, trainers will have the green light they’re waiting for to allow them to start fast work 

Like everyone else, the southern harness racing industry is hanging out for Monday’s Covid19 announcement.