Dolphin Horse Play
By Mark McConville
A BRITISH racehorse trainer who takes her horses into the sea to play tag with dolphins for luck before every race is certainly no NEIGH-sayer.
The stunning video footage shows Charlotte Littlefield (33) from Taunton, Somerset riding in elbow-deep water off the coast of Melbourne, Australia as dolphins literally indulge in some horseplay by swimming and playing “tag” around them.
The friendly sea mammals seem to be encouraging the horses to join in their fun as they dart in and out of the water.
The footage was taken by Charlotte as she let the horses enjoy a relaxing dip after a hard day’s training.
“It’s often said that if the dolphins choose to visit the racehorse that the racehorse will win its next start!” she said.
“We train at the beach most mornings to aid in the relaxation of the horse as well as aiding recovery after strenuous workouts, much like the professional sports stars who have ice baths to recover.
“The dolphins make occasional appearances and love the company of horses often trying to play with the horses. The connection you feel between the two animals is extremely unique and beautiful.
“Irish Ivy and Costa were the film stars and they were fantastic for their first experience with the dolphins.”
Charlotte represented Great Britain at the Young Rider Eventing European Championships and ran a successful boutique eventing yard for several years riding at 3-star level before embarking on a travel adventure to Australia in 2005.
After becoming interested in flat racing she worked alongside several successful Australian trainers before going it alone. Her first runner, Bergerac Rose finished third at Kilmore in December 2015.
Charlotte has won four races and had numerous placings in her first year of training, showing she can compete in the toughest racing state in Australia.
“The versatility in my training methods helps produce a more enjoyable environment for the racehorses I train,” she said.
“It is also a huge showcase for the most beautiful interaction between land and sea animals, which is something to be treasured forever.
“Everyone is very excited when the dolphins visit. It’s hard to describe in words the experience other than out of this world and breath-taking. It’s a real privilege.”
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