Spring Cottage dates back over 200 years and was the home to the famous, late William I'Anson, owner and trainer of Blink Bonny, who won the Derby at 20/1 in 1857, andBlair Athol at 14/1 in 1864.
Before Brian's purchase, the yard was occupied for 25 years by trainer William Haigh and although he didn't train a Derby winner, enjoyed a lot of success from Spring Cottage Stables, which he describes as "a very lucky yard".
There are now 64 stables at Spring Cottage, after the construction of a new barn incorporating 18 new stables was completed in December 2003 and a further 12 stables adjacent to the barn, which was built more recently.
The yard has also benefited from the installation of a horse walker. This is covered and floodlit to enable use when it is dark and during bad weather. The walker can take up to five horses at any one time and is invaluable for horses coming back from injury that require steady controlled exercise. It is also used to loosen muscles prior to exercise.
The horses are regularly turned in one of Spring Cottages 4 paddocks. Brian believes that keeping a horse 'sweet' is the hardest part of training and seeing how much the horses enjoy their freedom and each others company as they amble about the paddocks would warm any horse lovers heart!
All Brian Ellison trained horses are treated as individuals and their respective needs catered for accordingly. Retired stable star, Fatehalkhair ('Fatty' as he is affectionately known in the yard!) is a prime example. Fatty is an extreme box walker and has been likened to 'mimicking a motorbike on the wall of death'! To cure his claustrophobia, Brian removed part of the back wall of Fatty's box, thereby allowing him access to the paddock whenever he wanted. This move proved the secret to the horses' success" Fatehalkhair won 20 races!
Just a mile from the yard, are the superb Langton Wold Gallops, generally regarded as some of the finest in the country. The horses walk to the gallops, which itself is an ideal warm up. The gallops consist of 6f and 12f all-weather gallops and 5, 6 and 12 furlongs grass gallops. Other facilities are 9 schooling fences, 3 schooling hurdles and practice starting stalls.
Heart Monitors and Weighing Equipment
With the introduction of our new heart rate monitors, GPS speed measurement equipment and weighing bridge we are now even better equipped to assess the fitness and well being of our horses. Used during exercise, the heart monitor and GPS gives us accurate readings of speed, distance, and heart beats per minute. It is also used after exercise to see how quickly the horse recovers. Individual readings are recorded and an abnormal reading alerts us to any problems which may not have been so easily detected.
All of the horses are weighed on a weekly basis and also before and after racing. The weight of a horse is an important indicator of how quickly they recover after a race and how much has been taken out of them by running. With this information, we can plan ahead to aim for the best race possible.
Brian holds a combination licence, which enables him to train both Flat and National Hunt Horses. The ability Brian has in training horses is reflected in his winners. From sprinters to stayers, turf and all-weather horses, hurdlers and chasers, Brian can train winners on all surfaces and at various distances.
Brian has a very friendly and approachable personality, important qualities in the making of a successful racehorse trainer.
Owners are welcome to the yard and Brian is always available to discuss the progress being made. If Brian feels that a horse is simply not good enough, he will tell the owner straight away in order to save them money, part of the honest approach that Brian delivers.