Horse and pony - site index.Horse chat message boards.Horse breeds, types and breeding gallery.Search for horse information on Equiworld.Horse information and equestrian news horse and pony magazine.Horse web links.  

Proof That Horses Have A Life After Racing!

International star among the winners in a nationwide competition

A nationwide competition to prove the versatility of ex-racehorses has revealed winners from every discipline, one saved from the slaughter house, a medal-winning British team horse and another that has "rescued" a rider nervous after breaking her neck.

Racehorses to Riding Horses was devised by South Essex Insurance Brokers and QBE International Insurance, one of the leading insurers of Thoroughbreds. From an initial entry of hundreds, six will be in London (on Saturday, January 11) for a presentation ceremony at the British Horse Foundation Breeders Awards Dinner at the Olympia Hilton Hotel.

The competition was backed initially by leading riders and commentators, including BBC television's Clare Balding, trainer Mark Johnston and international showjumper William Funnell. Subsequent support has come from the British charity Rehabilitation of Racehorses (RoR) and director Mrs Di Arbuthnot will be presenting a rosette and individual Wetherbys horse pedigrees to winners on Saturday.

Horses entered needed to be registered with Wetherbys and to have been in training for either Flat or National Hunt racing. Points were accrued during the 2002 season in affiliated competition or unaffiliated classes run by recognised organisations.

"It has been an unqualified success and will certainly attract an ever greater number of entries in future years," said South Essex Insurance Brokers managing director Barry Fehler. "The results prove conclusively that with sympathetic handling, racehorses can go on to fruitful and successful new careers."

David Ashby, QBE's head of Bloodstock and Equine commented: "Thoroughbred racehorses can make the most delightful, confident and successful horses in another career and this competition is conclusive proof of this."

Winners were.-

Red Mimosa in the showing section. Owner Claire Haddock from Durham had almost given up riding after breaking her neck in a riding accident but in March last year was persuaded to try the horse, which was last in training on the flat and over hurdles in September 2001. "She did everything I wanted and helped me get my nerve back. Now I hack and compete, including sidesaddle classes."

Five Boys, in the eventing section. With owner Kitty Boggis from Bampton, Oxfordshire, Five Boys - trained in Ireland and run in Bumpers until 1997 - competes at international level and was a member of the silver medal winning British team at last year's European Young Rider championships. Other wins include the Punchestown three-star event in Ireland. "He is very intelligent, thrives on work and hates holidays," said Kitty.

Zada, too slow and "too idle" to race, didn't like showing because at shows "was terrified he was going to race again" but now doing very well at Dressage. Owner Claire Lee from Boreham, Chelmsford, saw him after her vet husband, Jonathan, recommended him because of his wonderful temperament. The day after she first saw him and while still making up her mind, the owner just delivered the horse to her husband's surgery. She bought him a week after his last race over hurdles in February 1999. Claire and Zada competed the following year in the South Essex Insurance Brokers Search for a Star competition and reached the Wembley final.

Highland Brave, now competing in most disciplines at unaffiliated competition, raced for five seasons for owner Trish Williams, from Worcester. "He was never successful in National Hunt but now at 15 has found his niche in life in riding club and unaffiliated competitions," said Mrs Williams. "I used to compete him myself but now being a senior citizen have someone else to ride him." Highland Brave is the fourth racehorse she has had and taken on to a new career. The first is now 29.

Swift Alliance won one race but did not have the speed for Grade I Flat racing, and was then bought by present owner Jonathan Martin from Bognor Regis. He won the showjumping section, now competing at Foxhunter level, but has recently started a third career in Horse Trials. "I have had two other ex-racehorses, and think that the secret of re-educating them lies in the feeding," says Jonathan.

Scartho Top was literally saved from the slaughter house, labelled as untrainable and with suspect legs. Now, with owner Caroline Noble from York, she competes in endurance competition rides of up to 44 kilometres and can be groomed by Caroline's four-year-old daughter, Kendall. "She was a hat rack and terrified when I got her," said Caroline. "The turning point came when she was stung in the eye and had to be in a darkened stable for four weeks. The constant handling helped her to calm down."



Find out more, visit the links page or find answers on the message board.