Retraining Racehorses - An update from the Rothschild Yard
The retraining process usually takes 2 – 3 months. During this time the team lunge and long rein, allowing the horses to adapt to new tack, commands and aids. Once the horse becomes accustomed to this they add an EquiAmi which encourages the horse to work in an outline. Most racehorses will not have a particularly strong top-line and it is important to build up these muscles, so they begin to use themselves correctly and develop muscles that will help them become more collected. The team will then start to ride the horses, going out in the ‘Peter O’Sullevan Arena for the Welfare of the Horse’ every day as part of the daily RoR demonstrations. During this phase they will work on transitions and lots of bending to get the horse moving off the leg. After the horse has adjusted to the new aids, tack, and way of being ridden, they will introduce some poles and assess if the horse will take to jumping, some of which will and some will not!
Ray Ward was the first horse to be retrained from the Rothschild Yard. Previously in training with David Simcock, he was a talented horse with a top official rating of 97. Injury forced his retirement but after a break he came to the National Heritage Centre at Palace House perfectly sound and ready for a second career. Ray was very quick to adapt to a new way of being ridden, and as a lovely free moving horse, with a naturally good outline, it was clear dressage is going to be his forte. He has taken part of many of the daily RoR demonstrations in the Peter O’Sullevan Arena, which are used to show visitors how racehorses are retrained. He had a minor setback, as he threw a splint which is not uncommon for a horses that is adapting to working in a very different style. He is now ready to be rehomed and will make a nice dressage prospect.
Executive Order came to us having started his retraining. He quickly adapted to life in the Rothschild Yard, having overcome his separation anxiety issues. This was relieved by a stable that has an internal window so he was able to see his neighbour. He returned to his owner and has been successfully rehomed.
Dancing Admiral (AKA Harry) has shown a strong will and a lack of focus on the task in hand but has improved considerably with extensive ground and ridden work. Louise Robson has visited to ride him on two occasions and feels that he has considerable potential, in the right hands.
Nobby came straight from Lucy Wadham’s yard, where he had been in training for 6 years. He is a very flashy grey and an absolute gentleman. He is learning and progressing very quickly and is likely to be looking for a new home to progress his Showing and Dressage potential.
Injun Sands was a decent stayer racing mainly at 12 furlongs (1.5 miles) to 16 furlongs (2 miles). His two wins were gained at Chelmsford and Lingfield and he also came close to winning at Doncaster where he was beaten by a short head & Haydock where he was beaten by a neck.
His sire, Halling was a notable stallion who stood at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket. His third dam was the French Classic winning Silvermine who produced the Group One winner and sire, Sillery.
A really handsome horse, he retired from racing without any blemishes and, with his lovely paces, looks likely to have great potential as a show horse.
A popular racehorse who won on the flat, over hurdles and steeplechasing. His best form was not always when winning as he was placed in a string of Grade 1 events. He came second in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle and the Christmas Hurdle as well as third in the Matalan Anniversary 4-year-old Novice Hurdle and the Christmas Hurdle. He also finished fourth in the Triumph Hurdle and the Maghull Novice Chase and fifth in the Champion Hurdle.
Starluck has great paces and shows a rewarding enthusiasm for working in the arena. National Hunt horses are trained to jump flat, fast and through the fences; the challenge will be to see if Starluck can change his jumping style to enable him to compete effectively over show jumps.
Bred by former Irish & Lions Rugby International Tony O’Reilly and his wife Chryss Goulandris, Starluck is a full brother to two good horses on the flat in Right Key & Wrong Key.
Meet and Greet
British Racing School
Along with the horses that are being retrained, we have a number of horses on loan from the British Racing School. So far we have been sent some old heroes over the jumps and on the flat, such as Our Vic, Kingsgate Native and The Cheka. These horses will be stabled in the Rothschild Yard as part of their R&R, and make up the ‘meet and greet’ team, allowing visitors to encounter these amazing animals. It is fascinating to watch how quickly they adapt to this way of life – and thoroughly enjoy being loved by the public. It is amazing to see how general perception of the thoroughbred being ‘flighty and highly strung’ soon changes!
The Peter O’Sullevan Arena is proving to be a huge asset to the RoR Eastern region. Described by Iain Graham, Chief Executive at British Showjumping as a ‘first class facility’, it now hosts a number of RoR clinics. Louise Robson’s dressage clinics and the Mia Palles-Clarke showjumping clinics have been hugely popular for RoR members, they are also a huge draw for visitors to the National Heritage Centre - providing an opportunity to educate them about RoR and the different careers that retrained racehorses can go onto do.
Iain Graham, Chief Executive at British Showjumping comments on the showjumping clinics:
“We would like to thank all parties concerned for bringing this terrific initiative and opportunity to fruition. For our sport to be showcased at such a prestigious venue, with its first class facilities, is something that we are extremely grateful for and it goes without saying that it has drawn considerable interest from our members. Our support of the racing industry, via the encouraging of former racehorses to have a career within our sport, is one that we feel passionate about and to have the relationship between the two sports furthered in this way can only bode well for all parties concerned”.