*Update: Barbers Shop is back to his usual self today (5 October) “He’s 100%,” said Katie. “We will never know what happened”.*
The Queen’s retrained racehorse turned showing star has been withdrawn from this week’s Horse of the Year Show (4-8 October), which was expected to have been his final appearance in the show ring.
Rider Katie Jerram Hunnable made the decision to not compete Barbers Shop after he came out of his stable unsound this morning (4 October).
“I’ve had him for five seasons and he’s never had a day’s unsoundness,” Katie told H&H. “He’s the soundest horse I’ve produced.
“I rode him yesterday (3 October) and he was on song and I went to bed saying, ‘Great, he feels brilliant’.
“I got up this morning and took him out of the stable — he had been stabled overnight at the show — and he was unsound.
“I only rode him for 10 minutes yesterday and I didn’t even work him.
“I don’t know [what happened] — it’s really, really gutting.”
The 15-year-old former racehorse was trained by Nicky Henderson while on the track. He ran 24 times under Rules and had eight wins.
Since then, he has had great success in the show ring, including being crowned supreme ridden champion at this year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show (14 May). He was due to compete in the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse class at HOYS today (Wednesday 4 October).
Katie said Barbers Shop’s lameness is a mystery.
“There are no marks in the stable and he hasn’t been cast,” she said. “He had bandages on overnight, which I put on when they’re staying away from home.
“He looked off-colour as well. He always looks shiny and bright-eyed, but he was a bit deflated.
“He’s was supreme at Windsor, been out twice this year and won twice, and always goes out looking really good.
“I just said I can’t [compete him like this]. It’s a devastatingly hard decision but he comes first.
“In my opinion they always should, it’s not about another rosette.
“It just wasn’t meant to be. It is a shame — I would have loved to have ridden him here, wherever we came. The girls are devastated, we all are.”
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Katie plans to get the vet to check the gelding over and hopes he will return to his usual self soon.
“It came on like that and I’m praying it will go [as quickly],” added Katie.
“We want him to do other things, like hunting and enjoy a quieter life.”
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