Former racehorses competing in dressage, show jumping, showing or eventing are a familiar sight — but the horses Lindsey Partridge retrains find themselves in some more unusual situations.
The Canadian harmony horsemanship practitioner recently hit the headlines when she tested the policy of a “pet-friendly” hotel by taking her thoroughbred mare Blizz into her room.
After the stunt earned her an appearance on a breakfast TV show, she took advantage of having her horses in the centre of Toronto, demonstrating her impressive bond as she allowed them to work at liberty in the fountains in Dundas Square.
“My goal is to show people that thoroughbreds can be calm and happy partners because a lot of people think thoroughbreds are crazy and hotheaded,” Lindsey said. “I do help people with all types of horses, but I have a special spot in my heart for the thoroughbreds because they are such talented horses and they are often overlooked and rejected just because they are racehorses.
“I take my horses to unusual places and do interesting things with them all to try to show people that anything is possible when you take the time to create a calm connection and even ex-racehorses can be wonderful partners.”
Lindsey’s YouTube channel also features a number of other horsey adventures, all with thoroughbreds either bought from the sales, given to her or acquired through adoption schemes.
“One of my other horses named Dreamer was given to me for being too aggressive and he has now been in three feature films and is a superstar,” she said. “You can see I’ve taken him shopping and a tack store, he’s gone to New York City, I take them to the beach, around the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto and other places.”
She added that the Super8 hotel stunt was “a bit of a joke”.
“I wasn’t expecting to be able to let my horse in there but I was surprised when the receptionist said that I could. So I seized the opportunity as just one more place that you could take horse with a calm connection.”
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The 31-year-old has such confidence in her training method that she is happy to buy her horses just based on a picture. Bowdie, a racehorse with more than 50 starts whom she recently took to central Toronto, was bought at an auction over the phone.
As well as showing their skills in unusual settings, she has also successfully competed them ridden in an annual competition for retrained racehorses at Kentucky Horse Park.
“The training method I use is focused on understanding yourself, your horse and the language that connects you. We’ll use positive reinforcement and really focus on getting a calm connection before anything else,” she explained.
She added that the approach that seems to work well with thoroughbreds off the track.
“I find it particularly effective for any horse that hasn’t really learned to slow down and connect with a human,” she said. “So yes, racehorses in particular it works great with because usually they just think to run. Which is ok because that is what they were supposed to do, but for anything else it’s important that they slow down and think about the human.”