The misconception that all former racehorses are quirky and difficult to retrain continues to be broken down by South Essex Insurance Broker’s (SEIB) “Racehorses to Riding Horses” competition.

The owners of six Thoroughbreds, who have been successful in show jumping, eventing, dressage, showing and endurance competitions, received awards from Di Arbuthnot, director of the British Horseracing Board charity Rehabilitation of Racehorses (RoR) at the Supporters of British Breeding annual dinner at the weekend.

The award-winning horses are:

  • Showing: Milliemeter
  • Eventing: Willa Thyne
  • Show jumping: Sumthinelse
  • Dressage: Gift Star
  • Endurance: Rostreamer
  • Unaffiliated: Papatuu

SEIB managing director, Barry Fehler, says: “Very little has given me as much pleasure as seeing public recognition for the achievements of these horses.

“Thoroughbreds have the ill-deserved reputation for being difficult and sometimes dangerous when they come out of training. The fact is, given the right care and attention they are as malleable as any other horse and many have latent skills to take them successfully into other disciplines.”

Rebecca Wright, owner of the unaffiliated section winner, Papatuu, who left training in 1999, agrees: “He is the easiest horse to look after,” Mrs Wright says, “and there is absolutely nothing temperamental about him at all.”

The theory is proven further by Emily Curtis, who rode Millimeter to take the hack championship and reserve supreme in the SEIB Search for a Star class at HOYS last year, and describes the former racehorse as “sensible and well mannered”.

However, all horses are individuals as Janet Nevard, owner of racehorse turned dressage horse Gift Star, explains: “Gift Star has 254 British Dressage points and is set to compete at advanced medium level, but he is not a totally easy ride. He is a complete hooligan to hack out and if he finds any movements difficult or too taxing, he certainly lets you know about it!”

  • Riders who compete former racehorses in unaffiliated dressage competitions will be pleased to hear that Addington Manor EC, Bucks, is extending its special prizes to promote the retraining of racehorses to include preliminary classes. For more details contact (tel: 01780 740773).