Clare Poole’s racehorse to riding horse blog: polar opposites embark on their new lives

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  • So, my little opening jitty to my last blog appeared to work — the rain packed its bags and we were blessed with some gorgeous weather in July, lots of quality hay and haylage has been made and my farmer’s tan is coming along just nicely!

    The end of June saw me make the trip up to Aintree to judge the former racehorse classes alongside co-judge Michaela Bowling. It was such a privilege to be invited to judge on the “Hallowed Turf” and I had some really quality horses forward. The supreme championship was very generously sponsored by Goffs — it’s fantastic that we have these major racing organisations giving their support and backing to our wonderful former racehorses in their second careers. My overall supreme champion was Lough Inch, ridden by Lizzie Harris — this prolific point-to-point star has got showman written all over him, he oozes class and really looks through the bridle.

    Definightly at the dressage to music demo and camp

    It’s been a busy month for newbie Moon Racer (pictured top) — he has attended his first couple of clinics and shows. His debut outing couldn’t have been more fitting. We made the short journey to Cheltenham Racecourse, home of his famous Champion Bumper win, for an RoR clinic with Amanda Birch. It was a big ask to take him back to a racecourse so early into his retraining, not to mention the fact that the Cheltenham Hot Air Balloon Festival was also in full swing in the middle of the course! This was also Mooney’s first experience of an indoor school (complete with mirror for added effect!), but he took it all in his stride and was an absolute pleasure to ride.

    Mooney’s second clinic saw the addition of coloured poles — he thoroughly enjoyed his session at Moores Farm with Judith Murphy FBHS and was extremely careful through the various exercises as well as being unfazed by working in a group with three other horses.

    Unperturbed by the pole work, Moon Racer went on to have a fabulous introduction to showjumping session with the fabulous Rachel Gallop at Summerhouse EC. Again he behaved like a pro and worked really well for the whole session which culminated in jumping a course — he certainly smiled his way through this session and showed a natural talent in this sphere, so this is an area we will be concentrating more on for sure.

    In between his education outings Moon Racer has made two appearances in the show ring in-hand. These were both RoR classes. His first at Hanbury where he finished seventh and then at Bridgend County where he finished fourth — he behaved impeccably on both occasions and really does enjoy showing himself off.

    We had another trip to Aintree mid-July, this time with horses in tow for a wonderful few days with Original Equestrian and Gaynor Colbourn for a dressage to music demo and camp.

    Definightly, a former star of Roger Charlton’s stable with winnings on the Flat of over £177,000, made his second appearance in one of Gaynor’s fabulous demos — there’s nothing quite like riding under the lights in the awesome international arena to music being played live by Gaynor, in the company of some high profile riders, including Christopher Woods and his gorgeous young stallion Derroche SF. Definightly loves an audience and he was in his element for his performance.

    The two days following the demo was spent with Gaynor designing a new floor plan and creating the music to accompany it — I’m excited to get out and compete now!

    Moon Racer accompanied Definightly for the experience and he loved the international arena. He made it quite clear that really nothing fazes him as he worked in surrounded by white boards, flowers and banners… oh yes, not forgetting the very loud live music! As we are still early days into Mooney’s retraining, rather than creating a floorplan at this stage Gaynor has put us together some fabulous music to school to at home.

    Moon Race at Hanbury Show

    Un Temps Pour Tout, Mooney’s stable mate, has been continuing his early re-education with lots of long reining and groundwork where we have started to introduce poles too. Temps is a completely different kettle of fish to Mooney in his outlook. He has a very sensitive nature yet at the same time he is incredibly trusting of us and the questions we are beginning to ask of him in his new life. So it is really important that we take as much time as this lovely boy needs in these early weeks and months to ensure he continues to grow in confidence in readiness for his second career.

    Continued below…

    I’ve had a couple of lovely judging appointments more recently at Burwarton and Vale of Glamorgan Agricultural Shows — it’s fantastic to see these wonderful “proper” one-day agricultural shows so well supported by both exhibitors and the general public.

    The team has a busy few weeks ahead of us — Gaitway will be heading to the Beaufort Hunt Supporters Show in the RoR Jockey Club novice qualifier, Definightly has the RoR Northern dressage champs at Aintree followed by his area festival at Hartpury and several of the boys have SWPA champs, Dorset County and the Nedz Autumn Show at Aintree to look forward to.


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