If you’re the proud owner of an ex-racehorse, you probably find you get asked the same old questions about your noble steed, and hear the same tired statements repeated. Over and over again. Could you lot change the record, please?
1. ‘Did he run in the Grand National/Derby/at Cheltenham?’
More the sort of thing you’re likely to hear from vaguely interested guests making small talk at dinner parties than actual horsey people, it’s still slightly galling to watch the faint disappointment cross their face when you admit that your beloved Nobby has in fact run in fewer races than your average seaside donkey.
2. ‘Was he ridden by anyone famous?’
Do you count? You did once win a Blue Peter badge for your amazing break-dancing skills. When you were 12.
3. ‘Did he win much money?’
Isn’t it rude to ask people how much money they make? Even if those ‘people’ are, in fact, equids.
4. ‘Don’t you worry about him tanking off with you? You can never fully retrain a racehorse, they always retain that wild instinct.’
All horses have a secret wild side, it’s not something that’s not unique to ex-racers. Even the quietest Dobbin can take off if his prey animal instinct kicks in and he deems it sensible to get the hell outta Dodge. So nah – you’re not too worried, thanks.
5. ‘Rather you than me! Thoroughbreds are so sharp and sensitive.’
Oh, yawn. What a tired old cliché. Some are, and some aren’t — just like any other breed of horse. There seems to be this idea that all ex-racers were the finely-tuned Ferraris of the horse-world, whereas in fact, some of them were good old reliable Volvos!
6. ‘I bet he’s got terrible feet – all ex-racers have flat feet and cracked hooves.’
Well this depends. And anyway, ballerinas dance until their feet bleed, and people who run marathons often find their toenails fall off. But guess what – they grow again. You can make feet better, with careful management and a good diet. This stuff ain’t exactly rocket science!
7. ‘I bet he’s a nightmare to look after with all the health issues TBs have with ulcers and things.’
Not really. He lives in a field and is as happy as Larry.
Liked this? You may also enjoy reading these articles…
8. ‘Oh he’s an ex-racer, you can’t expect him to stand still at a mounting block. And I expect he has to go at the front on group rides, right?’
Actually, you expect him to have good manners, just like you would any other horse. Especially as he’s been off the track for over 10 years now.
9. ‘Are you sure he’s not too much horse for you to handle?’
Would it be too much for this person to handle if you tell them firmly where to stick their silly questions?
For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday