Quirky Mad Moose makes his dressage debut

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  • Fans of the quirky former racehorse Mad Moose will be pleased to hear the popular but enigmatic gelding has taken to his new career as a riding horse.

    Since his retirement at the end of 2014, the 12-year-old chestnut has been successfully retrained. He enjoyed his first ever outing to a dressage show in March with his rider Sophie Burkin (video below). The pair will take part in the Retraining Of Racehorses (ROR) parade at Aintree’s Grand National Festival tomorrow (7 April).

    Naughty ‘Moose’ was renowned for refusing to start in his races when trained by Nigel Twison-Davies — which saw him banned from the racecourse in January 2014.

    Although the ban was lifted by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) nine months later, the decision was made by his connections to call it a day on his racing career.

    He was taken on by Derbyshire-based Sophie — who first met Mad Moose when he was sent to Nicky Tinkler’s point-to-point yard to be ‘freshened-up’ after falling foul of the authorities.

    “I had a phone call from his owners from Middleham Park Racing asking if I wanted him. He had always been a nice character, so I took him on as my own horse,” said Sophie. “He arrived on New Year’s Eve 2014 and I was out hunting him with the Braes of Derwent the following day — he was very excitable.”

    Sophie has taken time to retrain the son of Presenting and is hoping to affiliate him in eventing.

    “I decided to give him a bit of down time when he came straight out of training. Then I was asked to ride him at the parade at Aintree last year. After that I properly started retraining him — I knew he could jump so I worked on getting him balanced and responsive. I really worked on his flatwork,” adds Sophie who works for Rewards4Racing and also produces show horses.

    During his first show he was brilliant — as I had doubts I would even get him in the arena. However, he was really not bothered by the whiteboards or music and took it all in his stride.”

    Mad Moose 1

    Mad Moose is the first ex-racehorse Sophie has taken on to retrain and he is living up to his quirky nature.

    “Some days, for example, he doesn’t want to go out in the field — he just stands there and takes some persuading to move.

    “The trick with Moose is to convince him that everything is his idea and then he is okay — he just likes to make his own mind up about things,” she says of the gelding who has his own Twitter page and a following of over 5,500 people.

    “Last year, he was very excited to be at Aintree and spent the whole parade jogging — this year I hope he will be a bit more relaxed,” said Sophie.

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