The latest addition to Bill Turner’s racing yard — a zebra

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  • Racehorse trainer Bill Turner is seeing stripes.

    The newest addition to his Dorset racing yard, Sigwells Farm, is Zebedee, a 14-month-old zebra.

    Bill bought Zebedee from a reserve in Holland for £4,500 and, in just over a fortnight, had broken and trained him enough to ride him to the local pub.

    “I basically trained him the same way as I would a horse,” he told H&H. “At first it was a bit tricky to get tack on him — much like I expect it would be to tack up a wild mustang.”

    Due to their tendency to panic, zebras are thought to be harder to train and control than horses. But Bill had few problems in breaking Zebedee.

    “At the beginning,” said Bill, “he would come at you with his mouth open and boxing with his front feet. He hasn’t tried since though, he’s very kind.”

    Breaking and training a zebra has always been one of Bill’s ambitions.

    “If someone says you can’t do something, I always want to try,” he said.

    Bill bought Zebedee, who currently stands at 13.2hh, as a pet for some friends. But now the trainer intends to keep him for a year to make sure he is safe and easy to catch.

    This article was first published in Horse & Hound (11 June, ’09)

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