Member Showcase: Karen Hocking

I took up riding again after a 20+ year break and some bad accidents. I had a bad experience buying a horse and decided to adopt a Standardbred after hearing great things about them, particularly from a horseman I follow, the advice from John O’Leary of Horseproblems Australia. Also. they are a bit of an ‘under dog’ and I liked the idea of rehoming retired race horses that weren’t Thoroughbreds. Best thing I ever did. I have adopted another two since.

I love everything about Haydon, I love that he is a big doofus, a bit of a ‘dude’ and is full of character. I┬álove how he splashes in the water and tries to get everyone around him, including me wet! I love how he tries so hard to please and understand what I ask of him – he forgives my mistakes but will let me know when he is confused (usually by stamping his foot or swinging his head) I love that when I am upset or just not feeling *right* he knows it – and is extra smoochy. I love that he looks for me each day and comes up for a scratch. I love that he is an individual and we are building a good partnership together – I wouldn’t trade him for anything!

Haydon and I started out at a few shows together but figured out very quickly that neither of us are too comfortable in the show ring. He has brought home a few firsts and a few Champions (led) but it’s too hard for us to get to shows (distance). He is a family member first and foremost.

We did our first social (endurance) ride in October 2015, with a further ride in Tooraweenah in April 2016 and Mudgee in May 2016. He is a natural – he has awesome low heart rates, seems to love the trail and I love riding through some amazing country side with him. We camp out and just enjoy the whole thing. He was a little nervy with the camping thing first (small yards) but by the third go, nothing phased him – apart from the 80km riders going out without him in the morning – he wanted to go too!
Once we have a few 40km under our belts and we can get some consistent training in, I want to do an 80km ride. It would be a huge achievement for both of us. I have had a few trainers say to me that with his natural ability and some consistent training, not only would he do 80kms easily, he could be competitive as well. Not everyday you hear that. But to me it doesn’t matter about the competition, I just love spending time with him!

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