Member Showcase: Amy Walpole

Timmy

Recently joining SPPHA, I am still learning what this great club is all about and all that they have to offer but it’s so great to see a group of devoted individuals providing, enabling and advocating a life after racing and also loving homes for Standardbreds across the board and it’s through this group that I found my next project pony and much loved fur baby.

I really do believe horses and humans have a way of finding their way to each other without much cause or intent. ‘What is meant to be will be’… This is exactly the case for both Timmy and myself as in all honesty, prior to knowing about him I wasn’t even thinking about adding to the family in any way or form but yet here we are.

Having been married in March this year, you tend to get asked the question quite frequently ‘so when is the baby coming along’? Thankfully my husband and I are on the completely same page where starting a family of our own is still far away on the horizon yet, which means we can focus on expanding other areas of our life such as our fur babies. It all began with harmlessly scrolling through Facebook (as you do) and an advertisement for a quiet, compact and cute black Standardbred graced my phone screen. It’s hard to describe but looking back on that distinctive moment it was something about his Black Beauty (soft eyes) look alike face that caught my attention and prompted me to ask the question ‘could we?’. Through the motions of discussing the possibility with my husband, close friend Ingrid (SPPHA President), Amanda (SPPHA rehoming contact) and of course Alison (Timmy’s previous owner), it was starting to look quite likely that Timmy and I were meant for each other.

For a young horse that had not done much prior to ending his racing career, I was quite surprised to see how quiet and comfortable Timmy was particularly around strangers who he had never met before. He was definitely cheeky and had a mischievous glimmer in his eye but also had this beautiful nature inside and out. After spending time with him, I started visualising our life together and thought it could really work so the decision was made, he loaded on the float without much reservation and such began the journey to his new home.

I hadn’t really told Chester (my beloved older TB gelding) that he was getting a younger brother that day, so if I could have captioned his facial expressions it would have read something like ‘that thing isn’t staying here permanently is he???’. But despite a few races around the paddock, they settled into life together rather well.

It is your typical big brother v little brother dynamics though and so cute to see Timmy absolutely doting on Chester and in return I think Chester has a really soft spot for him because whenever Timmy is taken away he does call out to him, which is rare. My vision for Timmy is for him to become my all-rounder of a horse, and we not be restricted in any way or form in what we want to do. So far we have been able to attend a local hacking show and managed to place in every class we entered, plus he handled the competition environment like a pro as well as our first trail ride (and third ride overall) – which I should note he is still not broken in to saddle, just harness from his racing days. There really is a lot to be said about Standardbreds, such undervalued breeds that have so much to offer and give.

Everything that I have thrown his way he has taken completely on board and his ability to cope, learn and mentality to please never ceases to amaze me. Timmy is a very intelligent, young and quirky Standardbred and I thank my lucky stars every day that we came to find each other. I cannot believe how far Timmy and my partnership has grown in the short time we have come to know each other and begun this journey and I am very excited to see what else we can achieve together. Timmy has the biggest heart and I absolutely adore him.

A huge thank you to Ingrid for your support and counsel throughout the whole process, Amanda for ‘matchmaking’ us perfectly and of course Alison for entrusting me with your special boy. I look forward to becoming more involved with SPPHA, meeting fellow members through competitions or events and further supporting in general life after racing for Standardbred’s because what a great cause it is.

Timmy

 

Member Showcase: Jemma Green

Here is Jemma Green’s story of DeRosa Park Diva owned by Candice Wilkins

Jemma Green of 18/24 Equine  has been successfully campaigning DeRosa Park Diva who is owned by Candice Wilkins. DeRosa Park Diva (race name Majestic Dreamer) has had a successful career to date in both Standardbred classes but also success in the Open Show Hunter Galloway classes competing against mixed breeds of top show animals.

Callie being a show horse has been retained with this in mind, after retraining many off the track Thoroughbreds and loving every minute of being able to give an ex racehorse a second chance at life after racing. I wanted to broaden my horizons and work with the Standardbred and prove that they are not only just good for one thing, which I have been able to show with Candice’s beautiful mare.

What I love about Callie is firstly her temperament, is second to none, they are a lovely breed of horse to work with and are very smart. They put 110% effort into whatever you are asking them to do, even on those days when they may be confused they are just so willing and easy to work with.

 

Member Showcase: Heleena Bamford

Here is Heleena’s story with her beautiful Standardbreds. 

I have wanted a horse ever since I can remember. I spent my early years trying to persuade my parents that a suburban backyard was definitely big enough for a Shetland pony! But my family was non-horsey, so apart from a few holiday trail rides each year, I was limited to movies and magazines. Then school, university, work and life generally got in the way. But the itch to own a horse never went away. So my 33rd birthday present to myself was riding lessons, then lots of trail rides. After a few years I was ready for my own horse. I had my eye on one in particular!

I had met a lady who re-trained and rehomed retired pacers – my friends and I had regularly taken her horses out trail riding. I came to love the breed during that time. One brown Standardbred mare called Indie was my favourite. Her HRA name is Apache Cam and she was no good as a race horse with 3 races under her belt, no placings. Indie had come back to be rehomed as her owner of a few years was moving overseas. I had spent many hours on the trail with Indie and adored her.
So Indie became my first ever horse and my horse of many firsts – not in ribbons (though she did get a few of those), but in the many experiences she introduced me to and lessons she taught me. She was the horse I learnt to float, she took me to my first clinic, helped me learn to plait a mane (not impressed!), was the first horse I took to a show and yes the first horse I won ribbons with.

She also taught me how to be a better rider and trainer. Unexpectedly, although she had many trail hours behind her, once I took her into an arena she became flustered easily. Everything was back to pacing, ambling etc – so it was another whole new learning experience for me to accustom her to arena work, and basically re-learn trot and canter there. She was also very spooky, with a big shy on her, so I had to learn to deal with that too. We got there in the end and she became a lovely riding horse. Two of my most awesome riding experiences have been with Indie’s dressage training – the first time I got a horse to work in a frame with light contact – and the first time I experienced the power and grace of a horse that had true self-carriage. The most amazing feeling. And all this from a horse who I was told early on that I would never even get to work in a frame!

I showed her under her race name of Apache Cam and her first show was amazing – Bungendore Show. She did well in led classes, but excelled in the ridden, winning novice ridden and taking out Champion Ridden Standardbred against a few open Standardbreds!  Indie was doing well in the show ring and ended up with 2013 SPPHA NSW equal 4th High Score for Best Ridden Standardbred.

I couldn’t have received news of this prize at a better time. Towards the end of 2013, I had developed a back/neck condition. I was in a lot of pain and had several months off work and riding. Chronic pain is hard to deal with and depression and other mental health issues are a common side effect. I had my husband and dogs to keep me company inside, but I am glad I had Indie too – she was often the reason to get out of bed and out of the house into the sunshine. When I got the news of our award, I wasn’t sure if I could return to riding. It would be a hard road back and I had a lot of physical rehabilitation. I would have to re-learn how to ride again as my body no longer functioned the same way – some things would work one day, but not the next. The prize reminded me how much I had enjoyed riding and showing Indie and the Standardbred people I had met. It made me all the more determined to get back to riding. (So thanks to all the volunteers who have/do run the SPPHA – you make a huge difference, not only to the lives of these horses but also to lots of people!)

And as Murphy’s law would have it, when I was starting to get back into riding, Indie started to have soundness issues. Tried many things to help her but no joy. Eventually arthritis was diagnosed in both hocks – partial joint fusion causing her soreness in her back and elsewhere. A long lay-off was on the cards and an uncertain prognosis as a riding horse. It was a condition that might fix itself over time but also no guarantee.

I decided to get another young standardbred to start working while Indie (hopefully) recovered. I had come across a Standardbred re-trainer based at Narooma – Phil and Sophia May of Southern NSW Standardbreds. I contacted them asking if they had a horse that might suit. They had the perfect horse – Ellie (HRA name Adios Shannon), a lovely young Four Starzz Shark mare. She is a blingy chestnut with a lovely white blaze and 3 white socks – gorgeous! Even more impressive though was her movement – huge potential for showing and dressage. Ellie had never made it to racing – having had a serious hoof injury at one point. But I was lucky her owners cared enough to send her to Phil and Sophia.

So I have been prepping Ellie for showing. It was a slow start – she was sidelined for a few months last year with a persistent hoof abscess from the wet wet winter. Our first show was in January this year at Bowral where came away with Supreme Standardbred! Most impressive though was her temperament for her first time out – actually had a snooze on the sidelines while we were waiting to go into the show ring. Couldn’t have asked for better! I have huge hopes for her this coming show season – I hope to compete in the Harness Racing Off The Track Series and get out to as many shows as we can. Fingers crossed, I’d like to be competing in open classes by 2018 (or sooner!). I also hope to get to some dressage competitions as well – that is my ultimate goal with Ellie, to take her as far up the dressage grades as we can. But she is so lovely, that I feel she needs to have a good crack at a show career as well! And meanwhile, Indie has been enjoying paddock ornament status.

I was lucky during my time with Indie that I started up with my dressage instructor extraordinaire, Angela Bennett of ALBEquestrian. Angela has helped me tremendously with Indie and Ellie, taught me so much about riding and is a well of enthusiasm. She has been so supportive of my passion for dressage and for Standardbreds – for which I am eternally grateful!

And I have just adopted my first horse from the SPPHA – who some of you might remember. He is Bohdi – a gorgeous young Standardbred with big movement who is also another Four Starzz Shark horse – really loving this line as potential performance horses.  I plan to bring him on slowly over the next year and I am hoping that he will enjoy a dressage career. Although I am sure we will also get out to a few shows along the way! Thanks Sam for entrusting him to me and to Amanda & the SPPHA for arranging his adoption.

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 love 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!

Member Showcase: Anli Alexander

Here is Anli’s story on her horse Miss Y (race name Ellomagic)

I bought my first own horse in Sweden in 1991, a big grey trotter. I was 13 years old. Since then i have owned alot of Standardbreds, bought and retrained to sell on. I got the horses cheap of the trotting trainers . I bought a warmblood once but sold it shortly after and found another Standardbred. I love them because of their versatility and temperament. I competed successfully in dressage , showjumping and endurance in Sweden. Here in Australia i been doing dressage and shows
About a year and a half ago I was on the hunt for a Standardbred to show . A lady in town said she had a lovely mare to sell. I never went to look at her as my friend gave me another Standardbred gelding for free. This year I was once again on the hunt so i contacted the lady in town to see of she still had the mare .. and she did. So drove over to look at her and bough her.

Missy was only broken in and hardly ridden when i bought her so were still in training. We do dressage training and a bit of jumping. Our groundwork is straightness training. I only just started show her and she won champion at her first show. We also do trail rides and lots of cuddles.Missy is cuddly and quiet!

Member Showcase: Kayleigh Manson

We are pleased to announce one of our exciting new additions to SPPHA NSW Newsletters our member showcase.
Each month we want to showcase our members and their horses in any discipline.

This months member we want to share is Kayleigh Manson with her horse Classic Croupier.

Here is Kayleigh’s story on her horse Classic Croupier.

On the 16th of March 2016 I received a call from my farrier letting me know he had a Standardbred  for me knowing that I was looking for one.
I was told he was re-homed to people after he finished racing in February 2016 and they were not taking the best care of him.I asked my farrier if he was broken in as a riding horse as I was already looking for something started, I have 2 tiny babies and didn’t think I had the time. My farrier offered to hop on and see how he goes once he arrives.I receive a phone call couple of hours later and my farrier sounded upset  he informed me that he is emaciated and unable to get on him in his condition.
I was told if they couldn’t find him a home his future was looking rather bleak.
So, I was up next morning at 6am to go and view him.
I have never wanted to cry so much, this dirty skeleton with no light in his eyes greeted me in the stable.
Running my hands over his body all I felt was ribs and my heart broke.I can remember thinking would it be kinder to put him out of his misery or try and bring him back and I thank god I chose to give him a chance.
He was extremely head shy, scared and so untrusting.
After months of hard work, love and plenty of feed this horse has been the best thing to happen to me in a long time.
I have a very special connection with him and he will be in his forever home with me.
Racing name is Classic Croupier (Bruno)
I love standies because they always try, they are so willing to please and have the biggest hearts.
If you own a standardbred you will have a forever best friend.

They are my favorite breed and I’m lucky enough to own 2 !

Member Showcase: Margo Bailey

We are pleased to announce one of our exciting new additions to SPPHA NSW  our member showcase!
Our first member we want to share is our lovely sponsored endurance rider Margo Bailey.

Here is Margo’s Showcase with her beautiful horse Gold Claim.

GC (Gold Claim) GC came to me through the SPPHA NSW horse placement back in 2011. He was owned and trained in Bathurst and had a very successful career, with 108 starts for 62 wins and places. He was retired at 9 years if age and after a year relaxing in our paddock and getting minimal groundwork was finally broken in in 2012.

Since early 2013 he has completed many short distance endurance rides and has become progressively faster and harder to hold back. His spirit that saw him compete so successfully in the gig was becoming the same in the endurance world. He can be a scary horse on a ride and I have had to learn several strategies to keep him ‘in control’, complete and most importantly ‘vet through’. Unfortunately we vetted out at Burraga late last year and GC is having a rest before coming back into work later this month. I have every expectation that he will become fit enough to do a few more rides into the colder months.

I love the breed. They are not ‘silly’ horses and will pass letterboxes, plastic bags, garbage trucks with no more than a glance. They will put up with their owner scrambling on top of them because they can’t mount properly with a crook hip. They do well on any feed and float and camp well when out. Even though GC can scare me on an endurance ride I love the ride he gives me. He is not an affectionate horse but is a ‘worker’ and gets the job done.

As the first SPPHA sponsored endurance horse I hope we can earn the recognition that we have got and go out and show people that the Standardbred horse is an ideal ride on the trails and in competitive endurance.

We are proud to have Margo and Gold Claim flying the SPPHA NSW flag in the endurance world. We wish them all the best in 2017 and will be keeping everyone updated with their achievements this year.