What’s in it For the Competitor?
Owners of racehorses registered with Retraining of Racehorses can now become a Club Member of Endurance GB free of charge. As a result, they will be able to enter Pleasure Rides at any of the hundred Endurance GB endurance events throughout the country at members rates.
(Lorna Kidson and Jack Dawson - winners of the ROR Elite Endurance Trophy 2013)
Why an ex-racehorse excels at endurance
The thoroughbred typically has bags of stamina, a very low heart rate when fit, is used to travelling long distances to an event and is brought up from an early age to understand the routines of every day handling, shoeing, clipping and has good stable manners. The ex-racehorse will have trained in a string and will love riding out in company, which is why pleasure rides are perfect for them. Most Pleasure Riders work at trot with short canters but there’s no shame in a leisurely stroll either if that’s where your horse is up to in its’ retraining programme.
(Anna Collins and Diamond Destiny)
The Challenges of Re-Training
The challenge in retraining an ex-racehorse for any discipline, especially endurance include teaching them to ride in a rhythm or cadence that works them efficiently and simple schooling manoeuvres that will get you safely through a gate, being tied to a trailer rather than attended to in a wagon or standing still whilst you get on.
When introduced to endurance, they can be a little uncertain of their surroundings as they will probably not have seen muddy puddles, low hanging branches or uneven terrain but they soon get the hang of it and seem grateful that they have a new job and the freedom to enjoy themselves.
Thoroughbreds also tend to be a little taller than the average endurance horse so being able to re-mount on course is useful but there’s usually a friendly person willing to open a gate for you if needed.