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Ex-Racehorses Win Awards In Their New Lives!

'Search for a Star' Hack champion in the money again

South Essex Insurance Brokers has proved again that for Thoroughbreds, there is a life after racing!

Six horses which have been in training and come under starter's orders and now compete in show jumping, eventing, dressage, showing and endurance competitions have come out tops in a national competition. Their owners received their awards at the prestigious Supporters of British Breeding annual dinner on January 10, when Mrs Di Arbuthnot, director of the British Horseracing Board charity Rehabilitation of Racehorses (RoR) will also be giving them special prizes.

The horses have earned their top places by accumulating most points during 2003 with the company's Racehorses to Riding Horses competition - amongst them the 2003 South Essex Insurance Brokers "Search for a Star" reserve champion, Milliemeter.. They and their owners are.-

Gift Star - Mrs Janet Nevard, Sudbury,, Norfolk
Rostreamer - Mrs Linda Burrows, Crowborough, East Sussex
Papatuu - Mrs Rebecca Wright, Newton Abbot, Devon
Sumthinelse - Mrs Georgina Bell, Bedworth, Warwickshire
Willa Thyne - Mrs Virginia Scott Watson, Kelso, Roxburghshire
Milliemeter - Ms Emily Curtis, Horley, Surrey

South Essex Insurance Brokers managing director, Barry Fehler, said: "Very little has given me as much pleasure as seeing public recognition for their achievement. Thoroughbreds have this ill-deserved reputation for being difficult and sometimes dangerous when they come out of training.

"The fact is, given the right care and attention they are as malleable as any other horse and many, if not fast enough to race, have latent skills to take them successfully into other disciplines."

Each winner came from a different affiliated discipline and one competes at unaffiliated level. They are.-

Showing: Milliemeter, last in training in 2001, started what could be an illustrious showing career at Ascot Sales. Julie Farrell and her business partner, Hilary Curtis, went along on "a girls day out," saw Milliemetre in his box and liked her, then were "totally stunned" at the low price when he came into the ring. "So we bought him," said Julie. The horse lived up to her promise when, ridden by Hilary's 24-years-old daughter, Emily, she qualified for the South Essex Insurance Brokers Search for a Star final at
the Horse of the Year Show, won the Hack Championship and then stood Reserve to the Supreme Champion.

"They had lots of offers for lots of money for her after that," said Emily, "but I persuaded them to keep her and she has done really well. I am aiming her for the Open Hacks in 2004." It was Emily's first experience of re-schooling a Thoroughbred out of racing. "But she was so easy," she says. "Sensible and well mannered."

Eventing: Willa Thyne, homebred by owner Mrs Scott Watson, went into training at four and was placed in three Bumpers. She then ran over hurdles for a number of seasons but did not train on and went on to Point to Point and hunting. "Then I decided to take her on into Horse Trials and she took to it really well," says Mrs Scott Watson. "She is a quick learner, especially at jumping, and even if she stopped once at a new fence she always jumps it the second time and never stops again."

Showjumping: Mrs Georgina Bell bought Sumthinelse from her husband's syndicate for £500, a far cry from the original purchase price of £10,000. Daughter Amie, 17, took him on, and started with hacking and then poles on the ground and grids. "At first he didn't know what to do and it took three goes to canter," she said. "But when I showed him a fence he went straight over."

Sumthinelse progressed through unaffiliated and was doing double clear rounds at 2ft 6ins and 2ft 9ins before being registered with the British Show Jumping Association in 2002, qualifying that year and in 2003 for the British Novice Regional competition. Whilst in training he won a six furlong handicap at Chester and qualified for the St Ledger Yearling Stakes in 1999.

Dressage: Gift Star, bred in America, ran only once in this country. Mrs Janet Nevard bought him from Ascot Bloodstock Sales, originally to school and sell on. "But I liked him so much I decided to keep him." He did some jumping, but showed so much promise at his flatwork that Mrs Nevard "decided to go the dressage route." He competed in Novice tests at five, Elementary at six and Medium at seven and now, with 254 British Dressage points, is set for Advanced Medium.

"But he is not a totally easy ride," Mrs Nevard admits. "He is a complete hooligan to hack out and if he finds any movements difficult or too taxing, he certainly lets you know about it!"

Endurance: Rostreamer, now 21 and known at home as Paddy, was bred in Ireland. He had a long career in racing, winning three times and placed in the first six of 20 starts out of a total of 33 - one win and a second partnered by Richard Dunwoody - before going on to Point to Point and hunting.

When Mrs Linda Burrows bought him he was 13 and her veterinary surgeon noted that he was "a high mileage horse," but since then he has competed over 1,500 miles, plus all the miles of training work. The partnership began in Endurance eight years ago and Rostreamer became Advanced in 1999. In 2000 he won a Silver award in the Golden Horseshoe Stag class. Last year he won a trophy for best over 60 miles in two days.

"He is bold, brave and has great stamina," says Mrs Burrows. "He will go anywhere he is asked, travel wells, is wonderful in the heaviest traffic - but can be quirky and stubborn. It is these last two things which make him a determined character and such a wonderful Endurance horse."

Unaffiliated: Papatuu came to this country from New Zealand and he came out of training in 1999. Mrs Rebecca Wright bought him privately but in poor condition. He was rested before doing any work under saddle. "He was scared stiff of showjumping but his groundwork was good," she said.

He has now been registered with the British Show Jumping Association and is nearly out of British Novice, although all his original unaffiliated showjumping and dressage was with Riding Clubs.

"He is the easiest horse to look after," Mrs Wright says, "and there is absolutely nothing temperamental about him at all."



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