Hi guys, I know a lot of you already know a lot about me but I just wanted to take this opportunity to fill you in a bit on my ‘newbie’ and how he’s doing since he arrived with me. So, first off here’s a little bit of background about me and my horsey life.
Eventing has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, I think I can date it back to watching Chris Bartle winning Badminton in 1998 when I went for the first time with a local riding club on a coach trip. Ever since then I have lived for that nervous excitement that you get when being counted down in the start box. I have evented on and off since 2002, when time and horses have allowed with various results. In 2015 I started again in earnest with my aim being the grassroots championships at Badminton on my ISH mare Nobelle Clover. Now, some of you will know that this was not to be, a pesky thing called cancer got in the way on my part then Rosa sustained a career ending injury. However, I had a back up plan! I had a young horse in training that I was also intending to event. Fast-forward a few years and despite showing promise as a four-year old, I am unable to keep her sound whilst jumping and I decide to sell her.
And this is where Arogo enters my life. Having a very limited budget to purchase ‘my next big horse’ I decided to source from the racing industry. I have always had blood horses, but never a pure thoroughbred, I figured it couldn’t be too different! On the 29th September, I collected a three-year old ex-sprint horse from Yorkshire Retraining and Rehoming in Catterick, he last raced 10 days prior. Despite being well bred by Dalham Hall Stud of Sheikh Mohammed by the Darley stallion Iffraaj, Arogo was awful as a racehorse! His best finish was 6th out of 12. I bet his previous owners are wishing they hadn’t spent 130,000 Gns on him at Tattersalls Breeze Up sales as a 2yo. Arogo was trained by Kevin Ryan and as he has such a lot of horses, they don’t get given stable names, so my first job as his new owner was to give him a stable name. Now, I’d promised my other half that I wouldn’t buy another horse (Haven’t we all?!) so in order to placate him, I called the newbie after his beloved Arsenal – Gunner.
When Gunner first arrived, he had a few months to chill out and be a horse for a while. Unfortunately, he arrived just as the awful wet winter started and we don’t have turn out in winter as are our fields are on clay. He settled into his new home and routine very well and it soon became clear he is a kindhearted soul. With him being an ex-racehorse and probably being fed a high cereal diet, I was concerned about the possibility that Gunner would have ulcers so I needed to ensure he had a high fibre diet. I offered him a variety of fibre sources whilst he was stabled in order to ‘tickle his appetite’ and attempt to increase his fibre intake. During the day he would have 7kg Haynets, one with hay, one with haylage and a ‘forage bucket’ with Re-Covery Mash, sugar beet and alfalfa pellets for him to graze on during the day. Although Gunner decided that he preferred tipping his bucket up and eating it from the floor! For his ‘bucket feed’ he had Re-Leve, which is high fibre, high oil and cereal, perfect for a young horse with no turnout, and the calorie level is equivalent to a conditioning feed so also great for adding more coverage to his racehorse frame. I also added Equijewel, to further increase the calorie density of the ration, and KER BioBloom to support quality hoof growth. As he’d literally just come off the track (he still had his racing plates on) his feet were pretty bashed up from having plates on/off all the time.
After having some down time, I began to retrain Gunner earlier this year with the plan to event him in the future. I had intended to do some Burghley Young Event Horse classes this year but obviously Covid has put that out of the equation. I would like to do some Retraining of Racehorses dressage and showing with him too. Now he’s in a proper workload and has turnout I have changed his diet slightly; he is now on Show Improver Cubes to add a little starch to his diet. He’s actually a really laid-back horse and whilst I know this is also a training issue at this point in his retraining the added starch gives me a little more ‘go’ without creating monsters behind every hedgerow. They also contain Equijewel so I have reduced the amounts of Equijewel he is having in his bucket feed too. His energy levels in the Show Improver are absolutely spot on, and still low enough in starch that I am happy to feed them despite my ulcer concerns. It is worthwhile just adding that he is in no way ‘symptomatic’ for ulcers, but I still treat him like he could possibly have them. With this in mind I always feed a scoop of chaff prior to exercise and I add this to Re-Covery Mash prior to travelling so he has a nice fibre mat in his stomach to help prevent any splashback. He also has Re-Covery mash post exercise and training to help rehydrate him and reduce fatigue.
I’d love to do some BE80’s with him later this year if regulations allow but if not we will focus on dressage and showjumping and spend the winter training to come out all guns blazing next year – pun intended! He’s already proving very good between the white boards, having achieved over 70% on his first outing just before lockdown, and continuing in the same vein whilst doing some online dressage during lockdown.
So, that’s me and G – take care until next time, Kate x