Beware Chalk Pit, Right You Are and Wild West up for Horse of the Year Title
With the 2017 RoR Awards just over a month away the list of nominations in the running for the award of RoR Horse of the Year has been reduced to a final three.
Leading the trio in terms of seniority is the 17-year-old, Right You Are, who has overcome significant adversity en route to finding his niche in the dressage arena. Joining Right You Are are two stars of the show-ring, the 13-year-old Beware Chalk Pit and the 9-year-old, Wild West.
The 2017 RoR Awards take place on Monday 11th December, hosted by RoR Patron, Clare Balding. The event will again be staged at the historic Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket, the home of horseracing.
The awards acknowledge and celebrate the versatility of former racehorses across a range of disciplines, with prizes awarded to the RoR elite winners in dressage, polo, eventing, endurance and showing. The final award on the night is the prestigious RoR Horse of the Year, sponsored by The Jockey Club, and won in 2016 by Monet’s Garden.
This year eleven horses were nominated as contenders for Horse of the Year. The credentials of each horse were reviewed by a panel comprising RoR Patron Sir Anthony McCoy, ITV Racing and At The Races presenter, Luke Harvey and RoR Chief Executive, Di Arbuthnot, and three horses have been selected for a final shortlist.
The three finalists for 2017 RoR Horse of the Year are:
Name Region Horse Details Rider
Beware Chalk Pit East 13 y.o gelding Rebecca Court
Right You Are North West 17 y.o gelding Charlotte Bowery
Wild West East Midlands 9 y.o gelding Lizzie Harris
Background on the three finalists:
Beware Chalk Pit is a 13-y.o gelding by Anshan. A two-time winner under rules he has become better known for his exploits in the show-ring with his rider Rebecca Court, who shares him with Ann Leftley. Ann has owned ‘Pete’ since he was a three-year-old.
Rebecca Court says of ‘Pete: “His journey from Racehorse to Riding Horse was actually very straight forward, though this does not lessen his achievements.He had immediate and consistent success; surpassing all expectation with the extent to which he adapted.
“In retraining him he has never said ‘no’, always risen to the occasion, always performed; he has an enthusiasm for life and for the job; he has been so rewarding to work with. He always has his ears pricked, looking forwards through the bridle with an outwardly happy disposition. I think he was almost born to be a show horse.
Rebecca and Pete’s highlights in RoR classes are being crowned champion at Hickstead and winners of the Elite Final and Supreme Champion at the 2016 RoR National Championships.
She says: “For 2017, I thought last seasons results couldn’t be topped and felt a degree of pressure after doing the ‘RoR double’ last year, so I just set out to enjoy him. I needn’t have worried, Pete and I have had a brilliant year with eleven wins; the Tattersalls Special at Aintree and Burghley Horse Trials being highlights. Pete, this season, has been one of the most successful retrained racehorses to compete in open showing classes.”
Right You Are was retired from racing in 2010 due to injury and has since overcome significant adversity, undertaking the journey from being a vulnerable horse who’s welfare was at risk to one that competes successfully in British Dressage classes.
Right You Are’s owner and rider, Charlotte Bowery says, “His history following his retirement from racing is unclear, however, a kind lady thought she could offer him a home. Unfortunately, he proved difficult to manage and so to secure his future she gave him to the British Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre (BTRC) in April 2011. When he came to the centre he was very poor and it was uncertain whether anyone would be able to ride him again. I worked there at the time and he was on my list of horses to assess and look after.
“He was unsound most days, his future was unsure and the vet told me not to get too attached to him. On the days he was sound I carried on working him and he was starting to show potential. As soon as he had put on enough weight to carry a saddle I tried to get on him; he completely freaked. His reaction was so bad we were doubtful that anyone would be able to get on him again. I wanted to persist with him and took him to the mounting block every day, eventually winning him over. I had such a strong bond with him that I decided to take him for my own to continue his rehabilitation.
“And then at the end of February 2013 he had a horrendous accident. He slipped whilst in a turn out paddock and got trapped in a metal gate by a front and a back leg. I stayed by his head to keep him calm until the vet sedated him and the fire brigade cut him out. He partially severed his extensor tendon and broke five ribs.
Upon his recovery, Charlotte and ‘Righty’ began competing in Racehorse to Riding Horse Classes and qualified for Hickstead 2014. However, showing unsettled him, as he still had issues with people getting on him and her instructor suggested they try dressage and the rest is history.
In 2015, the pair qualified for the Racehorse to Dressage Horse Championships at Houghton Hall at Intro and Prelim Level. Righty won the Intro Championship and from there he has continued to work up the levels in British Dressage, a feat achieved by very few thoroughbreds.
“I am very proud of how far he has come and how much he has achieved when his future looked so bleak. He has been the most rewarding and at times most challenging horse that I have ever worked with but once you have gained his trust he gives you his all.”
Wild West: Despite being a son of Galileo and being handled by some of the most illustrious connections in racing, Aidan O’Brien, Jonjo ONeill, JP McManus and AP McCoy, Wild West remained a maiden under rules. It is in his post-racing career that he has thrived, proving incredibly versatile. He enjoyed his greatest triumph when crowned ROA and Goffs UK Supreme Champion at the 2017 RoR National Championships at Aintree.
Over the course of the weekend at Aintree in August, he and rider Lizzie Harris competed in a range of events, a jumping class and then various showing classes, including side-saddle, qualifying for the elite final on Sunday evening.
Lizzie Harris says: “There are no words for how I was feeling going into the evening performance. Westy performed beautifully, side-saddle, including leg yield, counter canter and simple changes. One judge said he was the straightest mover he had seen – I was beaming. To be crowned Supreme Champion literally took all words out of my mouth, it was a very emotional win. I think Westy’s favourite part was the reaction of the crowd and his lap of honour!!
“Since Aintree we have had some fun back hunting behind Pytchley hounds and leading the young racehorses over barrels. Westy has been the most amazing little orange pony I could ever have dreamt of owning! Having turned his hoof to almost everything Westy has proved that all shapes, sizes and colours can get to the top with enough heart.”