Midnight Robbery goes Western

Emma Chapman’s story of retraining Midnight Robbery to be a Western Style riding horse.

I came up with the idea to retrain a racehorse into a western horse after chatting with a few former racehorse owners. As far as I knew this was a first, I knew that many different breeds of horse could be trained and compete in western riding but I wasn’t aware of a racehorse straight off the tracks entering into western training. I liked the challenge.

After speaking the Angie our local Baileys horse feeds rep, the plan was put in motion, with the idea that the proceeds, after selling the trained horse, would be donated to two charities, Yorkshire Air Ambulance and The Injured Jockeys Fund.

The search for a suitable horse began, with contacts from all over the country being called, eventually after talking to Vicky Smart of Bryan Smart Ex Racehorses, Midnight Robbery was acquired. He is a 15.1, dark brown 4 year old gelding, by Dick Turpin. Owned by a syndicate, who once it became apparent that racing wasn’t going to be his love in life, wanted to find him another job and home.

He arrived at my yard mid June and settled immediately, training started the following week. The first western saddle was put on and after a little hump at the fenders hanging by his sides, he settled and we climbed on board. I am constantly amazed by his willing and calm temperament, he takes each new question in his stride and always tries to figure out what is required in the nicest way. We are now Walk, Jogging and Loping with balance and smoothness and have started lots of bending and flexibility work. He has also been introduced to the required obstacles for a western trail class including a wooden bridge, gate and manoeuvres over poles. To break up the school work, he hacks out regularly and generally leads the way with enthusiasm and confidence.

Everybody loves him at the yard, due to his fantastic nature and real love of cuddles!

The aim is to enter him in his first western show on 24th September at Askham Bryan College run by the Western Equestrian Society, wish us luck!!