Elite dressage winner Quadrille wins RoR Horse of the Year
- The Jockey Club sponsored award recognises the remarkable success and ambassadorial role of Quadrille and dressage rider Louise Robson
- And RoR Horse Personality of the Year award highlights the emotional support provided by Thoroughbreds
On a glittering and at times emotional night at the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) Awards, the evening’s most prestigious prize, RoR Horse of the Year, sponsored by The Jockey Club, was awarded to Quadrille, owned and bred by HM The Queen, who has been retrained for a second career by dressage rider Louise Robson.
The awards also heralded the twentieth anniversary since RoR achieved its charitable status and this was marked with the inaugural RoR Horse Personality of the Year award. From over 250 nominations, best-selling author and renowned horse lover, Jilly Cooper selected the 11-year-old gelding Ned Causer, who has had a transformational effect on the life of his owner and rider, Sarah Peacock, helping her overcome bouts of anxiety and depression.
Now in their sixth year, the awards took place at the historic Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket on Saturday 18th January, hosted by RoR Patron, Clare Balding, and ITV Racing and Sky Sports Racing presenter, Luke Harvey. The awards showcase and celebrate the versatility of former racehorses across a range of disciplines with prizes awarded to winners in dressage, endurance, eventing, hunting, polo, showing and show jumping.
Quadrille was a talented racehorse, finishing second beaten just a short-head in the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2010, however, his career on the track was cut short by injury. Dressage rider Louise Robson took on Quadrille, having previously worked with other horses owned by The Queen, and Quadrille is now the highest performing thoroughbred on the UK dressage circuit. Ten years on from performing on the grand stage of Royal Ascot, Quadrille is aiming to compete at Grand Prix level in dressage.
Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of RoR, said: “Choosing the Horse of the Year was a hugely difficult decision because there are fantastic stories behind each of the elite winners, but I think Quadrille is a very worthy winner. He is just so good and dressage is one of the most difficult disciplines for the Thoroughbred to do. Also, Louise and Quadrille have become wonderful ambassadors for RoR, promoting the versatility of the thoroughbred, not only through their success in the arena but also for the displays they put on.”
Buckinghamshire based Louise Robson said: “This horse is incredible. I do love him very much, he has been a challenge, in fact he still is and initially, we never thought he would get beyond novice dressage because his basic paces are not fantastic, yet now he can pirouette, he can piaffe, he can passage. His heart is there, and he is still getting better, and Grand Prix is the aim. I am so proud of him because he really deserves this because he tries so hard.
“I am sure Her Majesty will be delighted. She has followed his progress since the first day we had him. And if Quadrille’s example encourages others to get a racehorse and take up dressage or simply to hack it around for fun, that would be wonderful.”
The winner of the RoR Horse Personality of the Year was Ned Causer for the role he has had in the life of his owner Sarah Peacock.
Sarah Peacock, from East Yorkshire, “To win this award is just an amazing moment and I can’t believe that Ned has done this. He has really changed my life. I’ve suffered from depression and it is quite a debilitating illness and Ned has been such a turning point since we got him on New Year’s Day last year.
“I have periods when I get really quite low so it’s difficult but coming down to Ned every morning I know I have a responsibility and that he’s always there waiting for me and he always makes me laugh. In October we did our first dressage test together and I thought I was never going to be able to get out in front of people because I was so nervous and I put a lot of pressure on myself. But he helped me through it.”
Sarah Peacock accepted the Paul Mellon Trophy for RoR Horse Personality of the Year. The trophy is named in honour of the late Paul Mellon in recognition of the generous bequest from his estate to RoR when the charity was established 20 years ago, in 2000.
Di Arbuthnot added: “Ned Causer ran just three times in short lived racing career when trained by Reg Hollinshead but he has had a transformational effect on the life of Sarah, indeed all three finalists for Horse Personality of the Year have changed the lives of people around them, and it is powerful reminder of the value of developing a connection with a Thoroughbred.”
Among the evening’s other elite winners was Abseil, winner of the RoR Endurance title. Formerly trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Abseil is out of the Breeders’ Cup winning mare Intercontinental and was bred by Juddmonte Farms. As well as excelling in endurance, Abseil and his rider Tracy Sieminski have shown their versatility by also competing in dressage, showing and cross-country classes.
The elite eventing award went to Dream Big, after the 9-year-old mare accumulated the most British Eventing points during 2019. Owned, as she was in her racing days, by Magdalena Gut and now ridden by international event rider, Tom McEwen, Dream Big is living up to her name and is set to step up to four star level eventing in 2020.
The supreme champions from RoR’s two prestige showing series were both honoured on the night. Desert Joe and Rebecca Court got the judge’s vote in the final of the RoR Tattersalls Show Series at Hickstead in June, while the pairing of Mumford and Collette McGoldrick was declared Supreme Champion at the RoR Goffs UK National Championships at Aintree in August.
The highest performing former racehorse on the polo field in 2019 was Maidana. The 9-year-old chestnut mare failed to trouble the judge in four starts under rules for Tim Easterby, but nurtured by polo pony producer Alan Kent, in 2019 she reached the heights of playing in the Argentine Open having been bought during the season for leading player Camilo Castangnola.
Kikos was the 18-year-old winner of the RoR Ri-Dry Racing to Hunting Challenge. Regulars with the Heythrop Hunt, Kikos and his rider Amy Morgan have also enjoyed success in the dressage arena.
And finally, the third mare among the elite winners was Early Shirley, who together with her rider Claudia Jones, has carved out a second career for herself show jumping. Their highlights from 2019 include qualifying for the National Amateur Championships and two top ten finishes at the Bolesworth Young Horse Championships in August.
RoR is always interested to hear of other success stories so please email us and send a photograph of your own story.
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