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news Jilly Cooper reveals RoR Horse Personality of the Year!

17th December 2019
Jilly Cooper, presenting the RoR Glamour stakes winner

The three finalists for the RoR Horse Personality of the Year have been chosen by best selling author and horse lover Jilly Cooper and their owners will attend the annual RoR Elite Awards on Saturday 18th January at which RoR Patron Clare Balding will reveal the winner of this prestigious new award. The award, which is being presented in the year that celebrates 20 years since the RoR was established as a charity to promote life after racing, attracted over 250 entries and a wide variety of heart-warming and inspiring stories from RoR owners about their horses.

Jilly Cooper said: “What a lovely but impossible task! Every horse entered by its enraptured owner deserves to be an outright winner. They are all such characters, and what comes across time and time again is the remarkable mutual affection and comfort generated between these glorious horses and their owners. As someone who has rehomed endless dogs and cats myself, there is a special bond that develops between animal and their carer.”

13-year-old Real Desire nominated by owner Bridget Broad from Scotland captured Jilly’s attention, as she says, “Despite his physical handicaps, he has blossomed out of all recognition. He emerges as such a character and a clown and it is great that he is succeeding in so many different disciplines. He epitomises all that is so giving, forgiving, resilient and adaptable about these wonderful horses.”

Grouse Moor is the eldest of the three finalists at 20-years-old and had the most success on the racetrack winning three races in his 20 starts. Nominated by his owner and rider Jacqueline Doughton from the West Midlands, Grouch, as he is fondly known at home, works with Tettenhall Group of Riding for the Disabled.

Jilly said that Grouch’s partnership with Jacqueline had really touched her; For a time, Grouch had a rather unsettled life moving from home to home, but obviously now has found the perfect marriage with Jacqueline. It is so touching too the way his gentleness and perfect manners have enabled her to really enjoy her riding and indeed, in her words, ‘His legs are mine and I am free to move’. So well done Grouch!”

The youngest of the three finalists and another big character is 10-year-old Ned Causer, formerly trained by the late Reg Hollinsworth. Jilly said: “He is clearly a lovely character. I love the fact that he has sheep friends who he looks after and bows for a tipple of Guinness. I also find it moving that he so comforted his owner Sarah Peacock after the loss of her previous thoroughbred and has helped her greatly combat depression. It seems Ned makes everyone laugh by his antics in dressage classes - he’s a real Irish charmer.”

Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive RoR said;

“It was obviously an incredibly difficult task for Jilly to whittle the list down to the final three. There were so many terrific stories showcasing the great personalities, resilience, and strength of character of not only the horses, but their owners too. It is wonderful to read so many stories that highlight the rewards of owning a former racehorse.”

“The RoR Horse Personality of the Year will be made in honour of the late Paul Mellon. At its outset RoR was privileged to receive a bequest from the estate of Paul Mellon, the owner of Mill Reef (the 1971 Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner) and countless other good racehorses. His legacy has been vital to establishing and funding RoR to promote the welfare of horses that have retired from racing.”

Latest news 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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