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Success stories A Journey with Maverick: From the Racetrack to Triumph

9th October 2023

By Derek Horsburgh

In June 2019, a horse named Maverick, formerly known as "Read'em And Weep," entered my life after a year of retirement from racing. His journey began in Ireland, where he started his racing career in point-to-pointing, and later he transitioned to hurdling in the West of Scotland. Maverick had received some schooling, including show jumping and endurance rides, from his previous owner, suggesting he had adapted well to post-racing life.

Two weeks before June 2nd, I traveled 150 miles to meet Maverick. After riding him in an indoor arena, jumping over some obstacles, and taking a short hack, I had a gut feeling that he was the right horse for me. Maverick passed the vet checks with flying colors, and two weeks later, we made a 300-mile round trip to bring him home. He calmly walked into the trailer, and upon arrival at his new home in a private DIY yard with seven other horses, he showed no signs of stress.

Maverick settled in over the next few weeks, meeting his new field friends and receiving visits from the farrier, saddle fitter, vet, and physio. We also began regular trips to Nenthorn Equestrian, a local riding center, where we joined other ex-racehorse owners under the guidance of Jenny Wilson.

Our journey with Maverick started as a steep learning curve, filled with ups and downs, often with me on the ground and Maverick looking down at me. Thankfully, my injuries were minor, and I persevered. Maverick's previous owner had registered him with RoR, and with the help of Anne Walker, I transferred the registration to my name.

I reached out to Regional Development Officer, Aileen Firth, whom I knew from a previous professional context, to inquire about RoR club nights. She suggested I attend one to observe, which I did in August 2019. Little did I know that the world would soon be disrupted. However, RoR, like many organisations, adapted to the times and began using Zoom for meetings and webinars. I registered for various Zoom webinars and found valuable information on the RoR website.

As the world gradually returned to normal, we attended our first RoR club night at ISEC in July 2020. Maverick had lost some confidence or trust, making our partnership challenging. Nevertheless, we persevered with schooling, hacking, and RoR club nights, helping Maverick relax and adapt to his new life.

In 2021, St Boswells show presented an unexpected opportunity. Aileen encouraged me to enter, and to my surprise, we did both showing and dressage tests. Maverick's confidence boosted my own, and we continued to attend RoR club nights, Nenthorn Equestrian sessions, and other events with various instructors who provided valuable guidance.

In the summer of 2022, we participated in five RoR-type shows, earning encouraging comments from judges and some awards. We even qualified for the 2023 Royal Highland Show, a dream come true. Aside from showing, Maverick excelled in endurance riding, achieving the Bronze Thistle Grade and winning the Scottish Endurance 50km Novice championship.

Maverick's remarkable progress from his racing days to his current state is a testament to the hard work I've put into him, with invaluable support and guidance from Nenthorn and RoR instructors. I am immensely proud of the horse he has become, and I wholeheartedly recommend joining RoR to anyone working with ex-racehorses. The wealth of knowledge and resources available is truly fantastic and easily accessible.

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