From Racetrack to Family Heart: The Tale of Suncloud the Gentleman
By Shannon Matthewson
Introducing the wonderful Suncloud, affectionately known as Sunny. I've had the privilege of sharing my life with this magnificent boy for the past five years. Our journey began when I started working in the racing industry at Ruth Jefferson's stable. Sunny was one of the four horses under my care, and I quickly developed a deep affection for him. His last race took place at the Perth Festival in April 2019, and it marked the beginning of his retirement. It was at that moment that I knew I had to bring him to my home.
Initially, my mother had concerns about Sunny's arrival, as she had heard countless horror stories about ex-racehorses having bad manners and unpredictable behaviour. However, her worries soon faded when Sunny joined us in June 2019. He seamlessly fit into our lives, and that's when the real adventure began.
Sunny was an absolute gentleman in every sense. He took on the role of a guardian to the younger horses during our hacking adventures. Gradually, he became my closest companion and a source of solace during some of my darkest days. We embarked on our first competition together, and it was also his first time in an indoor arena. Remarkably, he confidently navigated the course without any hesitation, jumping everything in his path. Our journey continued with our first cross-country schooling session, an experience he clearly relished.
In 2021, I discovered I was expecting a child. My little boy arrived on 6 November 2021, and Sunny displayed an incredible fondness for him. After a well-deserved break, we brought Sunny back into training, got him into top shape, and started competing more actively. The year 2022 turned out to be our most successful season yet. We earned a qualification at Stainsby Grange Equestrian Centre for the prestigious championships at Aintree, a remarkable achievement considering the large number of competitors in our class. Additionally, we clinched the championship in the summer showjumping league at our local venue. Regrettably, we didn't make it to Aintree as I became pregnant once again, and Sunny had to go on another break due to a splint issue. My baby girl was born on12 June, 2023.
Now, we are currently working on regaining our fitness and eagerly looking forward to a season filled with showing and jumping. Despite being 16 years old, Sunny shows no signs of slowing down. He truly is one in a million, and I hold a deep and unwavering affection for this horse. My little boy also adores him, making it clear that Thoroughbreds are an exceptional breed. I am wholeheartedly committed to this breed and will never look back.
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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