Success stories Triumphant Welcome's Tale by Alana White

10th September 2020

Written by Alana White

I am a member of RoR (Central Region) with my former racehorse Triumphant Welcome, or known to his friends as Jack or Sprat.

After spending a number of years working in Newmarket and Kentucky with racehorses in training and at stud, I developed a soft spot for Thoroughbreds. Jack is my second former racehorse that I have retrained straight out of racing. One day I will share the story of my first, Perish The Thought (P).

When I went to view Jack at the trainer's yard in February 2010, I did not know that I already had a connection to him. I had ridden his Grand Dam when she was in training and i had also taken care of her as a broodmare in Kentucky. Maybe it was fate.

Jack had a moderate success rate as a racehorse but ultimately he found it too stressful. He would run his races in the stable before even reaching the racecourse. Despite this, he has the sweetest personality and loves to be cuddled. He is so gentle with my Nieces and Nephews and turns to let them groom him. When they offer him a treat he takes it ever so carefully and continues to lick the children once the treats are all gone. It is easy to see how I fell for him the first time I met him.

When Jack arrived at the yard I gave him three months to relax and to learn how to be a horse in the field. During this time he became well acquainted with my vet after getting into numerous scrapes. It has been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs, including a stay in hospital after an encounter with a rogue branch on the road and nearly a year off due to lameness. When he came back into work we discovered standing still was not an option and canter transitions felt like we were coming out of the stalls. We have taken things very slowly as it does not take a lot to push him back into his stress state but he is unrecognisable as the horse that arrived with me. It has taken a lot of time and patience but I am so proud of how far we have come. As we were advised that he may not stand up to the pressures of jumping we have focussed on dressage, with our first unaffiliated intro in 2014. He stayed calm and didn’t disgrace himself so we took that as a win! Since then we have started progressing up the levels and are hoping to get to do our first medium test by the end of the year.

We have been part of the successful RoR Recycled Racers Team Quest team, reaching the regional finals 3 years in a row. We have been to Pet Plan Area festivals, the RoR National Championships at Aintree and managed to get placed at the British Dressage Associated Championships (Thoroughbred & RoR). It is not all plain sailing, as sometimes it can still get too much for him and the stress boils over, but most of the time he is the epitome of chilled out, sometimes too chilled out if the ‘needs more energy’ comments are anything to go by! We even did our first stay away show last year. This may not sound like a massive achievement but for a horse that could not move stables on the same yard without getting very distressed it was massive. I could not have been prouder of him. With a lot of hard work with my instructor, Tessa, and now Tim Downes we are now working towards medium dressage at home. I would not have achieved all of this without their help and support, and without my friends and family.

RoR has also played a big part in our journey, in particular Karen, our regional co-ordinator. Through the RoR clinics and club nights that we have attended, we have gained in confidence, had the opportunity to work with top level coaches, had a go at jumping (it turns out Jack is quite a fan just a shame his body won’t let him do it on a more regular basis) and made some amazing friends. We also got to be a regular member of the RoR Recycled Racers, after answering a call for a last minute substitute when one of the other team horses went lame. Jack has even been used by some of the other members when their horse was not available. As a team we have become such good friends. I look forward to seeing what the future brings.

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