Bernard's Blog: 29 Mar 19

Bernard Saundry
29 March 2019

Gaul when he raced and Janova in the arena - the emigrant excelling in his new life.  Photo: supplied

In this blog post I’d like to give you an example of the great feedback we receive from some of the many Kiwis who provide retired thoroughbreds with a new home and often a new career.

We received a lovely email in the NZTR office this week from a young lady called Hannah who also sent us photos of her thoroughbred in his post-racing life.

Hannah was full of praise for her thoroughbred, Janova, and how well he had transitioned to a new career as a sport horse.   On the track Janova was known as Gaul and, from a seven-start career saluted the judge once with his win coming at Ellerslie.

After coming off the track and being retrained for an eventing career Hannah bought Janova as a rising seven-year-old and, over the past nine years the duo has competed together.

A back injury convinced Hannah to give up competitive jumping and that could have seen Janova heading to a new owner.

“Janova is such an awesome horse that I didn’t want to sell him, so instead we pursued a dressage career and he succeeded all expectations, progressing up the grades and spending the last season competing at level 7,” Hannah told us.  To put that in perspective, Level 9 in Grand Prix which equates to Olympic and World championship level.

Janova’s performances over the season were enough to earn the combination the TIES (Thoroughbreds in Equestrian Sports) Dressage series for 2018/19.   

“It’s hard work competing a thoroughbred against the fancy purpose-bred Warmbloods, but Janova certainly held his own with placings at all the premier league shows,” Hannah explained.

Janova’s sixth placing in his last ever test at the National championships was enough to secure them the series win and see him go out of his second career still a sound and happy horse.

Hannah said the decision to retire Janova from competition at the end of this season had already been made before that event.

“A long career, beginning with racing and jumping has caught up with him and I feel it’s no longer fair to keep pushing him, and he certainly has nothing left to prove!” Hannah said.

Janova will spend the rest of his life hanging out with his best friend and paddock mate, a warmblood mare at their 10-acre property on the outskirts of Wellington.  

“He will stay in ridden work, hacking out and doing fun things like going to the beach and I also use him to teach my nieces to ride,” she said.

“It was so special to have him finish off his career by winning the stunning rug and ribbon, and such a nice acknowledgment of what awesome horses the thoroughbreds are in their own right.”

It’s a sentiment we here at NZTR share and we are always pleased to hear stories of how our racing thoroughbreds transition to new careers.

NZTR has a commitment to creating a duty of care for retiring and rehoming horses and we are in the process of amending the Rules of Racing to reflect this.

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