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Monday, April 22, 2024

Thoroughbred Makeover Diary: Appreciating Kona Whereas Persevering with Journey With Funnee

This 12 months, America’s Greatest Racing and the Retired Racehorse Venture shall be sharing diaries from a number of trainers getting ready for the 2023 Thoroughbred Makeover competitors, scheduled for Oct. 11-14 on the Kentucky Horse Park. Meet grownup novice rider Julianne Pangal and her RRP hopeful, Funnee, as they gear up for his or her maiden voyage to the Thoroughbred Makeover.

Sizzling take: I’ve by no means believed within the so referred to as “coronary heart horse” or “unicorn.”

To me, there’s no such factor as a horsey “soulmate,” however actually a limitless variety of horses which are what we want at numerous factors in our using careers.

I’ve all the time felt that there’s a rider for each horse, a butt for each saddle, and the best dimension breeches for everyone … you get the concept. There’s something to be discovered from each rider and horse partnership. In case you are not a very good match to your horse, I extremely counsel discovering one thing extra applicable. As a result of on the finish of the day, the vast majority of individuals collaborating on this sport wish to have enjoyable.

All that stated, there are specific occasions you simply click on with a horse, or possibly you’ve put within the time and have “made” a horse into precisely the associate you needed. As somebody who is continually bringing on new initiatives and having fun with the coaching course of, it comes as a nice shock whenever you discover one such horse. And, it may be devastating when that each one will get taken away.

This month my 6-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Kona (Jockey Membership identify: Automotive Czar) suffered a catastrophic pasture harm whereas I used to be away on trip. He fractured his hock, ruptured his brief medial collateral ligament, and has a small lesion on his lengthy medial collateral ligament. He went in for surgical procedure at Cornell Equine Hospital, the place they in the end decided he wasn’t a surgical procedure candidate due to this instability of his hock. He’s again house with me now, dealing with roughly 8 months of stall relaxation. The excellent news: he’s alive, nice, and glad in his stall (so long as he has snacks). My hope is that he’ll be capable of come again as a flat horse/gentle trail-riding horse. Which additionally signifies that our plans to go to American Eventing Championships (AECs), transfer as much as Novice, or proceed competing in any respect, are over.

I initially bought Kona as a resell challenge, and he proved himself to be regular, enjoyable, and invaluable to me. He may foxhunt on Monday, educate a lesson for my coach on Tuesday, and go eventing or present within the hunters on the weekends. Having a horse that might “do all of it” was a sport changer. Over the previous few years, I made a decision I couldn’t half with him. We certified for championships, AECs, racked up year-end awards, and the long run was brilliant. We had simply moved as much as the three ft earlier than my trip began and Kona was feeling good and sport for something.

It’s so troublesome to convey to a non-horse person who the lack of your horse (or his means to compete) is rather like the lack of a dream. Shedding your competitors associate, steady-eddy journey, or stress aid is the equal of going by means of a foul breakup. You run the gamut of feelings – denial, anger, grief, remorse, and in the end acceptance. After investing years of effort right into a horse – using, coaching, and competing – beginning over is tough.

So now, I face the duty of “making one other Kona” – I hope my Retired Racehorse Venture horse, Funnee, is as much as it. My horsey pals have been so supportive and sort. Many have supplied rides on their very own horses, together with sharing their hunt mounts so I don’t miss out on an excessive amount of of the season. And I do know that whereas Kona wasn’t my “coronary heart horse,” he was a one-in-a-million associate. He confirmed up and tried on daily basis. And now, I’ll do proper by him and see out his rehab plan. Then, I’ll discover one other child Thoroughbred in want of a brand new job. In some methods, we’ll be beginning over collectively.

I really feel for any of this 12 months’s Retired Racehorse Venture trainers whose horses are at a degree the place they may not make it to the Thoroughbred Makeover. Keep sturdy. Whether or not they have had soundness points, are feeling behind on their coaching, or possibly suffered an harm, do not forget that it’s OK to hit pause, reset, or reimagine your RRP desires. All of us are right here to do proper by our horses and provides them one of the best future we will.

This was not a narrative about Funnee, however she definitely has some massive horseshoes to fill! The method could be achingly sluggish, however this month she went on her first foxhunt, acquired implausible scores at a dressage education present, and tried her first derby (we failed – however that’s OK!). The Thoroughbred Makeover is sneaking up on us, however we’re excited, hopeful and persevering with ahead on our journey.

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