Nic owns what one chap I spoke to charmingly described as a 'recycled racehorse'. He was too slow to win races so is being retrained to be a riding horse, learning to trot, canter in a sedate way, and generally do things other than run very fast in pretty straight lines getting over any jumps in the way.
The horse world is keen on this and they have set up a competition which has classes for just that - ex racehorses. However she has been to 2 events in the last week - called 'Search for a Star' and winning the competitions got you a place at the final in the Horse of the Year show. The prize money at the Horse of the year show is about £2000.
This is where the reality sadly parts from the ideal.
The first competition she went into was won by a horse which had once gone half way round a very easy course. It has been produced by a professional show yard so it is like a top winner for Crufts in the horse world. The rider was amateur but the yard is not. In the competition were Nic's horse - Five-a-Side, and another horse which was owned as a racehorse for over 10 years, he ran and won £100,000 during his racing career, and when he retired the owner decided to keep him to ride for herself. Both are ideal candidates but neither were placed. The second one was yesterday and although there were fewer professionally produced horses nevertheless one of the 2 horses that went through was professionally produced and despite being very naughty and not letting the ride judge get on at first was still selected.
Showing depends on the preferences of the person judging because racehorses come in a lot of different shapes and sizes and comparing a small sleek flat racing horse to something 8inches taller and much heavier and they seem to be judging as if the 'show horse' is the shape which is wanted and ignoring almost the racehorse element.
The first class Nic took him into had some jumps to go over, and if you knocked one down you were out, so 14 people were out in the first round. Fair enough.
One person Nic spoke to the first week was absolutely furious at the - as he saw it - bias in the judging.
A good idea which has been taken over a bit and misdirected perhaps.