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9 August, 2021

Knacker-bound horses saved

SARINA horse lovers Madeline Kocass and her mother Alyson are two of over 70 pony club horse owners who have saved and rehomed ex-racehorses.

By John Bell

SARINA horse lovers Madeline Kocass and her mother Alyson are two of over 70 pony club horse owners who have saved and rehomed ex-racehorses.

They believe there are hundreds of “Second Chance Racehorses” in Queensland that have been given a good home and trained for show jumping, for dressage at pony clubs, for event management, polo, polo-cross and for private use.

“About one third, maybe more pony club riders get a “Second Chance Racehorse” when young riders get up in age and get better,” Alyson Kocass explained. Madeline comes from a horseriding family and both her Mum and her grandfather also rode in the past. So with family support and encouragement over the years, Madeline has had four ponies to compete in pony club events. But Madeline’s new seven-year old thoroughbred called Rockstar, has enabled her work towards competing in showjumping and dressage at higher levels.

 “I love going around in show jumping events without knocking down a rail and I had a wonderful event in October last year at the Mackay North Pony Club Teams Event,” Madeline smiled. “It’s a big job to retrain Rockstar after he didn’t make it as a racehorse. “He only knew to turn left and gallop as fast as possible and I also had to retrain him to stop.

 ‘It’s taken a lot of reassurance taking him back to basics, including getting to stay still so I can get on and ride him. “Until recently, racing trainers didn’t always break-in or train exrace horses to be ridden gently, although more racing stables are doing this now so they can be rehomed. “It also really helps when people support me at pony clubs and help me out when I get nervous.”

 Madeline’s Mum Alyson explained why she bought Rockstar for Madeline. “Not everyone can afford to pay $30,000 for a well-trained and successful show jumper. Some can, but for the majority of competitive riders it’s not practical. “It depends on the size and breeding of thoroughbreds, but it’s possible to pick-up an ex-racehorse for $500. 

“However bigger ex-racehorses are more expensive, especially if they are quiet in nature. But a re-trained racehorse that will help young riders grow as horsewomen and then win ribbons in dressage and show jumping are worth a lot of money.”  


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