Your Riding Stories - The Challenging Story - From Racehorse to ROR Star. Thanks to Becky Wood for this story of her beloved Cotton who went from racecourse reject to dressage star.
When we arrived at the North Yorkshire Racing Yard, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d seen pictures and videos of him racing but didn't know what he actually looked like. He was owned by a family friend and they mentioned that he’d never make a racehorse, and “did we want him?”
As we approached his stable, up popped his head, with soft inquisitive eyes and the brightest ginger coat you can imagine, at that moment I fell in love and knew I had to have him. A couple of days later we returned with the trailer to take him home. A two-and-a-half-year-old thoroughbred who knew nothing but regimented racing life and didn’t even have a stable name.
“Cotton”, my mum offered on the way home. “Why don’t you call him Cotton to match his soft eyes and still slightly fluffy youngsters coat?” And so, it stuck, the racehorse reject we had in the trailer became known as Cotton as he started his new life.
He was quirky, as you’d imagine and liked to do things his way. With this he had the most trainable brain and loved learning new things, after a period in the field, we slowly brought him back into work and taught him how to be a riding horse. He turned his hand to dressage, showjumping and cross country, long pleasure rides and rides around the trails with friends. We had a lot of hairy moments in between thanks to his active backend but when we won the North West ROR Novice Championships I cried tears of sheer joy. The years of sitting out his silly moments, ignoring people who said I’d never be able to calm his active mind and relentless preserving with him were all worth it.
Sadly a few years later a hectic work schedule meant I couldn’t give him the time he needed, and we made the heartbreaking decision to let him go to a new home and one that I really struggled to come to terms with. Cotton was, and always will be my horse of a lifetime, he was a challenge from the word go but when I look back, the blood, sweat and tears were worth it.
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