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

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


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

Scorching 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 varied factors in our using careers.

I’ve at all times felt that there’s a rider for each horse, a butt for each saddle, and the suitable measurement breeches for everyone … you get the thought. There’s something to be realized from each rider and horse partnership. In case you are not a very good match in your horse, I extremely recommend discovering one thing extra applicable. As a result of on the finish of the day, nearly all of folks taking part on this sport wish to have enjoyable.

All that mentioned, there are specific occasions you simply click on with a horse, or possibly you’ve gotten put within the time and have “made” a horse into precisely the accomplice you wished. As somebody who is consistently bringing on new tasks and having fun with the coaching course of, it comes as a nice shock while you discover one such horse. And, it may be devastating when that every one will get taken away.

This month my 6-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Kona (Jockey Membership identify: Automobile Czar) suffered a catastrophic pasture damage 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 finally decided he wasn’t a surgical procedure candidate due to this instability of his hock. He’s again dwelling with me now, going through 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/mild trail-riding horse. Which additionally implies 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 venture, and he proved himself to be regular, enjoyable, and invaluable to me. He may foxhunt on Monday, train 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 recreation 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 vibrant. We had simply moved as much as the three toes earlier than my trip began and Kona was feeling good and recreation for something.

It’s so troublesome to convey to a non-horse person who the lack of your horse (or his capacity to compete) is rather like the lack of a dream. Dropping your competitors accomplice, steady-eddy experience, or stress reduction is the equal of going by way of a nasty breakup. You run the gamut of feelings – denial, anger, grief, remorse, and finally acceptance. After investing years of effort right into a horse – using, coaching, and competing – beginning over is difficult.

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 mates have been so supportive and type. Many have provided 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 accomplice. He confirmed up and tried day-after-day. 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 yr’s Retired Racehorse Venture trainers whose horses are at a degree the place they may not make it to the Thoroughbred Makeover. Keep robust. Whether or not they have had soundness points, are feeling behind on their coaching, or possibly suffered an damage, do not forget that it’s OK to hit pause, reset, or reimagine your RRP goals. All of us are right here to do proper by our horses and provides them the most effective future we will.

This was not a narrative about Funnee, however she actually has some massive horseshoes to fill! The method may be achingly sluggish, however this month she went on her first foxhunt, obtained incredible 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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