Cask is a well-proportioned eight-year-old gelding by Fort Wood who won three times over six seasons for just over half a million rand. It may be the fact Cask raced for an unusually long time – six seasons in all – that nothing fazes him, says Maud. He retired from his racing career sound, strong and with a good mind. “When you show him something for the first time it’s like he’s done it all his life.”
Maud has taken him off her equestrian estate to work over cross country tracks at new venues a couple of times. “He doesn’t seem concerned about new surroundings and when you think he may sweat up or show some anxiety, he is quiet and relaxed,” she says.
Pocket Filler is a beautiful seven-year-old son of Manshood who won once over four seasons for just under R150,000. “Pocket Filler has got it all,” says Maud. “He is very well put together with good action, natural self-carriage and an innate ability for lateral work.” He is already accomplished in shoulder-ins and counter canter. Although physically and mentally strong, he does not enjoy jumping. Due to this Maud has focused him at dressage and showing.
Northern Conquest is a strong six-year-old son of Alado who won four times over four seasons for over R200,000 during his time at the track. Northern Conquest came out of racing being very much on his forehand. Maud has encouraged
him not to use her to balance himself but to try to find his own balance. She has done this predominately by using half halts in all his paces. “He’s a horse with huge jumping potential,” says Maud.
Interestingly Maud does not try to change a Thoroughbred’s style of jumping, but rather improve on what they already show. She explains that unlike Warmbloods, Thoroughbreds prefer to jump with more speed and are more effective when allowed to do so. Like Cask, Maud has taken Northern Conquest to different venues to train, where he’s shown a liking for and bravery over cross country obstacles.
“It takes time to build up a sound and strong Thoroughbred,” says Maud. “You need to help them build correct muscle and work in the correct frame.” In her opinion this can’t be hurried. “It’s not days or weeks but rather months or a year to produce these horses correctly.”
Next time we look at Cask, Pocket Filler and Northern Conquest as they continue to grow in their lives after racing and embark on their first outings at shows. Be sure to look out for our update!