ISSUE 67
JUNE 2021
TAYLA & MAUS
MAKE MAGIC

REGARDEZ MOI,
LOOK AT ME NOW!
SAM LYLE & BF VALOUR
5 STARS IN THEIR EYES

PLUS: BRETT DAVEY STEPS INTO NEW ROLE, ROGER FITZHARDINGE’S GRAND PRIX TIPS, KERRY MACK’S LUNGE LESSONS, KAREN PET’S PROPERTY, GERMAN PONIES, WINTER HEALTH, BARNYARD CHEMISTRY, WILLINGA’S EQUINE HOSPITAL, OTT VETERAN’S NEW START, PLUS A ‘CONCRETE COWBOY’ & A SINGING DENTIST!

AUSTRALIA`S BEST EQUINE MAGAZINE
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ISSUE 67

CONTENTS

JUNE 2021
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A few Words

FROM THE CHAIRMAN

ROBERT MCKAY

Ryan's Rave

NEW ERA FOR AUSTRALIAN DRESSAGE

BY HEATH RYAN

Dressage

TAYLA & MAUS MAKE MAGIC IN GERMANY

BY ADELE SEVERS

Eventing

ALFIE & SAM LYLE, GOING THE EXTRA MILE

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Off the Track

GENERAL READY TO CONQUER AGAIN

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Property

PET PROJECT: KAREN’S ARCADIAN SHOWPIECE

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Dressage

REGARDEZ MOI,
LOOK AT ME NOW!

BY ADELE SEVERS

Health

HEADS UP
FOR THE BIG CHILL

BY DR MAXINE BRAIN

Breeding

THE VERSATILITY OF THE GERMAN RIDING PONY

BY STEPH HALLIGAN

Health

REPRODUCTIVE EXPERT HEADS WILLINGA’S EQUINE HOSPITAL

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Training

TAKING THE PLUNGE WITH THE LUNGE

BY DR KERRY MACK

Lifestyle

‘CONCRETE COWBOY’ SETS RECORD STRAIGHT

BY SUZY JARRATT

Dressage

10 TIPS FOR RIDING THE GRAND PRIX TEST

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE / EQ LIFE

Health

BARNYARD CHEMISTRY: pH & THE EQUINE DIGESTIVE TRACT

BY KENTUCKY EQUINE RESEARCH

Lifestyle

LEITH RYAN, THE SINGING HORSE DENTIST

BY SUZY JARRATT
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British General and Yona Lloyd © Felicity Clay
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Having survived a bushfire and forged a formidable racing career, this tall and elegant chestnut is keen to become someone’s new best friend. All you have to do is salute him now and then!

British General, a rising 14-year-old retired racehorse who won eight of his 28 starts and amassed $417,595 prizemoney in a career that spanned five years, may be the oldest off-the-track thoroughbred Yona and Nina Lloyd have retrained for a life after racing. However, his age is not the only unique aspect of his situation.

Bred by Kathy and David Brown, British General has never changed ownership and never will; instead, a long-term lease home is now sought for this much-loved gelding as he embarks on his next chapter. From surviving Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires as a yearling, to overcoming multiple injuries during his racing career, British General has shown time and time again that he has the heart of a lion. Having won many loyal fans during his racing career, his ability to command attention and respect now continues in his life after racing, and his connections are looking forward to the charismatic gelding finding someone who will love and appreciate him for many years to come.

Born in September 2007, British General is by General Nediym and out of British Lion, a mare that Kathy and David Brown also bred. Originally the plan was to sell the chestnut colt, and so in early 2009 British General was prepared for the sales by Erinvale Thoroughbreds and catalogued for the Magic Millions yearling sales on the Gold Coast. His sale was not to be; after failing to reach the reserve price and passing in at auction, British General headed home to the Browns’ property in Strathewen, 45km north-east of Melbourne.

British General had only been back home for a short time when tragedy struck. As the Black Saturday fires tore through parts of Victoria on 7 February 2009, 27 lives were lost in Strathewen and the majority of homes were destroyed, as the fire engulfed the small town with terrifying speed and intensity; a horrific day that irreversibly impacted the lives of all survivors, including the Brown family.

“British General was in the first box in the stables, and his mum British Lion was in the third box with a foal at foot,” Kathy Brown recalls. “The stables were ablaze and my husband David was only able to get the first box open. He couldn’t get any further because of the flames. So while he got British General out, his mum British Lion and his younger half-sister died in the fire along with other mares and foals we had in the paddocks.”

SAVED HIMSELF 

“With British General himself, David flung open the door to the stable, and the horse ran out of the burning building, disappearing into the eerie darkness created by the oncoming fire storm. When the fire had gone through – it seemed like an eternity – and we realised that we had survived, Dave went out and did a bit of a reccy to see what the situation was outside – who was alive and who wasn’t – and where everything was.

“British General had run onto a gravel laneway. He had saved himself by being on the gravel, not near any trees or shrubs. He was a bit singed, and in shock, but he was alive,” Kathy explains. “And then overnight, with the horses that did survive, one of our older mares sort of corralled them all together. It was really amazing to see. She was another racehorse of ours, Super Sleek, and she did a very good job of keeping the mares and foals away from the young colts.”

With generous help from friends Wayne and Debbie Smith and their family at Rangeview Park, British General and the Browns’ other surviving horses were removed from the property the following day, to be checked by a veterinarian and convalesce for several months at the Smiths’ property. Fortunately, the youngster made a full recovery, and the Browns later made the decision to retain British General as a future racehorse.

“We wouldn’t normally have kept a colt,” Kathy explains. “We sometimes used to keep the odd filly to race and then become a broodmare, and colts we tended to sell. But because we lost his mum in the fires, we kept him for sentimental reasons.

“First of all we gave him enough time to recover, then he went to Johnny Stocker, he’s a former jockey, who at that stage was breaking in horses. He quickly concluded ‘This is going to be a good horse!’” Kathy recalls. “Unfortunately, Johnny had a track accident, and retired from horse breaking, but not before recommending that we send British General to Dan O’Sullivan to train at Ballarat.”

WINNER’S CIRCLE

Under Dan O’Sullivan’s watchful eye, the young gelding blossomed. However, it would be some time before his brilliance shone through on the track. British General was injured in his first race at Caulfield, needing time in the paddock to recover. When he returned, he won three races at Ballarat before later winning another three races in succession at Flemington, including two Listed races.

British General’s most memorable win for the Brown family was the Weekend Hussler Stakes (1400m) in October 2013. “He was being headed almost to the line by another horse, and he fought back and got his nose out across the line,” Kathy recalls. “He had a will to race and a will to win. His first win at Flemington, even though it wasn’t a listed race, was also amazing because he’d gone straight from being just a horse racing on the provincial circuit to winning at Flemington and we couldn’t believe it, we were just floating on cloud nine!

“And all the people who lived in Strathewen who’d been through that terrible bushfire crisis, they really got behind the horse, it was something for them to watch on TV too,” Kathy explains. “He certainly kept us going. We’ve got two boys, James and Jack, and they went to all the race meetings at Flemington with us where he won. It was wonderful, and he’s been great for us as a family.”

When the time came for British General to retire after five wonderful years as a racehorse, he became a nanny horse for young thoroughbreds with one of trainer Dan O’Sullivan’s friends. Having been injured in his final race, it was a perfect opportunity for the star galloper to enjoy a low-key lifestyle and recover, rather than pursuing a second career under saddle. However in 2020, British General’s nanny job came to an end – no more foals were being bred at the property where he performed nanny duties – and it was time for the Browns to choose which path he would follow next.

The Browns found their way to Racing Victoria Acknowledged Retrainers Yona and Nina Lloyd of Ballahowe Performance through another thoroughbred they bred and raced, British Isle, who entered Racing Victoria’s Off The Track program at the conclusion of his racing career.

“British Isle is actually British General’s uncle, being out of the mare Glorified,” Kathy explains. “We no longer owned him when he finished racing, as he went through Racing Victoria’s Off The Track program, however, we went to visit him and meet Yona and Nina at their property in Ballarat.

“We’re hoping to find
the perfect match for him.”

NEW CHANCE

“My husband and I said to each other, ‘This could be the way to go with British General now that he is not needed as a nanny’. We thought Yona and Nina were fantastic people who really love their horses, in fact they’re actually now also breaking in a yearling for us, from the same family as British General,” adds Kathy. “We always wanted British General to have an interesting life and a chance to do something else, so we arranged for him to move to Ballahowe to start his retraining. We don’t want to sell him, we want to keep him as ours, but we’d like someone to do something with him, someone who’s going to love him as much as we do and appreciate what he has been through and give him a good long-term lease home.”

British General arrived at Ballahowe in early February this year to commence his retraining, immediately impressing the Lloyds with his charming character and good looks. “As he had come off a very long spell of around four years, he had plenty of time to recover from his racing injuries, so we popped him on the lunge and trotted him out. He looked good and he felt good, plus he was in great condition, so we had a good starting point to work with,” Nina Lloyd explains. “We had his teeth and feet done, all the things that you would usually do to bring a retired racehorse back in under saddle. Then we just started slowly; we actually did a bit of lunge work with him, to build up a bit of base fitness, before slowly building up his dressage work.

“Our dressage arena doesn’t actually have any fences, it’s quite open, and we find that’s a really good place to start, because if you’re going to find any drama it happens when you’re out in the open. So from there, once we had the basics established on the flat and we realised that he was a really quiet horse, he has started hacking, getting used to going out down the road and past the sheep, both with others and by himself. He’s also doing some pole work and will soon start some small jumps, however, with the injuries that he’s carried he’s not being aimed towards a future as a high-level performance horse, he needs to be a really good allrounder who is fun to ride out and about.”

Nina explains that the biggest adjustment for British General was learning to relax and cope with situations such as being left tied up. “He wasn’t used to just standing around waiting for his turn, and dealing with all the people coming and going at a busy eventing and training stable like ours. He’s had to learn to be a Pony Club style horse, not the king of the stable like he was when he was a racehorse,” Nina laughs. “He’s definitely still treated like royalty, but he’s one of the royals, not the only royal!”

LOVES ATTENTION

Under saddle, British General has adapted to his retraining quite quickly, never bucking, rearing or displaying any unsavoury behaviour. Described by the Lloyds as being a fundamentally quiet horse, the tall and elegant chestnut is now ready to find a long-term lease home after five months of professional retraining.

“He will be a fabulous friend for someone, particularly if he is in a smaller team of horses than the one we run here, where he can get a bit more attention,” Nina explains. “He loves attention, being groomed and rugged and fussed over. I think he will suit someone who is looking for a pleasure horse that they can take to riding club, enjoy at home, go to lessons, take on a trail ride, or even compete as a show hack, as he’s a good-looking fellow standing at least 16.3hh.”

“He’s obviously still an off-the-track horse, so even with five months or more of work under his belt and his lovely attitude, he’s going to need to go to someone who understands what it’s like to have an off-the-track horse,” Nina adds. “We’re hoping to find the perfect match for him, someone who can come and ride him a couple of times first, and perhaps have some lessons on him to make sure it’s the right fit for both horse and rider. He’s a refined gentleman with a lovely, big character and he deserves to find someone and somewhere that can really become his home.”

For the Browns, the prospect of their beloved British General finding a home with someone that will love him as much as they do is exciting. With their trust placed in the Lloyds to find that perfect long-term lease home, their main request is that he stays in Victoria so that they can still visit him from time to time; after all, British General is part of the family.

“One of our sons is living in London at the moment, and went through all the racing years with him, and he said, ‘You must never sell him!’” Kathy laughs. “When he is finally able to visit Australia again, COVID-19 permitting, he would of course like to visit him too.”

If you believe that you could be British General’s perfect person, reach out to Nina and Yona Lloyd via the Ballahowe Performance Facebook page or website.

If you would like to know more about Racing Victoria’s Off The Track program, you can visit their new OTT Community page. EQ

 

READ MORE ABOUT OFF THE TRACK HORSES:

‘Sparks Fly When Cutting Meets Racing’ (Equestrian Life, May, 2021)

‘Percy Makes His Presence Felt’ (Equestrian Life, March, 2021)

‘Maizy Lands On Her Feet In New Role’ (Equestrian Life, January, 2021)

‘Off The Track & On The Right Path’ (Equestrian Life, December 2020)

‘All Eyes On The Prize’ (Equestrian Life, October 2020)

‘Vale Subzero’ (Equestrian Life, September 2020)

‘Beacon of Hope for Brightlight Boy’ (Equestrian Life, August 2020)

‘From Racecourse to Royal Windsor’ (Equestrian Life, June 2020)

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