Bought off the track by Julia McLean for $1500, Algebra was initially scouted as a show hunter prospect. The 15.2 hand Thoroughbred by Azaam out of Sand Dollar initially went to Lizzie McRoberts as a Pony Club mount; 12 months later, the pair were at one-star level eventing. The little horse could really jump.
With growing university commitments, Lizzie returned him to Julia and co-owner John Glenn, who then sent him to Natalie Blundell to school and sell. He was never sold. Natalie and Algebra completed an incredible 27 CCI/CIC3* and six CCI4* events (which in today’s system equates to CCI4*L/CCI4*S and CCI5*L), and were among the top eight combinations nominated for the 2014 World Equestrian Games.
Natalie and Algebra arrived at Andrew Hoy’s stables on their European tour that year, with the plan being to sell the horse to a talented young rider as a schoolmaster at the end of the season – at this point, he was 16 years of age. Not finding a suitable rider or offer, John and Julia left the horse with Andrew to continue competing for Australia at the highest level. Together, the pair enjoyed great success over the next few years, winning two major CCI3* (now CCI4*L) events during the 2015 season.
Fast forward to 2018, and Algebra finally hung up his horseshoes at age 20 – happy and completely sound. Fittingly, the horse returned to Australia to live out his retirement at John and Julia’s beautiful farm in New South Wales. On his return, he took part in the Melbourne Cup parade through the city as an Off The Track ambassador and was given a retirement party at home with more than 125 people attending.
WHERE IS HE NOW?
Algebra, now 24, is still very much enjoying retirement with Julia and John and has gradually transitioned from life in the fast lane to a slightly slower pace. “He used to come in for dinner at 695 metres a minute but nowadays is more leisurely,” laughs Julia. “He prefers not to be led in; he knows where he’s going but likes to check some other things out on the way – other horses, the garden, big trots up the laneway and back. There are two trees perfectly evenly spaced in front of the gate to his night box – he likes to circle so that the entry is straight.”
Julia explains that the gelding is a complete gentleman, but he likes to do things his way. “I think when he left the quarantine station (after he returned from the UK in 2018) the staff may have had a wee tear in their eyes because in their words he was ‘such a dude’. He gets to spend time nowadays with young horses – he’s not rough with them but they find out their place in the world.”