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Happy Knight NZ – “Tommy”, 16.1+h bright bay gelding

Foaling Date: 01-Sep-2000

Sire: OUR SIR VANCELOT NZ Dam: HAPPY SUMMER (NZ)

Country of birth: NZ

Prizemoney: $16,956

Starts: 53

Wins: 4 Seconds: 2 Thirds: 6

Best Winning Mile Rate: 2:03.1MS

Last raced: 19-Jul-2008 BUNBURY

Tommy is my special boy, affectionately called ‘Thomas Humongous’ because of his size (although by no means a giant among standardbreds, when you consider that I am only 5′ and a peanut tall and need a step ladder to get on, you’ll understand the nick name;). I first saw Tommy advertised late in 2008, but really couldn’t take on any more animals until we knew we were moving. He had been retired from racing due to bleeding twice, and his owners/trainers were trying desperately to find a home for him. Unfortunately he was very high strung, excitable and not broken to saddle – so definitely not a beginners horse and as beginners are frequently the only ones who will take on unbroken/green standardbreds, his options were becoming very limited when I finally convinced Greg to let me take him, start him under saddle and find him a good home.

LOL famous last words – that idea lasted precicely as long as it took for his previous owner to lead him out of his stable where I promptly fell in love and promised him a forever home:) Tommy was in beautiful condition when I got him, but like Flicka, he had also been neglected (starved) by a different owner in the past, and most likely handled very roughly or hit around the face as he was quite head shy, this however is just about completely resolved.

Tommy was however very flighty, snorty and reactive to anything new or unexpected – more like a typical highly strung Thoroughbred ex-racehorse rather than a standy. Just allowing him to be a horse, relax and come down from the racing stable environment, plus a lot of groundwork to teach him to give to pressure, desensitising him to different things to let him gain self-confidence and basically gain trust in me has turned him into a different horse. He is still as affectionate and inquisitive as ever (more like a big brown puppy dog than a horse!), but now he is not scared of his own shadow! Occasionally something will spook him and he will spook on the spot – but that is a huge improvement on the massive shies that he used to do that could almost take him back to New Zealand!

Although he hasn’t had alot of hours under saddle, he is a magnificent horse to ride – very light and responsive with a beautiful trot and rocking horse canter. Tommy has never paced under saddle and I have never seen him actually pace in the paddock either. Tommy has been an awesome trail horse since our first bush ride, and has also very willingly worked a small flock of sheep. In the future I plan on teaching him to jump, give campdrafting and/or team penning a go and maybe an endurance ride or two…or at least the Blackwood marathon next year. It would break my heart to ever part with this beautiful boy, so Tommy will always be a permanent resident at Eagleburra.

My gorgeous boy

My gorgeous boy

Watching his dinner being prepared

Watching his dinner being prepared

Does my head look big in this?  De-sensitizing Tommy to plastic bags.

Does my head look big in this? De-sensitizing Tommy to plastic bags.

Enjoying his new home

Enjoying his new home

Lunging

Lunging

Tommy wearing our new Eqwest half breed saddle

Tommy wearing our new Eqwest half breed saddle

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Serenade with satirical whistle

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