Proud owner of one Lunar acre! (Campanus Crater, The Moon)
I'm confused by the title. Is the horse named "Champions?" Is Champions the name of a place where the horse came from? Is it a multiple winner of many championships? Is it a single champion of one steeplechase?
This is 'Kauto Star', arguably the most successful National Hunt horse of modern times (He won the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice, and the King George five times I think). Serious big time winning horse. (I think the 'Champion' title refers only to his success).
His owner rather unexpectedly took him out of the trainer's yard to place him with Laura Collett for dressage training. She's an event rider, and his reasoning was that she would be more capable of dealing with an ex-racehorse. The only people making noises about him being a successful dressage competitor seem to be the media and people entirely unfamiliar with the discipline. In reality this is just about giving him a job and keeping him in good health mentally and physically.
I do think it's something of a missed opportunity to promote OTTBs for other disciplines, because there are a slew of dressage riders here quite capable of handling the antics of this boy (our current gold medal team consists of 2 former eventers for example). I think it could have been a great way to demonstrate the usefulness and adaptability of OTTBs for multiple disciplines and rider types. Then again, I suppose there's no need to impose an additional agenda on an owner who seems truly interested in the happiness and good health of his horse!
This guy isn't going to the top in dressage and Laura Collett has some pretty good results in the dressage phase of eventing at the upper levels. I wouldn't think Kauto Star will surpass 3rd level in dressage and she's more than equipped to get a horse to that point. Taking them at their word that dressage is the goal, it's not a bad fit. I do think eventers are likely to have more experience transitioning racehorse bodies into sport horse bodies. It's not just about the energy level.
I was suspicious when they started because I think he'd be scary on cross country, but for straight dressage, I think he looks pretty good from the video, particularly given that racehorses are often very heavy in the bridle when training.
Very cool! And for a horse with two months of dressage training after a lifetime on the track, he's pretty spectacular!
It sounds like they're reasonable in what they're expecting as well - the presenter said that idea of getting the horse from "The Gold Cup to the golden sands of Rio" was "fanciful" and the owner said they wanted to give him "something to do" instead of just putting him in the field.
My guess is the owners are good people, didn't want to run him into the ground, but like a lot of TBs, he's too much of a "doer" to retire quite yet...
"Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."