If you are wondering about rescue horses ….and their potential here’s the story of HSES Dash, surrendered to Horse Shepherd about 2 1/2 years ago and adopted by Troy & Jen Best.
Dash is a very sensitive soul and has been produced very slowly and carefully by Troy to be competitive in the sport of Eventing, (you may have met Dash at our Open Day).
Eventing is a three phase sport where the horse is firstly required to do a dressage test, to demonstrate their training, obedience and partnership with their rider. The dressage is followed by the two jumping phases, a round of Show Jumping and a galloping course of Cross Country fences. The Cross Country is where the horse must show his bravery jumping large solid fences, into water and up and down hills, he must be fit and agile as he will be assessed by a Vet at the end of the course to make sure his rider has prepared him correctly. The Show Jumping phase is to demonstrate that the horse can recover from his Cross Country round and still have the stamina, athleticism and obedience to the rider to be guided around a twisty course.
After a year training and developing a partnership with Troy, Dash began his eventing career in February 2016 where he started in the 80cm class at Geelong Horse Trials. He showed his talent at the very first competition being placed close to the top of the leader board after the dressage phase. Greenness showed here and there over the competition and he took a rail in Show Jumping and had a stop at the water complex on the Cross Country course but we were all very excited for Dash’s future.
Since that time Troy and Dash continued to train and build their partnership, after winning the 80cm class at the Ballarat Horse Trials in May 2016 it was time to move him up a level. They competed in the 95cm class at several events in the latter half of 2016 and finished in the placings at almost all of them, the goal was set to compete Dash in the 105cm class at the Lakes and Craters International Horse Trials in December 2016. To do this they had to qualify to enter the International class by completing a 105cm class at a National level prior to entering. Colac Horse Trials was where they accomplished this finishing 7th in the class.
The step up to an International level competition proved to be a big ask for the partnership and although they tried their hearts out they retired on Cross Country after having 3 stops on course, Troy deciding to save Dash for another day.
After Lakes and Craters the decision was made to drop Dash back to the 95cm class for the next few competitions to rebuild his confidence in both his ability and in the partnership. The summer of 2017 was spent training and building fitness so they could start the season at their peak. They competed at Tonimbuk, Heytesbury and Ballarat in March, April and May 2017 finishing in the placings at two of the three. But we had a little problem, Dash was so fit and so confident he was now being penalised for going too fast over the Cross Country course. Troy was not keen to interrupt Dash’s rhythm on the course so the only option was to put him back up to the 105cm class for Woady Yalock Horse Trials.
The time and training taken to build their partnership certainly paid off as they stormed their way through all three phases at Woady and came home with a big win. Dash looked confident and comfortable the whole weekend of competition and won him self a pretty blue rosette and a trophy rug. We are so pleased with how Dash is going and are looking forward to what the future brings for this exciting partnership.
Thank you to the photographers
Chris Esh Photography