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Amy Walpole

Recently joining SPPHA, I am still learning what this great club is all about and all that they have to offer but it’s so great to see a group of devoted individuals providing, enabling and advocating a life after racing and also loving homes for Standardbreds across the board and it’s through this group that I found my next project pony and much loved fur baby.

I really do believe horses and humans have a way of finding their way to each other without much cause or intent. ‘What is meant to be will be’… This is exactly the case for both Timmy and myself as in all honesty, prior to knowing about him I wasn’t even thinking about adding to the family in any way or form but yet here we are.

Having been married in March this year, you tend to get asked the question quite frequently ‘so when is the baby coming along’? Thankfully my husband and I are on the completely same page where starting a family of our own is still far away on the horizon yet, which means we can focus on expanding other areas of our life such as our fur babies. It all began with harmlessly scrolling through Facebook (as you do) and an advertisement for a quiet, compact and cute black Standardbred graced my phone screen. It’s hard to describe but looking back on that distinctive moment it was something about his Black Beauty (soft eyes) look alike face that caught my attention and prompted me to ask the question ‘could we?’. Through the motions of discussing the possibility with my husband, close friend Ingrid (SPPHA President), Amanda (SPPHA rehoming contact) and of course Alison (Timmy’s previous owner), it was starting to look quite likely that Timmy and I were meant for each other.

For a young horse that had not done much prior to ending his racing career, I was quite surprised to see how quiet and comfortable Timmy was particularly around strangers who he had never met before. He was definitely cheeky and had a mischievous glimmer in his eye but also had this beautiful nature inside and out. After spending time with him, I started visualising our life together and thought it could really work so the decision was made, he loaded on the float without much reservation and such began the journey to his new home.

I hadn’t really told Chester (my beloved older TB gelding) that he was getting a younger brother that day, so if I could have captioned his facial expressions it would have read something like ‘that thing isn’t staying here permanently is he???’. But despite a few races around the paddock, they settled into life together rather well.

It is your typical big brother v little brother dynamics though and so cute to see Timmy absolutely doting on Chester and in return I think Chester has a really soft spot for him because whenever Timmy is taken away he does call out to him, which is rare. My vision for Timmy is for him to become my all-rounder of a horse, and we not be restricted in any way or form in what we want to do. So far we have been able to attend a local hacking show and managed to place in every class we entered, plus he handled the competition environment like a pro as well as our first trail ride (and third ride overall) – which I should note he is still not broken in to saddle, just harness from his racing days. There really is a lot to be said about Standardbreds, such undervalued breeds that have so much to offer and give.

Everything that I have thrown his way he has taken completely on board and his ability to cope, learn and mentality to please never ceases to amaze me. Timmy is a very intelligent, young and quirky Standardbred and I thank my lucky stars every day that we came to find each other. I cannot believe how far Timmy and my partnership has grown in the short time we have come to know each other and begun this journey and I am very excited to see what else we can achieve together. Timmy has the biggest heart and I absolutely adore him.

A huge thank you to Ingrid for your support and counsel throughout the whole process, Amanda for ‘matchmaking’ us perfectly and of course Alison for entrusting me with your special boy. I look forward to becoming more involved with SPPHA, meeting fellow members through competitions or events and further supporting in general life after racing for Standardbred’s because what a great cause it is.

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