Two former racehorses who are now stablemates in Stoke on Trent in Staffordshire will take centre stage to showcase their new talents as they take part in Retraining of Racehorses’ Opening Day Parade during the Grand National meeting at Aintree Racecourse on Thursday 3rd April 2014.
Schuh Shine and Next To Nothing are retired racehorses who are enjoying family life and successful new careers. They are now looked after and loved by the Harrison family in Stoke on Trent and pursuing their second careers in Dressage and Eventing, having been supported by the charity Retraining of Racehorses.
During his career Schuh Shine, now 17 years old, ran 23 times over hurdles and fences, winning 9 races and over £68,000 in prize money. In 2005, Schuh Shine came second at Aintree when running in the John Smith’s Novices Handicap Chase.
After retiring in 2007, Schuh Shine was mostly ridden after by Tania Harrison, the daughter of his owners, Mr and Mrs Harrison. Schuh Shine started his second career competing on the British Eventing circuit and is now enjoying success in the hands of Tania’s sister Karen. He has won 19 competitions, as well as the RoR Elite Dressage Performance Award. Schuh Shine has qualified for the winter regional finals and the National Petplan Championships. He is currently competing at Elementary level and Karen is hoping to enter him for some Medium level competition later this year.
Next To Nothing, nicknamed ‘Nicky’, is also 17 years old. During his racing career he ran 11 times over hurdles and fences, winning three of these races. Next To Nothing went on win a point to point race.
Since his retirement, Next To Nothing has been enjoying a career in Eventing. He has competed in British Eventing, winning four events and being placed 22 times. Next To Nothing qualified for the Grassroots Badminton Horsetrials in 2011 and finished a very respectable 12th. He has also recently taken up dressage and came 5th at the RoR finals at Vale View in 2013.
Retraining of Racehorses is the British Horseracing’s official charity for the welfare of horses who have retired from racing. It organises an annual Aintree Festival parade for former racehorses to show their ability to adapt to different lifestyles – often being very successful in their new career.
Karen Harrison said of Schuh Shine:
“All through Schuh's racing career, he was always the horse I wanted when he retired. It didn't quite go to plan as I found him quite strong so Tania competed at British Eventing with him. Later, I competed at British Dressage with him. Schuh has always been the perfect gentleman to handle - his only problem is his colour (grey) he's always muddy!”
Karen Harrison said of Next To Nothing:
“Nicky has given us two very special moments, the first when my sister, Tania rode him to win a hunter chase at Ayr and then a couple of years later they qualified and competed at the grassroots final at Badminton.
“He is a real family horse, we both compete on him and my brother regularly rides him too. He is lovely and gentle to handle but he can be a little monkey to catch sometimes.”
Di Arbuthnot, Retraining of Racehorses Chief Executive, said:
“Everyone involved in horseracing shares a passion for horses. On the track they provide us with so much enjoyment and excitement and it is wonderful that through Retraining of Racehorses or otherwise, former racehorses can find a fulfilling second career. We have almost 9,000 horses currently registered on our database as active in disciplines outside of racing, including polo, showing, dressage and eventing, as well as all those happily engaged in hacking and exercising.
"The Parade at Aintree is a celebration of not only previous Festival winners, but also of horses who have gone to achieve great success in other disciplines.
“Not all racehorses go on to star in a different sphere but the more we can raise awareness of how adaptable they are, the more riders will think about taking on a racehorse on when they are looking for a new horse.”