Oliver Hood rode to victory at the SEIB Insurance Broker’s Racehorse to Riding Horse 2015 qualifier at the Vale View Equestrian Centre.
Riding Yvonne Botham’s 11-year-old gelding, Royal Rock, at the event in Leicestershire, the Diss-based rider fought off stiff competition from other riders in the class to take second place and gain qualification for the prestigious Horse of The Year Show.
Royal Rock was trained by Chris Wall in Newmarket and had a successful racing career, achieving 10 wins including two group three races from 44 starts on the flat, earning over £180,000 in prize money.
While he was in training, Royal Rock spent his holidays at grass with Yvonne and Peter Botham and when he retired from racing, his owner, Miss Fustoq, gifted the horse to them.
Hood’s father, Alistair, who is a professional show horse producer from his yard near Diss explained how the partnership between rider and horse came together and how the work put in by his son is now reaping the rewards.
“Peter asked me to go up and see the horse in Newmarket at the end of November,” he said.
“We liked him and decided to give him a go. From the moment he arrived, he was a lovely horse.
“Every week he has become more established and he improves every day. To begin with he could not canter on the left lead, but with patient work he has now learned.
“He is a lovely ride, and his limbs are amazing, which is remarkable after such a long racing career. He hacks out on his own and is good with others – he is a real pleasure to have”.
As a result of his success, Hood will compete at the SEIB Insurance Brokers Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship finals at the Horse of The Year Show in October at the Birmingham NEC.
n More information on the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Show Championship is available from www.racehorse2ridinghorse.co.uk