Berni and The Jets | Jetting Off on Berni Airlines!

Berni and the Jets is a 2010 gelding by Bernardini, bred in Western Australia. Beginning his race career in 2013, Berni trialed and ran his first two starts under trainer, Raquel Williams, before being moved onto trainers such as Patrick Bermingham Jnr and Ben Owen. Berni was later retired with Garry McPherson in 2015 after a career of 10 starts. Berni was advertised on Rehome a Racehorse the following week.

After seeing Berni’s advertisement on Facebook, racing enthusiast and strapper/track work rider, Kariss Whitfield, contacted McPherson and arranged a visit to meet the striking gelding. Falling in love with Berni’s quirky and cheeky character, Kariss purchased Berni and the Jets straight off the track, a week after his final race.

Following his retirement, Berni and Kariss began to work together to build the gelding up toward his new jumping and eventing career. Although Berni has a quirky and loveable personality, his sensitive nature and occasional moods made retraining him not a simple task. With patience and persistence, Kariss managed to unlock the key to unlocking Berni’s full potential.

“I just love the thoroughbred breed. They are so versatile, athletic, and willing. You need these things if you want a horse to take you through the grades of eventing and show jumping,” commented Kariss. “Berni is the horse of a lifetime that we all want, and I’ve been lucky enough to call him mine since he finished racing.”

Having grown up with race trainers for parents, Kariss was well prepared for retraining Berni for his off the track career. After owning Berni for eight years, Kariss and Berni have accomplished a multitude of successes across their years. Kariss attributed their third place in the diamond class at the 2021 Equestrian in The Park as one of their greatest achievements. Berni also proves to have a talent within six-bar classes, once clearing over 1.55m at the Northam Agricultural show and winning the six-bar for two years running at Waroona’s Jackpot Six-Bar in 2021 and 2022. Berni and the Jets also represented Team OTTWA at Perth Show Jumping League where the pair won the Equestrian in the Park Derby class and placed fourth in the Six-Bar.

Together, Kariss hopes to continue to compete Berni successfully at 1.25 and 1.30 heights for show jumping, as well as moving up to three-star eventing at the end of this year or start of next year. Berni and Kariss have hopes to make the trip to Melbourne in 2024 for the Melbourne Three-Day International Event.

OTTWA wish Berni and the Jets and Kariss all the best for their future endeavors.

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