Ain't No Rabbit

Off the Track Horses Honouring Our Troops

The Australian 10th Light Horse Rockingham Troop is dedicated to preserving and honouring the military of the Australian Light Horsemen of World War 1. They attend community events, visit schools and nursing homes as well as commemorative events. The troop includes valued members, and off the track horses; Digger, Ned Kelly, Melody and in-training Elle. The Troop also has charge of four other retired off the track horses; Princess, Maggie, CC, and Harvey.

The troop’s president, Krystal Jones, says it’s a combination of their off the track horses’ eager to please attitude, experience in busy environments and athleticism that makes them ideal troop horses.

“We find they are well handled and used to handling different situations and environments from a young age which helps them with attending different events regularly with no or minimal stress,” Krystal says.

The troop horses spend a lot of time interacting with the public, including the children, the elderly and those not so familiar with the four legged gentle giants.

In particular Melody shines in these situation.

“Her biggest achievement I would have to say straight out is her visits to the nursing homes where she just shines with her calm and loving nature,” Krystal said.

“She has a real soft spot for the amazing people in there and she listens quietly to their fantastic stories of their younger years while loving the pats.”

Attending events and interacting with the public helps to change perspectives on what OTT horses can do.

“Many people involved with the public believe they are too excitable to retrain so by having our horses out there doing a job that is quite difficult for many horses, it changes their ideas on what an retired racehorse horse can and can’t do,” Krystal says.

“After seeing our troop horses enjoying their work and listening to our stories of their glory days as race horses and learning all their owners and trainers wanted was a good and safe home and new career for their horses changes the perspective very quickly and we find they leave being much more educated and happy about OTT horses.”

To prepare the horses for their second career they undergo between three to six months of work and training.

“We regularly do drill training, nuisance-desensitisation training and urban training with the horses.” Krystal says.

The horses also get to show their strengths as all-rounders away from troop duties as lesson horses, in competitions, and as therapy horses for children with disabilities.

Horses join the troop donated, through the “Rehome a Racehorse” Facebook page, or as the private horses of the members.

All the troop’s horses have different personalities and experience as well has racing history. Krystal gave us a look at each horses’ personalities and strengths.

Grand Fiero

Race name: Grand Fiero

Stable name: Digger

Breed: thoroughbred

Racing history: Didn’t race or trial

Troop horse Digger loves to plod around fair grounds and have cuddles from anyone who will take the time to say hi to him.

Digger is our big baby of the team, having foaled in 2014 he is relatively young. He loves to be cheeky and will pull any signs off our yards at events thinking he’s a very clever boy.

His biggest achievement would be the Rockingham Christmas Parade. Although he has done many big events this was his biggest to date and he handled it like a professional with many strange and interesting things going on along with loud live music and commentary he didn’t put a foot wrong and enjoyed all the entertainment.

Thorughbred Predominate

Race name: Predominate

Stable name: Ned Kelly

Breed: thoroughbred

Stake money: $27 257

Racing history: 48 starts for four wins, three seconds, three thirds

Ned Kelly loves to please and loves his job. Ned is our go to for all new troopers to learn the job on and start getting out and about operationally with his trustworthy and pleasing nature.

He is normally seen with his tongue sticking out or smiling which always puts a smile on everyone’s face.

His biggest achievement although doing countless big events for us and always being the star I would have to say is him bringing on and teaching new troopers the ropes and always being completely trustworthy.

Standardbred Ain't No Rabbit

Race name: Ain’t No Rabbit

Stable name: Melody

Breed: standardbred

Stake money: $56 880

Racing history: 110 starts for eight wins, nine seconds and eleven thirds

Melody is a more forward let’s get to work type of horse but is safe and always gives us her best. Melody is very much a softy and loves the nursing home visits.

She is all about her at events she gets jealous when the others are getting attention and will sneak her way into getting pats. Melody is the queen of the paddock and she knows it.

Her biggest achievement I would have to say straight out is her visits to the nursing homes where she just shines with her calm and loving nature she has a real soft spot for the amazing people in there and she’s just listens quietly to their fantastic stories of their younger years while loving the pats.

Thoroughbred Neutron Dance

Race name: Neutron Dance

Stable name: Elle

Breed: thoroughbred

Stake money: $2 715

Race history: 10 starts for one third

Elle is our newest troop horse just beginning her troop training we have high hopes for her and she is settling in nicely.

She is only just beginning her troop training and is currently learning to slow everything down she’s a very active little lady and I would think of her as the popular sporty girl at school.”

“The Troop are always keeping an eye out for their next off the track horse, but only sponsors and donations will help them give the next thoroughbred or standardbred a second career.”

Krystal and the Troop are excited to get out to more events in 2020 and represent the Australian Light Horse with their off the track horses. “We are very passionate about the off the track horses and a huge goal for us would be to continue doing what we do in proving to others how brilliant these horses are.” she says.