Retired Te Akau racehorse Chambord has continued showing his finesse off the track in both the show-jumping arena and hunting field. Runner-up to Atlante in the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) and a multiple Group placed and stakes winner, who overcame a series of injuries throughout his career, Chambord is one of 15 horses re-homed by stable apprentice Chelsea Burdan.
Burdan has always used thoroughbreds when competing in eventing, cross country, and dressage, and believes that many retired racehorses have hidden talents to enjoy competing in a different scene. “Currently, Chambord is hunting and very well regarded,” Burdan said. “He has caught people’s eye in the few hunts, is totally professional and clears everything with ease. He learning the ropes and starts off pretty keen, but never gets tired. “Everyone wants to know who he is and I think they’re a bit shocked when they find out he’s an ex racehorse that had a pretty good career, as well.”
Burdan said that Chambord had been hunted by jumps jockey Reece Cole, while she has been riding another former racehorse when the pair head out with Waikato Hunt – established more than 125 years ago. “He’s (Chambord) been with my other horses at home since he retired in 2018,” Burdan said.
“Initially, we took him to the beach quite a bit and worked him at home, getting him ready for equestrian stuff. “He surprised me when we took him to practice show-jumping days because he’s got such a spectacular jump on him and so perfect, which is a bit unique for a thoroughbred. “He went to Woodhill Sands (Equestrian Events Centre) and then to another top show in Auckland, where he really took peoples interest. “He’s a pretty easygoing and nice horse. He’s cool to have around, tough as nails and has never been lame. He’s the toughest horse I’ve ever had.”
19-year-old Burdan, with 39 wins to her credit, finishes her apprenticeship next year and plans to spend more time riding Chambord. “I enjoy riding other disciplines away from racing as well and find it helps to keep me fresh,” she said. “Chambord could definitely event. He’s got a beautiful flat technique and he’s an all-round jumper that will jump anything you put in front of him. “I’ll probably steer him towards show-jumping and eventing because he’s got class and quality, rather than just use him for hunting, but it’s all experience for him and good for his mind. “I’m really fond of him. He’s a horse with plenty of character and it’s nice to see how much he has settled into his new environment.”
Among a range of initiatives to increase responsibility for re-homing thoroughbreds, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing is amending the Rules of Racing to create a duty of care. They have also documented a vision (under the Rules of Racing) for thoroughbred welfare and understands the importance of the issue internationally – forming their protocols after attending International Forum’s for Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR), which aims to promote retraining racehorses, and launching a joint venture with Equestrian Sport New Zealand (ESNZ) called Thoroughbreds in Equestrian Sport (TiES). They also have an association with the NZ Show Horse Council and sponsor the Off the Track Horse Show Series.