Inspired by the challenge of trying to teach an old horse new tricks, Nicole Touzel took on 16-year-old mare Skylar as her first pet project for Racing Victoria’s (RV) RESET program.
The RESET program, launched by RV last year, seeks to find a new home for retired racehorses which might not be commercially equestrian prospects, but which are sound and can still go on to enjoy prosperous careers in other equine disciplines. As a retired broodmare, Skylar fit the bill perfectly.
Until 2017, Skylar – who raced as Startreat, winning twice from 14 career starts on the track – had enjoyed her life as a Mum, giving birth to four foals.
But when her career as a broodmare came to an end, she was sent to RV Acknowledged Retrainer Touzel and her partner Clayton Cant. Having passed her re-education with flying colours, Skylar is now ready to begin the next stage of her life.
“A lot of people just assume that once a mare goes to the breeding barn, that’s all she’ll do before living out her days in a paddock,” said Touzel.
“So I guess it’s probably quite unusual for a broodmare to go through a retraining program, but we wanted to change that perception. We like a challenge, so were keen to break down the stereotype that older broodmares can’t go on to anything else once they’ve finished their breeding careers.
“She’s been great to work with, it was always going to be a challenge having not been ridden for so long, but you could tell that she still remembers having a saddle and a bridle on. She’ll be really well suited to pleasure riding or trail riding, or a pony club. Because she’s had so much time without a saddle on her back, she doesn’t love having too much pressure applied to her.
“What she loves more than anything is attention and affection, she’s always hanging over the gate and looking for a cuddle or a pat, so she’d be perfect for a horse-mad teenager who wants to take her for a ride on weekends.”
Anyone who is interested in acquiring Skylar can contact Nicole by phone (0409 646 390) or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).