It is always exciting having a new arrival on the yard. An opportunity to work with a new horse, in its new home to take it forward to a new career is fantastic. Seeing Seebald, now happily ensconced in his field, with new friends, is particularly exciting.
While in training with Martin Pipe, Seebald clocked up an impressive tally of wins and places under all three codes, accumulating a total of £372,165 prize money by the time he retired. After a successful racing career, then retirement, it will be interesting to see how quickly he settles back into a training routine. I have a feeling he will not be quite as quiet as one might expect for a horse of his age as it is clear, from talking to Tom Scudamore, the jockey who rode him in many races, and Vikki the lass who looked after him, Seebald like many successful athletes, is a horse with a great personality.
From the way Tom talks about the horse he really enjoyed his racing with Seebald. "He was very straight forward in his races, proving very enthusiastic," said Tom. "He loved his jumping and he was very neat on his feet, able to get in close to a fence and be very quick over it, as well as being very brave and bold when you needed him to be." Tom says his best racing moment would have been being narrowly beaten by three times Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate, at Exeter. "We had a fantastic battle all the way up the straight, and Seebald gave his all. I was very proud of him that day."
Moving around his field Seebald has lost none of his athletic ability. Since retiring he has been watched over carefully while living with Tom and his wife Charlotte. Although very much a member of the family, Seebald made sure everyone knew who was boss. "After a brief stint point-to-pointing he has lived with my family for the past six years, becoming a very good friend, loved by us all," added Tom. "He was great to have around, a kind, and devilishly handsome individual, even if he could be a ponce in the rain and the cold!"
Tom's feedback about the horse will prove invaluable to us as he comes back into training. Clearly this handsome individual is going to keep us on our toes too! Talking to Vikki, the lass who looked after him while he was at Martin Pipe's, confirmed this: "When he was fresh he could throw some good shapes so you had to sit tight but he was lovely to ride and he would, without doubt, have been a great eventer as he loved jumping natural fences such as logs when he was out. He was always a pleasure to look after, a true gentleman. Baldy, as he is known, never knew how to run a bad race. Tom added: "One of the best moments was as a second season chaser. He had ran his heart out all season without winning but at the last meeting of the season, at Sandown, he came in first."
Baldy is clearly a talented horse with bags of personality. It is going to be pleasure and a privilege to work with him over the coming months. In my next diary I will be reporting back on how we got on and whether or not Baldy still throws some good shapes!
Polly Ellison is a classical dressage trainer who is now focusing on re-training Thoroughbreds, particularly ex-racehorses. She can be contacted on 07967 272920 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org