Two unique Choices for one therapy rider

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Flashy chestnut Four Choices arrived at Claremont Therapeutic Riding Centre in 2020 as a gentle, playful horse that had never run a race.

Around the same time, handsome grey Say Geronimo was entering the Off the Track WA retraining program having earned more than $130,000 in prize money during his racing career.

His destiny also took him to Claremont, where both thoroughbreds teamed up with rider Kate to discover new talents in dressage together.

Kate’s confidence grew as she worked with the two horses, more commonly known as Gerry and Ping Pong, to the point that she entered a Perth Horse and Pony Club hack show late last year.

Both horses came away with many ribbons and great dressage scores.

Claremont Therapeutic Riding Centre CEO Jacqui Moon said the pair had flourished due to Kate’s time and experience while allowing her to pursue her goals in a supportive environment.

“You couldn’t wipe the smile off Kate’s face.” Jacqui said of the successful Perth hack show.

“Over time, Kate and Gerry have formed a very special partnership that has been beneficial to both.

“The relationship Gerry and Kate are living is a prime example of the very real difference these horses can make in people’s lives, and we look forward to watching their journey as they continue to fly the flag for off the track therapy horses in WA.”

Kate and Gerry go through their paces. Main image: Kate works with Ping Pong

Gerry was tagged as a potential therapy horse during his retraining and gifted to the riding centre as part of their alliance with Off the Track WA.

Ping Pong joined the Claremont centre through one of his racing owners, Joanne Andrews. Trials had shown the stable favourite was not suited to racing but she thought his curious and soft temperament would be a better match for life as a therapy horse.

“He has the most inquisitive and playful nature, so much so that he is often the cause of mischief in the horse paddock and is always getting into games with other horses.” Jacqui said.

After a summer spell, Gerry and Four Choices came back into work in March. Feeling positive after their great start, Kate joined Swan River Dressage Club and entered her first competition on Gerry.

They competed in both Prelimary and Novice tests and found it a valuable learning and confidence-building experience.

In May, Kate competed both Gerry and Ping Pong in a Swan River Dressage Club event and they continue to develop their teamwork and skills.

Susan de Ruyter

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