Andrea Busfield - True Horse Power
I have anoff-the-track thoroughbred whose racing name was Lucky Star. When I brought himhome, my friend jokingly said he should be called Lucky B*****d from there onin. And in many ways, she was right. Most race horses in Cyprus, where I live,don’t have a great future ahead of them once they retire. Some of them have nofuture at all. But I knew from the start, that out of the two of us, it was mewho struck lucky that day. My horse rescued me, not the other way around.
Lucky wasretired aged eight. During his career as a first-class racer, he ran 61 races,winning 12 of them. He was a money maker with an impressive bloodline featuringsuch sporting greats as Danehill, Danzig and Northern Dancer. But this meant nothingto me at the time. All I knew was that Lucky needed a home and I needed a wayto mend a very broken heart.
Three weeksbefore I met Lucky, my horse Achilles died from colic. He was only seven yearsold and he was my absolute world. When he passed away, I was utterly devastated,and the void left by his death was simply too huge for me to navigate alone. Mymum thought I needed to see a doctor. But I didn’t need a doctor, I needed ahorse.
When I firstsaw Lucky – at a racing yard in Nicosia – I thought he looked nice enough; hewas bigger than I was used to, but he had a soft eye and everyone said he washandsome. However, I was too in love with Achilles to see just how special hewas at that point. But Lucky seemed finewith that. So, we loaded him up and took him home.
Over thenext few weeks, I groomed Lucky every day, did a lot of in-hand work in thearena, taught him that carrots and apples were good things to eat and generallytook the time to get to know him while he enjoyed a little downtime.
Of course,the first time I rode him was perhaps the most nerve-wracking experience of mylife and the trot the most bizarre, but slowly we found our way. Within fourweeks, Lucky was working on an outline – not thanks to any great riding skillson my part, but rather because he naturally fell into position when relaxed –and slowly, slowly I began to see a chink of light at the end of a very longtunnel.
Fastforward three and a half years, and Lucky is now at the very core of myexistence. He has challenged me in so many ways, scared the hell out of me onseveral occasions and forced me to become a better rider than I could ever haveimagined. My friend and trainer, Caroline, has been there every step of the way– and you need someone with that passion, experience and knowledge watchingyour back when you take on an ex-racehorse – and I couldn’t be happier.
When I tookon Lucky, I was broken beyond belief, but he got to work and he fixed me. Idon’t think any medicine in the world could have done a better job.