The spring sunshine dazzled down on Merseyside as our good Brook stepped out onto the biggest stage of his career.
After months in the Scottish hills, relaxing with his HorseBack herd, working with small groups of veterans, Brook is used to a quiet life. Suddenly, he was in the middle of a huge city racecourse, surrounded by a heaving crowd, with the crack of anticipation in the air as the Grand National meeting got under way. It’s hard to describe how much stimulus there is on a racetrack – cranes, trucks, generators, tannoys, flags, strange humans, strange horses, a sense of constant rush and movement. There was a moment when Brook heard the first blast of the loudspeakers and put his head up in the air, eyes wide, ears pricked, absolutely convinced that he should be on his way down to the start.
So the lovely fellow was a little more on his toes than he is usually, and definitely aware that he was a long way from home. But he still took the grand spectacle in stride, and still rode around in his rope halter with no bit, and still managed to contain his excitement. It was a huge question to ask, when even some of the old hands, who know the big occasion only too well, were on their toes. To our delight, the answer was a resounding yes. We were incredibly proud of Brook, and also delighted to be in such stellar company.
The ROR parade always features a wonderful roster of racehorses who have gone on to new jobs, and this was no exception. We were particularly pleased to see George Beilby, serving Royal Marine and friend of HorseBack, with Monkerhostin. Monkerhostin was a great chaser in his day, and played a very important part in helping George get back on an even keel after his last tour in Afghanistan. Monkey and Brook were stabled next door to each other and amused us all by appearing to become instant friends. (If your dedicated Facebook Operative was only a little flakier than is the case, she would swear they were discussing the intricacies of Marine humour.)
HorseBack’s Jason Hare was interviewed in the paddock, so that he could explain his experience of life-changing injury and the role that horses played in his own path to recovery, and the whole team met many new people who were interested in the work at HorseBack. It’s so important for us to raise awareness of what we do, and in particular the need for what we do, and thanks to Retraining of Racehorses and Peopleton Brook, we were able to do that today. Thank you so much to everyone who helped make it possible. It was a mighty day.