This year to try and give GHE readers a bit more insight about my sponsors, and the life of a sponsored amateur rider I am going to run a monthly ‘Sponsor Spotlight’ feature.
We kick off with my newest sponsor the not-for profit racehorse rehabilitation organisation Going Home. The idea is that ‘Sponsor Spotlight’ will give people a little overview about each sponsor, what they do, and how our sponsorship agreement works. There’s also a Q&A section where I have tried my journalistic best to ask some interesting and probing questions! Enjoy…
About Going Home…
“Going Home” is a not for profit horse re-homing organisation. We operate on limited funds and we’re different to many other horse rescue charities as we work with horses who, although not neglected, starved or cruelly treated, have found themselves facing an uncertain future. The reasons for this are numerous…. the illness or death of their owner, the end of their racing career, the development of problem behaviour etc. We try to intervene before the horses get passed through the sales ring, preferring horses who are referred by word of mouth, or that we’ve found through Internet sales sites… although we do buy from auctions too. We try not to suffer from compassion overload – preferring to work with 1-2 horses at a time.
Once with us, we assess each horse and retrain / school them for their future role. This could be anything from reliable happy hacker to competition horse. Once we understand that horse and what their needs are, we set about finding them the right long term loan home.
The Going Home Team
Lori Whinn – the founder of the organisation. Lori is a confirmed Happy Hacker and is far more into horse behaviour than anything fast or competitive! “Although I’d always wanted horses and was the pony-mad girl at school, I didn’t have the time, money or facilities to actually realise this ambition until I reached my 40’s” Lori continues: “I have 3 horses now – all rescues: a 2 year old French Comtois heavy horse and 2 Welsh cobs. There are also the Going Home horses of course – Charlie, our 26 year old TB ex-racer who will end his days here and the horses that we save and then go to long term loan homes – we normally have 1 or 2 “Sports Horses” with us at varying stages of their training / assessment.
Hannah Lake – rider, fund raiser and soon to be fellow Director of Going Home. Hannah has been riding since she was 3 and has a more conventional horsey background. Hannah previously worked with the BHS, gained an Equine Science degree, and has ridden some superb horses. She used to work on a Show Jumping yard where she backed and schooled dozens of imported warmbloods. Hannah’s regular horse is “Chubby” – a 19 year old Welsh cob who did very little until she took him on at the age of 16. He’s now regularly hunting, competing in working hunter classes and veteran showing. He has also began show jumping in “clear round” competitions last year – he is a super all-rounder and who said you can’t teach an older horse new tricks?
Going Home Q&A
What made you decide to sponsor GHE?
GHE is a great “fit” with what we’re doing at Going Home…. I love the idea of taking horses who had failed in or finished one career and giving them a new and useful life. It is very much what we’re trying to do. When I read about Chloe giving Jack a chance, and the work that she’s done with Soap, I was very keen to support Gift Horse Eventing. We’d like to think that Chloe could campaign a GH horse at some point in the future too.
As a sponsor how does it help you/your company by supporting an amateur rider as opposed to a big name?
Supporting GHE gives us direct contact with Chloe and her activities, there is also a strong community surrounding GHE and that community seems to be the right place for us to promote Going Home too. The horse world is huge and diverse – but GHE and GH seem to operate in a similar niche.
In your opinion what is the most important factor that makes sponsorship work, and what do you expect from your sponsored riders in return?
Aims and aspirations that are complementary, good communication, opportunities to put our news and plans in front of a wider audience, and a pro-active approach to promotion of our brand from the rider – we’re only a tiny organisation ourselves and sponsorship is new to us and we’re only involved with one rider – and that’s Chloe.
What was your highlight of 2010 and what are you looking forward to in 2011?
Lori – My highlight was going to a series of demonstrations by Leslie Desmond – the well respected American horse behaviourist. She works with horses quietly and intuitively. In 2011 I’m looking forward to riding my horse Jake a lot more. He’s a chunky Welsh Cob (rescued from the clutches of the meat man at an auction). He has a fab but mixed up personality and, after a very unpromising beginning with us, he’s become my horse of a lifetime. We’re also looking forward to backing Louis our enormous Comtois heavy horse – if we can find a saddle big enough.
Hannah – My highlight of the year was getting a double clear with my 19 year old Section D in our first round of showjumps he had ever done! He was at the show doing his usual Ridden Showing classes when I thought I’d enter him into the show jumping at 2ft9 (just as a bit of a laugh)! – I went into the ring without walking it and just cantered round and up to the first jump…he was probably as shocked as I was but he absolutely flew round and was a super star that everyone noticed…. and everyone could not believe he had not even jumped a course of jumps at home let alone at a competition! I then started to take him to a evening RC jumping class and he loves it! So after 15 years of just hacking and showing….. he has found a love for the excitement of jumping and hunting!!
What was the catalyst that made you start the non for profit organisation GH?
Lori – A chance visit to an auction in July 2010 gave us a graphic illustration that good horses end up in bad places and, unless they look neglected, lots of private buyers assume they’ll be OK. We quickly decided that, although we couldn’t save them all, we could save some and give them a secure future.
In fantasy land what would you rather ride round and win Badminton, The Grand National, or the Hickstead Derby?
Lori – I developed a love of NH racing very early on and it would have to be the Grand National. As Rosemary Henderson finished 5th in 1994 on her own horse at the mature age of 51, maybe I’ll still manage it!
Hannah – Badminton! – As I think just think it is the ultimate competition for horse and rider. I remember my first day at Badminton when I was younger and going up to the jumps and saying ‘I could jump this jump and that jump, especially if I had the right horse’ and thought one day I would! – Ha! – I now realise how dull I was (Or a lot more confident and ambitious I was then)!! – I’d be chuffed to just get round a BE Novice clear now!! 🙂
What is your own personal equestrian ambition?
Lori – To be able to complete a basic dressage test with Jake – where he shows his 3 real paces – rather than kick, buck, bolt – which are the 3 that he prefers when he’s a little stressed! It may not sound like much of an ambition – but you haven’t seen me ride!
Hannah – To understand each horse individually to therefore be able to work with them all in their own way to bring out the very best in them in their chosen sphere!! – They are all so different and wish I could tell what each was thinking…. especially to overcome their fears or certain issues they have or develop!!!
If you could have a lesson with any rider/instructor who would it be?
Lori – Mark Rashid – a real natural horseman with infinite patience and the real ability to read a horse.
Hannah –Hard to choose!! William Fox-Pitt as he’s just a top rider and top bloke!
What future plans/ fund raisers do you have for GH?
Lori – Lots of plans! – these include: getting competitive with one of our new rescues “Quest” – who is a talented all rounder – specialising in dressage – who has really been through it in 2010 and who we plan to get back to his former glory and competing again in 2011. We also plan an open day so that people can find out more about us and what we do, and the launch of a brand of fabulous, fund raising chocolates that will be sold through good farm shops and deli’s across the UK.
What are your most and least favourite things about owning/riding horses?
Lori – Most – the smell – I love how horses smell. Fortunately, my long suffering hubby agrees and has been known to go and sniff his horse too.
Lori – Least – WINTER – frozen hands, frozen drinkers, muddy rugs – roll on Spring please!
Hannah – Most – They are nearly always pleased to see you and are true friends no matter what – and they bring lots of joy and fulfilment (Whether just going on a chilled happy hack or going well in a comp)!
Hannah – Least – They spend all your money and you can’t switch them off or put them away in the garage for a week like a motorbike!! – And they can be VERY frustrating if they don’t want to do something you ask or develop certain issues (i.e. Loading)!!!
What one piece of advice/handy tip has helped you recently?
Lori – Not really a tip but a product…. my mother in law is known for buying us inappropriate presents – but something called a H2GO Barrow Bag arrived in the post a couple of weeks ago – AND IT’S GREAT! It’s a big plastic bag with a pourer that you put in a wheelbarrow or trailer and fill with water (holds up to 80 litres) – it’s been great for taking water to the paddocks when everything else is frozen up!
Hannah – None…. Would be grateful to receive some please!! I need lots of advice and tips on anything!
Thoroughbreds or Warmbloods who’s best?
Lori – TB for me – a big chasing type, preferably with some decent racing history so that I could watch videos of his past achievements on Racing Post.
Hannah – Warmbloods Sorry!! – Not sure why, just what I’m used to and like riding!! However since the launch of ‘GH’ – I am now much more involved in TB’s and learning why they are seen as the Best!
If you didn’t ride what other sport would you do?
Lori – I’m with Hannah on this one – something where I could just switch off the equipment and put it away for a while – I’d probably race classic cars.
Hannah – I love quite a lot of sports but don’t do enough of them due to all the time taken up by horses! – So I suppose if I didn’t ride, I would spend much more time down the gym! HA! Yeah right! No, I would do more snowboarding, skiing, cycling, swimming and dance classes!
What is your new years resolution?
Lori – Ride more, make fewer excuses and not be such a wimp!
Hannah – Haven’t got one – but it should be – To stop eating chocolate and chocolate related things and pudding everyday!!! But that has no way even changed, it’s actually got worse!! :s
and finally Marmite, love it or hate it?
Lori – Hate, hate, hate!!!
Hannah – LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!!