Photo credit: Calico Pony
By Jordan Gerrans
Former race horse Hey Big Silver has become a "perfectionist" in his post-racing career.
Now going by the name Silver Shades, the big grey former race galloper is making his name on the showjumping scene around Queensland.
Hey Big Silver’s racing career was short lived and without much success but the 15-year-old is certainly making up for it in retirement.
Silver Shades is now owned by Warwick-based Christine Bradfield and her family, a previous recipient of the Equestrian Queensland Official of the Year, as the gelding is mostly ridden by her daughter Amy.
The family is “attached” to the big grey, Christine says.
“He is such a lovely, lovely horse,” Christine said.
“He has always been very trainable and rideable, he could suit an adult up to a high level riding.
“He tries so hard to get everything right, he does not like making mistakes, he is a lovely person he is.”
The son of Canadian Silver went unplaced in his eight career starts, going through the hands of a number of trainers in his racing career.
He has found a permanent home in Warwick with the Bradfield’s as the family is hopeful he can continue to compete well into his 20’s.
Amy and Silver Shades were recently winners of Peachester Lodge TSHA 1.10m Open Championship at the Toowoomba Spring Showjumping.
Amy manages her showjumping on top of working full-time.
“Earlier this year in March, Amy had a big win at the Toowoomba Royal, they had an amateur class that she won and won a rug at,” Christine, who is one of Queensland's leading course builders and judges, said.
“We have not done too much since then.
“But her first start out again at Toowoomba a fortnight ago, she won there, which was very exciting.
“We are off to Caboolture this weekend for another two-day competition up there, where there is more thoroughbreds.”
Silver Shades has become well-known on the showjumping circuit for his ability and looks, according to Christine, as he aims to complete everything that is asked of him by his regular rider.
“Amy has got him very well trained, he could even do dressage, she has done a wonderful job with him,” Christine said.
“It is his temperament as well; he is such a perfectionist and wants to do everything right.
“You cannot breed that, that is just something that they are born with or not.”
A stalwart of showjumping in Queensland, Christine has seen a rise in Off-The-Track gallopers in recent years.
“With all these competitions, it is worthy going out and finding those thoroughbreds because they are out there and it gives you that opportunity to compete on a level playing field,” she said.
“It is a fantastic initiative and people will be out there looking for more thoroughbreds – I certainly will be anyway.
“To see the love and attention these horses get, they are not all top level horses but they get the care and love – which I see as a judge - because they are immaculately presented and the riders love them.
“It does not matter if they win or come last.”