Life After Racing...
If you’ve followed us here at Vivendi Apparel for a while, then you’ll know that we spend a lot of time in the UAE. It’s become almost like a second home. During that time, we met the amazing Alex Grant, who not only became a friend but soon became involved with Vivendi Apparel after discovering an instant love for our brand. Since then, Alex has now become a direct supplier of Vivendi Apparel within the UAE but that’s not all she does.
Alex is also now the founder of an incredible initiative called Life After Racing. We decided to speak with Alex and find out more about this incredible thoroughbred based training initiative and what she does to help racehorses find their forever homes when their days on the track have come to an end.
Jenni: Hey Alex, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. So tell us about Life After Racing. Why did you set it up and what’s it all about?
Alex: It’s an initiative very close to my heart and something I’ve dreamt of for a number of years. I want to show what these amazing race horses are capable of post racing and their career on the track.
With the right training and rehabilitation, they can actually transition very easily into regular riding homes
Whether that’s in another discipline entirely or as a happy hacker.
J: You’ve said you’d like to shed more light on the racing industry itself and change people’s perspectives, maybe even showcasing how well these horses are actually looked after - how do you want to do that?
A: The racing industry gets a lot of flack but I can tell first hand that these horses are in fantastic condition, sometimes maybe even a little too good haha. The trainer I work with is amazing and he’s supportive and on hand for anything. He puts these horses first every second of the day.
J: What’s your experience with racehorses previously?
A: It all started with Speed Hawk and his legacy continues in my passion to give other retired horses like him the right restart and chance at a second career.
Speed Hawk was one of the Barns leading Racehorses with 11 placing & 7 wins. He was retired at 6 with a small twinge to his RF distal flexor tendon and was rested, but his trainer decided not to bring him back and to find him a good home. I am so very blessed I was lucky enough to call him mine. It was a rough road to begin with as he was a little wild, so I turned him away. We had to over come an array of issues - feet being the main one - but with the help of his change of diet, movement, farrier and a great chiropractor, we were off riding 5/6 months in.
He very quickly developed from then and became the most kind, sweet, curious, hard working little horse. He suddenly became the biggest, softest baby. He was ridden bitless and even hacked with my novice partner. I personally always wanted to jump and he eventually became a very confident and strong, talented jumper. We entered 5 shows, 2 dressage and 3 jumping.
He passed away in the May. It was the worst day of my life.
A tragic waste of a horse that had so much ability and so much promise. Gone to soon at only 8 years old. Life After Racing is very much in Hawk’s legacy.
J: Why is the thoroughbred such a special breed do you think?
A: They’re extremely smart and dynamic sports horses. They have a huge heart, stamina and strength. Unfortunately, sometimes with the wrong handling or training, they’re often wrongly labeled as scatty, flighty and unpredictable but I really don’t think they are, certainly not any more then any other sports horse.
J: How can people get involved and utilise your services?
A: I’m going to be offering bespoke rehab/retraining programs that cater for owners and their individual horses. I’ll be creating a step by step guide to help these owners transition their horse from racehorse to riding horse.
J: What help are you receiving at the moment? Are you working with any brands?
A: Well, I’m working with yourselves at Vivendi Apparel. I love riding in the silicone grip compression leggings. I really struggle to wear normal breeches these days. I’m also hoping with this new initiative, that I may be able to gain new sponsors to help with the care of these special horses while I retrain them and find them new homes.
J: How can people help?
A: I’d be forever grateful if people simply supported and followed our journey. I’ll also be offering a meet and greet service for the horses to help spread the love and good word of the OTTB.
J: What do you hope for the future?
A: Really, there is no mountain high enough. Everyday is a new day, a new challenge with a new gift. If I can help 1 or 100 horses, I’m happy to be part of the journey of finding these fantastic horses their new forever home after an incredible career in racing.
If you’d like to follow the journey of Life After Racing, head over to their instagram page at @life_after_racing_.