Seeing is Believing

Tara Madgwick - Thursday October 26

With the Sydney and Melbourne Spring Racing Carnivals in full swing the mainstream media focus is very much on thoroughbreds and how we treat them both during and after their racing lives which is why the tale of a remarkable thoroughbred and his role in the upcoming premiere screening of outstanding documentary The Healing is a must read story.

Click to find tickets for a screening near you.

Earlier this year I encountered the problem of what to do with a troubled thoroughbred first hand and the man to solve my dilemma was ex-mounted police officer and renowned equestrian Scott Brodie, who is at the centre of The Healing, a 54 minute documentary by film maker Nick Barkla.

The film details the work Brodie does in re-training racehorses and their pivotal use as therapy in helping first responders and military veterans suffering PTSD and associated mental health issues.

The story of my So You Think gelding Dream and his transition from a traumatic career in racing to a worthwhile fruitful life outside of racing can be read here and for the record he is still a valued member of Scott Brodie’s team as a lease horse and for regular use in the Horse Aid clinics.

For those interested in going to see The Healing, there are limited tickets still available for the first Sydney screening next Monday night at the Randwick Ritz and for subsequent screenings at locations right around the country, click here for tickets and screening times.


Bazaconi has had a rewarding life against all odds.

Starring in the film from the horse perspective is Bazaconi, a horse I know well as he finished his racing career in 2012 having his final start in the care of my good friend Margaret Ogilvy, who had an owner trainers licence at the time.

She got him as a tried horse and did win a race with him at Moruya, but his racing talent was limited and when it became apparent he was not going to win another race she was faced with the issue of what to do with a horse she deemed dangerous.

Bazaconi (Bianconi x Bazalgette) was a winner at Moruya.

Bazaconi was a bolter. There is nothing that strikes fear into the heart of any rider more than that split second when you lose control of a horse that has no control over himself.

Horses like Bazaconi are thankfully rare and can bring about destruction to themselves and all around them, but a life that could have ended in disaster has instead turned into one of inspiration.

“There’s no doubt he was a tricky horse. Probably the trickiest horse that ever came through that Racing NSW rehoming program and we did over 500 horses,” Scott Brodie recalled.

“He was tangled and twisted in both body and mind. I did plenty of groundwork with him and got to the point where I was ready to get on him and he felt OK right up until he bolted straight across the arena and smashed into the fence with no regard for his safety or mine.”

Scott went back to the drawing board and after many months, progress was finally made.

“He was always going to be a difficult horse to rehome, but I didn’t want to let Margaret down, so I kept trying with him,” Brodie said.

“He improved and progressed to the point he was working well enough to do a few dressage competitions and was going nicely. He has great movement and is an intelligent horse.

“A girl that was working with me at the time, Georgie Young took a liking to him and made a bit of a project for herself to work with him and eventually took him home and she has him to this day.”

Now 17 years old, Bazaconi is regularly used in Horse Aid clinics and is the perfect horse to connect with troubled and broken people that need to rediscover strength in themselves.

“He is very sensitive, super intelligent and phenomenal at reading body language,” Brodie explained.

“Horses pick up on every emotion. You cannot lie to a horse, they see straight through you.

“When we do join up, where we ask people to work with the horse to have it follow them, they need to strike that right balance of emotion, not too much bravado and not too soft or the horse will just walk away. It’s about mutual respect, you need that aura of confidence for it to work and the horse has to believe it.”

Footnote: Horses and people have different thresholds for stress and the ways in which they manage varying situations. A great many people work in very difficult jobs and live perfectly fulfilled lives achieving balance amidst the challenges they face and likewise the majority of horses leaving racing can ultimately be retrained for a myriad of other roles.

Not all people are going to be professional athletes and not all racehorses are either, which is why we need many avenues for off the track horses to find their path to a worthwhile life.



More Reading...
Pedigree Updates Add to Appeal of NZB Weanlings
Recent racetrack results have delivered a series of boosts to the catalogue for this week’s NZB National Weanling Sale at Karaka.
Royal Ascot Day 1 – Pedigree Watch
Aussie mare Asfoora captured the Group I King Charles Stakes for the sprinters at Royal Ascot on Day 1, but there were also two Group I races at1m with the St James’s Palace Stakes producing a vintage renewal featuring all three Euro Guineas winners and the Queen Anne Stakes very nearly won by an Aussie owned horse.
Winning Run for Royal Ascot Hero – 12 Winners in June
Back in 2018, Fastnet Rock colt Merchant Navy was the toast of Royal Ascot when he beat some of Europe’s best sprinters to win the Group I Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6f) and six years on he now calls Kooringal Stud home and a hot winning run since the start of June will no doubt prick the ears of all mare owners in the Wagga district.
Sires With Winners - Tuesday June 18
Here is the full list of 27 stallions which had winners throughout Australasia today with winners and result details.
Aussie Mare Asfoora Wins G1 King Charles at Royal Ascot
Victorians celebrated at Royal Ascot overnight with Aussie bred and owned Flying Artie mare Asfoora following the path blazed successfully by many Aussie sprinters in the past when she charged home to win the Group I King Charles Stakes (5f).
Promising Almanzor 3YO Ready for Australian Debut
Promising three-year-old Eliud is expected to relish the step up to a middle distance when he makes his Australian debut on Saturday.
Blueblood Filly Bolts In for Emirates Park
A $1.7million Inglis Easter purchase for Emirates Park, Snitzel filly Estijaab won the 2018 Golden Slipper for Emirates Park before embarking on a stud career in the Northern Hemisphere and her first born Frankel filly Ejaabiyah is making good progress in the UK and scored an impressive win overnight at Salisbury.
Sires With Winners - Monday June 17
Here is the full list of 23 stallions which had winners throughout Australasia today with winners and result details.
There are G1 Winners and G1 WINNERS
We often say about a sire ‘he’s never without a G1 horse’ and in the case of this stallion it’s true.
G1 2YOs What Do We Make of Them?
The running of the Group I BRC JJ Atkins at Eagle Farm on Saturday brought to an end G1 juvenile racing in Australia for this season, but the Group I designator only tells part of the story for two year-old racing in this country which has become ever more lucrative if you have the right horse that can jump and run.