By Julieanne Horsman
Every day Naomi Benson drives 40 minutes from her home in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire to Scenic NSW Equine Centre at Denham Court to ride, train and spend time with her horse, Razz. The 19-year-old student adopted him from the Racing NSW Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Trust where she volunteers.
Razz is no ordinary horse though. He’s a retired thoroughbred with an impressive career behind him. Racing fans would remember him as ‘That’s A Good Idea,’ the speedy Peter & Paul Snowden-trained galloper who was stakes placed nine times and earned three quarters of a million dollars in prizemoney.
“I never saw him race but I have watched all the replays and researched his history,” Naomi said. “I managed to get in contact with someone who worked with him when he was racing and they gave me a stack of photos of him. It’s so nice to have them.”
When Naomi, who has been riding since she was eight years old, began looking for a horse she could train for show jumping her preference was for an off the track thoroughbred and Razz caught her eye as soon as he arrived at the Racing NSW TRT.
“When he first came in he hadn’t even been assessed but I liked the look of him and he had such a friendly nature” she said. “I asked Racing NSW TRT’s Community Manager Scott Brodie if he thought he would be suitable for me. A few weeks later after Scott had the chance to work him he said yes and arranged for me to have a ride.”
It didn’t all go to plan though. Naomi mounted Razz but he wouldn’t move. Scott gave her a few pointers and she tried again later that week. This time the ride went smoothly and Naomi couldn’t wait to hop off and sign the paperwork to officially adopt Razz.
“The process took a few weeks and during that time I would go and ride Razz and the other trainers at Racing NSW TRT would give me advice and tips,” she said. “They were really helpful."
Before a horse is rehomed staff at the Racing NSW Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Trust ensure they are ready to transition into their new career as a competition or pleasure horse. They spend time re-educating it to ensure it’s rideable. They are taught basic commands, balance and to how relax and aren’t eligible for rehoming until they have mastered these skills.
Luckily for Naomi, Razz is a fast learner. She began furthering his education straight away and less than a month after leaving the Racing NSW TRT program they competed in their first dressage event together. They even brought home a red ribbon for second place.
“I was very happy with the result,” Naomi said. “But I was even happier with his behaviour. He was calm and relaxed. The other horses didn’t faze him. That put me at complete ease so I could focus on our performance.”
Just last week Razz and Naomi took part in their second dressage event and while they finished fifth this time, they beat their score from their first outing.
Now that Razz has got the hang of dressage, Naomi will soon begin training him for show jumping.
“I think we should be ready to compete in three or four months,” she said. “We need to perfect our flat work, especially our cantering and generally get more comfortable with jumping.
“I’m actually going to change his show name before then. I call him Razz and he’s been competing as That’s A Good Idea but he will soon be known as All That Razz.”
Naomi is confident she has made a smart choice welcoming Razz into her life and wouldn’t hesitate to get another off the track thoroughbred in the future.
“You can tell he was well handled as a racehorse as he has good ground manners and respects me,” she said. “He’s got so much power ready to use which will be advantageous for show jumping. I’m looking forward to seeing him progress with his education and I’m happy I can give him a quality life after racing.”