Above: Casey & Londsale. 1st Show results after re-education
For this self-confessed ‘mad horse lady’, thoroughbred horses, and in particular their care in retirement, have been a long held passion extending over 50 years for Victoria’s Lindy Thewlis.
The 2019 Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff ‘Thoroughbred Care and Welfare’ Award recipient, Lindy was again recognised for her work when selected as the winner of the Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria’s (TBV) inaugural Kentucky Equine Research and Barastoc ‘Dedication to Welfare’ Award in early November.
With welfare at the centre of everything we do in our industry, both awards aim to recognise those unsung individuals going above and beyond their daily duties for the betterment of our equines.
“I am incredibly humbled and feel extremely honoured,” said Lindy at TBV’s virtual award ceremony.
“Thank you for everyone for following and helping me, and acknowledging there are people out there like me, doing what we’re doing.”
Above: Lindy Thewlis
Starting her thoroughbred career working in the Epsom stables of George Hanlon as a teen, Lindy has always dabbled in helping ex-racehorses transition to life after racing.
“I started doing it with 1 or 2, and it’s only been in the last 4 or 5 years I’ve ramped it right up,” said Lindy.
And ramped it up she did! With her husband Ron, Lindy now runs her business Racehorse Rehabilitation Rehoming P/L (RRR), caring for over 100 horses on her 109-acre property just outside Shepparton in the state’s North East. Focussing on rehabilitation as well as rehoming, RRR is completely self-funded and they do not have any employees.
To continue her dream of assisting as many ex-racehorses as possible to transition into a life after racing, Lindy recently received charity status approval for her business.
“I started RRR about 3 years ago,” said Lindy.
“But this year decided to turn it into a charity and we received the status in July. My hope is if I can get my pocket plus someone else’s helping me do this, then I can help more horses.”
Lindy takes on racehorses and breeding stock from trainers, owners and occasional sale yards. Retrained success stories come from stables such as Hutchins Racing Stable, Ciaron Maher, Nathan Hobson and Jane Baker.
“We combine with a re-trainer to assess and determine the level of rider and what disciplines the horse might be best suited to in their new life off the track,” explained Lindy.
“We also take a limited number of retirees requiring rehab after racing that for various reasons, may not be suitable as equestrian mounts.”
“I have a particular passion for horses with issues, racing injuries because given the time they end up being just as good…and they deserve a chance at life.”
One such horse is 2019 Australian Hurdle winner Chequered Flag, or Nazcar to his friends. After injuring himself during that race, his owners proceeded with surgery however the prognosis for a return to racing or being ridden again was poor. He was rehabilitated under Lindy’s watchful eye and now calls her retirement paddocks home.
Whilst ex-racehorses Morrazo and Sellaronda are just two to depart Lindy’s care to commence their new equestrian career training, Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock’s Mai Shiny Choice is a recent arrival to RRR. The Matthew Williams trained gelding had 40 race starts before being retired to Lindy’s property – and by all reports, he is settling in well and loving his new surroundings!
Lindy continues to raise awareness of her work and accept charitable donations via RRR’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/tbandstb/?ref=page_internal and a new website is in the final stages of creation. Both these outlets will help Lindy with her work, as well as further educating horse owners about the options their horses have post their racing careers.
Congratulations Lindy on your TBV award win, and thank you for the work you do!