He was born 17th October 1984, like all future racehorses with hopes and dreams riding on his back. He came to race named Safari Boy, by Chamozzle out of Chantana. He raced six times, winning the second, at Albury, in 1988. He never did so well again, and retired to become a dressage horse, when he was renamed Chamozzled, or RJ to his friends, after the brand on his left shoulder. He had two dressage homes, and when we came to see him had been in one place for nine years. His owner had a baby and no time.
I knew as soon as Luke got on that we would take this horse home. I remember their first show. Luke said, "I don’t think I’m going to like showing" and after RJ carried him to three championships and a reserve that first day changed his mind. They learned to jump together and we went to many dressage days, jumping days, shows, and on long trail rides in the rain. When my horse hurt his leg I rode RJ for a while, sharing him with Luke, and he always took good care of me and tried hard. Oddly, some of the things I remember best are the times when he wasn’t well – I always seem to end up playing nursemaid to them then. He had azoturia once and I remember the freezing night where we walked slowly round his field for four hours until the vet rang back to say he couldn’t come. RJ kept leaning his head upon my shoulder.
He had almost three years to the day of retirement. We first realized he wasn’t quite right at Barastoc Horse of the Year show, and soon after he headed down to Julie’s farm, turned out in the middle of dairy country, in ten acres of lush grass with a couple of girlfriends for company.
This is another drought year, after all the other drought years, and on Saturday he could barely move, brought to this by Australian stringhalt. He ended his life there in the paddock. Good night old fella. Rest in peace, it’s well deserved.
May the road rise up to meet
may the wind be ever at your back.
may the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields.
and until we meet
again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.