Neddy “just give me time” Nadeem
A Racehorse With Character
(Sire: Nadeem, Dam: Honorjeu)
We have heard people talking about having patience with a horse. The master, Bart Cummings, said that the cheapest thing in racing is “time” but those words hadn’t meant much to us until we had bred Neddy.
Neddy, a 2-month-old brown foal, arrived back from Australia with his mum – and a conviction that if anyone touched his ears or tail the world would end. It took, in fact, more than two years before he was convinced that it wouldn’t.
Along with his own predilection for turning a piece of paper on a driveway into a tiger, and a trickle of water running over concrete into something that needed six feet of clearance, there was the thumb in the sky. It also played a large part. It threw things his way that his worried little brain found difficult to cope with. Like the time when, whilst being prepared for the yearling sales, an 'eejit' fired a shotgun right next to his paddock. Jumping over the gate seemed to be the logical response but he hadn’t factored in the electric wire running over the gate and ended up tangled in both the gate and the live wire.
His back legs were not a pretty sight but it was all superficial — or so we thought. Alas, the slight lameness didn’t resolve itself and, as he was showing the ominous symptoms of a torn cruciate ligament, he was booked in to an equine hospital for an arthroscopic examination of his stifle joint. Thankfully the joint was clear and Neddy was loaded onto the Club Med Lodge truck to head home.
It was the bang from inside the truck that at first alerted Terry that something may be wrong. But it was the shadow running alongside the truck that made him pull over; the shadow was of a truck with a horse head sticking out the top and a leg sticking out the air vent. Terry doesn’t panic but in the right circumstances he moves very quickly indeed. Neddy, on the other hand, was quite calm and, when extricated from the truck, stood quietly beside the busy main road waiting for the vet. He then walked back on the truck and didn’t move all the way home.
The lacerations on his back legs had spread like a flesh-eating disease to his head, neck and one front leg. The yearling sales were clearly out. Neddy needed daily medication, dressing changes and wound cleaning but throughout this very uncomfortable time, although he worried, he did not once become nasty. However, he equated people with discomfort and there wasn’t a lot of trust there.
With the Karaka Sales out of the question he came back to a Club Med that lived up to its reputation and he spent a lazy summer eating good grass and, as summer became winter, he began to think that there might be hope for the human race. What happened now was going to be critical as we had decided that we would keep him and race him. Always positive thinkers!
School was on the horizon.
Neddy had been well handled as a baby by Warwick Baty and the Murtaghs at Esker Lodge had done their usual thorough prep for the sales, but Neddy was a worrier and we knew that the educational process would be a long one. The obvious choice was Warwick Baty, the man who teaches young horses good manners so that they are safe for people to handle throughout their lives. Many were the visits we made to Warwick’s to watch progress. Paint dried faster — but there was progress, albeit steady, and with nothing new attempted until the previous lesson was solid. Neddy was handled with firmness and fairness and Warwick was his best buddy. He was lunged with things hanging off the saddle, long-reined over small jumps, all sorts of objects on the ground.
And then came the magic day when he was actually ridden. It was an absolute non-event which, given the work that had been done, shouldn’t have been a surprise. But then again, Neddy does have a secret stash of surprises.
He came back home again to rest and to grow a bit more and then our kindly little brown horse went to further his education at Paul Pertab’s. Paul couldn’t get into his box for three days and had it not been for Paul’s connection with Vicky and Terry from Club Med, Neddy’s future would have been very finely balanced – but likely leaning towards tin shaped.
Because Paul is very good at bringing young horses on, eventually there was an impasse and Neddy learned the basics, went through Paul’s starting gates, worked with other horses on Paul’s track and graduated from Intermediate level. Neddy trusted Paul and a state of mutual respect had been generated.
Back to Club Med … but now Neddy was three and it was time for him to be grown up and go into training proper.
Scott Wenn was an obvious choice; small but busy stable, rides work himself and is such a good horseman who seems to have the ability to see what is going on in the minds of his charges. Neddy blossomed. It was almost as if this is what he had been waiting for. Having said that, Scott always had a leg-up; swinging up would have been a step too far at this stage and it took a while for the troll that lived in the culvert to be done away with. But day by day he became more confident. Now, after three years, we had a horse that was ready to be a racehorse.
Racehorses need names.
The keeper of the Stud Book is a nice person and I am sure didn’t turn our names down just because she felt like it. We had noble names, clever names, funny names. Perhaps we shouldn’t have involved wine in our name choosing meetings. In the end, the little brown horse had always been Neddy, and that is what he remained [with his Dad’s name tacked on].
In fairy tales Neddy would have won his first trial and then gone on to sweep all before him. It hasn’t been quite like that. There have been a smattering of places, but the thumb struck again and wasn’t being kindly with the tracks – either too hard or bogs. Regardless, we have loved every moment of following his career and it isn’t over yet. The enjoyment that Neddy’s “connections” have had simply cannot be measured in dollars. Seeing him going dumpty-dum down the road to the track with Scott on board, holding the reins at the buckle and talking on his phone, is gold.
It has been all about patience and “time” – and being fortunate enough to be involved with good horse people who have given Neddy a chance. And, along with the scars on his legs, he has left a mark on those who have had anything to do with him. He is memorable, and not just because his slant on life is a bit different, but because he is honest, he tries, he is kind – and if he was a person, you would want him on your team.
A Neddy special – neck and leg straps still done up and he is standing beside them eating grass!
We are sure that we will see him one day pass the post in first place and, when that day happens, no one will need George Simon to call the placings — it will be heard, quite probably, in the South Island.
There is a moral in this somewhere!!