Off the track Thoroughbreds have proven time and again how they can switch from gallop training, and often successfully racing, from a young age, to becoming super competitive sport horses across almost any discipline and often having long and rewarding second lives.

As part of a new series, looking into the lives of some of these high achieving athletes – called Championing TiES – ESNZ members share their stories of their amazing TBs who have had a huge part in their competitive careers to date.

Canterbury rider Claudia Faulkner definitely has a soft spot for off the track Thoroughbreds and has successfully campaigned several over the years.  Eventing is her main discipline but she also competes them in Dressage, Jumping and Show Hunter.  One year she was on the TiES Eventing series table with four different TBs!  In this article she shares with us how Citadelle became part of her team and what makes this super horse so special.

We purchased Citadelle – fondly known as ‘Billy’ from the Montgomery family in 2013, as my other eventer Shapeshifter II (TB by Danasinga) was recovering from injury. Our intention was to just event him, in which we had great success to 3* (new) level. However, he showed how versatile and talented he was, and has been extremely competitive in the Dressage arena (at Level 4) and in the Show Jumping (1.20m) and Show Hunter rings. Career highlights include winning the first TIES Series award and winning the Senior section at the NZPCA Dressage Championship in 2019.

In 2020, Billy was retired from top level eventing and being his athletic self, he missed out being ‘out and about’ so to this day he is still pottering around in the dressage arena and just recently safely carried me around the SI Three Day Event in Oct 2022 when I was 6 and a half months pregnant. He is a beautiful looking horse and has an amazing extended trot! However, he is super quirky – is very spooky and will give you a run for your money to be caught! I am so grateful for all the adventures we have had together throughout NZ, he has taught me so so much and a love for TBs – hence why my whole team are TBs! He now also has a new job of teaching my mum a few tricks! 

*Citadelle raced under the NZTR name of Vintage Peak, starting as a 3 year old and having three years on the track before retiring.  He is by Centaine, out of Shekanwyn (Musical Phantasy – USA)