Waking up with Vegas
Sold by Arrowfield at the 2013 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling sale for $50,000 to trainer Robbie Griffiths, Real American struggled to find his competitive streak and focus on the track.
Bred by Arrowfield Pastoral Pty Ltd & Planette Thoroughbreds, the 6 year old son of All American and the Redoute’s Choice mare Mirovaya has transitioned life as a racehorse on the track, to become a pleasure horse for young Victorian Renee Bolz.
“He settled into retirement like he was born for it – he was made for me and I was waiting for him,” says Renee, who affectionately reflects on her first encounter with this special horse.
“I had told a friend who worked within the racing industry that I was considering getting another off the track thoroughbred – and within two days she had found me a horse! The only problem was I hadn’t asked my mum!! Luckily as soon as she saw a photo of him she was on board!”
Now known as ‘Vegas’, this All American boy is living a life of luxury on the Mornington Peninsula. Vegas revels in the attention and life as a pleasure horse. “He is a people’s hose”, says Renee. “He will stand alone at the fence waiting for human attention – his love is endless.”
His affectionate personality has made Vegas a perfect horse for Renee. Six months after purchasing him, Renee was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a very painful condition caused by her immune system attacking her body’s tissue. “I couldn’t walk, I could barely lift a fork to my mouth to eat dinner, but I couldn’t bear the thought of selling Vegas.”
During this struggle the bond between Renee and Vegas grew stronger. “He has helped me throughout it all, mentally and physically. He has literally been a rock for me.”
Now in recovery, Renee has begun riding again.
“Riding now is hard – I know that I know how to ride correctly or ask for certain movements, but my muscles and strength have deteriorated. Despite this, Vegas is so patient and never gets spooked – even when I break down in tears on him and get angry. He never holds it against me or plays up.”
Renee hopes now to compete on him, believing that his good looks and quiet temperament will be major assets in any show.
Looking back on their time together, Renee finds it hard to pick only one favourite memory as his owner. She has taken him to Pony Club, crawled underneath him, played jump rope with his lead and has taught children how to ride on him. “He is great with children and I know that they will be safe on him. He is so switched on, if you move the wrong way or perform a wrong cue he will stop on the spot!”
Vegas demonstrates the kindness and versatility of the thoroughbred and the long-term value of the expert handling he received as a young horse. “So often people comment on his willing nature, his big heart and the special bond we have. He is the best partner in crime I could ask for and I think to myself everyday how lucky I am.”