Meet Ziva & her buddy Lenny, aka Vadashan

In his old life, the good-looking dark brown gelding who now lives happily in a paddock near Arrowfield’s broodmare division, was a rising star with Australian Derby aspirations.

He was trained for Arrowfield and partners by Paul Messara, now the Stud’s Manager, who said after Vadashan’s second win at Warwick Farm in February 2013, “He’s beautifully bred, has always shown me ability and has no trouble getting a trip.”

He defeated a couple of good horses that day, That’s A Good Idea & Spurtonic, who went on to become stakeswinners, so the future looked very bright for the son of Redoute’s Choice and the Aga Khan mare Vadsalina. (The Aga Khan Studs give horses from the same family names that begin with the same letter – Vadashan is a 6th-generation member of the “V” family.)

However, Vadashan didn’t get a chance to fulfil his potential because, after a couple of unplaced runs, he suffered an injury that ended his racing career – and opened the door to a new life.

Ziva Mullins, Arrowfield’s Assistant Hospital Barn Manager, was willing to re-train Vadashan, now known as Lenny, for all the disciplines of eventing. She has put in long hours with great patience and skill to complete his rehabilitation and re-train him for his new career.


And Vadashan loves every minute of it. As he walks down the laneway surrounded by poplar trees, it’s easy to see his lovely balance and athleticism – attributes as valuable in eventing as in racing. Ziva has worked wonders with Lenny’s re-education, teaching him dressage techniques and easing him out of the racing groove. He’s inherited the kind and resilient temperament of his champion sire and is always eager to please.

Ziva has big plans for the now seven-year-old gelding, describing him as “a real pleasure to work with, he gives me 100% effort every time. It’s great to have a horse that has been bred, trained and now re-trained at Arrowfield.”


We know the exercise session has come to a close when he stands still and turns his nose to touch his rider’s boot. She responds with a short cuddle before the pair walk back to the stable for a wash down. Vadashan is one of many Australian racehorses that are given a chance at a second career in the care of devoted horse-people – sometimes the same people who knew and cared for them as foals, yearlings and racehorses.


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