After a successful racing career Most Important continues to stand out, this time in the company of schoolgirl Clare Fedrick, writes AMANDA MAC.
After winning multiple Group 3 races and taking home over $1 million in prize money over his illustrious track career, Most Important has now teamed up with 14-year-old Clare Fedrick to make an impressive show ring debut.
Affectionately known as Mosty and previously owned by Linda and Graham Huddy, the 10-year-old gelding by I Am Invincible out of Orange Marmalade has, Clare’s mother Rebecca tells me, the most delightful personality. “I’ve got a funny little video of Clare sitting at the front of the stable and Mosty’s eating a carrot she’s holding in her mouth. Like most of the good ones, he’s quite quirky, but so calm, relaxed, and loving at the same time.”
After retiring from the track, Most Important enjoyed a lengthy and well-deserved spell on the Huddy’s Peachester Lodge property. Serendipitously, it was a conversation with Gemma Creighton, a Queensland Off-The-Track (QOTT) Acknowledged Retrainer, which triggered the chain of events that ended with Most Important arriving at the Fedrick’s farm just outside Gatton in Queensland, to try his luck in the show ring.
Rebecca, who had been looking for another show horse for Clare, called Gemma to see if she had any suitable OTTs in her care. At the time, Gemma was working with several of Graham and Linda’s horses, but they were destined for the show jumping arena.
However, Gemma offered to contact Linda and minutes later called Rebecca back to let her know that she had a candidate. “I had a general chat to Gemma about what would happen with him,” Rebecca explains, “and what it entails to be a show horse and she said, ‘yep, let’s give him a go’.”
Clare was just 13 when she first rode the 16hh OTT. “He’s a big boy,” her mother remarks, “but fortunately Clare has got very, very long legs!”
And that was the start of a dream partnership. Clare, predominantly a show rider who occasionally dabbles in a bit of jumping, was entirely responsible for retraining Mosty, spending their first few weeks in the arena at the family farm where she taught him the tools of the show ring trade and worked on building his confidence. “He’s a very kind horse, and she’s a very kind rider, so they sort of fell into place. They just get each other. We’ve had plenty of off-the-tracks, but he was different. He just did whatever Clare asked. He trusted her right from the get-go,” Rebecca recalls.
Nonetheless, Mosty’s change of career was substantial so not too much was expected of him in his first year. But apparently, Mosty had other ideas. Just eight weeks into his training, the Fedricks decided to enter him at the 2022 Stanthorpe Show, where he was named Champion Novice and Reserve Champion Open Horse. Not bad for a beginner! “He then qualified for Sydney Royal last year, and for Grand Nationals – he’d won Champions Child Hack at about four different shows to qualify for that,” Rebecca says. “He won the Champions Child Hack at EQ Childs Horse of the Year show as well, which qualified him for the Child’s at Nationals.”
Then there was the highly prestigious and hotly contested Pope Cup at the Melbourne Royal. “We just expected him to go round and possibly get the gate. The horses he was going up against had all been around the show ring for four or five years. He went out there and actually went to sleep in the line-up because the class took over an hour to judge,” Rebecca laughs.
And to the family’s huge delight, Most Important was awarded Highly Commended, as well as taking third place at the Show Horse Council of Australasia Grand Nationals in a rider class. Then, not ones to rest on their laurels, Clare and Mosty became the inaugural winners of the QOTT High Point Horse Award – created to recognise the OTT horse who collects the most points across a range of equestrian disciplines throughout the year – at the 2022 Equestrian Queensland Awards. Again, not bad for a newby!
Back home on the farm, Clare, who has been riding since she was big enough to clamber aboard, continues Mosty’s training. “It’s mainly repetition now, so she will do flat work in the arena and to change it up she’ll take him for swims in the dam or a ride around the property,” Rebecca tells me.
And by the time you read this, there’s every possibility that Most Important will have added a few more accolades to the board at this year’s Sydney Royal. A shining example of what’s possible for OTT horses after their racing career is over, Rebecca reckons that he’s an absolute superstar: “As I said to Clare, this is what happens when you’ve got people who look after their racehorses – they become good horses after the track.”
And you can’t argue with that.