Saving Toby: How a doomed racehorse came back from the brink

Toby has a new career thanks to his owner and McTimoney practitioner Liz Harris.
Toby has a new career thanks to his owner and McTimoney practitioner Liz Harris.

A racehorse down on his luck and running out of options has a new career in point-to-pointing, thanks to his former work rider and a therapist.

The turnaround in fortunes of To Begin – known as Toby – is down to the dedication of his owner and rider and regular treatments from a McTimoney Animal Association practitioner.

Toby began his racing career with North Yorkshire trainer, Tim Easterby. He ran several times on the flat in 2014 as a three-year-old but was unsuccessful and destined to be put down unless a new owner could be found.

South Durham point-to-point trainer Chris Dawson agreed to take Toby on and he duly showed some potential point-to-pointing. It was whilst at Dawson’s stable that work rider Lauren Belt started riding Toby out every day. Lauren said: “Toby was a lovely horse to ride out, I was very taken by him.” But Toby was sold on and moved down to Newmarket where he was trained by Charlie Mann to run over fences.

After a positive start, Toby’s form tailed off in his career over fences and so he was sent to the sales again. It was by pure coincidence that Lauren was looking through the sales catalogue and recognised Toby in the auction.

“Toby was thin, sore, out of condition and very sour, but I had always liked him and decided to buy him,” she said.

Realising that Toby needed some professional help, Lauren contacted her local McTimoney practitioner, Liz Harris, in August 2016 to take a look at him. She found that Toby’s pelvis was seriously misaligned to the point that is was causing him to have a shortened stride on his left hind.

McTimoney practitioner Liz Harris has helped Toby get back to prime condition.
McTimoney practitioner Liz Harris helped Toby get back to prime condition.

“Toby was also in significant pain due to misalignments in the late thoracic and lumbar areas of his back. He also had neck and shoulder tension on the right as his atlas and scapula vertebrae were seriously misaligned. The issues I found would certainly have had a detrimental effect on his performance and general wellbeing,” Liz said.

She successfully treated these problems using the McTimoney technique and Lauren felt that the treatment made a huge difference to Toby’s comfort and in his daily ridden work.

Liz then came back to see Toby in November 2016 for a check-up and to make sure all was well. All of Lauren’s hard work and care was paying off and soon after, Lauren entered Toby for his first point-to-point. A steady start to the season ultimately led to two wins in Ladies Open Point-to-Points at Witton Castle.

Lauren is delighted at how her chance buy has led to her not only competing in her first point-to-points but also having two wins.

“It took a lot of hard-work to get Toby back to the racecourse. There is no way we would have done so well if it were not for Liz and the McTimoney treatments.”

Liz said it was full credit to Lauren’s hard work and management with Toby. “Toby can still be grumpy now and then but has thrived on a one-to-one relationship with Lauren.”

Toby had an end of season McTimoney treatment in April 2017 and is now on holiday for a few weeks until coming back to do some hacking, schooling and maybe a few hunter trials. Lauren has booked Liz in for a return visit before Toby starts training for next season’s point-to-points.

All members of the McTimoney Animal Association are qualified after training with the McTimoney College in Abingdon, having studied up to three years at postgraduate level attaining an MSc or Post Graduate Diploma in Animal Manipulation.

McTimoney Animal Practitioners are registered with the McTimoney Animal Association.

Latest research and information from the horse world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.