Aileen saddles up for success with retired racehorse Zaggy

Selkirk equestrian rider Aileen Firth on board Zaggy.
Selkirk equestrian rider Aileen Firth on board Zaggy.

Zaggy the former racehorse is maybe taking life a little more easily these days – but he’s enjoying considerable success in his second career.

The 12-year-old – real name Made In Time – has struck up a fruitful partnership with Aileen Firth, a member of Ettrick Forest Riders Association (EFRA) and secretary of the Selkirk Common Riding Gymkhana.

He has won a series of events and was recently named top retired racehorse in the regional league.

Aileen acquired Zaggy in 2014 from trainer Rebecca Curtis in Wales. He had raced in the famous gold and green colours of none other than J. P. McManus, mostly ridden by 20-times champion jockey A. P. McCoy, before the 14-hour journey to Scotland.

Aileen had assistance from many colleagues to help Zaggy re-adjust, along with RoR – Retraining of Racehorses – which, she said, had been superb with its backing.

“The past eight months have been just brilliant,” she added. RoR classes were introduced at the Selkirk Common Riding Gymkhana, while Zaggy and Aileen later built up an impressive list of credits in equestrian and dressage events at novice and preliminary levels.

This month, they were declared overall champions in the RoR Regional League for Scotland – “something we only ever dreamed of”. This qualified the partnership for the RoR Championship Show at Aintree in August.

Last Saturday, Aileen was told Zaggy had finished top RoR horse in the league, while local rider and fellow EFRA member, Carly Scott, won the overall horse league.

A fundraising Gold Cup race night takes place at Selkirk Cricket Club on March 17, featuring a great night’s racing with some top raffle prizes.

Then on March 31, the EFRA Novice Showjumping and Dressage teams are heading to Keysoe Equestrian Centre in Bedfordshire, after success in November’s area qualifiers in Falkirk.

Taking part in the dressage are Sandra Smith-Maxwell, Sam Anderson, Trish Lockhart and Louise Clark, while Louise and Aileen, with Sarah Page, figure in the showjumping.