Queen Elizabeth has long been recognized worldwide as an expert horsewoman, both as a breeder of racehorses and as a lifelong rider and enthusiast. What the world may not have realized is that those are not mutually exclusive roles: the Queen’s homebred Barbers Shop excelled first in National Hunt racing, then in the show ring.
Barbers Shop will be honored in a formal retirement ceremony this weekend at Royal Windsor Horse Show, which opens on the grounds of Windsor Castle tomorrow, May 8.
The bay gelding earned £143,000 in National Hunt races under the training of Nicky Henderson. By Saddlers’ Hall out of Close Harmony – Bustino, Barbers Shop enjoyed a productive racing career through 2012, when he retired from the track. Barbers Shop headed to Windsor for initial retraining by the Queen’s stud groom Terry Pendry.
His easygoing personality suggested that the horse might enjoy a second career in the show ring, and Barbers Shop was transferred to show trainer Katie Jerram-Hunnable. Great Britain’s Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) charity produces competitions just for off-track Thoroughbreds and promotes the second-career horse, similar to many American organizations. At his first RoR event, Barbers Shop won, and with Jerram-Hunnable aboard the pair proceeded to win multiple RoR titles and championships. The pair also took last year’s Supreme Showing Championship at Windsor in its first year.
With such an accomplished resume, Barbers Shop has certainly earned his retirement. We salute Queen Elizabeth and Barbers Shop for keeping Thoroughbred aftercare in the spotlight and displaying the versatility and suitability of the racehorse in new careers!
Happy retirement, Barbers Shop!