Baribo: Owned by one of Our Off The Track NSW Inc Members Jolene Cole. This story is a good incentive for all Thoroughbred owners that may want to become interested in social smaller rides to start off, with ERANSW to see if this sport interests you & your TB.
Baribo’s first race was a Group 3 Sprint race at Flemington, ridden by Hugh Bowman. He has proven to be an incredible Stayer in this sport, not a sprinter. This accomplishment has never ever been achieved by a Thoroughbred before.
Written By Jolene Cole:
If people ever tell you that a Thoroughbred is not going to suit Endurance riding because it is not an Arabian, ex race horse “Baribo” proves that the Thoroughbred is the most versatile breed of them all. This has been confirmed & Proven by the 2019 Tom Quilty Endurance Ride Heavyweight Division winner/owner/rider, Jolene Cole riding Baribo & also by Baribo winning Line honours medium weight last weekend ridden by Liz Moir at the State Championships. This has never been achieved before. Ever! So as mentioned above, don’t allow people to tell you that a Thoroughbred is not suited to Endurance.
Endurance as the name implies, is all about long term aerobic work and for the famous 160k Tom Quilty there is a lot of it. Arabians are good at Endurance because they have a greater amount of Slow Twitch muscle fibers, which are said to be fatigue resistant. Slow Twitch fibers suit long term submaximal intensity aerobic exercise and Fast Twitch muscle fibers suit short term, high intensity anaerobic exercise. All horses have both Slow and Fast Twitch fibers and Thoroughbreds that have been bred over the centuries to run fast have 80%-90% Fast Twitch, whereas Arabians have 75% Fast Twitch. The Arabians have a greater percentage of Slow Twitch which makes them good at Endurance. But think for a minute where Thoroughbreds came from.
The Byerley Turk, the Godolphin Barb and the Darley Arabian, were the founding fathers of all the Thoroughbreds we have today. The Byerley Turk apparently, a bigger and longer horse than what we think of as Arabians has a higher percentage of blood in the modern Thoroughbred than the other two. Byerley Turk mares founded the Thoroughbred Family 1 which counts English Champion Frankel amongst its members. On the sire line in modern times, My Babu is a male descendent, and Baribo has My Babu on the dam line of both sire and dam.
“I have a lot of Endurance horses” Jolene says, “and from the very first time I sat on Baribo, I knew, that he was the best horse in terms of cardio vascular performance that I had ever ridden previously. The heart rate isn’t as good as our best Arabs, but it is very good and certainly good enough to race at the top level”.
Baribo was foaled in 2007 and is by King of Prussia that stands at the Greta West Stud in Northern Victoria. King of Prussia goes back to Northern Dancer on his sire line and his dam sire is Centaine by Century by Better Boy, by My Babu. Baribo’s dam is by Runyon by Sandler’s Wells by Northern Dancer and she is out of the mare, Viva Savans that goes back to My Babu via her sire, Lord Seymour. Plenty of successful relatives there to give the owners hope, but Baribo only had three starts with no placings, picking up a total of $500 in attendance fees.
Jolene states that she bought Baribo at Camden Sales in 2014. “He wasn’t in good condition, in fact he was quite poor. Jolene goes on to say that she has always been taught to pick a horse by its eye first. He just put his head over the rails and looked at me, I said I’ve got to have this horse. I didn’t know he was a Thoroughbred, & I also had no idea what his breeding was. I just thought he would be a good lead pony for my breakers and why not give him a go? He was rising seven when I purchased him, he has recently turned 13. When I got him home, I looked up his brands, I discovered his breeding and race information from his brands. Apparently he trialed well, but raced poorly. I think being such a young horse at the time, he was probably shin-sore or foot sore or similar to that.
At home he showed me that he had such a good temperament and was quiet enough for me to do what I wanted to do, which was lead breakers from him. I would ride him leading Arabians and take him out for ten kilometers. He did it easier than any of the horses we took with him. I considered this to be amazing, so we just kept going. Let’s take him to an endurance ride for fun I thought, because he is such a nice horse to ride. His heart rate was really good, and he always went calmly, you could just go again and again. I think too, his naturally calm temperament also helped with his heart rate and recovery.
“The Quilty last year was his first completion of a 160k ride, we had tried before, but we always had a few issues with his feet. We have had to manage that over the years, and because of the way we managed his feet, he has improved a lot. Last year was the first year that he had not been foot sore in a ride. He had a really good slow preparation and we finally have his feet right. The issue was that he would either pull a shoe or would go sore due to having ongoing hoof issues.
He is definitely harder to manage than an Arab soundness wise. He is a much bigger horse, standing at 16.1hh you have to have his feet perfect, you cannot take any short cuts, but he is worth it. The Arabs hit the ground lighter, they have flatter muscles and they tolerate the heat much better. He is very much a staying type of Thoroughbred even though he raced as a sprinter. We don’t do any fast work with him and for four years he has had long, slow aerobic conditioning. I believe that if you take the time and condition the muscles, you are going to change the fibers a lot. If you stay in that aerobic 160 heart beats per minute, the horse is going to recover better.
Going into the Quilty, I thought there were ten horses that could beat us easily. I also thought, let’s just get a buckle for completion and then let’s try for top five. It was a challenge for me to win the Quilty on a horse that was not Chip Chase Sadaqa bred, because we have a number of them. My late father Peter Cole won the 1983 Quilty on Sadaqa, renowned world wide as probably the best Endurance stallion of all time. But Baribo is just as special. The Tom Quilty that I won last year, was held at Matthew Sample’s Sterling’s Crossing Endurance Club at Imbil in Queensland and it was a hard Quilty too.
“We won the Heavyweight section and it was absolutely amazing. I am 6’2” and that’s why I love Baribo so much, he carries me with ease. International buyers have been keen to take him for some time. They don’t care that he is not an Arabian, they just know he is a good horse and that is what they are after, but he will never leave me. After his State Championship overall win & the fact that it’s the first time ever in history for an off the track Thoroughbred to win at this level, we now have big plans to try & qualify him for an Australian team position for a future overseas race to show the world what this versatile breed can achieve.
“People need to know what they can do with their Thoroughbreds, it’s not just hacking, eventing and Show jumping, they are an amazing versatile and adaptable breed. Baribo who is now 13 years old, is only just getting good at the toughest game in horse sports. I believe he has years of competition ahead of him and if I had the money I would take him overseas to a World Championship, I believe 100% that he is that good”. Never say that a Thoroughbred can’t do something.
For those that don’t know, an endurance ride is a timed test against the clock of an individual horse/rider team’s ability to traverse a marked, measured cross country trail over some very tough terrain and conditions. To complete is to win. Welfare of the horse is paramount in this sport, and all horses entered must pass a pre-ride examination at the ride site by a licensed veterinarian before they are allowed to start the ride. Horses must also pass additional mandatory vet examinations at specific check-points during the ride, and a final vet check after the ride. Any horse showing lameness or failure to meet specified metabolic parameters is immediately eliminated.