Tom has had Etoile Argentee for a while now, and we have had a chance to check her out in full.
She is reasonable sized – around 15h3 but solid. She was skinny and appeared underfed on arrival, but nevertheless weighed in at 440kg – for comparison Baldovina weighed in at 410kg and Shawhill 418kg when they arrived. Both are heavier now – we will try and feed EA up and hopefully she can get to 460kg.
She has a problem with an annular ligament, which we assume may have caused her to miss her 2yo year. I’m no expert here – this ligament I think goes around the tendon, and it’s been sprained and is swollen. It’s a nuisance but is something we can live with – she will have the leg pretty much permanently bandaged and it will be regularly treated.
The most noticeable thing about her was her feet. It is normal training practice to keep a horse’s feet cut back, but EA’s feet were completely overgrown and appeared to have never been attended to. I’ve seen this before in some French horses, and it can be quite damaging, particularly if the horse is not 100% sound, as when a horse’s feet are cut they hit the ground at a different angle. I’m hopeful that we will find meaningful improvement in getting her feet right, but she will need to learn to walk with her new trimmed back feet, which takes time.
She is well developed up front, but extremely weak at the back and across the top line and neck. With work we can get a lot more muscle on to her, but it will not happen overnight. It will change her action, which could lead to problems, but if it all works out well we could end up with a decent (if slightly infirm) horse, as she clearly has an engine of sorts. There are hurdlers in the family, and it could be that she is more of a NH prospect.