We are afraid we have some disappointing news about Potters Approach, who needs to be retired from racing.

Potters recently suffered an injury to his hock, resulting in lameness and considerable swelling. He was scanned a few days after the injury and at the time the news was relatively encouraging in that it revealed only soft tissue damage (the equivalent of a badly sprained ankle in humans). Although this meant he would miss the big race at Ffos Las in the middle of April, we were hopeful that after a summer holiday. However, before his holiday we decided to re-scan the injury. The horse was sound and in no discomfort but Dan was concerned that the joint was still swollen. The vet decided to clip/shave the joint before scanning, as it improves the quality of the image. Much to the vets surprise, this revealed scars from “firing” indicating that this was not the first time the horse had suffered a serious injury to the joint. The injury and firing almost certainly happened when the horse was young and in Ireland and he was given sufficient time to recover and for the hair to grow back before being sold to Warren.

The second scan has revealed significant scarring around the joint and there is a real risk that the injury will flair up again once fast work is re-introduced. We have always known that Potters is a horse with considerable ability but have been frustrated by his tendency to jump left in certain races. It is now clear that after a long period of rest the leg settles down and he is able to race. However, after two or three runs the old injury flares up again causing Potters discomfort and an unwillingness to jump off his injured leg. This is not something we want to put the horse through and there is also a risk he will cause himself more serious harm by compensating for the injury when running and jumping.

From a financial perspective, we also do not think it is fair for you as owners to be paying the monthly fees when we can give no guarantee that the horse will run again, let alone be competitive.

Our immediate concern is to treat the injury and this requires 6 months rest. It is not clear how well the joint will recover but after a number of discussions we have taken the decision that it would not be in the horses’ best interest for him to continue in training and so we will retire him from racing. Options are that he could go Point to Pointing (this is not as intensive as NH racing), he is retrained for eventing or he joins a riding school.

It’s incredibly frustrating and not a decision we have taken lightly. Potters was our first NH horse and has so much ability but the reality is that the injury is at least four years ago and not only will never be right, it is likely to become more of a problem as the horse gets older.

Potters Approach