The Cup visits Equine Pathways

15 September 2022 Written by VRC

Equine Pathways Australia, which aims to help those with a disability engage in equine sports and activities, was one of the important stops on the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour.

The Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour visited Equine Pathways on Sunday, 7 August. A key program for people with disability or recovering from illness or injury, Equine Pathways looks to provide a rehabilitation program to re-engage individuals with equine sport. The program was started up by Julia Battams in 2017 and has supported many people since its inception.

The Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour visit engaged Godolphin foreman, Reg Fleming on the day who spoke about his involvement with racing in particular with the master trainer, Bart Cummings. In his time with the Cummings stable he handled many top line racehorses including Melbourne Cup winners Saintly (1996), Rogan Josh (1999) and Viewed (2008).

Equine Pathways, which is situated in Narre Warren about an hour from the Melbourne CBD, has assisted many through the program including Julius Sandhu assistant trainer, Claire Skerman.

Skerman credits Equine Pathways Australia with helping her make her successful return to riding and racing after her accident. The organisation helps people with disability engage in equine sports and activities and Skerman had classes with Equine Pathways Australia to help her gain confidence and strength in the saddle.

“Equine Pathways has been life changing for me. Having clinics each month helped me set goals and work towards them. I still ride there and have worked with sport psychologists, physiotherapists and riding instructors. There is a whole community of people there who support each other,” said Skerman.

Equine Pathways also provides a new way of life for the equine stars of the track, such as popular mudlark sprint star Jungle Edge. The horse struck a chord with the racing public and helped his trainer Mick Bell through some of his most difficult times. Since his retirement, it seems that Jungle Edge will continue to provide happiness post-racing, with his role at Equine Pathways Australia the perfect fit for the rising 11-year-old. Retiring sound after 89 races, of which he won 18, collecting more than $1.7 million in prizemoney, Bell was pleased to see his ‘best mate’ go to a good home.

Julia Battams of Equine Pathways was thrilled to welcome Jungle Edge to the family. “Edge arrived here in June 2021 and transitioned to his new role really nicely,” she said.

“He has a really good walk, and that is really important.”

Jungle Edge’s temperament also serves him well in his new role. “It is important that horses are empathetic, but also sensible. Edge is the most sensible horse I have had. You never have to teach him anything twice and he takes everything in his stride,” said Battams. “I think it is because he is a bit older, so not much seems to bother him.”

The 2022 Lexus Melbourne Cup Trophy was also present on the day providing many with the opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the most sought after trophies in world racing.

(Images courtesy of Jay Town Photographer)