North Yorkshire woman sparks racetrack revolution

Angrove RumBaba in training on the gallops Angrove RumBaba looks striking training on the gallops

Heather Kitching has not let anything stand in the way of realising her lifelong ambition.

Financial ruin, ill health, derision - all have failed to dampen her determination.

Start Quote

Anyone can follow the herd. It takes a real leader, doesn't it, to make a headway on your own path?”

End Quote Heather Kitching Coloured horse enthusiast

She has a love of coloured horses and believes their look should not be a bar to them competing on the racetracks of Britain.

However, there are those within the sport who simply don't agree.

For many, a horse that has any markings beyond a splash on a head or limb is deemed inferior and certainly not able to race alongside thoroughbreds.

That makes Heather even more inspired to prove them wrong as we reveal on Inside Out on Monday, 19 November.

She's certainly done her homework. Heather identified a stallion whose genes meant he would always throw a coloured foal.

Ricco is a big brute, but has some thoroughbred in his lineage.

Not enough to race himself, but pair him with a suitable pedigree mare and the offspring would be both coloured and pure enough to satisfy Weatherbys, who administer the studbook of British racing.

Heather Kitching with Ricco Heather Kitching believes coloured horses should be able to compete on the racetracks of Britain

That match is what produced Angrove RumBaba.

The technical name for his colour is skewbald. The racing community had to come up with a term for coloured horses and eventually settled on "painted".

It's been a hard slog. Husband Alistair's business collapsed and they lost everything.

All they had to their name was a couple of grand with which they bought a disused school classroom.

They plonked it on some land to create Angrove Stud - they lived and worked on site.

Broadening horizons

Getting 'Rummy', as he's affectionately known, race-ready has been a long hard task as well.

Early attempts to get trainers to take him on fell by the wayside.

It would take a lot for a training yard to expose themselves to potential ridicule if he was to come trailing in, a miserable last.

His striking colours mean he will always stand out in any field of runners and plenty of punters would be happy to see a coloured horse fail.

Jockey Rebecca Smith with 'Rummy' Jockey Rebecca Smith says she has been the envy of other amateur riders

Trainer Micky Hammond in Middleham decided he's willing take that risk.

Jockey Rebecca Smith says she's been the envy of other amateur riders when taking Rummy out onto the North Yorkshire gallops.

However, of the wider community she feels: "Racing is sometimes too much of a closed book and we need to broaden our horizons a bit."

How did Rummy fare on his first outing? You'll have to watch Inside Out to find out.

Let me know what you think of painted horses on the racetrack, by adding your comments below.

Inside Out is on BBC One at 19:30 GMT, Monday, 19 November, 2012

Chris Jackson Article written by Chris Jackson Chris Jackson Presenter, Inside Out, North East & Cumbria

Inside Out returns for a new series in 2015

Inside Out returns for a new series in 2015 but Chris Jackson's blog is coming to an end and he can now be found on social media.

Read full article


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination


  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back

  • Aimen DeanI spied

    The founder member of al-Qaeda who worked for MI6

  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?

  • Woman with closed eyeStrange light show

    What do you see when you close your eyes?

  • Sony WalkmanLost ideas

    What has happened to Japan's inventors?

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.