North Yorkshire woman sparks racetrack revolution

Chris Jackson
Presenter, Inside Out, North East & Cumbria

image captionAngrove 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.

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.

image captionHeather 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.

image captionJockey 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.