Qld horse trainer: From death bed to champion
Against all odds former Cushnie resident Nance Reinke took two rescue horses all the way in the 2019 Queensland Equestrain Leaderboard Championships.
Battling arthritis at 67, Reinke competed, finishing first in the preliminary dressage and second in the novice dressage on her two horses Dustee and Ruebanlee.
Reinke said her dressage career started with ex racehorse Dustee, a thoroughbred that was on its death bed before she rescued it.
"When I found Dustee she was so skinny you could see all of her ribs and her hair was falling out in clumps," Reinke said.
"It took six weeks before she could even trot and we couldn't feed her much because her stomach was so small," she said.
"I have a background in sporting however decided to train her for dressage and she excelled."
In the early months of training Dustee shyed with Reinke falling to the ground, breaking her ankle.
In hospital Reinke met a lady with a horse that she thought had potential in dressage.
"When I first saw the horse it was a bag of bones.," Reinke said.
"You could see all of her ribs, its spine was an inch above its back and a chiropractor said he couldn't do anything until the horse put on more muscle," she said.
"My husband and I decided if we were going to save one horse, Ruebanlee would be the one."
With Dustee afraid of getting in a horse float Reinke spent the first 12 months training at home trying to learn the sport off online videos.
Just as Dustee was nearing full health Reinke suffered another major setback with Reubenlee developing cyanide poisoning.
Reinke said all of a sudden the horse just dropped to the ground and stopped moving.
"We had been cutting up sorghum until Christmas and with the drought we had no green grass left so we gave a little bit to the horses," Reinke said.
"Luckily Ruebanlee had already eaten so he didn't eat much but before we knew it he was on the floor," she said.
"The cyanide had caused his blood to go black and lose oxygen, causing him to choke."
Luckily thanks to some quick thinking Reinke fed the horse molasses which binds the cyanide slowly allowing the horse to breathe again.
Now one year on, Reinke's hard work paid off with Reubanlee finishing 1st in the preliminary dressage category and Dustee finishing 2nd in the novice dressage.
Reinke said it was challenging, however to get the results was phenomenal.
"I have arthritis in both my hands so I can't quite hold the reins like everyone else and I had arthroscopy in both my knees about 16 years ago," Reinke said.
"To even get the results on one horse would be amazing but to take two rescue horses and have them both place was amazing," she said
"They were both in such bad condition when we first got them and riding them today almost feels like they're a different horse."
One of the highlights for Reinke was having a judge write a comment on her scorecard saying she loved the horse.
The awards night was held in Brisbane last December.