Nathalie Dietrich based the Winkelbach stable in Hengwiller in 2019, the one stable for retraining racehorses in the Grand Est. It collects thoroughbreds brutally excluded from the world of racing.
Injured, too previous, or just judged to be underperforming: after years of racing, a massive variety of thoroughbreds find themselves deserted. Nathalie Dietrich has determined to present them a second wind in Hengwiller (Bas-Rhin). Another life, properly deserved, removed from the coaching tracks. Their story and his at the moment are one.
After having been a volunteer firefighter and worker of SDIS 67 in Haguenau for ten years, she had two strokes in fast succession in 2014. She spent 15 days in intensive care. When she leaves, she is said unfit for any skilled exercise. “It was terrible for someone who loves life like me, remembers the founder of the Winkelbach stable. I didn't admit it, didn't support it. I didn't necessarily listen to the advice of doctors…”
In 2019, she purchased an previous sheepfold in Hengwiller. She has all the time beloved horses. They are those who gently convey her again to life. “There's a silent language between us. I can't explain it. They saved me. And I decided to give them back what they gave me: a second life.”
She transforms her sheepfold into a place of welcome for reformed thoroughbreds. Very rapidly, she gained the label “Beyond the Tracks”. The just one to have obtained it in the Grand Est. “When I met Nathalie, I immediately understood who she was, what she wanted, explains Lucien Matzinger, president of the Strasbourg racing company, So I introduced him to owners, people from the community. And it stuck. She was very determined. She wanted to take care of the horses leaving the racing world. Horses often forgotten. Now everyone knows her.”
Since 2019, dozens of thoroughbreds have come to remain in his stable. They needed to relearn every part: gentleness, confidence, away from competitors, efficiency and accidents. And it is not all the time simple. “It's a long way, explains Nathalie Dietrich. When I collect them, they are very wild. They don't want to be ridden anymore. They are worn out. Little by little, we are making a path together. Me too, after my two strokes, I had to relearn everything.”
It's a great distance, after I gather them, they're very wild.
First step: desensitization. This is to show the animal to not be afraid on the slightest noise. At the slightest method. On the racetrack, they've lengthy had blinkers. To see nothing, go quicker, all the time quicker. “Here, we take all that away. We wait for them to trust us. They each have their own rhythm. Then we play with them. We make them walk on plastic bottles so that they are no longer afraid of “A ground that does not appear to be the slopes. A ground with out obstacles that stands up. Just on a regular basis objects.”
And above all, they're free. To run in the meadows. To heckle. Without strain. Without orders. They are cared for, as a result of these thoroughbreds have usually chained accidents. Then, they're purchased by lovers, who proceed the trail initiated by Nathalie Dietrich. Besides, she by no means cuts ties along with her former boarders. “I keep going to see them. I can't help it. You know, of course, I helped them. But I owe them everything. With this team, I found a backbone. The desire to live, to fight. It's something that's priceless.”
This is what might be defined to the general public on the Hoerdt racecourse this Sunday, June 12 on the event of racehorse retraining day. The label “Beyond the Tracks” clearly related to it. Nathalie Dietrich will current a dozen horses from her stable. Among them: Diamond Falcon, Jamaican Shuffle and Kali Mon Colonel. Since the start of the journey, the founding father of the Winkelbach stable has put again in the saddle, in her personal approach, almost 200 thoroughbreds, aged 2 to 11 years previous.