Only a race horse. Tribute to troop horse star.




OIC Kirsten McFadden  with Scott Brodie, trainer of star and former NSW Mounted Police  officer .13th January 2012 commemoration cerimony for troop horse “Star “who died on duty. His former rider is the man slumped at the back of the photo. Bill Adam .

if you ride a horse and don’t learn something you have waisted an important part of the ride. Every horse teaches us something, some teach us more. Star was one of my great equine teachers. He was not selected for his temperament, one day I was told to pick a horse from a bunch of horses we had on trial as money had become available to make a purchase, hesitation would have seen the money used elsewhere. None had shown aptitude as police horses so I pulled a name out of a hat, “Star”, challenging but inspirational, I can’t thank him enough for the lessons he gave me as a rider. He should never have made it but he did, even winning the best performance by a police horse at Sydney royal show.

He came no more than a race horse,
With really not much of a chance,
For all that he knew when he came here
Was to pull like a steam train and dance.

But a picture of horse flesh he stood there
Coat of auburn and tail of black.
Was he destined to make police horse
Or maybe a heavyweight hack?

Though he seemed slightly edgy… attentive.
Not a thing passed his wild brown eyes.
He stood like a rock and inspected
Any thing that appeared by surprise.

A trait that is rare amongst horses
Resistant to hasten to flight.
He stood there with nervous persistence
Until he was sure things were right.

And so with a sensitive rider,
Who was willing to let him inspect
A bond could be formed, an alliance
A bastion of mutual respect.

Then on to the street to start working
From green fields to concrete and tar,
With an air of importance, majestic,
A model police horse was Star.

Excelled on the show ground at Easter
At demo and rally and fair.
He strode into brawl, fray and fracas.
Where some hesitated to dare.

But the risks of the city are many,
Not always those we would expect
Sometimes even vigilant riders
Can fail their mount to protect.

As simple as slipping and falling
On surfaces burnished and tough,
Immune to an equine enforcers
righteousness, presence or bluff.

And so the demise of a great horse
Who rallied and toiled for us all
An unfortunate innocent victim
Of something as trife as a fall.

So salute to a warhorse of honour
Intelligence, courage and grace
And salute his devastated rider
The anguished despair on his face.



A Plaque at the site of stars death in east Sydney honours his contribution to the New South Wales Police Force.

Star was foaled in 1988 and was bought by the NSW Police Force on 20 May 1996. Before his career in the NSW Police Force he was a thoroughbred race horse known as Coolah. He served as a valuable member of the NSW Mounted Police Unit for nearly eight years, dying at the age of 16 following an incident at Woolloomooloo.

Just after 9pm on 13 February 2004 police were conducting patrols of the Woolloomooloo area on troop horses ‘Star’ and ‘Hero’ when the tragic incident occurred. Troop horse Star was being ridden up a kerb on McElhone Street when one of his hind legs slipped on the gutter causing him to fall. During the incident Star tried to re-gain his footing when his rear leg got caught in the grate of a drain and broke. William Adam the  Constable, who was riding Star, was thrown from the horse before he and his colleague came to his aid. Sadly Star’s injuries were so serious that he had to be put down at the scene.

A lesson for Wal Wallace, you can’t beat experience.

Wal Wallace bred himself a bull,
A picture of a beast.
You’d find no better, so he said
From way out west to east.

He bragged, “Im gonna take this thing
To every country show
And of my breeding expertise
The cockies all will know.”

But really, when its said and done,
If one should know the truth.
Wall Wallace couldn’t’t tell
between a cow’s horn and its hoof.

His luck was running good one year,
When his shire held its fair,
He won a service in a bet with some
Bull breeder there.

Turns out, that the bull at prize
Had won at Sydney show.
Its pedigree and family tree
all bull breeders would know.

And Wally’s bull, well really,
It would take no expertise
He’d take first prize in any show,
Would beat rest with ease.

Now jimmy smith, who lived next door,
Gave Wallace some advise,
A green horn with a beast like that,
Just wast very wise.

“It might be best to get some help,
Find someone who would know
Of how to handle beasts like that
When taking them to show.”

But Wallace scoffed at smithies words,
“You’re such a bloody sook,
Ill sort it out, Its all in this here

Well he read the book from front to back
And what do you suppose,
It said he had to take the thing
And ring its mighty nose.

Now it wasn’t all that difficult,
It hardly even bleed.
This preliminary victory
Went straight to Wally’s head.

“As if I need a bloody hand,
I knew that id succeed,
The only thing that left to do
Is teach the thing to lead.”

So the very next task he undertook
With his confident persistence
Was to tie a pole to the bulls nose ring,
So as to lead it from a distance.

I seemed a fairly easy ask,
Wallis attached the stick.
The drama that unfolded next sure
Left him looking thick.

The bull began to shake his head,
He thrashed it side to side,
The timber swinging from his nose
Was tanning Wally’s hide.

It chased and pounded poor old wal
Across the cattle Yard,
He ducked and weaved and did his best
To dodge the the swishing shard.

But the bull was deadly accurate,
He flogged wal black and blue
His misses dear, who came to help
She copped a flogging too.

Now Wallis lies in hospital
As well his misses dear,
The bulls show days are over
He’s a handsome lookin steer.

So we should heed the lesson here
And take a closer look
There’s one way to get experience
And it’s not from a bloody book

Don’t be too smart to ask for help
It might just save your life,
Or at the barest minimum
Spare you a load of strife.

By Scott Brodie


Horses for courses


“I just can’t understand it”
Said the weekend farming man
“My horses are all ratty
And I do the best I can,

I feed them all the good stuff,
All the oats that they can eat
And still it seems impossible
To keep my bloody seat.”

“Do you think its in the breeding?
See they’re all by the same sire,
If you can’t sort this problem out
from riding I’ll retire.”

“Already had a broken arm
And close calls by the ton,
I think I’d have a heart attack
With just another one.”

Now I can’t knock a challenge back
And I couldn’t understand
How they could be such yang-yangs,
They were gentlemen in hand.

So I climbed upon the first one
and I rode him round the yard
he responded fairly smartly
and his mouth was far from hard.

well I had him going backwards
forwards, sideways, up and down
and he spun upon a sixpense
when I asked him to come round.

the rest were all about the same
and I couldn’t understand
but my ego, it was growing
with my chest at full expand.

I said “for sure I’ll ride your horses
And I’ll get the things to go,
For I’m a mounted trooper
And there’s little I don’t know.

“I’ve ridden horses around the town
In streets alive with folk,
Its takes some sort of horseman
To go riding in the smoke.”

“I’ve passed under the harbour bridge
And round circular quay,
I’ve worked up at the mardi gras
It didn’t bother me.”

“In apprehending baddies
I’ve excelled and that’s the truth.
And when I’m mounted on my horse
By geez I’m bullet proof.”

“Well ribbons, I’ve won plenty
When I’ve gone to Sydney show.
And when I ride to music, what?
I tell you I can go.”


“I don’t think there’ll be a problem
With the neddies you’ve got here.”
By crikey he looked happy
Had a smile from ear to ear.

So I worked the horses in the yard
It didn’t take a week,
Till I had them doing dressage
And convinced I was a freak.

I taught the buggers jumping
And they caught on pretty fast,
It seemed that they’d do anything
That I would care to ask.

So once I thought I’d done the job
I called the farmer out,
And of my riding expertise
I left no trace of doubt.

I jumped them over obstacles
On two tracks showed their flair,
Piaffe, passage, through water jumps
Impossible to scare.

The farmer stood and scratched his head
“I think you’ve won the battle,
But the biggest problem that I’ve had
Is working them on cattle.”

I couldn’t see a problem there,
The way I’d schooled them up,
They’d work the cows around the joint
Just like a heeler pup.

I saddled up my favourite one
And with blatant disregard,
I pointed him towards the gate
And jumped him from the yard.

No sooner had he hit the ground
And spied a murray grey,
He took the bit between his teeth
And carted me away.

I tried to pull the bastard ‘round
But he was on the hop,
Away towards the scattering mob
He wasn’t going to stop.

He zigged and zagged and weaved about
Amongst the bolting herd,
He’d been so quiet a while ago
It all seemed so absurd.

He spun to the left, and then to the right
And left me in the air,
And dumped me in the dust and dirt
Before I was aware.


And as he turned to bolt away
By geez I got a shock,
Piaffe, passage, and piroette
Amongst the scattering stock.

This horse did not belong out here
With cattle on the land,
Arenas mowed and manicured
With cheering from the stand,

Was where he should be working
And I’d no right here either.
A stock horse trainer and rider
I realised I was neither.

So now I stick to what I know,
I bought the farmers horses,
And weekly ride them out to shows
And quote, “horses for courses”

Between fist and spur


Knuckles white and shining spur,
Why won’t you relax you cur ?
You just can’t seem to do it.
The mongrel he’s had every chance
And all he does is jib and dance
Or sort of kangaroo it.

I push him forward with two whips
But all I get is sideways skips
I just can’t understand.
My fingers they begin to ache
He’s weaving froward like a snake
And though his breedings grand.

If I can’t sort this problem out
Of to the doggers there’s no doubt
And it won’t be much longer.
I’m holding him with all my might
And still he’s falling to the right
His pull is getting stronger.

My legs are jammed with vice like grip
I’m cramping through my weary hip
I dare not leave them resting.
Or he’d reverse at gallop speed
Amphetamines I think I need
My stamina he’s testing.

My reins are threatening to snap
But I cannot afford to nap
Or through the wall I’m going.
If I eased up my grip at all
Upon his nose I’m sure he’d fall
Perhaps my sport is rowing.

His grandad won Olympic gold
Must be the black sheep of the fold
A throwback in the breeding.
His confirmations not in doubt
And can’t he move himself about
But still he’s not worth feeding.

Now running free, perfectly fine
His movements not short of Divine
He’s elegant and graceful.
His image does emotion stir but
Bridled between fist and spur
The performance is disgraceful

Scott brodie

Horses From Courses
by Scott Brodie

Available for purchase on Apple iBooks, Google Books, Amazon Kindle, Kobo and other online ebook vendors.

Every year thousands of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses, often referred to as OTTB, (off-the-track thoroughbreds) retire from the racing industry, their future uncertain. Many well-meaning horse enthusiasts seek to take these horses and retrain them for sport and recreational purposes.

This book takes the accumulated experience and knowledge of horse trainer Scott Brodie—Manager of the NSW Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Trust and re trainer of hundreds of ex-racehorses—and allows the novice trainer to tap into this valuable source of information previously unattainable for the average horse enthusiast.

Scott Brodie author of Horses From Courses is Manager of the RacingNSW Thoroughbred Retraining Program. A NSW Mounted Police horse trainer and classically trained rider, Scott has a has a generously empathetic philosophy to handling horses and a unique spin on the retraining of retired racehorses. Utilising a surprisingly smooth synergy of natural horsemanship and the practical application of classical dressage, Scott’s systematic approach to this often difficult and dangerous endeavour ensures the smoothest and fairest transition for the horse from racing machine to a pleasurable riding partner.