Slew A.K.A Pops has made a lot of miles around a racetrack in his 22 years
Slews Royal Gin is a quirky horse. His curiosity and mischievous nature could have been his demise a couple of times, but his quirky personality is also what his owners love.
Slews Royal Gin is known as Pops around Northlands Park, and he has made a lot of miles around a lot of racetracks. He started his race career in 1999 as a 3 Year Old in California in and raced until he was 6 in Wyoming, New Mexico and Idaho. He’s added Arizona and Alberta to his list of homes in his latest career as a Pony Horse.
Slews Royal Gin was a part of Kammi Camphouse’s father’s training stable in Idaho Falls. Kammi galloped Slew (his American barn name) and loved his quirky nature. He was best known to the jockeys and other exercise riders as the horse who ran away and bolted on the turn on a regular basis, but Kammi thought he was fun. When he was close to retirement, Kammi bought him and had a goal to use him as a High School Rodeo horse. Slew had one more start left and Kammi couldn’t wait to take him home. He was always in trouble around the barn, and as luck would have it he poked his head through his stall gate, got stuck and pulled back. Hard. It turned into a terrible wreck and Slew broke his jaw. So, Kammi loaded him up and the vet did surgery and was able to push his palate back into position and they wired his jaw back together. It was a long 8 weeks of bran mush but Slew survived and healed. Kammi went on to use him in High School Rodeo, show jumping, trail riding and when she got married and started a training business he was part of her lesson horse program. Kammi was hired as the Outrider at Les Bois Park racetrack for a couple of years and he was her go-to Outriding horse. In the winter, Slew got to go to Arizona and be a Pony Horse, which he loved.
Slew was part of Kammi’s life for 14 years, but when her young son was starting to ride she came across the perfect horse for him but needed to downsize the rest of her herd. She made the decision to sell Slew to help pay for a horse for her son. “Mike and Laurina Bugeaud knew my brother and Slew from their time at Turf Paradise and my brother helped set up the deal. I hauled Slew to Montana to meet them, and I bawled all the way there and all the way home. It broke my heart to sell him!”
Mike had Slew as an Outriding horse at Northlands Park, and that’s when Kirsty Luft-Nault spotted him. “I loved him. He was really quirky and I told Mike I wanted to buy him. We made a deal and I was so happy to get him in my barn.” Kirsty uses Pops, as he’s now known, as a Pony horse for the races and an Outriding horse for the Olds College Exercise Rider program. Pops is in his element, especially when he gets to catch a runaway student. (He’s probably recalling his numerous runaways as a youngster!)
Kirsty loves Pop as much as Kammi did. “He’s incredibly fun to be around and completely ridiculous. He’s missing his top teeth from his stall door accident, so he’d adapted how he chews. He can gum an apple as fast as I can feed it to him! He’s an incredible Pony and Outriding horse, because he loves his job. Anyone can ride him, so we use him to help teach the Exercise Rider students to learn to Pony. If a horse gets too far ahead he pins his ears and they get back. If a young horse gets pushy he moves his butt over and pushes them back into line. He knows his job and does it with his ears perked every day!”
Pops has found his forever home with Kirsty. “He’s turned out in the winter and he comes into the Olds College school in the spring. He makes me laugh and he’s so much fun to work with during the race meet.” Kammi has kept tabs on Slew/Pops and she loves that he’s travelled a long way from home but is still quirky and still doing what he loves to do. You can see Pops and Kirsty in action just about every race day all season at Northlands Park and Century Downs. Stop and say hi, and if you want to make a new friend bring an apple!