2024 Breeding Intentions Survey Results & Governance Changes 

John Mooney 


NZSBA conducted a survey of last year’s breeding entities to establish their intentions for 2023/24.


We asked: 

  1. How many mares did you serve in the 2022/23 season? (Note: irrespective of whether the mare got into foal) 
  1. Approximately how many mares do you intend to serve this season? 
  1. How many of those mares are booked to a stallion? 

The results: 

  • 920 surveys sent, 765 opened (82%) 
  • The 524 who replied bred 1384 mares last season, being 71% of the 2022/23 total. We now have returns from all the large breeders completed the survey. 
  • The good news, exactly 100 breeders are increasing their mares bred from 256 last season to 407, a 63% increase. 
  • The not so good news, overall, this set of breeders anticipate  breeding 12% less mares this season.  

Sixty-five breeders who bred one to five mares last year (90 mares in total) are not breeding this season. 

  1. of that group 47 breeders who bred one mare are not breeding this season – our subsequent survey established half of these are every other year breeders; and
  1. 18 breeders who bred two to five mares, 43 mares in total last season, are not breeding at all. 

Sixty-four breeders have reduced by one mare, but still breeding. 

The top 15 breeders have reduced from 368 to 328 mares. 

Apart from age and retirement the most significant factor in people withdrawing from breeding is costs, with costs other than the service fee being mentioned as the prime reason in their added commentary. 

Obviously, we hope that a 12% decline in not the season outturn. There is 10 weeks of the season remaining. 

There is a very positive future. Three articles in Breeding Matters bring you Entain’s view of its future in the NZ wagering business, they have guaranteed funding for five years, the 2024 2YO dates are published supported by an Entain $12,000 win bonus shared by owners and breeders in 2024 and 2025 and HRNZ’s funding for 23/24 has increased stakes. 

NZSBA has shared these results with HRNZ. We are in discussion with HRNZ on additional incentives for breeding and will have a joint paper for the Board on 13 November. 

I’d like to congratulate Aimee Edmonds, Philip Hewitson and Kevin Harley who each won a $100 voucher for participating in the survey. 

Governance Changes 

The HRNZ Annual Conference was unanimous in approving new governance arrangements move by NZSBA, seconded by the Rangiora Harness Racing Club, as a joint initiative. 

Here is the HRNZ announcement https://www.hrnz.co.nz/news/hrnz-agm-new-consultation-forums-and-appointment-of-directors/  

October 2024 will see a board of seven directors elected after an externally managed recruitment process based on merit, expertise and the best fit of skills for our sport’s future. 

Additionally, a new structure for enhanced communication and consultations is being put together now. Three regional forums (Southern, Upper South Islands and North Island) will bring stakeholders together, feeding to a new National Forum. 

The National Forum is a cross-harness code body that, with the best collective interests of the New Zealand harness sport at heart, can provide: 

  • meaningful input to the selection of members of the Board by providing feedback on the required competencies and skills; 
  • the direct appointment of three of the five members of the Directors’ Nomination Panel; 
  • perspectives on national matters that will inform the Board’s strategic thinking before plans and long-term strategies are finalised; 
  • improved governance-level dialogue about matters vital to the future of harness racing; and 
  • a forum for cross-sport conversations and networking across the sport. 

Our January 2024 Breeding Matters will contain a full brief on these changes.