Every Standardbred horse should be treated with respect, compassion and understanding and shall receive a standard of care which allows them to enjoy a good quality of life while in the racing industry and on retirement.
Responsible re-homing of Standardbreds is an important issue for racing internationally. The NZ Standardbred Breeders’ Association is committed to ensuring that as many of our retiring horses as possible are retrained and re-homed for second careers as sport or pleasure horses.
Standardbreds throughout New Zealand have successful careers after racing in many equestrian disciplines including showing, trekking, show jumping, endurance, competitive trail riding, cowboy challenge and eventing.
The New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Association works closely with Harness Racing New Zealand to ensure we are providing viable pathways for Standardbreds to enjoy their retirement and post-race career.
Standardbreds are fast becoming a well-known breed in the show ring throughout New Zealand. They are admired for their ease of training, loyal nature and beauty.
In 2016 the NZBSA brought Julie De Filippi on board as our Ambassador for Standardbred Showing, with the goal of lifting the profile of the Standardbred in the showing disciplines.
We have also worked closely with both the North Island Standardbred Association and the NZ Standardbred Riding Association to ensure all views are considered when representing the breed. This has included annual grants of $1000 to both Associations.
Three years ago there were only a handful of Standardbred Rings at A&P Shows around the country. On the back of Julie’s hard work, last showing season there were over 40.
By bringing in a set of standardised classes and qualifying entry conditions in line with the RAS, the Standardbred breed has worked its way back into Horse of the Year with its very own ring.
Horse of the Year (HOY)
There is a strong contingent of Standardbreds that compete annually at Horse of the Year. This is the crème de la crème of New Zealand’s premier equestrian competition, featuring a range of horse and rider combinations from multiple disciplines.
With over 1,600 riders and 1,800 horses competing for lucrative titles and prize money, the show is a feature on all equestrian calendars.
The quality of the Standardbred ring at HOY has continued to go from strength to strength and the breed is starting to get the attention of the eventing industry.
Competing at Horse of the Year can be a huge thrill but it can also be a little confusing with all the information and qualifications that are required.
Harness Education & Rehoming Opportunities (HERO)
Harness Racing New Zealand is currently in the process of launching an exciting new initiative; Harness Education & Rehoming Opportunities (HERO). HERO was initially launched in July 2015 as a joint initiative of Harness Racing Victoria and the State Government via the Victorian Racing Industry Fund and Harness Racing New Zealand are proud to be joining this venture. HERO promotes life after racing options for retired Standardbreds, with an emphasis on developing positive pathways for horses exiting the competitive environment and encouraging industry participants to factor retirement into their day to day welfare programmes.
Anything But Standard Challenge
The Anything But Standard Challenge is a life after racing venture launched in 2017. The vision for this Challenge is to promote the versatility and suitability of the Standardbred as a pleasure and sport horse once their racing career has finished which is beneficial for the racing industry.
The Anything But Standard Challenge is open to any branded Standardbred that is unbroken to saddle as of the 1st of February of the competition year with the Challenge being held in either November or December.
The Challenge consists of 5 individual Challenges; Inhand Showing, Ridden Showing, Dressage, Show Hunter, and Obstacle Course and points gained across each section are combined to name the Overall Challenge winner. Competitors may enter as many or as few sections as they like but only those entered in all sections are eligible for the Overall.
Stable to Stirrup
Every year over 100 retired standardbred racehorses are taken in for training and re-homing by a group of volunteers in Canterbury. Horses need hay, rugs, pasture, as well as a farrier and veterinary care during this time.
Stable to Stirrup is a charitable trust set up with the primary focus of helping rehomers of Standardbreds in the Canterbury region with the ongoing costs associated with the retraining, education and duty of care.
Stable to Stirrup also provides support for the horses as they come off the track and are retired from racing. Their program sees the horses transition from foster home to re-starter to a new home when they are ready.
Over the last 30 years more than 900 horses have been rehomed in Canterbury alone. We are hopeful that the Trust can help those working with the horses to continue their good work.
The South Island Premier Show
This equestrian event provides a platform for top breeders, along with horse, pony and rider combinations from around New Zealand to showcase their talents and compete for championships and title class awards. There is a specific Standardbred section that has become highly competitive.
Harness Racing New Zealand in conjunction with Dunstan Feeds introduced the inaugural Standardbred Photo Competition at Goldfields Cavalcade – Riding Trails Event. This initiative called on participants to take imaginative photos of them and their Standardbred enjoying the Cavalcade There was nearly 40 entries for the competition in its first year and it was fantastic to see so many Standardbreds enjoying their life after racing.
This competition will continue for the 2020 Cavalcade (see here for more details).