Day At The Track

Horses to the fore for 2020 NZ Rural Games

06:16 AM 28 Jan 2020 NZDT
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2020 NZ Rural Games
2020 NZ Rural Games

The Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games is expecting a few more four-legged visitors through its support of animal welfare organisations.

Retired Working Dogs, Greyhounds as Pets, Life After Racing and Canine Friends Pet Therapy Dogs, will bring a new dimension to the Games says founder Steve Hollander.

"Dogs and horses are a huge part of many successful farms and families and have been for generations. I’m thrilled that we’ve had sponsors come on board to help each of these charities to raise their public profile during the Games."

Retired Working Dogs, sponsored by Coprice, is a charity that finds forever homes for retired working dogs. Fundraising Manager, Karen Cox says some dogs come from large stations and are unable to keep up with the demands of a busy working life but would suit a smaller farm or lifestyle block, while others have sustained career ending injuries.

A different kind of working dog is represented by Greyhounds as Pets, sponsored by Garrards Horse and Hound. The charity has been at the Rural Games for the past two years says Greyhounds as Pets Head of Marketing and Communications Katherine O’Connor.

"The Games allow us to showcase the true nature of greyhounds to families - they are the perfect pet to adopt and quickly become part of the family," she says.

Harness Racing New Zealand has a vision for Standardbred welfare where "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." Harness Racing New Zealand will have a presence at the Rural Games for the first time.

"Our mission is to work with the racing industry (trainers, breeders, and owners) rehoming groups, government organisations and welfare groups to enable the care of the Standardbred horses to exceed the current animal welfare standards. Standardbreds can have successful careers after racing in many equestrian disciplines. Our aim is to increase awareness of their suitability for showing, sports horse activities, trekking and so much more," says Harness Racing New Zealand’s General Manager Corporate Services, Liz Bishop.

The other charity is Canine Friends Pet Therapy. Their volunteers take well-behaved dogs into rest homes, hospices, special education units and hospitals around the country.

Ann Evans, the Manawatu Events Coordinator and Liaison Officer of Canine Friends Pet Therapy says dogs make a genuine difference to the outlook of people who are going through a difficult time - and that’s something we really see a lot in the rural community.

"For those who have retired from farm life, or who are too ill to be on the farm - they really miss the daily interaction with their animals so seeing and interacting with dogs can make a huge difference to their outlook."

Steve Hollander says the addition of the charities will be a welcome addition to the 2020 Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games and will be a huge hit with our competitors and attendees - young and old alike.

Reprinted with permission of

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