Day At The Track

Standards are lifting Horse of the Year

05:00 PM 18 Mar 2018 NZDT
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Standardbreds are lifting their profile for a life after harness racing. Made with funding from NZ On Air.
Standardbreds are lifting their profile for a life after harness racing. Made with funding from NZ On Air.

Standardbreds are a rising star of the equestrian world. They were once mostly destined for the slaughterhouse after their time on the harness racing track, but now their potential as a show and sport horse is being realised.

At this year's Horse of the Year Show in Hastings, the standardbred show ring was a popular attraction and the breed succeeded in other disciplines as well.

The breed originated in the United States and got the name Standardbred because a horse had to better a standard trotting time before being allowed to enter the harness-racing stud book.

Kylie Carston travelled from Christchurch for the Show with Petite Ebony - AKA Tony the Pony Carston.

"She's actually a retired racehorse that was sadly going to be sent on the dog-tucker truck, so she's a rescue really," Ms Carston said.

"They are anything but standard and have the best nature in the world."

Zoe Cobb travelled from Cambridge with her steed O'Sheas – AKA Rusty.

"I used to work with him," she said.

"He raced until he was twelve-and-a-half and then he retired five years ago and became my show hack."

Helping to realise the potential of the athletic breed, that is anything but standard physically, is Standardbred Rehoming New Zealand.

It re-educates the horses to accept saddles and teaches them it's okay to canter.

Standardbred Rehoming spokesperson Diane Wansbrough said they were often used as stock horses but "now people have wised up" to their sport-horse potential.

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Made with funding from

By: Patrick O'Sullivan

Video Journalist Hawke's Bay/Wairarapa, NZH Local Focus
 
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