Day At The Track

HERO and VHRC start youth cadetship

08:54 AM 22 Aug 2019 NZST
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Olivia and Courageous Spirit aka Taj,Harness racing

The HERO Program, in partnership with the Victorian Harness Racing Club, has invested in the future of standardbred life after racing by developing a Youth Rider Cadetship.

The cadetship provides an opportunity for the recipient to develop and grow their horse skills under the guidance of the HERO retraining team.

The project, led by HERO Contracted Retrainers Cobe Lodge Limited and Moro Equine Services, aims to nurture and support individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to and interest in educating off-the-track standardbreds for recreational and/or competition riding.

HERO Manager Tanya McDermott said the Youth Rider Cadetship was an important initiative, made possible through the generous sponsorship support of the VHRC.

“We are indebted to the very progressive VHRC Committee who recognised the value of the project and put their hand up to be involved without hesitation," she said.

“The concept has been a work in progress for some time and we’re delighted to now have the financial backing to make it a reality.”

The inaugural recipient of the HERO Youth Rider Cadetship is Olivia Biggs, a 17-year-old Bendigo horsewoman who attends boarding school at The Hamilton and Alexandra College.

Olivia has ridden for the past eight years and has a keen interest in showjumping and one-day eventing.

She is undertaking her Certificate II in Equine Studies and previously completed her Certificate I Stablehand Certificate at the Bendigo Harness Racing Training Centre.

In addition, Olivia is excelling in pursuits outside of horses, specifically athletics and learning to fly a plane.

Her first love, however, is equestrian and she has already proven to be a dedicated advocate and ambassador for the HERO brand.

She campaigned two HERO graduate horses at this year’s Rochester Agricultural Show, securing the Standardbred High Point Award and multiple blue ribbons.

Olivia has volunteered many hours to assist in the day-to-day care and training of standardbreds at Moro Equine Services, including school holidays for the past 12 months.

Her endless commitment and enthusiasm has been noted and commended by both her mentor and members of the wider HERO team.

She has also developed a unique bond with HERO horse Courageous Spirit, aka Taj, and the cadetship will allow her to continue educating and training the former pacer on campus while studying.

A 12-year-old gelding by Courage Under Fire who won seven of his 56 starts and $32,000 in prizemoney, Courageous Spirit has progressed in leaps and bounds under Olivia’s guidance after initially struggling to adapt to his new life.

“Taj commenced his HERO retraining with me and also had a stint at Cobe Lodge,” Elle Moro of Moro Equine Services revealed.

“He is a very attractive horse with a quirky personality, which is not entirely suited to the program’s primary clientele, but he has always produced his best work and been happiest when trained and ridden by Olivia.

“They have a deep emotional connection, which is incredibly special and something we’ve rarely witnessed.

“The HERO team recognized the connection instantly and knew it needed to be explored. We are looking forward to cultivating and further developing it under the auspices of the cadetship.”

VHRC President Emmy Mazzetti is enthusiastic about the project and proud to be a founding patron.

“VHRC are delighted to partner HERO in this new youth rider initiative and to support standardbred life after racing. We look forward to seeing Olivia and Taj’s progress throughout the year,” he said.

The 10-week HRV HERO Youth Rider Cadetship covers the current school term initially and includes both financial and mentoring support.


HRV Trots Media

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