New Zealand Standardbred Breeders' Association (NZSBA) received some welcomed news this week when their application to the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) as an Affiliated Breed Society was accepted.
This has been a goal of the Association since standardbred classes were excluded from the prestigious Horse of the Year Show in 2013.
The affiliation to RAS now means that standardbreds can hold their own breed specific classes at A & P shows, ultimately leading to classes at Horse of the Year (HOY), the Group racing of equestrian circles.
Kiely Buttell, NZSBA Executive Manager, was delighted at the news. "I have been an advocate of Life After Racing since joining the Harness Industry back in 2007. When I was alerted to the news that standardbreds were unable to compete in 'breed specific' classes at HOY, I contacted the RAS to see what could be done.
"To their credit the RAS have been fantastic to deal with and confirmed yesterday that our application has been accepted. We now start the journey to get standardbred classes back at HOY in 2015."
To affiliate with RAS, NZSBA set up a 'pleasure horse membership' aimed at participants who re-home standardbreds after they have retired from racing. NZSBA has members from all over the country who are willing to make the trip to Hastings to compete at HOY.
The standardbred as an equestrian prospect is growing in popularity. Previously much ridiculed for being 'jug heads' or 'wobblers', the modern standardbred has developed into a stunning breed in temperament and looks. They can easily hold their own against their thoroughbred cousins and many are enjoying successful careers in a variety of disciplines.
Kiely Buttell | Executive Manager