A handful of dedicated standardbred owners braved the sweltering January conditions, to start their year off on the right hoof at the recent Bulla Adult Riding Club Official HRCAV Dressage Jackpot. The event invited riders registered with HRCAV to complete two dressage tests as part of an overall ‘Jackpot’ program; which allocates points across both tests to determine an overall champion for each level, additional to individual test winners.
Adding to an already exciting pool of prizes organised by the Bulla Adult Riding Club, in partnership with event sponsors, was an additional award just for champs with stamps: the Best Performed Standardbred Award, supported by the Standardbred Pleasure and Performance Horse Association of Victoria (SPPHAV) and Harness Racing Victoria’s Hero program.
With a prize pack including sash, bridle bag, saddle pad and cap, eligible Jackpot participants across all levels were contenders for the Best Performed Standardbred award.
Long-time standardbred lover Brenda Ross was a local HRCAV rider who heard the call for standardbreds and decided to bring her beautiful gelding Buddy along, to camp out overnight (a first for the pair) and really immerse themselves in an adventure together.
“I don’t think Buddy slept well, as he was a little grumpy in the morning”, said Brenda with a laugh, speaking of her thirteen-year-old gelding who raced as ‘Cadillac Kid’.
“Being our first competition in around two years, after Covid and all the rain, Buddy’s head got a little frazzled and it wasn’t our best performance.
“Despite this, I had a lot of fun. And that’s what it’s all about really; getting out there with my horse, enjoying the experience and having a go!”
Echoing Brenda’s positivity, was fellow standardbred enthusiast Debbie Plecas.
Debbie participated at the Bulla Dressage Jackpot with her mare Pippa – known in racing/equestrian competition as Regal Share – who was enjoying her second ever dressage day after a background in trail riding.
“Pippa handled the event like the star she is”, said Debbie.
“I found the organisers of the day to be very friendly and a lot of the bystanders were very encouraging.
“I really enjoy getting out and competing and I’m excited to see how far I can go with my girl and to enjoy the many adventures ahead of us!
“The highlight of the day was getting the Runner Up Best Performed Standardbred award.”
Another successful Bulla Jackpot competitor was Deneve Stratford, who was sashed as the overall standardbred award winner.
“It was such an added bonus to win the ‘Best Performed Standardbred’ award at the Bulla Dressage Jackpot, as the day itself was so positive and encouraging”, explains Deneve.
“Since purchasing Freddy, also known as FREDDYFROMZANIBAR, two years ago through the Hero program, I have had so much support from the standardbred and wider community.
Freddy is my first Standardbred and I am learning so much. I really enjoy going out to HRCAV competitions to measure our new skills as they progress. SPPHAV-Hero’s extra awards just add to that!”
Bulla Adult Riding Club promoted an inclusive and supportive environment for retired racehorses at the Jackpot, by offering both the SPPHAV-Hero Best Performed Standardbred award, which the Club split across a Runner Up and Champion, and the Racing Victoria Off The Track award (for Thoroughbreds).
Bulla ARC club representative Samantha Davison credited the day as a great success.
“Bulla ARC Official Dressage Jackpot was a really great event to blow away the cobwebs at the start of the year!”, said Samantha.
“It was wonderful to see more than ninety riders competing after the last couple of years of cancelled events.
HRCAV clubs are invited to apply for Best Performance Standardbred award sponsorship, which promotes increased participation from standardbred owners vying for additional recognition and prizes.
Club representatives can register their interest in offering a Best Performed Standardbred award via the Hero website or contact the hero team at email@example.com to discuss your events needs.