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Teresa’s Standardbreds Cruising through Life Beyond the Track


Progressing over the past decade from beginner to barrel racer, standardbreds have played an integral role in Teresa Argiro’s horsemanship journey.

“I got my first standardbred, a young ex-trotter named Leo (who raced as Grecian Spur), when I was fourteen years old and just learning the ropes”, Teresa recalls.

“He was such a ripper of a horse and we had so much fun doing just about everything you could think of!

“Leo taught me how to ride a dressage test, we did mounted games and lots of trail riding together and he had the most incredible jump on him.

“Leo  and I made it all the way up to Level 1 (the highest grading) in pony club. I owe everything to him. The lessons he taught me along the way have made me the rider I am today.”

A keen horsewoman, Teresa has partnered with many horses over the years, of all shapes, sizes and breeds. Despite this, ‘fantastic, easy and willing’ standardbreds have always been in the picture.

“Leo has been retired due to a paddock injury, but he’s enjoying the quiet life and he’ll always stay with me”, Teresa explains.

“Last April, a lady down the road asked me if I’d take on her standardbred to complete his training.  Despite being twelve years old, Cruise was very green and still learning the basics.

“I took Cruise for a few weeks to get him going under saddle. By the time he was finished his training, Cruise’s owner was unable to take him back home.

“Although I wasn’t looking for a new horse at the time, Cruise was a very sweet horse and so I agreed to keep him.

“Initially, Cruise was a lovely trail riding partner, dropping his head down calmly to the end of the buckle and happy to cruise along, just as his name describes”.

An aspiring ‘sporting horse’ and barrel racing competitor, at the time Teresa was training hard with her thoroughbred. When an injury sidelined her competition horse three days before an event, Teresa’s mum suggested she enter Cruise instead.

“I’d paid the entry fees for the Bendigo Show sporting classes so I decided to pull Cruise out of the paddock and have a go”, Teresa recalls.

“Cruise was very much out of his depths, being his first outing, having had no preparation and due to the crazy things going on at the event, like the fire-shooting monster trucks doing flips off ramps nearby! It’s was nuts, but he took everything in his stride and we even managed to come home with a few placings”.

Feeding off the ‘adrenalin rush’ of a successful first event together, Teresa was inspired to continue Cruise’s training in sporting disciplines.
“Cruise is a very smart, level-headed horse who takes to new things like he’s been doing them forever. He’s naturally suited to sporting, which is all about speed, agility and stamina. He has quick legs and he’s getting better at barrel turns.  He’s such a fun ride!”

“When you meet people who don’t know standardbreds, they may think of them as the stereotypical harness horse. What I love about the sporting horse community is that when you go to events, you get nothing but encouragement.

“I love that no matter what your horse looks like, no matter what stage of riding you’re at, no matter where you’re at with your horse, you get so much support.

“It can be intimidating going into the open classes, because of the amazing athletes that can run a race in a blink! Having classes for novices, as well as the special sections just for standardbreds run by Hero, gives you the confidence to get started alongside other horses and riders just like you”.

Looking back on her competitive journey, Teresa is full of admiration for the reliability of the standardbreds in her life.

“I wish I could go back in time and make the choice to get a standardbred instead of taking on a couple of other horses I ended up spending so much money on, across their expensive shoes, feed and upkeep!”, Teresa explains.

“People often talk about standardbreds’ fantastic personalities, with their relaxed natures, good brains and work ethic.  But standies are still so underrated and the fact they’re also budget-friendly, hardy, good doers with great feet is often overlooked.

“Standardbreds are versatile and are so much more than fantastic trail horses. They’re friendly and want to be in your space, they’ll give anything a go and have many talents under saddle. I mean, really, what more could you want in a riding partner?”