A huge weekend of adventures saw standardbreds tackle different pursuits across the state, including endurance and navigation rides, horse trials (eventing), barrel racing and attending another sensational Hero clinic.
Just shy of a dozen standardbreds registered for the Best Performed Standardbred award at the Maryborough Navigation Ride, which ran across Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st of May.
Charmane Cadman celebrated great success across the two days, bringing home an impressive display of prizes. “Maryborough Horse Riding Club had a great navigation ride weekend, with approximately sixty-six competitors over the two days! Of that, about ten were standardbreds and they all did a fantastic job of being their steady, reliable selves.”, Charmane explains.
“My horse Trick (racing name ‘No Republic’) and I, along with my regular riding partner Sally and her horse Banker, did very well taking out best Level 5 pair and Best Performed Standardbreds on the Long Ride on Saturday!
“On the Sunday my last-minute partner Debbie, who was riding an off-the-track thoroughbred named Chester, and I came in at first place on the Short Ride!
“The event was supported by some great sponsors, with HRV Hero sponsoring an Encouragement Award on both days and Maryborough Harness Racing Club sponsoring the Best Performed Standardbred. We thank these organisations for supporting this fantastic breed and their life after racing!”
Aaron Kerr also had a wonderful time on the Maryborough trails, picking up the Encouragement Award on the Saturday.
“It was Dawn Rise Black Valley’s (race name was Black Valley) first Navigation Ride and handled himself really well, only being out on a handful of trail rides with me before the event”, Aaron explains.
“Although we placed down the bottom of the placings, it came down to missing answers rather than time.
“I competed at the last Navigation Ride by Maryborough in 2022 and said that I would return for the next one. Again, I plan to return next year. The ride is in a lovely area and clues have had a lot of thought put into them”. Hero Ambassador Ashleigh Robinson was another Maryborough Navigation Ride attendee thrilled to take home an Encouragement Award.
“Even though the day looked a little average at times, with a couple of short bursts of annoying misty rain, my Nav Ride partner and I still had a great day out, with some lovely tracks to ride along”, Ashleigh recalls.
“Fox was very well behaved for the day and she is also getting quite fit and strong now, only starting to break into a sweat after the checkpoint.
“The distance ended up being 20km long, with Deb and I riding in at two hours and forty-eight minutes, which meant we received no time penalties! We also did relatively well answering the questions, receiving a score of 180 out of a total of a possible 210 points. Unfortunately, due to the HRCAV Equaliser Points, we were out of the placings for the day.
“One ribbon we did acquire was the HRV Hero Standardbred Encouragement Award, which was a nice surprise. We thank HRV Hero for supporting and sponsoring this event. It was a nice achievement on Saturday and good to see how far we’ve come!”
Over to the west, standies strode out over great distances, as part of the Moyston Endurance Ride.
A total of eleven standardbreds took to the Moyston trails, representing standies proudly across the 20km, 40km, 60km and 100km rides.
Ang Lea had a wonderful time joining fellow standy riders out on the 40km ride, as cited in a recap post on her Facebook page.
“It was truly awesome to finally meet the rockstars of endurance, Team Bronson [aka Daniel Watt and his standardbred Charles Bronson] and Brendan Gay on the lovely Midnight”, Ang says.
“I think I can speak for all of us when I say we are seriously proud to be out on the endurance trail, riding these incredible horses!” As always, the positive energy was shared by passionate standy rider Daniel Watt, who creates a force for good for standies by regularly sharing video snippets of his endurance adventures on social media.
“Team Bronson successfully completed the Moyston 40 km in a great time 3.02” Daniel explains.
“It was a pretty easy run and we found ourselves ahead of the clock, so I jumped off and walked a kilometre or more and was joined by Brendan Gay and Midnight. It seems that these two teams keep coming together at most rides!
“A shout-out to Ang Lea who was also riding at the event. It was the three standies representing the breed and I love the comradery amongst us champ with a stamp riders!
“Charles Bronson never disappoints me. He always has more in the tank and vetted awesomely this ride, going in with a heart rate of thirty-five pre-ride & forty-five post-ride”.
Another familiar face on the standy endurance circuit is Mark Carson, who is steadily building quite the resume of success with his talented gelding Mr Brown.
“I’m so proud of Mr. Brown”, says Mark, chuffed after an incredible effort to place first in the 100km Elevated section.
“It was a 3am start in the absolute cold and rain mist. Browny was in the zone and on a mission. 100km is his longest ride to date and we got around in 8.42 hrs.
“We also got the coveted Best Condition rug. That’s three in our collection now. He is a very special horse!”
We thank Brendan Gay for his great summary of the standardbreds riders’ results at the Moyston Endurance Ride, posted in the Standardbred Endurance Facebook group, which you can read at the end of this article.
In a very different setting, Kylee Paull and her amazing gelding Whiskey Business, aka Minty, once again put in an excellent display of skill on the barrel racing circuit.
“Minty and I had another good weekend, although every weekend is good with this horse!” Says Kylee.
“Minty and I competed at the South West Victoria Barrel Race in Bacchus Marsh and placed second in the 2D class. It was a great event, on a really good arena”.
Proving the versatility of the breed, several standardbreds also took to the HRCAV TTT HT (Top Teams Trophy Horse Trails) Horse Trials event on the weekend, hosted at Bulla Adult Riding Club across May 20th – 21st.
TTT HT is the equivalent of a state championship eventing competition for adult riding club competitors in Victoria, judged across three phases of riding: dressage, showing jumping and cross country. Riders form teams with other competitors, either from their riding club or as a composite, to determine individual level/class winners as well as an overall Champion team.
Steph Gibson put in a tremendous effort in the Level 5 section, placing 18th in a big field and proudly bringing home the Best Performed Standardbred award, sponsored by HRV Hero.
Also riding at the event was passionate standardbred owner Alison Maclaren, whose standardbred Yoshi Dynamite was cited to have ‘blitzed the cross country course, including the water jump’. The pair finished right behind Steph, in 19th position in the Level 5 class.
“[Yoshi’s] been going so well that it’s all too easy to forget that he still has less than half a dozen events under his belt and he only started jumping late February”, Alison writes in a Facebook recap.
Rounding out a wonderful weekend of standy adventures was the Hero Green Horse Clinic, which provided an opportunity for education in fundamental horsemanship skills and groundwork, under the expert guidance of coaches Amanda Lewer and Bridgette van Sprang.
Participating in the Clinic was recently rehomed Heroes for RDA graduate Adam, who was the first standardbred to go through a new retraining program and be placed at Myuna Farm’s RDA Doveton.
Dedicated RDA Doveton Horse Welfare Officer Lynda Coad took Adam to the Hero Green Horse Clinic, having formed an early connection with the kind standardbred.
“The biggest moments were seeing how Adam’s brain reacted to the activities and environment. He handled it really well, showing he has a natural ability to remain relaxed and enjoys pleasing his person”, Lynda explained.
“Seeing Adam handle the poles and accepting the leg aids to remain straight , then improving in the circle work was very rewarding. There’s so much to learn about creating an awareness between horse and handler; that was probably our favourite activity.
“The venue was great, we would love to go to another clinic and perhaps work on introducing the canter. It takes a lot of work to put these clinics together, we really appreciated it.”
Liz Lacsni also had a fantastic time at the Clinic, bringing two standardbreds to share the experience.
“I thoroughly enjoyed both lessons and believe there’s always something to learn, no matter how long you have been riding”, Liz explains.
“I had both my standies with me so it was great to learn groundwork with one and ride the other.
“My Ollie, who I rode in the poles lesson, was unsure of the indoor arena at first, but with the help of Bridgette we were both able to relax.
“What impressed me in my lesson with Bridgette was her knowledge of the standardbred and her explanation of their movements; this really helps explain why our standies they do what they do.
“Standardbreds are such giving horses that they try their best and keep on going. Once you have one, you’re hooked!
“I’m looking forward to the next clinic, as it was so good to be with people that love their standies and it was a lot fun and informative”.
Sharing Liz’s appreciation for coach Bridgette’s thorough explanations was long-time standardbred lover, Shelley Murcutt.
“I really enjoyed the different pole exercises that Bridgette put forward for us to do and her explanations on how it could help us and our standies”, says Shelley.
“What a fantastic opportunity these clinics are for standardbred owners. It’s nice to be in a group of people who have similar “standy” type balance or gait issues.
“Bridgette gave great advice and constant encouragement”.
Another rider who took two standies to the Clinic was Lili Clifford, who rode her horse Max in a poles session, whilst sharing her gorgeous grey standy Chevy with her friend Ella.
“My favourite activity from the clinic was the trot poles exercises”, Lili explains.
“My Maxie was rushing to get over them and not looking where his feet were! He has gained heaps of confidence from the clinic and I think he realty enjoyed being in a group setting.
“It gave Max so much more confidence going over the poles, as he was able to follow another horse.
“I am utilising everything I learnt from the clinic. I have actually booked him in for the upcoming Yara Glen Pony Club Super Cross event”.
Ella also gained some great take-aways from her experiences at the Clinic.
“I really enjoyed the raised pole work and how the horses floated over them when they slowed down and had to think about where to put their feet”, says Ella.
“It was a really great experience to take green horses into a no pressure environment and get them thinking about new things!”
To create an inclusive learning experience, Hero invited spectators to come along to the Green Horse Clinic as ‘fence-sitters’.
Michelle Glass took up the offer and had a fantastic day watching Clinic sessions.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my day as a fence sitter”, Michelle says.
“I have had my Standardbred for two years now and what a journey we have had!
“We started with six months of ground work lessons prior to riding and then slowly moved on to riding lessons. I remember the Hero program telling me ‘just don’t be in a hurry’ and as our journey continued, I realised that they were right, and this is how it needed to be.
“However, this clinic gave me valuable insight into standardbreds, why we must take our time with them and why the standardbred cannot jump from track to riding without patience and care.
“I gained some valuable information to take home to apply to my training, which actually makes sense. I cannot recommend these clinics enough and I intend to go to many more”.