Off the track horses showcase new skills
HORSES: The Standardbred Association of Queensland, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, held its 12th Annual SAQ Standardbred State Hacking and Harness Championships across two days at the Gatton Showground.
The event also included the 2018 Track to Hack Series final.
A total of 66 nominations were recorded, which also included 12 standardbreds that had been rehomed through Standardbred Association Queensland's Rehoming and Adoption Program from harness racing.
SAQ established its Program in 2002, and rehomes between 80 and 120 standardbreds each year, with the rehoming of number 1026 occurring just last week.
For this year's event, competitors travelled from as far afield as Mitchell, Hervey Bay and New South Wales. There was a record number of junior entries, including 16 girls and boys aged between seven and 17 years, who displayed exceptional poise and confidence during the trying EKKA winds we experience this time every year.
Although every competitor went home with more than when they arrived, there were a number of award highlights.
These included Declan Golinski (Dr Show Junior Shining Star Award), Brooke Robertson (Horesland Ipswich Award for the Exhibitor who shows the most Love and Compassion for their Standardbred) and Chloe Barnett (Encouragement Award).
Roslyn Weston won the President's Award and travelled from Burrum Heads on the Fraser Coast with her standardbred she adopted only two months ago, and Judith Symonds (SAQ Adoption Horse Award) travelled from Mitchell with Sign of Perfecshon.
The overall Number One Exhibit was Jack In Flight ridden by Amy Cargill, who secured enough combined points from SAQ's Dressage, Showjumping and Hacking events in 2018 to take the title.
The Number One Exhibitor for 2018 was Frances Bahr, who had a very successful weekend at the State Championships with her standardbreds No Recess and Broken Halo.
The final event of the two days was the running of the 2018 Qld Standardbred Track to Hack Series final.
The series is designed to help promote the standardbred as a successful and athletic horse that can excel in a variety of performance and show disciplines and create opportunities for an alternative lifestyle outside of racing.
Through this series, SAQ has endeavoured to showcase the transformation of the standardbred as a racehorse into a ridden horse to highlight the versatility and temperament of this wonderful breed. The winner of this year's final was Felicity Reinke and EverydaysA Sunday.
- Mark Hrycek