The New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association’s (NZTBA) membership numbers currently stand at around 1500, and CEO Justine Sclater believes the benefits of belonging affect the industry as well as the individual.
“We represent breeders’ interests in so many areas that are significant to their livelihoods and the future of our industry,” Sclater said.
“A strong member representation has a positive impact, whether it be on a political, welfare, research or education front. It is very easy to become complacent, but the idea is to build a future for the next generation and create a sustainable industry.”
Several member benefits are well known; a copy of the annual stallion register, digital Breeders’ Bulletin, regular email updates about relevant industry news, free cipher brand registration, raceday badges, and access to branch activities.
Other benefits are less obvious but are vital to the industry’s future and development.
Sclater’s recent focus has been on the Waikato Healthy Rivers Plan Change. A submission was made on behalf of all breeders in the Waikato region as provisions did not reflect an understanding of equine property management.
“Not many people are aware this is the sort of thing we do,” Sclater said. “The Healthy Rivers Plan Change is an important one as the Plan did not account for the differences between horses as monogastric and other stock like sheep and cattle which are rumen and how nutrients are cycled in the animal.
“It also doesn’t take into account the different grazing patterns, feed utilisation or housing of horses. Our submission asks that equine businesses are withdrawn from PC1 until provisions fairly and equitably reflect the equine sector as the proposed provisions would negatively impact how our farms operate.”
The NZTBA are proud of the role they play in education and training. Two annual scholarships are offered where recipients travel overseas to develop their skills and knowledge.
The Sunline International Management Scholarship sends the recipient on an an all-expenses paid, bonded trip of 30 weeks, experiencing the operational infrastructure, systems and management of three of the Northern hemisphere's leading stud farms. The winner of the Keith and Faith Taylor Equine Scholarship is supported to head to the internationally renowned Irish National Stud, based in Kildare Ireland to attend a five month Diploma Breeding Course
“We want the thoroughbred industry to be seen as a viable career path,” Sclater said.
“By sending these young people overseas our industry will benefit from the experience and learning they bring back.
“The majority of past recipients still work in New Zealand and are major contributors to the industry.”
Another major task has been the production of the Register of Thoroughbred Stallions of New Zealand. The hardcopy and online reference book documents 85 stallions, 11 of which will be standing their first season at stud in New Zealand in 2019.
“The Register continues to be a valued resource for our members and is delivered in late June as part of their membership fee,” Sclater said.
“Industry participants and thoroughbred breeding enthusiasts look forward to it every year. It is also a great overseas marketing tool and I would like to thank the stud masters for their continued support to produce this.”
For the first time a simplified PDF digital version of the stallion register will also be available on the website at https://www.nzthoroughbred.co.nz/
The NZTBA has an open-door policy at their Cambridge-based office which also houses the Stead Memorial Library, donated by Sir Patrick and Justine, Lady Hogan.
“We are grateful for everyone’s support, especially in these challenging times,” Sclater said. “Past, present and potential members are welcome to come visit myself or Corrina in the office where we are on hand to give advice or have a chat.”
“Our aim is to achieve the best outcomes for the New Zealand breeding industry and membership fees allow us to continue to operate for the benefit of breeders.”
Current members are encouraged to check their current contact details are correct to ensure they are receiving the regular updates and member benefits. Those interested in joining can find more information at: https://www.nzthoroughbred.co.nz/page/member-benefits/