The NZTBA will sponsor a new award at the Beyond the Barriers Dunstan Ex-Factor competition at Equifest at Taupo on November 27-29.
The inaugural Equifest competition, which replaces Equidays, will feature the popular competition for off the track thoroughbreds and for the first time, the NZTBA Judge's Choice award.
"This competition is the cornerstone event for Beyond the Barriers and allows us to showcase the versatility and suitability of Thoroughbreds as sporthorses," organiser Nicky Wallace said. "These horses have had less than 12 months of sporthorse schooling and what they achieve over the three days of competition is testament to their breed."
The competition was developed to promote the use of thoroughbreds as sporthorses post racing and has helped to drive demand for recently retired racehorses. Many riders selecting horses with a view to compete in Dunstan Ex-Factor specifically.
Riders competing in Dunstan Ex-Factor represent a wide cross section of the sporthorse industry and the NZTBA Judge's Choice award is designed to recognise a horse and rider combination who really epitomise the Beyond the Barriers purpose - a pair whose transition from racehorse to riding horse and their actions during the competition stand out to the judge as being a great example of what we are trying to achieve.
"This new award, which has been kindly sponsored by NZTBA, allows us to reward a combination that may not necessarily feature in the prizes, but really help us to demonstrate to the public what can be achieved when an off the track thoroughbred is retired to a knowledgeable and capable home and the immense pleasure they can provide as a sporthorse," Wallace said.
"Our mystery judge will be someone who has both racing and sporthorse knowledge and someone who is present across all three days of the competition.
"We love to see involvement across the entire thoroughbred industry and partnering with NZTBA allows us to link those from the horse’s very first homes to those who have provided them with their first post-racing homes.
NZTBA CEO Justine Sclater is in favour of the competition and the promotion of thoroughbreds as sporthorses for sustainability of the industry.
"The NZTBA fully supports the re-education of our thoroughbreds and are welcome this opportunity to be involved with Equifest and Beyond the Barriers." Sclater said. "As breeders we all enjoy following the horses we raised as they progress in their new careers and get a real kick from seeing them successfully compete in a new discipline.
"This award gives us the opportunity to celebrate this and further demonstrate what a wonderful breed the thoroughbred is, both on and off the track." -NZTBA