Love You
2010 Gelding
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See HRNZ Information for Bordeaux


Bordeaux 's HERO journey

When Liz Bishop was considering taking on a new horse, she didn’t realise at the time that the answer was literally right in front of her. As part of her job as Harness Racing New Zealand’s General Manager Corporate Services, Liz has responsibility for animal care, and that includes the HRNZ HERO programme. HERO is a rehoming and re-educating programme designed to showcase the Standardbred breed to the wider equine industry.

Earlier this year a showy chestnut with a flaxen mane and tail called Bordeaux, came into the programme from breeder-trainer Phillip Iggo. He wanted his horse to have a new life where he’d be challenged and loved. Having raced between 2015 and 2020, Bordeaux had 11 wins, including back-to-back South Bay Trotters Cups at Kaikoura, earning more than $170,000. “By a French sire (Love You) and being a chestnut we thought of a French red, hence the name Bordeaux,” he says.

Before entering the HERO programme Bordeaux had never been ridden. He was placed with well-known HERO educator Chanelle Dickie at Selwyn Equestrian Centre . A relaxed unflappable individual “Toby”, as he is known, was a natural. In no time he was under saddle, schooling in a frame, jumping and completing cowboy challenge obstacles. “Toby has the movement of a thoroughbred, he has the most expressive trot, and his canter is to die for,” says Chanelle.

His progress was updated through regular videos on the HRNZ website and HERO social media pages. That’s where Liz got to thinking that maybe Toby was the horse for her. “We have a 21-year-old Standardbred who we decided we would retire at the end of the summer. He was getting to the stage where he wanted a quieter life than the trekking and hacking, I’d been doing with him. He’s like a member of the family, so will stay with us forever”

“I was impressed with Bordeaux and his willing temperament, so I talked to Chanelle about potentially buying him and the rest is history.” "Toby enjoys the company of his three horse brothers, two of which are also Standardbreds." says Liz, "and he loves exploring new places and has spent time in the forest, chilling at the river, riding round the roads and climbing the hills at a nearby station."

He's also learning classical dressage with tutor Sally Thorne, and there's the prospect of some competitive trail riding in the future. "Most of all Toby enjoys being part of the family and is always the first to greet you at the gate, especially if you have a feed bucket."

 Story shared by Liz Bishop

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