Standardbred showing just keeps improving

There was a very high standard in the Standardbreds at this year's Land Rover Horse of the Year show!

The standardbred as a showing horse just continues to go from strength to strength at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show.  One of the judges, Sally Brunton, commented that the winners would “hold their own and win in the open ring.”  She also went on to say that these horses “deserve a life after racing, just like thoroughbreds.”

“New Zealand is on top of the world in the breeding of standardbreds, and has to look after them after the racing has finished, so it is good to see them here. The competitors all were so fabulous and friendly, and obviously love their horses and their sport, and worked hard to produce such lovely horses.”

Tamara Muirson, Piece of Cake with judges Sharon Lewis-Tipping and Sally Brunton

The Standardbred of the Year title went to Piece of Cake, ridden so well by Tamara Muirson from Ashburton, and owned and produced by Kristy King-Turner from Nelson. The pair also won the In-Hand Standardbred of the Year.

Tamara says she has been involved with “everything to do with horses” but not standardbreds until this season. “Why not standardbreds? It was a new challenge and we wanted to have a go to school her up for this show.  She was easy to train, and such a nice nature. While she has a different way of going from hot eventers, she is just lovely.”

Tamara and Piece of Cake sharing a moment

Kristy picked the horse to buy after seeing a photo of her head, neck and shoulders, and although Tamara didn’t think she looked like much, the four-year-old filled out over the spring, and the challenge was on to get her here for HOY.

Kristy confirmed that she was a very slow racehorse, having three starts for last or nearly last each time.  “She didn’t want to race, she was too relaxed,” she said.  “She was a very expensive yearling, by Art Major out of Ice the Cake.”

Piece of Cake and Tamara Muirson with owner Kristy King-Turner

Kristy has competed at Horse of the Year before, with her saddle hunters.  Up till now she has never won a title, but won a few lead-up classes in her time. For this trip, it was just the one horse to concentrate on, especially as she has just sold her saddle hunter, Absolutely Fabulous. “I needed a new project, so got Piece of Cake just a week off the track.  I saw her on Facebook and paid $500 for her.  I was thinking of selling her… but not sure I will, now!”

Sally Brunton thought the mare was lovely. “With a little bit more training – she is obviously a bit green – she will really be something.”

The pair were hoping but not expecting a good result after the big trip up.  They were beginning to plan their truck party as a way of celebrating tonight!

Claire Madden, Zanskar, runner-up ridden Standardbred of the Year
Zoe Cobb, O’Sheas – typically just chilled out while waiting for the next challenge
Amanda Burton, Change of Pace, third in the title class
Standardbred Results
In Hand Best Presented
1 Santo Mandy Hamilton
2 Miss Conception Ellie Rowden
3 Piece of Cake Tamara Muirson
4 Beaudiene Christian Nicole Purches
5 Major Ouch Claire Madden
6 O’Sheas Zoe Cobb
Filly / Mare
1 Piece of Cake Tamara Muirson
2 Miss Conception Ellie Rowden
3 Sundon The Wise One Ladene Matson
4 Petite Ebony Kylie Carston
Colt / Gelding
1 O’Sheas Zoe Cobb
2 Santo Mandy Hamilton
3 Change of pace Amanda Burton
4 Major Ouch Claire Madden
5 Pinky Promise Trina Middlemiss
6 Beaudiene Christian Nicole Purches
In Hand Standardbred-Best Paced
1 Piece of Cake Tamara Muirson
2 Miss Conception Ellie Rowden
3 O’Sheas Zoe Cobb
4 Petite Ebony Kylie Carston
5 Beaudiene Christian Nicole Purches
6 Major Ouch Claire Madden
In Hand Standardbred of the Year
1 Piece of Cake Tamara Muirson
2 Change of Pace Amanda Burton
3 Major Ouch Claire Madden
4 Santo Mandy Hamilton
5 O’Sheas Zoe Cobb
6 Beaudiene Christian Nicole Purches


Ridden Standardbred of the Year

  1. Piece of Cake, Tamara Muirson
  2. Zanskar, Claire Madden
  3. Change of Pace, Amanda Burton
  4. Smokey Hobbs, Danni Sutherland,
  5. Beaudiene Christian, Nicole Puches
  6. O’Sheas, Zoe Cobb


Zoe Cobb, O’Sheas
When your horse wins its second HOY title on the same day!

Photos will be available from Pegasus Communications website in due course.