Harness racing club ‘poster boy’ shows breed’s untapped potential

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Harness racing club ‘poster boy’ shows breed’s untapped potential

Alocal horse recently made his much anticipated return to the Mount Gambier Harness Racing Club after an eight year absence.

On Friday February 9, 12 year old gelding Give Me A Hand, now affectionally known as Teddy, returned to the Mount Gambier Harness Racing Club to show that retired Standardbreds can have a successful life after racing.

It was the first time Teddy had attended a race meeting since he retired in 2015 and although at first, he was a little unsure, the clerks of the course and their horses gave him the confidence to settle in and enjoy the evening.

Teddy roamed around the parade ring, receiving admiring comments and pats.

A highlight was seeing him with his old trainer/driver Jackie Barker whom he remembered and the reunion brought a tear or two as she kissed and hugged him.

Teddy (Give Me A Hand), started his racing career at Mount Gambier on January 23 in 2015 with trainer Matthew Craven and finished his racing career at the track on December 29 of the same year with Jackie Barker.

From his meagre 18 starts, a second on January 30 was the best he could manage and as quoted by Jackie Barker “he was a pretty terrible racehorse”.

However, by some miracle Teddy ended up being the poster boy for the Mount Gambier Harness Racing Club, appearing on the billboards on Jubilee Highway and Pick Avenue.

Since being re-educated by Jackie and Stacey Barker from Monivae Park Standardbreds in Hamilton, Teddy has found his forever person in Ms Harris and achieved so much more than anyone could have imagined.

He became Ms Harris’ best friend and helped her survive Year 12 in the COVID year of 2020 where he appeared in many of her subjects including visual arts, english, research project and even child studies.

He has achieved a number of accolades such as six time State Champion including three time State Champion Pleasure Horse in a row and Standardbred Pleasure and Performance Horse Association of SA Horse of the Year in 2022 and 2023 consecutively.

Teddy was also the Standardbred Pleasure and Performance Horse Association of SA Prep Dressage Horse of the Year 2023 and the 2022/23 Limestone Coast and Green Triangle Supreme Standardbred of the 

Last year was a good year for the retired horse in which he also won the 2023 Alabar Series Qualifier and 2023 SA Dressage Association High Point Prep Champion and Reserve Champion.

Teddy might not have been a superstar on the racetrack but his true calling has been as a best friend to Laura.

His willingness to forgive many rider errors and eagerness to please whether it be in the show ring, at the beach, out on the trails, cross country, or at dressage, shows the versatility and potential of the breed.

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