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Adam Mauntah's Blog


Away from the races – but not from the thrill of competition

Published: July 30, 2011 11:14 am ET

Last Comment: August 2, 2011 8:48 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Standardbreds are a versatile breed. Most of us see them on the racetrack more than anywhere else, but they are capable of more than we see on the track or on our simulcast monitors. The Ontario Standardbred Show Series provides standardbred owners, adopters, riders, and people who just love their horses with a chance to let their horses strut their stuff in various disciplines. A full range of equine disciplines is scheduled for each show, from judged events such as dressage and English and Western Pleasure riding, to exciting contests of speed and skill such as pole bending and keyhole events, to the always entertaining costume class, where horse and rider get a little spiffed up.

Two of the shows in this series have already taken place. I was at the first one in Orono in June, and another one took place in Ancaster earlier this month. We are just days away from the third show, Standardbred Showcase at Grand River Raceway on July 31 (Industry Eve, if you will). I was at Standardbred Showcase last year, and had the opportunity to meet Admirals Express as he enjoyed his show career. Unfortunately, as we all know, Admirals Express passed away not long afterward, but his memory is alive and well at standardbred shows.

Standardbreds who participate in the shows are fine ambassadors for both the breed as a whole and the sport of harness racing in particular. Two popular examples of such horses are Never Pass and Uncle Hughie. These two competitors entertained fans on the track at Kawartha Downs and other Ontario venues during their racing days. They have since retired from racing but participate in the Ontario Standardbred Show Series. They were part of Standardrama in Orono, and also made an appearance during Harness the Hope Night at Kawartha Downs, where they were met with a legion of adoring fans wanting to pet their noses and take their pictures.

Not all participants in the shows are retired, however. Finally Connected is a veteran campaigner who came to Orono, participated in Standardrama, then went on to win at Flamboro just over a week later. I was pleasantly surprised to see Finally Connected in Orono, as I remember seeing the gelding in action on a regular basis at Sudbury Downs a few years ago, when I lived in Northern Ontario and made regular visits to the Chelmsford oval.

In addition to Standardbred Showcase, there is another show in Dutton in September. Come out to one of these shows, cheer on the riders who put a lot of work and practice into preparing for these shows, and gain a new appreciation for the versatility, competitive spirit and sheer beauty of standardbreds. Admission is free but your support of the fundraising initiatives at the shows is always appreciated. Standardrama had an excellent silent auction and a 50/50 draw, and I am sure that the array of raffle prizes at Standardbred Showcase this time will be every bit as enticing as it was last year.

I would be remiss if I did not give credit where a large part of it is due: to the volunteers who make these shows happen and, in particular, to the show organizers who think about their shows all year and work hard to make them happen. Tammi Hughes and Sarah Hertle, along with their volunteers made Standardrama run smoothly. They certainly made it worthwhile for me to get up at 4:00 a.m. to drive from Ottawa to Orono for the show! I also have no doubt that Standardbred Showcase organizer Kelly Mclaughlin has everything set to go, ready to make Standardbred Showcase a success. Her energy and her passion for horses are evident in everything she does.

I have said enough about standardbred horse shows and the horses and people involved in them. You simply need to come and see for yourself why those of us who come out to them enjoy being a part of the experience!

August 2, 2011 - 8:48 pmThe Standardbred Showcase

The Standardbred Showcase Committee would like to thank all the riders, horses, spectators and sponsors for their support of our 4th show. It was a glorious day with record numbers in classes especially in dressage and western classes. It is so gratifying to see that the Standardbred is finally starting to get recognized as a great breed to ride or pleasure drive as well as race. The level of competition has grown a great deal in the past 11 years that I have been organizing these types of shows. The Ontario Standardbred Show Series is a 4 member organization of volunteers who work tirelessly to make these shows happen. First show was in Orono, Ancaster, Elora and the final show is in Dutton. Thanks to Adam as well for being our announcer at the Showcase!

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