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Jasmine Tanner and Barney Maguire

 

Top harness racing award for student

Massey University master’s student Jasmine Tanner has won a major harness racing award.

She was named the North Island’s best licence to train/owner trainer at the weekend’s North Island Harness Racing Awards. A licence to train allows her to train as many of her own horses as she likes and up to six horses for clients.

Miss Tanner, who juggles her studies with training three horses at the Manawatu Trotting Club in Palmerston North, was presented with the award at the annual dinner in Auckland.

She rises early to train her horses in the morning before coming to Massey, returning to feed them at night. “It’s a long and busy day but it’s good,” she says.

Her thesis, funded by the New Zealand Racing Board, investigates how racing as a two-year old affects career length and success in both Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses. It will be published in the New Zealand Veterinary Journal and the Equine Veterinary Journal.

Miss Tanner, from Auckland, learned horse training from one of New Zealand’s best trainers, Steven Reid. “I learned a lot of the skills from him,” she says. “It’s about knowing how to bring a horse to peak fitness and maintain them there while trying to prevent injury.”

But she says her studies at Massey University have helped take her training further. “It helps because I now understand more about how training works,” she says. “I’ve learned the physiology, so I can now understand how and why the things we do during training work. I can also try new theories that I’ve learned through that knowledge of the horse’s body system – for example the way you can apply training load to a horse to get the best out of it.”

Her award capped a big year for her stable, led by three-time winner Barney Maguire. “I actually got him as an older horse that had had about 35 starts for another trainer but never really been any good. I got him and turned him around and he ended up winning three races for me with numerous placings as well.”

In all, she had 28 starters for four wins, four seconds and five thirds last year.

Miss Tanner says she is hoping to begin a PhD at Massey next year, again focusing on the equine industry, while continuing to train horses on the side.

 

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