World record for rare horse event

A rare Paso Fino horse checks out the Worldwide Book of Records medal and certificate with owner...
A rare Paso Fino horse checks out the Worldwide Book of Records medal and certificate with owner and record recipient Liselle Silver, co-founder of the Rare Horse Society of New Zealand. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Organisers of a Rare Horse Society of New Zealand display, held late last year in Dunedin, are thrilled the event has been awarded a world record for the highest number of rare horse breeds gathered at one event.

The display at October’s Otago Equine Expo, organised by Rare Horse Society co-founders Liselle Silver and Megan Hopkinson, attracted 17 different breeds of rare horses.

Among them were horse breeds Gypsy Cob, Lipizzaner, Kaimanawa, Haflinger, Cleveland Bay, Rocky Mountain, Timor pony, Paso Fino, Highland pony, Clydesdale, Shire, Norwegian Fjord, Icelandic, Morgan, Connemara pony and Hackney pony.

There are only five critically endangered Hackney ponies and fewer than five Rocky Mountain horses in New Zealand.

Miss Silver was delighted with the turnout and decided such an impressive collection of horses deserved to be acknowledged, so she set about making an application for a world record with international organisation Worldwide Book of Records.

"It seemed like a fun, affordable and achievable record, so we decided to go for it."

The world record entry included providing details of the various horses, photos and submitting a video taken on the day that showed all the horses together in one place.

This week, she was excited to receive confirmation the world record had been achieved, along with a certificate and medal.

"It’s a nice boost for us as we continue working on getting a committee established for the Rare Horse Society of New Zealand, so we can open up to members."

A nationwide search was under way for people interested in helping to run the organisation, particularly for a treasurer.

Miss Silver said displays of rare horses such as the Dunedin event were a great opportunity "to promote these endangered horse breeds and to educate the public and equine professionals about them".

More displays have been held since, including at the NZ Agricultural Show in Canterbury, and the Mackenzie A&P Show.

"It gives a chance for people to meet the breeds in person, and for us to share information about the conservation efforts that are going on here in New Zealand and around the world."

"If horse people get to encounter these beautiful rare horses and ponies at an event like this, perhaps they will consider joining us."

For more information on the society, visit its Facebook page.