With 44 wins and $1,018,857 in stake earnings between them, former top line pacers Villagem and Franco Heir are well deserving of a pampered life after racing.
And thanks to the generosity of an exceptional group of sponsors, the two horses will enjoy nothing but the very best care and attention in their new role as official HRV HERO Ambassadors.
Villagem (Tas) and Franco Heir (Frankie) have been gifted by their respective racing owners Mick Lingard and Bob Proberts and will regularly appear at feature race meetings and special events to promote HRV’s innovative Harness Education and Re-homing Opportunities project.
Erin White of Erin’s Equine Services has come on board as major sponsor for Villagem, who has just commenced re-education under saddle after retiring in May this year.
Erin is a bioscan/photopuncture therapist and distributor of both In Light Wellness products and Blue Chip Feeds.
She also manufactures polar fleece and lycra products for horse and rider.
Erin has a special interest in supporting Standardbred racehorses to perform to their maximum potential and assisting retirees to transition to a rewarding life under saddle.
She is particularly skilled in identifying and rectifying physical challenges which may impede a horse’s progress.
Franco Heir has been enjoying a life of leisure since the curtain came down on his illustrious career eight years ago and is being sponsored by Anita Brojatsch, principal of Herbal Horse and senior sales consultant for Equissage.
Anita admits to being a “thoroughbred person” who has discovered a new found respect for Standardbreds and those who are passionate about their care and education.
Her vast knowledge will be invaluable for Frankie who, at rising 18 years of age, will benefit from a supported diet structured to prevent issues often prevalent in older equines.
Anita, who has developed a unique “While You Wait” colic formula, will also be available to advise those working with off the track Standardbreds via the HERO program and assist with common feeding and supplement queries.
Franco Heir’s farriery has been donated by Warren Cochrane of Cobe Lodge, a former New Zealand horseman with 20 years’ shoeing experience.
Warren is also a HERO registered Standardbred re-trainer in addition to holding a HRV trainer/driver licence.
Meanwhile Zilco is HERO’s preferred harness and saddlery supplier.
Both equine ambassadors have been provided with a wardrobe of summer and winter rugs courtesy of Zilco who are also assisting in the supply of the gear and equipment necessary for race day and public appearances.
“The response from our sponsors has been nothing short of sensational,” HERO Manager Tanya McDermott revealed.
“Everyone I have approached has been 100 percent enthusiastic and on board with the concept, and more than willing to offer their support which has been really humbling.
“Both Frankie and Tas are gorgeous boys who are a great advertisement for life after racing, and with the support of their respective sponsors they will be thoroughly spoiled and presented in the best possible light,” she suggested.
“While HERO isn’t just about providing life after racing opportunities for very successful racehorses, in the case of Franco Heir and Villagem, we could not have asked for two more perfect flag bearers.”