Harness Hero NZ

HERO Manager

Georgie Bolton

Georgie is the HERO manger, Education and Training Co-ordinator at Harness Racing New Zealand and Southern Cadet Scheme Tutor. Prior to working for HRNZ Georgie spent eight years in the Thoroughbred Breeding Industry at both Berkley Stud in Canterbury and Trelawney Stud up North in Cambridge. Georgie’s time spent at Trelawney also included travelling to Australia with yearlings for the Sydney Easter Inglis Sales.

In 2012 Georgie was awarded the Irish National Stud Breeding Scholarship. She completed 6 months of extensive study in Kildare, Ireland and came away with the gold medal and a Diploma in Breeding and Business Management. Georgie annually attends the Karaka Premier Thoroughbred Yearling Sales and the National Standardbred Yearling sales where she heads the Arden Lodge team.

Georgie’s underlying passion for horses is continued outside of work. She regularly competes in all equestrian disciplines including dressage, showjumping, and eventing up to 2* level. Georgie competes a team of two thoroughbreds and particularly enjoys the challenge of bringing on young and green horses.

Georgie’s desire to improve the education of Standardbreds off the track and her passion for animal welfare makes her a key driver in the HERO programme. Georgie is excited at the scope the HERO programme has to offer the Harness industry and is looking forward to progressing this initiative in the years to come.

HERO Co-Ordinator

Natalie Gameson

Natalie is the HERO Co-ordinator, and Education & Horse Care Manager at Harness Racing New Zealand. Natalie has been working at HRNZ for over 12 years now and was the Education & Training Manager until just recently when the role of Horse Care Manager was added to her portfolio. Natalie is passionate about all things relating to horses, so it was logical for her to adopt the animal care role as well and she is enjoying the challenge that both titles bring.

Natalie has been involved in the Harness Industry for the much of her life, starting out with working holiday jobs for trainers and yearling preparers. In 2003 she gained a National Certificate in Equine (Harness Racing) – Level 4. In partnership with her husband Jamie they run Dunvegan Lodge Yearling Preparation. Jamie also runs a full-time business as a harness trainer, training and racing a number of horses of which Natalie assists with. They also own and breed a number of standardbreds as well as having owned several Thoroughbred racehorses.

Outside of the Harness Industry Natalie is a highly successful dressage and show rider. She has competed up to Level 3 dressage and is a regular on the showing circuit with her mare Vienna. Natalie and Vienna have won countless Champion’s on the flat with Paced and Mannered classes being their specialty. Natalie’s daughter Emily is a successful young show rider and Natalie has recently acquired an off the track thoroughbred that she is producing herself.

Natalie is dedicated to the importance of life after racing and encouraging industry participants to factor retirement into their day-to-day welfare programmes.

HERO Director

Liz Bishop

Liz Bishop is the General Manager Corporate Services at Harness Racing New Zealand and one of her key responsibilities is the care and welfare of our Standardbred horses. This includes the HERO Director role.

Liz is a keen horsewoman having owned and ridden horses in many disciplines for over 40 years in both the UK and New Zealand. Liz has an off the track Standardbred, who she has gone on in partnership with to be the NZ National Champion and 5x Canterbury Champion in competitive trail riding. Liz enjoys trekking in the South Island’s High Country with friends and family and she has completed ten Cavalcade’s- a six day trekking adventure in Otago.

Liz has recently purchased Bordeaux from the HERO programme and together they love exploring new places and spending time in the forest, chilling at the river, riding round the roads and climbing the hills at a nearby station. He is also learning classical dressage with tutor Sally Thorne, and there is the prospect of some competitive trail riding in the future.

Piloting the HERO initiative Liz is driven in her determination of raising the profile of the Standardbred horse. Working alongside HERO to increase and promote Life After Racing opportunities.