The Upper Hunter Valley is the Horse Capital of Australia. It is home to Australia’s multi-billion dollar thoroughbred industry. The region has 200 year experience in equine development. The thoroughbred breeding region is also internationally acclaimed as one of the three international centres of thoroughbred breeding excellence. Upper Hunter is ranked number two to Kentucky, USA in based on the concentration of thoroughbred stud properties and the quality and number of bloodlines. It is the largest domestic producer, supplier and exporter of premier quality thoroughbreds. The horses of the Hunter Valley produces a wide range of equine breeds like heavy draught horses, horses for carriage work, endurance and other sports such as racing, polo and polocrosse, dressage and recreational use.
Scone, Upper Hunter promotes itself as the “the Horse Capital of Australia. Scone is home to more than 150 thoroughbred stud breeding business producing millions of dollars’ worth of foals every year. The headquarters of Australian Stock Horse Society, the largest individual breed association in NSW is in Scone. It is also the largest equine recreational and pleasure horse association in the country. Scone Polo Club, one of the largest clubs in Australia dates back to 1891. Scone ‘Horse Sports for Schools’ is one of the largest interschool competitions in the country.
The Hunter Valley’s geography and moderate climate is ideal for producing premium quality horses. The horses of the Hunter Valley are renowned for their strengths, toughness, resilience, endurance and versatility. Most of them are valued for stock work on farms and for competitive sports performance on polocrosse and camp drafting. Hunter Valley horses make up around half of all thoroughbred horses born in Australia. They are the largest source of thoroughbred exports in the world. 80-90% of all Australian thoroughbred exports are sired from Hunter Valley. The regions premier bloodlines dominate the export market.
Horse racing is part of Australia’s history and heritage. It is one of the oldest sports in the country. The history of horse racing dates back in 1810 when the first official thoroughbred race was held in Hyde Park, Sydney. Cessnock Racecourse in Hunter Valley holds 13 race meetings annually including Anzac Day, Tooheys New Cessnock Cup. Gambling on horse races becomes a popular pastime. Horse racing gambling evolved over the years. Today, punters place their bets online with different bookmakers who offer free bets to entice people to bet on their website.
Horse breeding, training and racing is part of the region’s heritage and history. The Hunter Valley thoroughbred breeding spans 150 years. Widden Stud is one of the oldest family owned studs in the world breeding commercial thoroughbreds and champion racehorses. It breeds around half of all thoroughbred horses born in Australia. It is also internationally recognised as a major source of international Group 1 winners – the equine equivalent to Olympic Gold medal winners. Stallions and broodmares raised in the region are among the finest in the world this include Pharlap, Makybe Diva, Kingston Town and Tulloch. International operators such as Coolmore, Darley and Emirates Park supports stallion farms in the Hunter Valley such as Arrowfield, Widden, Newgate Farm, Vinery Stud, Turangga Farm, Yarraman Park, and Kitchwin Hills.
If you want to know about the horses of the Hunter Valley, the stud tours will take you on a unique journey and discovery. Tours can be booked through commercial operators such as the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association or Upper Hunter Tours. Tours are by appointment only on HTBA, you need to be booked 5 days in advance. Call HTBA for package deals and group tours.