At the top of her game

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Successful Thoroughbred Trainer Lisa Latta

From New Zealand rodeo champion to top New Zealand thoroughbred trainer, Lisa Latta’s love of horses has seen her excel in every facet of the equine world.

As winner of the NZ Racing Trainers Premiership last season, Lisa is the very first woman to claim the title training solo and the first woman to win the title in 66 years. As of November 2014, Lisa has trained over 660 winners with total prize money of $12 million. The 2013/14 season saw her with a total of 87 winners and $1.6 million in prize money.

Born and raised in a horse-loving family in Balclutha, Otago, Lisa learnt to ride at age five and from there her affinity with horses saw her spending every minute with them – hunting, competing in one day events, showjumping and breaking them in alongside her father.

When Lisa discovered the family’s shared passion for rodeo, she was soon competing and her competitive nature saw her become the youngest ever person in New Zealand at 14 to be ranked in the top 10 for Barrel Racing, and two years later at 16 Lisa was crowned New Zealand Champion Barrel Racer.

Lisa began her training career with New Zealand great Malcolm Smith first in Fielding and then Awapuni, Palmerston North.

“I just wanted to do something different with horses than just rodeo, which was why I moved north and started training.”

She spent the next 13 years training alongside Malcolm, working her way up to stable foreman and then into partnership with him, until his untimely passing in 1996. Taking over as sole trainer, Lisa has continued his legacy and established one of the strongest stables in the country, with a number of Group One wins through star pupils such as Wharite Princess and Mikki Street.

Lisa says wellbeing is a huge part of tapping into horses’ potential.

“To get the most out of a horse, they need to be happy – that means looking at them every day and making sure you know what’s going on. Feed is an important part of that mix as well.

“We use Fiber Fresh’s FiberProtect and have from the very beginning when I first started training.

“The horses love it, it’s nice and moist – taking out the dust factor in the stables – and the high nutritional fibre gives them good energy for racing. The results speak for themselves.”