Shane Maley (the Black Knight) on Dusty at a Crusader’s game.

Ace & The Black Knight


Jo McIntosh and her team from Bayleys Real Estate Darfield have been out and about during the week of July 30th – August 3rd visiting local Primary Schools, Preschools and Kindergartens to donate to each of their libraries a copy of ACE: A Horsey Tail of Courage –  starring The Crusaders Horses (which Bayleys sponsor).

This book is about a cute little horse named Ace that has bucket-loads of talent and big dreams. He also has a big problem. Well, three problems, actually, the three horses at the Clip-Clop School who bully Ace every day. But help is at hand, or hoof, in the shape of Holly from the Crusaders Bayleys Horses. She’s Ace’s hero and she knows exactly what to do to make the bullying stop. And so, just as with every great story with a powerful message, Ace: A Horsey Tail of Courage has a happy ending.

Proceeds from the sales of these books are also helping  communities, because all proceeds from sales go to Make-A-Wish NZ (which grants the wishes of children who are battling critical illnesses to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy). Someone like Ace who is close to the Crusaders horses is local rider Shane Maley. He is the Black Knight horseman  for the Crusaders and has been since the year 2000. Shane was approached by Canterbury Rugby when Black Knight liquorice came on board as a sponsor.

A tall rider and a horse that was taller than the polo ponies used by the Crusader horsemen was looked for and Shane and his horse at the time fitted the bill.

“There’s not a lot of training you can do to prepare your horse for a packed stadium full of excited fans, as there’s not many places that has a crowd of 20,000 people waving flags as you ride pass,” Shane commented. “You really don’t know what’s going to happen until you go out on to the field,” he added.

“Sometimes things don’t always go to plan,” Shane recounted.

“Following the 2008 final, which the Crusaders won, one of my horses got loose from the truck and set off to perform his own victory lap! I suspect he was just showing off his new cover,” Shane laughed. “I got messages from all around the world that night so he must have put on a good show,” he smiled.

“The atmosphere is fantastic on game night, the riders enjoy it probably as much as the players do, when they run out. It’s amazing to not only see the reactions of the children but the adults too. At the end of the day that is what it is all about,” Shane said.

Shane’s current Black Knight mount, Dusty is the third horse he has used in the role.

His first horse was Cortez, a 17hh Thoroughbred which Shane had competed until he retired him. The Crusaders contact came just at the right time and was the ideal retirement job and one Cortez performed for eleven years. The next five years was the turn of a 17.1hh warmblood and now he rides Dusty. Shane and Dusty have been together for the last two seasons, but before that Dusty was used as a hunting horse in North Canterbury.

Dusty makes a great Black Knight’s horse as he is very quiet – a big plus in ensuring things don’t go wrong in front of a 20,000 spectator crowd!

To get your copy of ACE: A Horsey Tail of Courage call into the Bayleys Darfield Office.