Behind the Reins

Discover the rich history of the DB Clydesdales and the Waikato family behind them with this amazing read, packed with photos rarely seen before

Nick and Jill wave to the crowds. Horse of the Year Show, 2015.

The DB Clydesdales have long been an iconic part of rural New Zealand history. This majestic team of horses captured the imagination of people of all ages across the decades but lesser-known was the pioneering family behind this mighty troop.

Nick and Jill van der Sande took up the challenge of not only managing the DB Clydesdales team of horses but also the company farm and the staff involved with the team. Add to that their role as DB Draught brand ambassadors, along with raising their young family and juggling the myriad of other demands of managing a professional team of horses, along with breeding livestock and travelling the country for events and publicity.

While DB Draught made a decision in 1999 to no longer support a Clydesdales team, the years of history, adventures, and achievement live on in the release of this glorious book: Behind The Reins.

Cardrona Hotel

Written by Nick van der Sande, it offers a tantalising insight into the story of the DB Clydesdales and the Kiwi family behind them – Nick, Jill, and their children Samantha and twins Ben and Louise who grew up immersed in this unique lifestyle.

Even if you’re not a fan of ‘horsey tales’, there’s no denying that Nick knows how to spin a yarn. This book originally came about after some family discussions of recording the memories of this special era and lifestyle and has become a runaway success, selling out in bookstores around the country.

It’s a wonderfully down-to-earth read and the perfect coffee table book with glorious photos of a bygone era, as well as individual tales that can be read as a stand-alone offering.


When the DB Clydesdale team was wound down, the horses remained with the van der Sande’s and became part of a new legacy – that of Pirongia Clydesdales – with a fresh vision and direction.

From calf rearing to horse (and bull) wrangling on movie sets to adjusting to stepping up from being a ‘farm boy and forestry logger’ into the role of ‘showman’, Behind The Reins is an enthralling read – one chapter in and you’ll be hooked.

Dip into it for one yarn at a time or binge-read for a full immersion into this remarkable Kiwi family and their adventures, relatable challenges, and the road to presenting a world-class team of Cyldesdales.


Enter to win a copy of Behind The Reins by Nick van der Sande. This high-quality book is packed with memorabilia and photos rarely seen before, as well as an enthralling behind the scenes understanding of the scope of running a professional team of Clydesdale horses. With spectacular imagery of rural New Zealand as well as anecdotes that deserve to be shared, the book is proving to be a surprise success in stores around New Zealand. For more information, visit theclydesdalebook.co.nz.

Deadline: 28 March 2022

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