Every year, hundreds of recently retired racehorses from across North America make their way to the horse capital of the US, Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. They are there to compete in the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium.
Each horse has a trainer who has invested up to ten months preparing them for this event. The prize is a share of the $100,000 purse, but the aim of the event is more than that. What the Retired Racehorse Project wants to demonstrate is that Thoroughbred ex-racehorses are the most trainable equine athletes on the planet. A big claim to make? Quite possibly, but their intentions are genuine.
The event is run across four days and has competitions in the following ten equestrian disciplines: barrel racing, competitive trails, dressage, eventing, field hunters, freestyle, polo, show hunters, show jumping, and working ranch. The top three competitors in each sport then compete on the Saturday afternoon in the grand final. It is here where America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred is crowned.
Education is the purpose of the weekend. Spectators get to witness each trainer’s methods, since every horse competing has started off knowing only what they learned during their time racing. There are seminars, roundtable discussions and training demonstrations that all seek to improve the quality of training and care that these horses receive from their owners following their racing careers.
The Retired Racehorse Project is just one of the many organisations and programs around the world whose purpose is to demonstrate that a horse’s career is not over once it has stopped racing, and they can excel at many disciplines and provide new owners with years of fun and happiness.
It think it’s very worthwhile globetrotters, what do you think? Do you know of some similar programs around the world?
References: Retired Racehorse Project, Horse Network.
Image credits: Horse Network; Heather Benson