An online application has been opened by The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP), a nonprofit organization that promotes off-track Thoroughbreds as valuable sporthorse prospects, as the group is enlisting for participation in the 2016 Thoroughbred Makeover Competition.
The Makeover is a $100,000 competition that calls on hundreds of horse trainers across the country, recruiting equestrians from a diverse array of disciplines in equestrian sport. Eligible trainers will acquire a recently retired racehorse and prepare it for competition in one or two of the competition’s ten qualifying equestrian disciplines. The competition is part of the 2016 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, held Oct. 27-30 at the Kentucky Horse Park.
The Symposium will feature competition in 10 disciplines: freestyle, eventing, barrel racing, dressage, polo, show jumping, working ranch, show hunter, field hunter, and competitive trail. Prize money will total $100,000. The event also includes educational demonstrations, seminars, a Makeover Horse Sale, and a sponsor fair.
The competition intends to increase the value of the retired racehorse, with proponents hoping it will incentivize members of the racing industry to retire racehorses as sporthorse prospects while they are sound and healthy.
“Last year’s makeover created what was described as ‘a run on retired racehorses’ at about this time of year,” said RRP founder and president Steuart Pittman. “It comes as a shock and a thrill to folks at the tracks when they discover that their retiring horses are no longer what the industry calls ‘unwanted’ horses.”
The Makeover process begins on January fourth, the start of the competition’s four-week application period. Professionals, amateurs, and junior exhibitors who can demonstrate competence in at least one of the 10 qualifying disciplines are encouraged to submit an application. Applicants will be judged on competition highlights, references, and videos of their riding skills. Applications close Jan. 31, and selections will be announced in mid-February.