2016 Thoroughbred Makeover – A Young Rider’s Experience0
My name is Chloe Duffy, I am 15 years old and have been riding since I was 3/4 years old. My Grandpa Bert bought me my first pony and I was hooked!
This 2016 year has been amazing! I have had lots of learning opportunities with a great little off-the-track thoroughbred Carless Cousin. We call him Eddie and he is the cutest little 4 year old dark bay gelding who has such a great heart for humans and sport. Our family adopted him from LongRun Retirement Thoroughbred Society on December 31, 2015. I say we adopted him but he actually adopted us!
At the same time as the adoption was going through there was an announcement of an event being held at the Kentucky Horse Park the last week of October 2016. The event was called the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium and was being hosted by the Retired Racehorse Project. They did a fantastic job in all areas of planning for this event. I thought this would be great! Eddie and I tackling a new thing together. It was the best 10 months. The application process for the makeover consisted of two narratives of my short and long term goals and a video of my riding. The approved trainers list was released early February 2016 and we were thrilled that Eddie and I were chosen to compete. Eddie and I were the only junior horse and rider combination from Ontario, Canada competing in the discipline of Eventing. We also entered Dressage as a second discipline as Eddie loves the flat work.
We placed very well in the junior division; 4th in Eventing and 3rd in Dressage.
In the overall finalized scores we competed against professionals, amateurs and juniors.
We placed 29th out of 58 horse riders combinations in Dressage. In Eventing we placed 39th out of 65 horse rider combinations
What an amazing experience! For 10 months Eddie and I either worked on the ground, over stadium fences , cross country fences and many hours of flatting to prepare for the Makeover 2016. The winter months were a bit of a challenge but Eddie never missed a beat.
My takeaway of the whole experience is that the OTTBs are courageous, talented and extremely athletic creatures that have the heart for any discipline. In the coliseum at the Makeover at the Kentucky Horse Park there were 10 different disciplines with completely different canters for example. All of these horses raced in the sae gallop at top speeds in one or more of the 65 racetracks in North America in their first career, but here in Kentucky at the Makeover there were many different gaits presented by the OTTB and all learned over just 10 months of training for their second careers! Don’t underestimate the thoroughbred. They have gone from the Sport of Kings to the King of the Sport.
One more very important thing I have taken away is the absolute need for the after care programs and financial assistance for the OTTBs as they transition from racing to family farms. There is such a need for programs such as LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society in Toronto Ont and the Retired Racehorse Project in Davidsonville , Maryland USA. We can all make a difference with our many resources to ensure the quality of life for the OTTBs that retire from our racetracks. Let’s give them a second career!
As I look forward to our 2017 year I have definitely scheduled in my planner to apply to compete once again at the Kentucky Horse Park Retired Racehorse Project 2017 Makeover which will be held the first weekend of October.
Follow our journey on Duffy Equestrian on Facebook and Instagram.
Chloe Duffy , lives on a family farm with my parents and two siblings in Sombra Ontario