Many of you might have heard that the Retired Racehorse Project is holding a big Thoroughbred Makeover event this October in Lexington, KY. Contestants must enter TBs that have either raced or trained at the track in 2013 or 2014. The horses must not have any post-track training (other than 15 allowable rides) before January 15, 2015.
Riders will train and work with their horses from January until the Makeover event on Oct 23-25. The makeover will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park — and it has already attracted many top pro trainers and high level OTTB prospects. As of this date, over 160 horses have been accepted into the Makeover. There is over $100,000 in prize money.
Horse training challenge events are popular now. They can be entertaining, fun ways to raise public awareness about at-risk horses (such as mustangs or OTTBs). In the past, we have been a little cautious about training challenges. Some can end up focusing on flashy trick training and rushed results for the horse. Others are good venues for professional trainers, but have less opportunity for amateur riders to participate.
RRP is using national show standards (with several disciplines offered) as the judging standard. They are putting much effort into setting a high quality, discipline specific standard for event. Many types of OTTBs and owners (amateur, professional, junior) are excited about the event and are preparing their horses for the competition.
After much thought and consultation with our supporters, LOPE decided to enter the RRP Thoroughbred makeover. We have chosen Onahotstreak, an adorable 4 yo bay filly for the event. She is not a tall or flashy horse. But Onahotstreak is a special filly — not because she can jump high, piaffe elegantly or wow the crowd with feats of athletic brilliance. She has something even better to offer.
Onahotstreak is the kind of horse who will one day become a terrific family mount and all-around versatile riding partner. Her temperament is kind, brave and super sensible. She definitely is young and inexperienced — but gives her all to the people she trusts. In other words, Onahotstreak is just like many of the horses who come to LOPE. She is a gem hidden in a petite bay package.LOPE chose Onahotstreak to demonstrate the importance of gentleness, trainability and foundation training at the challenge. We’d like to show how well an amateur rider (me) and a cute, smaller filly can demonstrate the basic things people love to do with their horses: trail riding, enjoying the outdoors and learning about horsemanship together.
LOPE chose Onahotstreak to demonstrate the importance of gentleness, trainability and foundation training at the challenge. We’d like to show how well an amateur rider (me) and a cute, smaller filly can demonstrate the basic things people love to do with their horses: trail riding, enjoying the outdoors and learning about horsemanship together.
Onahotstreak and I aren’t Olympic material (sorry, Mom) — but neither are most of the horses at LOPE or the nice people who adopt them. Per LOPE’s values, we will be working with Onahotstreak with the Dorrance approach to foundation horsemanship. We have entered the Trail division at the makeover. But if Onahotstreak shows interest and aptitude in other divisions (ranch, show hunter, polo), we will adapt her education to fit that situation.
We are excited about the makeover! Most people will bring tall, fancy prospects with natural talent for jumping or dressage. There are some pretty impressive pro trainers entered as well. Onahotstreak and I probably have little to no chance of winning — which is fine with us.
Our goals would be different anyway. We’d like to draw attention to LOPE’s Academy Program and our low-key approach to foundation horsemanship. But most of all, we’d like to show how LOPE horses like Onahotstreak can make wonderful riding partners for amateur owners. Sometimes the smaller, brown horses have the biggest hearts — and the most to give.
LOPE and Onahotstreak would like to thank Equine Express, our grand sponsor for the RRP Thoroughbred Makeover! They will be delivering Onahotstreak in style to the event. Much appreciation to Austin Equine Hospital for providing vet care sponsorship to Onahotstreak and to ACTHA for their support of her training journey.