The 2021 LOPE Benefit Horse Show is October 23 →

Blog Tales from the LOPE Ranch

Warhorse Makeover Series: Ryland T and Natalie


LOPE is doing a series of blog interviews with riders who are bringing warhorses or racing warriors to the 2018 Retired Racehorse Project TB Makeover.

Warhorse Details

  • Horse JC Registered name: Ryland T
  • Current Age: 10 years old
  • Description: @17H chestnut gelding
  • Barn name: Ryland
  • Number of races: 89
  • Earnings: $233,541
  • Age when retired from racing: 9
  • Pedigree:
  • Owned by: Natalie McLain
  • RRP Status: Amateur
  • RRP Selected Discipline: Jumping


About Ryland T

How did you acquire Ryland T?

I bought him off the backside at Prairie Meadows the day after watching his last race at the recommendation of a friend, who was his last jockey/exercise rider and finds fabulous sport horse prospects to buy and sell herself.

What made you choose Ryland T? What was special, that called out to you?

When watching his last race, he stood so, so quietly to be tacked while other horses pranced and got amped up in the paddock. True to that first impression, he gets right down to business when he’s tacked and has a mature ability to focus.

Tell me about Ryland T’s personality.

Ryland has a big, big heart. He’s sensitive to criticism because he takes it to heart, but he will give me the world in effort. He’s a puppy dog on the ground — despite his size, I’d let a 6 year old handle him.

What does your horse love to do the most?

Ryland loves his stretching before a ride…of course. He accepts bribes.

What is harder for your horse to do?

He can NOT understand why someone would put a Christmas tree on it’s side. It’s a monster! Normally not a spooky horse, he won’t go near the tree a trainer at the barn brought to use as jump filler. It’s been in the arena since the first week in January.

What discipline(s) are you considering for Ryland T in RRP Makeover?

I love jumpers and hopefully he does, too! I’m waiting for him to pick a second discipline. If he’s brave and seems to go decently for dressage, we might try eventing or field hunters. I started foxhunting this year and I hope that he will join me next season.

Anything extra special or unusual about his racing history?

He ran for 6 years!

Does your horse have any old sports injuries?

When I got him, his feet were a MESS. They were so badly bruised that he was on stall rest for more than four months.

Are you currently rehabbing any injuries for your horse?

He has leather pads under his shoes because of his sensitive feet, and I work with a chiropractor who also uses PEMF. PEMF has dramatically changed his life. I almost donated him for research to a university because I was unsure that he’d ever be comfortably sound. He’s now comfortably sound! It takes a village.

What are your training goals between now and June?

Attend a few local schooling shows and begin working on low fences.

If Ryland T could have one song as his soundtrack, what would it be?

His soundtrack would be “Love is All You Need” – The Beatles

What animated gif sums up your horse’s personality or your rides together?


About Nathalie


Are you Amateur, Junior or Professional?


How long have you been riding OTTBs?

I have been riding OTTBs for about 5 years. Ryland is my third.

Describe a favorite moment you had with a special horse in your life.

My favorite moment with an OTTB was the first time I let my younger thoroughbred Felix (JC name: Rain on the Ice) loose at a gallop completely and learned that the kind of speed these special horses have leaves me with a feeling of being a real partner and friend instead of a rider with goals. Moving that fast together leaves me feeling like one cohesive being, rather than like two separate beings moving with an effect on each other.

What is your experience in the discipline(s) you are choosing for RRP?

I have about…10 years of jumping experience total, and I’ve been dipping my toes into eventing for about a year. I started foxhunting in October with the North Hills Hunt.

If you have a life motto or favorite quote, please put it here.

Also incredibly suitable for Ryland, the lyric “I believe in the good things coming,” from the song “Black as Night” by Nahko and Medicine for the People (full lyrics).

Please let me know any links to your horse’s FB page, Instagram, etc.

Ryland’s blog at

What favorite favorite story about your RP horse that you’d like to share?

My favorite thing about Ryland is that he is a shiny copper penny color!

Who inspires you the most?

The type of person that inspires me the most is like Ira Glass from NPR’s “This American Life” – very inquisitive, curious, thoughtful, a listener, and empathetic in meeting all people.

Austin Equine Hospital Schleese
Paddock Foundation American Association of Equine Technicians and Assistants Sam Houston Race Park
Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance The Ranch Broker Moose Pants Studio
Thoroughbred Charities of America Scissortail Hill Equestrian Secretariat Foundation
Treaty Oak Equine Express