They say the third time is the charm, and it certainly was for the third year of the “Thoroughbreds for All” program hosted by the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) and New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. Held at New Vocations facility at West Wind Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, this year’s edition attracted nearly 600 people to meet Rolex Thoroughbred riders, Olympic equestrians and see some of the best Thoroughbred athletes on the planet strut their stuff.
Moderated by the President of RRP, Steuart Pittman and the Program Director for New Vocations, Anna Ford, the program opened with an introduction of six of the riders from the weekend’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event who were competing on off-track Thoroughbreds. Katie Frei (Houdini), Libby Head (Sir Rockstar), Dana Wildstrand (Relentless Pursuit), Colleen Rutledge (Shiraz), Laine Ashker (Anthony Patch) and Kate Chadderton (Collection Pass) received their Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program Rolex Thoroughbred halters and posed for a photo op with Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Graham Motion, who was on hand for the festivities.
The remaining portion of the evening was devoted to showcasing the versatility of the Thoroughbred ex-racehorse.
A panel of judges, including top eventer Boyd Martin, Olympic dressage rider and judge Linda Zang, and Thoroughbred industry columnist Jen Roytz, each offered fascinating and unique insights on New Vocations horses presented for evaluation.
Dressage demonstrations, complete with commentary from Zang, were provided by Pan American eventing gold medalist Lynn Symansky and her Thoroughbred, Donner, as well as Nuno Santos and his horse, Ken’s Kitten, who is competing successfully in third level dressage just two years removed from the racetrack.
The Thoroughbred’s aptitude for jumping was showcased by eventing legend Cathy Wieschhoff and Action Now, as well as top North American jockey Rosie Napravnik, who rode her personal off-track Thoroughbred, Sugar.
Steuart Pittman added, “People have been asking how we will top this line up next year. We won’t. We don’t need to. As long as we have Thoroughbred ex-racehorses and people who adore them, Thoroughbreds For All Kentucky will be a magnificent event.”
“We were extremely blessed to have such a great turn out for this year’s event,” shared Anna Ford. “Thoroughbreds have so much to offer beyond their racing careers and it’s important that we keep educating the equestrian world on their versatility and ability to excel in a variety of disciplines.”
The Retired Racehorse Project works to facilitate placement of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses in second careers by increasing demand for them in the marketplace and inspiring an army of equestrians to provide the training that secures their futures. RRP offers online directories, educational resources, and public events. Its popular Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium at Pimlico last fall will be expanded on the first weekend of October this year and include a Thoroughbred Marketplace and America's Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest. For more information visit www.retiredracehorseproject.org.
Founded in 1992, New Vocations has become the largest racehorse adoption program in the country and has facilities in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. The program’s mission is to rehab, retrain, and rehome retired racehorses. In 2013 the program took in over 400 retired racehorses. Working directly with owners and trainers who need aftercare for horses leaving the track, the program currently receives horses from more than 30 racetracks. New Vocations has a sound adoption system that is proven to move a large number of horses in a relatively short period of time. The program focuses on adoption rather than retirement, believing that each horse deserves to have an individual home and purpose. For more information visit www.newvocations.org.