Trainer Applications Now Open for 2018 $100K Thoroughbred Makeover

“The Allisons” (Allison Thompson and Alison Wilaby), who finished 1st and 2nd in the Thoroughbred Makeover Eventing division in 2017; Alison Wilaby also won Dressage. Photo by Stephanie Griffiths.

Thinking about throwing your hat in the ring of this year’s Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover? Do it! The trainer application process opened yesterday, Dec. 1, and runs through Jan. 15, 2018, with trainer approvals to be announced on Feb. 1.

For roundabout the cost of a regular horse trial, you could not only jump-start the career of an off-track horse but also be part of the biggest OTTB lovefest of the year. The 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium takes place October 4-7 at the Kentucky Horse Park and will feature competition in 10 disciplines ranging from eventing to barrel racing and polo.

Horses and their trainers will compete for $100,000 in prize money and the title of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred. The event includes seminars, demonstrations, a sponsor fair, and a livestreamed finale featuring the top five horses in each discipline. Many of the horses are offered for sale, so it’s one-stop Thoroughbred shopping at its finest.

Detailed information is available at the RRP website’s 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover page but here’s a fast and dirty eventer’s guide:

How do I apply to be a Makeover trainer?

The Makeover is open to all members of RPP so if you aren’t already you’ll need to join. Membership is $45 a year and has several perks including a one-year subscription to Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, a copy of Retired Racehorse Resource Directory, a free ticket to the Thoroughbred Makeover, discounts from sponsors and other benefits. Professionals, amateurs and juniors are all welcome to apply.

The next step is filling out an online trainer application, which asks for competition highlights, references, and videos of your riding skills. The application window is Dec. 1, 2017 through Jan. 15, 2018.

There’s a $200 entry fee; if not accepted the fee will be returned minus a $25 processing fee.

Is my OTTB eligible?

The Makeover is open to Jockey Club registered horses that raced or had a published work after July 1, 2016. They must not have begun training for a second career before Dec. 1, 2017 other than a maximum of 15 allowable rides or training sessions that introduce skills specific to non-racing careers. Some trainers will already have horses identified and others will begin a search after they are approved. Trainers can contract with owners or acquire the horse themselves.

What does it cost? 

There’s a $200 entry fee; if not accepted the fee will be returned minus a $25 processing fee. Other expenses, such as stabling at the competition, are outlined here.

What if I need to withdraw my OTTB?

Trainers may withdraw a horse from the Makeover at any time using the online Makeover Horse Withdrawal Form. Trainers may replace a scratched horse with any eligible horse as late as August 1, 2018. Replacement horses must be registered with the online Makeover Horse Registration Form.

What does the Makeover competition for eventing entail? 

Format for dressage: All horses will perform USEF 2018 Beginner Novice Eventing Test A in a small arena (20m x 40m).

Format for Show Jumping: All horses will be judged over a course set at dimensions for United States Eventing Association (USEA) Beginner Novice (2’7” maximum), Novice (2’11” maximum), or Training (3’3” maximum). Trainers will select their level with their final entry form in August.

Format for Cross Country: All horses will be judged over a cross country course of approximately 12 obstacles. Each obstacle will have at least two options, one at Beginner Novice dimensions (2’7”) and the other at Novice (2’11”). Optional fences may be offered for riders to demonstrate a higher level of training as well. Riders should jump the obstacle choice that best demonstrates the quality and level of their horse’s training. They need not jump all fences at the same level.

Finale: The top three scoring horses will compete for additional points in the finale, demonstrating basic work on the flat and jumping a course that includes show jumps and cross country portables in the covered arena.

Attire and equipment should adhere to that described in USEF Rules for Eventing. Horses can earn a maximum of 100 points per each of the three phases. Overall scores will be the sum of the scores from each of the three phases. Ties will be broken by the cross country score, then show jumping, then dressage. Final placing for the top five finishers will be based on the sum of their three scores plus a fourth score awarded during the finale.

What happens after the Makeover is over?

Owners can choose to keep their horses at the end of the process or offer them for sale. The Makeover Horse Sale is not an auction but an opportunity for buyers and sellers to do business in a setting that allows trial rides, pre-purchase exams and observation of horses in competition.

For much more information, visit the RRP website’s 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover page.

Go OTTBs. Go Eventing.

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