The Thoroughbred is widely hailed as the ultimate athlete for the sport of eventing, but for newcomers to the breed in any discipline, getting started can be a bit intimidating. There’s an appeal in bringing along one’s own Thoroughbred from off-track prospect to upper-level potential, but how do you know what to look for?
To give spectators a comprehensive look at what to consider when analyzing Thoroughbred prospects and how to approach the training process, the Retired Racehorse Project conceived the Master Class, showcasing experienced trainers who share their insight and demonstrate their own unique approaches to re-starting off-track horses. The Master Class has previously been featured at the past two Thoroughbred Makeovers at the Kentucky Horse Park, and makes its Ocala Jockey Club International debut in the main arena on Sunday, November 17 at the conclusion of show jumping.
Three recently-retired ex-racing Thoroughbreds will be introduced and analyzed for movement, conformation and first impressions by three professional trainers with Thoroughbred experience. Trainers will then be randomly paired with a horse and will break out into individual sessions, utilizing their own methods and tools including round pens, long lines, pony horses or the assistance of a second handler. Commentators will provide additional insight and narration.
Ashley Johnson: upper-level event rider Ashley Johnson’s current partner is off-track Thoroughbred Tactical Maneuver, with whom she’s competed at the highest levels of the sport
Tik Maynard: upper-level event rider Tik Maynard blends eventing with natural horsemanship and competes, coaches and clinics all over the country, and has competed successfully at past Thoroughbred Makeovers
Lauren Turner: winner of the 2016 Thoroughbred Makeover with Fairway King, Lauren Turner brings it full circle by participating in the Master Class (and also brings Fairway King for his first Ocala Jockey Club International!)
Recently-retired racehorses with a minimal number of post-track rides will be provided by Florida-based aftercare organizations and training centers: Florida Thoroughbred Retirement and Adoptive Care, Niall Brennan Stables and Thoroughbred Retirement of Tampa.
Katie Ruppel: upper-level eventer Katie Ruppel rode the highest-placed Thoroughbred at Ocala Jockey Club International in 2017 aboard Houdini, part of her string of Thoroughbreds and Thoroughbred-crosses
Elisa Wallace: upper-level eventer Elisa Wallace competes several off-track Thoroughbreds, most notably Simply Pricless at the highest levels of the sport. She’s a past Thoroughbred Makeover champion and veteran
Rick Wallace: coming from a well-rounded multi-disciplinary background, Rick Wallace has achieved success at the highest levels of eventing and continues to compete and train, as well as coach
The Master Class will be emceed by RRP executive director Jen Roytz, and will feature ample time for questions from spectators. If you’ve been thinking about an off-track Thoroughbred for your next partner or seek to learn more about the retraining process, the Master Class, which is free and open to all, will offer plenty of perspective!
For more information about the Retired Racehorse Project Master Class, please visit the TBMakeover.org website.
And don’t forget about the RRP Charity Golf Classic, taking place Tuesday, Nov. 12 before OJC begins. Taking place at the beautiful Golden Ocala Golf Club (8300 NW 31st Lane Road, Ocala, FL 34482), the RRP Charity Golf Classic will be a four-player scramble-format tournament, with lunch served at 11:30 and a shotgun start at 12:30. Stick around for awards, refreshments and cash bar upon conclusion! Click here for more information.