Thinking about throwing your hat in the ring of next year’s Thoroughbred Makeover? Tick tock! 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 — and the last day to get your application in is today, January 15, by midnight. Accepted trainers will be announced on Feb. 15, 2020.
Now in its sixth year, the Thoroughbred Makeover, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America, features competition in 10 disciplines for recently-retired Thoroughbreds in their first year of retraining for a second career after racing. Disciplines include barrel racing, competitive trail, dressage, eventing, field hunters, freestyle, polo, show hunter, show jumper and ranch work.
“If you’re thinking of participating in the Thoroughbred Makeover, do it,” says Jonathan Horowitz, sports announcer and ‘the voice of the Thoroughbred Makeover.’ “Not just for the competition, not just for being at the Kentucky Horse Park, and not just even for the cool friendships and pictures. Do it for the lessons to be learned along the way. RRP emphasizes that the Makeover is not the end goal for OTTBs. It’s an ideal end-of-first-year goal. In my riding journey, it’s going to be a stepping stone on what is shaping up to be a lifelong passion sparked by announcing these horses.”
Horses and trainers will compete for more than $125,000 in total prize money, plus the coveted title of Thoroughbred Makeover Champion, at the Kentucky Horse Park on Oct. 7-10, 2020. The Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium includes not just the competition, but educational seminars, a vendor fair, the Makeover Marketplace horse sale and the Makeover Master Class featuring demonstrations and insight from leading trainers. The Finale features the top five horses in each discipline and will be livestreamed for viewers at home.
“The Retired Racehorse Project was created to drive demand for Thoroughbreds after racing as sport horses, and the Thoroughbred Makeover is one of the most successful executions of this mission,” says RRP executive director Jen Roytz. “Each year the event has grown in both size and scope and we’re seeing more and more Makeover graduates representing the breed on the national stage.”
The Thoroughbred Makeover is open to professionals, amateurs, juniors (ages 12 and older) and teams. Applicants are required to provide information about their riding and competition background as well as references, including one from a veterinarian. Applicants are encouraged to provide links to riding video, which is a requirement for first-time competitors. Competitors do not need to have acquired their horse at the time of application, though must declare their horse no later than July 31, 2020.
Approved trainers may acquire eligible Thoroughbreds through whatever source they choose, or can ride under contract for an owner. Eligible horses must have raced or had a published work on or after July 1, 2018 and must not have started retraining for a second career prior to December 1, 2019 other than a maximum of 15 allowable rides. The 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover Rulebook outlines all rules and information relevant to the competition, with changes for 2020 marked in red and clarifying information marked in blue.
The Thoroughbred Makeover, produced by the 501(c)3 non-profit organization Retired Racehorse Project, is made possible each year by the generosity and support of sponsors and donors. In addition to the Makeover, the RRP publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, maintains the Retired Racehorse Resource Directory, the online Thoroughbred Sport Tracker (the only user-driven database for Thoroughbred bloodlines in second careers), and a library of educational materials online, and produces educational demonstrations around the country at clinics and expos, all with the goal of increasing demand for Thoroughbreds in second careers.
Thoroughbred Makeover Links:
- 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover Rules and Information
- FAQs About the Thoroughbred Makeover
- Sponsorship and Advertising Opportunities
- 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Results
- 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Finale Videos