Combine two days, 26 Makeover horses with three months of post-racetrack training, 26 trainers, a polo team, a hunt club, a pack of foxhounds, a herd of cattle, eventers, show hunters, a rodeo team, a vaulter, a Hall of Fame jockey, dressage riders, natural horsemanship afficionados, barrel racers, the nation's best OTTB show jumper, an enthusiastic crowd of Thoroughbred fanatics, a sunny weekend, one Stud Muffin, one set of equine riot gear, and six hours of top-shelf seminar/round table discussions, and put them all at Pimlico, and you'll get the inaugural Retired Racehorse Training Project's Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium.
Steuart Pittman and the entire RRTP team put together a perfect Thoroughbred weekend, and Pimlico housed the event in style. Over the years, I've been to countless horse expos and clinics; never have I seen an audience quite like the one. It was not your typical mix of casual horse lovers and beginner riders. This weekend's crowd was an educated and enthusiastic group of people, and they were in Baltimore to learn, to share ideas, and to celebrate the mighty Thoroughbred. The Symposium speakers skipped the formalities and went right to the good stuff, and the audience jumped in each day with lively Q&A sessions. We all wanted to talk Thoroughbreds: feeding, training, injuries, marketing, business strategies, hoof care.
Was it as much fun as it sounds like it was? Yes, it was. Actually, it was probably even more fun than you can imagine. If you don't believe me, here are just some of the photos from Day One. Stay tuned for photos of Day Two, and pencil in the weekend on your calendar for 2014. You don't want to miss this.
Extreme Retired Racehorse Makeover Barrel Race: The Rematch
Patti Fiedler with Hapaheart in riot gear
America's Best OTTB Jumper: Arkansas and Hillary Simpson
From Racing to Polo: US Polo Association
Nuno Santos with Thane
Dale Simanton with Drake's Dancer
Heather Carlson with the one... the only... STUD MUFFIN
Jessica Bortner Harris with Prettyhipphophotty
Elissa Ogburn with Governor Jack
Chris McCarron in the All-Thoroughbred Team Sorting Challenge
Daniel Clasing with Mandhubala
Billie Rae Croll with Mandla
Lara Knight with Rob's Rock
Allie Knowles with Lord Darby
Rebecca Bowman with Dinaka
Robin Hannah with Zatopek
Erin Sylvester with Rasher
- Sarah Andrew