There seems to be significant nationwide interest in the first Thoroughbred Makeover event planned at the Kentucky Horse Park. A large group of horse enthusiasts gathered in Lexington Monday for the launch of the initiative, which aims to help Thoroughbred racehorses transition into second careers.
Retired Racehorse Project President Steuart Pittman says the more people who ride thoroughbreds off the racetrack, the easier it becomes for the horses to find second jobs. "The problem is when a horse is unwanted; whether it's a thoroughbred racehorse, a quarter horse, or any other breed," Pittman said. "And, If enough people want it then it's got value, and they can sell it, and it's worth investing the money and caring for it well."
The Thoroughbred Makeover will be held in October. Off track Thoroughbreds with nine months training or less will compete in up to 10 disciplines.
The nation's leading female jockey is helping promote the cause. Rosie Napravnik, who recently retired, says she took her thoroughbred off the track last spring. "This horse, you can throw him out in the field for a year and bring him back and he'll be a track pony and then he'll be an event horse and he'll go to a show jumping show and he's just whatever you want to do," said Napravnik. "He's able to do it, he's willing to do it. He's super smart"
There are more than 280 horses from all across the country already registered to compete in events. Napravnik says she grew up involved in horsemanship. "And as a jockey what I missed about it was the actual horsemanship part. The caring for horses, the progressing of horses, and the part of working with them to improve them," added Napravnik.
The Thoroughbred Makeover takes place at Keeneland Racecourse the weekend before the Breeders' Cup Classic.