Thoroughbreds For All Event!

There are such great things happening right now for OTTB’s and that can be thanks to the efforts of OTTB fans everywhere.  From the stories to the work being done to promote them on every level is contributing to the current and future of the horse we OTTB folks love and appreciate.  I hope to see events such as Thoroughbreds for All happening in California in the near future.

Needless to say, you bet I was excited to hear about the Thoroughbreds for All Event- On the RRTP site,”Thoroughbreds For All! is an evening of education and fellowship for people who favor off-the-track Thoroughbreds combined with an invitation for equestrians to shop in Kentucky for the Thoroughbred of their dreams.”  Stueart Pittman of the Retired Racehorse Training Project, and the most recent display of the ex-racehorse proving it’s aptitude and train ability in the Retired Racehorse Trainer Challenge, with New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program hosting the event, put together what was described as a combination of market and education.

Also in attendance; long-time equestrian, eventer and Olympian, Bruce Davidson, rolex 3day Veterans, Cathy Wieschhoff and Dorothy Crowell, and NARA (North American Racing Academy) executive director and instructor, Chris McCarron and racetrack veterinarian, Dr. Alladay.  With this well-rounded group, the event was sure to be successful not to mention educational.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this event possible!  It really is something special to have people come together to celebrate something they are so passionate about through something like this.  Go Team OTTB!

Fellow blogger, Stacey Kimmel-Smith who writes at Behind the Bit, is a Rolex regular and as she says, Becky a BTB friend, suggested that they attend Thoroughbreds for All while at the prestigious 4 star event last weekend.   Upon finding out that she would be attending TFA, I decided to ask her if she’d be so kind as to share her perspective on the event and allow it to be posted here, at Diligent Horse.  Thank you Stacey!

There are multiple parts to this series on the Thoroughbreds for All Event by Stacey, so stay tuned!  Below are the first two parts.

   Thoroughbreds for All: A symposium and celebration of OTTBs

One of my BTB friends,  Becky, suggested that we attend Thoroughbreds for All while we were at Rolex. I knew nothing about it but I love my own dear thoroughbred, so I signed up for the evening clinic/symposium/workshop on retraining thoroughbreds. I had no idea that the cast of speakers would be such an elite and knowledgable group, but with Bruce Davidson there, anything else was icing on the cake — and there was a lot of icing! The other experts are  notable  in the thoroughbred and eventing world and with good reason — experience, experience, experience. Their names are at the end of this article.

The evening centered around helping the audience understand the world through the eyes of an ex-racehorse, and to help us to size up the potential and best use of the individual OTTB. Someone has already summarized the event in a brief article if you want to read it. I’ll cover it in a bit more detail but overall it was fun,  informal, the food was delicious, and I would have spent twice the amount of the ticket for this experience.   Bob went too, and he enjoyed it as well.

I have captured some video of the evening — it starts out a little dark but it improves, so keep watching! In this first part, we see our team of experts evaluating one of five adoption candidates presented–a former Kentucky Derby runner, Advice.

I’ll note that the horses presented aren’t specially selected; they are intended to be representative of what’s out there. While the horse presented below (Advice)  has a lot of “jewelry” from his race career, others in the group looked ready to move into hard work. Still, the beauty and quality of Advice is undeniable.

Later Cathy Wieshhoff  showed off her gorgeous chestnut TB, Ready for April. We were all drooling as she showed us her training techniques. Her horse was focused on her like a border collie, and I found a video of Cathy online demonstrating the same concepts.

TBs for All part 2: Bruce Davidson talks track horses

“I hear they pay good money for bucking horses”

In this segment of the Thoroughbreds for All symposium, we see three riders (Eric Dierks, Kerry Blackmer, and Steuart Pittman)  from the Retired Racehorse Training Challenge in an even-more-challenging situation. They each hop up on an unfamiliar, fresh-off-the-track, OTTB in a very charged situation, and they ride them. The horses are typical just off the track condition — while they’ve had a bit of let-down time, they have not been in regular horse tack, retraining has not yet begun. As if that’s not enuf, there are are probably 200 people in bleachers watching, clapping, laughing, talking–oh, and a loud microphone  with occasional feedback.

I have nothing but admiration for the riders and their coach, Bruce Davidson. You’ll hear lots of gasps and laughter because the horses are reactive (yes, there is bucking!) and the banter is so amusing. They take it all in stride, so to speak.

Stacey Kimmel-Smith, writer of Behind the Bit, can be found by visiting the BTB blog or contacted through email at behindthebit(at)gmail(dot)com.
Thank You again Stacey for letting us share this at Diligent Horse!

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