2016 Thoroughbred Makeover Attracts Top Trainers

The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) has released a list of 480 trainers from 45 states, three Canadian provinces, and England who will acquire and train a recently retired racehorse for the 2016 $100,000 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium.

All ten of the discipline winners from last year’s makeover will return to defend their titles, along with 73 other makeover alumni, on new horses.

Among the entries is a large contingent of professionals from the top ranks of their respective sports. It includes 15 event riders who have competed at the advanced level, four Grand Prix dressage riders, and four Grand Prix show jumpers. The field hunter division features two past winners of the North American Field Hunter Championships, and among show hunters are 10 who have trained winners at the country’s top A-circuit shows.

Further, 20-time World Champion barrel racer Lance Graves will take on a Thoroughbred for the makeover, and the working ranch division mixes lifelong ranch hands with a half-dozen show and rodeo veterans with World Champion belt buckles.

At least six of the polo trainers make their livings training and selling to the world’s top players, and the competitive trail division features a mix of endurance riders, Extreme Cowboy Race veterans, and all manner of trail and obstacle class winners. The freestyle division features Mustang Makeover alumni, Road to the Horse trainers, a National Cavalry Champion in mounted pistols and saber, an American Quarter Horse Association World Champion driver, and the entertainment director of Arabian Nights Theater.

“Reading through the applications of these 480 trainers was like opening Christmas presents,” said RRP President Steuart Pittman. “We believe that a key to restoring demand for these horses is matching some of them with the best trainers. Doing so not only increases their chances of winning, but it inspires those trainers’ clients and fans.

“With the carrot of $100,000 in prize money, lots of promotion, and a buzz among the horse industry too loud to ignore, we have done what we set out to do,” Pittman continued. “We have recruited trainers who are looked up to in their sports, many of whom have barns full of Warmbloods and Quarter Horses. Many grew up on Thoroughbreds and feel like this is coming home. Others are trying something completely new."

Lindsey Partridge won competitive trails and the overall title of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred last year with her grey mare Soar. When asked how she felt about the flood of top trainers coming to challenge her title, she said, “I think it’s fantastic! It means more Thoroughbreds are going to be rehomed and showcased to their full potential.”

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The Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium will take place Oct. 27-30 at the Kentucky Horse Park, in Lexington. It will include the Thoroughbred Makeover competition as well as educational seminars and demonstrations, a trade fair, and the Makeover Horse Sale (an opportunity for buyers to evaluate horses from the makeover that are available for purchase).

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