The first Jockey Club-sponsored Thoroughbred show to be held in New England will take place at Saddle Rowe in Medway, Mass., Oct. 7.
With funding from the Jockey Club’s newly established Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP)— an initiative to encourage retraining of ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds in new careers— event organizers Melody Taylor Scott and Velma Emery have great expectations for the show.
“I think it’s going to be big!” says Scott, president of event umbrella organization, North East Thoroughbred Sporthorse Association.
“Because the show comes in October, I have a feeling people chasing points will come from all over to attend,” she notes.
But the chance to win points is the least of what the show will offer, she adds.
What’s great about the event is that it offers a platform for Thoroughbred owners and riders to demonstrate the talents of the breed, and dispel myths that ex-racehorses, by and large, are not equipped to handle the big atmosphere of a horse show, she explains.
“This is a great opportunity for Thoroughbreds to compete against their peer group, instead of having to go up against someone’s Warmblood who plods around the courses with ears flopping,” Taylor says. “This will also be an event where people can show off what they’ve accomplished in the retraining of their horses.”
The show will offer divisions in Hunter/Jumper, Pleasure, Equitation, and Dressage, and is being organized by Scott and longtime local horsewoman Velma Emery, treasurer of the North East Thoroughbred Sporthorse Association.
Hunter/Jumper courses will be set up for a standard 12-foot stride, and Jockey Club funding will sponsor prize money of up to $100 for each division. And $50 in winnings will be given out in each class along with ribbons and prizes, Scott says.
Those wishing to show, must provide Jockey Club papers or other proof of an entrant’s status as an ex-racehorse Thoroughbred, Scott says, noting that those who do not possess their horse’s papers may contact the Jockey Club for help identifying the Thoroughbred, and qualify to show.
“Not everyone has their horse’s JC papers. So the Jockey Club is offering to provide assistance to look up tattoo numbers. And for horses who are not tattooed, they will work with the owner to get the horse identified,” she says.
Those with horses with no tattoo or papers are invited to email the Jockey Club at firstname.lastname@example.org. A prospective show entrant should include in the email all known information about the horse, including name, age, gender, color, sire, dam, breeder, last owner, racing history, and four color photographs showing the front, back and both sides of the horse, according to guidelines provided by the North East Thoroughbred Sporthorse Association. Head markings or cowlicks should also be shown in the photos.
It will be a proud day for show organizers.
Both Emery and Scott are deeply experienced with New England Thoroughbreds and the industry. Emery is a retired racehorse trainer and former fixture at Suffolk Downs. She has also run a bed and breakfast catering to horse-and dog-owners.
Most recently, she purchased Pembury House Farm, where she breeds sporthorses from her stock of Thoroughbred mares.
Scott began her horse career breaking yearlings and working as an exercise rider at various racetracks, and went on to serve as barn manager at facilities in Massachusetts and Canada.
She has re-homed and re-trained many Thoroughbreds from Suffolk Downs and is thrilled to be organizing an event to showcase the talents of ex-racehorses.
“Having the Jockey Club support a show like this creates a new outlet for off-track racehorses,” Scott says. “The show will help demonstrate that there’s an endless supply of good, healthy sporthorses at the track.
“We hope our show, by demonstrating the talents of Thoroughbreds, creates more chances for horses off the track to find a new life, and a new career,” Scott says.