Sixty ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds and Thoroughbred mixed breeds swept onto the bucolic Saddle Rowe Farm in Medway, Mass. this past weekend to demonstrate they had the right stuff when it comes to being an all-around Sporthorse.
Groomed to glistening, the athletic equines and spotlessly attired riders entered the jumper and dressage rings with pride, showing off their grace and balance before renowned judges Dottie Morkis, an Olympic dressage medalist, and revered hunter/jumper equestrian Freddie Hunt.
Organized and hosted by the North East Thoroughbred Sporthorse Association, the exciting inaugural All Thoroughbred and 1/2 Registered Thoroughbred Show received major funding from Suffolk Downs, which sponsored the two-round over-fences, Suffolk Downs Grant Hunter Classic.
On this day, it was the ex-racehorse who was worth betting on!
“The whole day was really about promoting the careers of horses after the racetrack, and providing a venue where people can showcase the talents of their Thoroughbreds,” says Melody Taylor Scott, event organizer.
“The show was a tremendous success! The rain held off until the end of the day, and all the horses were well behaved in the cool, changing air.”
Horses competed in approximately 30 classes, ranging from in-hand halter classes to walk/trot, over-fences and dressage, she adds.
“We had a really nice mix of horses, definitely more Thoroughbreds than half-breeds, and riders came from as far away as Maine, Connecticut and Rhode Island,” Taylor Scott says.
Event highlights included the adoption of a dark bay Thoroughbred gelding, who was donated to the event by New England Stallion Station. The four-year-old found a good, new home at the show, Taylor Scott says.
All classes paid out cash awards and beautiful prizes to winners. The biggest class, the Suffolk Downs Grand Hunter, paid $500 to the winner, and all other classes paid out $50.
Gorgeous OTTB coolers and saddle pads were also awarded to winners, and four, bronze horse-and-rider trophies, crafted and donated by Paramount Industries, were awarded to dressage winners.
“We had a ton of support for the show,” she says, noting that other key sponsors were Glen Ellen Country Club, Dover Saddlery, Kingsbury Hill Farm, of Francistown, NH, and the Chronicle of the Horse, which donated digital subscriptions free to all winners.
The show also won Jockey Club funding as well.
At the end of the show, as the rain that held off all day started to fall, Taylor Scott and others organizers agreed; the seeds had been planted. In coming years, this event will only get better, she says.
“Now everybody is saying, wow, this can really draw,” she says. “I think it’s something that’s really going to bloom and grow.”