The beautiful Fair Hill racehorse facility in Maryland throws open its gate this month and invites ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds, their trainers, advocates, and riders to strut their stuff at the Totally Thoroughbred Show.
Organized by Penny Woolley, wife of trainer Tim Woolley, in conjunction with retired-racehorse trainer and advocate Steuart Pittman, with help from exercise rider and book author Alex Brown, the show promises to be exciting, yes, but also deeply informative.
“We’re offering a truly unique show,” Brown says. “We’re going to offer an educational component, which will teach people about the life of a racehorse, and we will also feature clinics and a marketplace where adoptable off-track Thoroughbreds will be available.”
The show takes place Oct. 27 and 28, beginning with instructive tours of the bucolic facility where racehorses receive their training, says Brown, who gallops horses there.
“In the first part of the program, people will be taken on barn tours so they can see where the horses live, and they’ll see them in training,” Brown says.
Those wishing to tour the sprawling grounds on horseback will be invited to saddle up their OTTB and take a guided trail ride, he adds.
Once participants have a full understanding of a racehorse’s life, off-track Thoroughbred trainer Pittman, the founder of Retired Racehorse Training Project, will offer clinics for riders and their OTTBs.
“He’ll do a combination of riding, and offer tips and advice,” Brown says.
Following the demonstrations, participants will be encouraged to consider taking an OTTB home. Several local Thoroughbred charities, including Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue will bring adoptable horses to the event, to compete, and to be made available in the show marketplace, Brown explains.
Then, on Sunday, a full day of showing is in store.
Approximately 50 horses and 250 entrants have registered, thus far, for an array of hunter and jumper shows, Brown says.
The shows themselves will be presented with a new twist. As each OTTB competes in his or her class, a commentator will announce the ex-racehorse’s racing history and other interesting facts, Brown says.
Citing the success of the monster show at Pimlico earlier this year, Brown says that while the Fair Hill event will be on a much smaller scale, the goal is the same: “Collectively, we are all trying to really increase the profile of the Thoroughbred Sporthorse. Our effort is for a bigger cause.”