The Retired Racehorse Training Project’s national symposium planned for the Pimlico Racecourse will feature re-trained ex-racehorses demonstrating skills in traditional Western disciplines, including cow cutting.
That’s right. Cow cutting.
“When one of our trainers, Dale Simanton, requested some cattle for his demonstration at Pimlico, we all thought he was kidding,” said RRTP president Steuart Pittman. “We didn’t think our friends at Maryland Jockey Club would let cattle anywhere near their racetrack, but we were wrong.
“So we had a conference call with Dale and his crew and decided he should not bring just one ranch horse, he should bring as many as he could fit in his trailer so we could host a full ranch rodeo demonstration.”
Pittman, the pied piper of promoting ex-racehorses in new careers says the demonstration on Oct. 5 and 6 will feature 26 trainers from 15 states who have trained OTTBs in 15 disciplines. Ex-racehorses will show off their skills in everything from polo, dressage and Eventing to barrel racing, cattle cutting and police work, according to a press release.
On the dirt of one of the most famous racetracks, American Thoroughbreds will show how thoroughly they have mastered a new job for which they had only three months to train.
And throughout their training, the horses with all that heart and “try” have collected and converted fans far and wide.
Dale Simanton, of South Dakota, retrains Thoroughbreds at his ranch, Gate to Great. Teaching them jobs done on a typical western cattle operation, some also earn a spot on his all-Thoroughbred ranch rodeo team. An exciting demonstration of ranch and rodeo work is being planned for the Pimlico event.
Simanton isn’t the only one favoring Western ways. California-based trainer Nikki Egyed will ride OTTB Symphonic Cat in a barrel competition, and demonstration of gymkhana.
“It’s what we do with our horses out here,” says Egyed, 21. “And Thoroughbreds off the track are my horse of choice.”
The barrel race will also feature the winner and four runners-up from this summer’s Extreme Retired Racehorse Makeover Barrel Race held in Ohio. On Aug. 2, trainer Lacey Tomasik won the event on OTTB Bayside Sassy after concluding a 100-day trainer challenge that opened her eyes to the true grit of the Thoroughbred. In an earlier interview with Off-TrackThoroughbreds.com, Tomasik admits she was always a Quarter Horse girl until she trained Sassy to hunt the barrels. After their success, she sold her Quarter Horse and kept the Thoroughbred!
Dreaming of Three Foundation and event organizer JackieSean Harris founded the Barrel race competition. Harris says the participants are champing at the bit to prove their skills at Pimlico.
“We plan to light up the race track and show the East Coast what their Thoroughbreds can do!” Harris says.
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