Chesapeake Petroleum’s Victoria McCullough, an international equestrian, philanthropist and horse-welfare advocate, pledged this weekend to financially support the Totally Thoroughbred Show at Pimlico, and to muster her considerable forces to help seed similar shows at racetracks around the country.
In a telephone interview with Off-TrackThoroughbreds.com Sunday, the powerful horse-welfare advocate, and recipient of this year’s Earle Mack Award for her “outstanding efforts and influence on Thoroughbred welfare, safety and retirement,” has turned her attention to venues such as Pimlico’s, which showcase the great T-bred sport horse in an event founded by Maryland Racing Secretary Georganne Hale and Adena Springs Retirement Program manager Stacie Clark-Rogers. (Please see earlier story).
“We need Thoroughbreds to be the new “it” horse again,” says McCullough, who grew up riding Jumpers on very competitive and successful Thoroughbreds. “If you want to make the Thoroughbred chic again, then you need to offer very moneyed classes” to incentivize the horse-buying public into choosing and competing ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds.
A tireless worker on horse issues who has spent six years lobbying to end horse slaughter, McCullough says she was very excited to read about the success of the Totally Thoroughbred Show. “It’s brilliant!” she says, noting that she plans to mark her calendar for next year’s Pimlico show and pledge financial support from her company, Chesapeake Petroleum.
“Next year we will absolutely be a sponsor at Pimlico,” McCullough says. “We need to bring the cachet back to this beautiful breed, like it had in the 70s,” McCullough says. “We have the best horses in the world at our racetracks waiting for people to buy them.”
McCullough has worked on several fronts on horse-welfare issues. Most notably, she was integral in winning the support of Vice President Joe Biden on a legislative effort that effectively blocked efforts to bring horse-slaughter plants back online on American soil.
She has crisscrossed the country, raising awareness of the plight of the unwanted horse. And she has personally purchased nearly 5,000 slaughter-bound horses of all breeds, including many Thoroughbreds, from kill pens and auctions.
Most of those horses have been re-homed, though she retains ownership of approximately 500.
The majority of the Thoroughbreds she has rescued have been 3 year olds who are simply slow, and with only minor injuries, she adds.
The Pimlico Show, she notes, offers a grand stage to demonstrate their suitability as future riding horses and to establish that T-breds from all backgrounds and circumstances can be “recycled” into excellent mounts.
So excited by the show and what it could do for other Thoroughbred ex-racehorses, McCullough says she plans to help fund similar shows at other racetracks, and pledged to contact her friends, such as Madeleine Pickens, who is famous for efforts to save the wild Mustangs.
“We could sponsor a show at Del Mar or in Florida,” she says, adding that she has competed many horses in her life, and that the Thoroughbred sport horses have been among the very best she has owned.
“I have Warmbloods that I ride as stallions in order to match the (responsiveness) of a Thoroughbred,” she adds. “I don’t have a Thoroughbred to bring back into the jumper world yet, but I will!”
<end>This blog recently developed a sporty T-BRED logo featuring a two-toned horse running free of the symbolic oval. The logo is currently offered on saddle pads and a cooler, and may be accessed through this hyperlink.