The 3rd annual Thoroughbred Makeover & Symposium, which will usher in a tsunami of Thoroughbreds to the Kentucky Horse Park Oct. 23-25, is so big, so grand, that it’s almost an entirely different entity than the two Thoroughbred Makeover shows that preceded it, says its creator Steuart Pittman.
“This show is practically brand new,” he says. “With the last two shows, we had to limit the numbers of participants, but we’ve always been really curious about the concept of letting in a lot of people. This meant we had to get out of the Pimlico Race Course venue, because it was just too small, and we came to the Kentucky Horse Park because it’s big enough for us to run 10 horse shows all in one place, and it’s in the Thoroughbred capital the weekend before the Breeders’ Cup.”
So with key support from the Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) and legions of help from top riders, trainers, judges, interested parties and Thoroughbred enthusiasts, some 188 horses will compete for $100,000 in prizes in Dressage, Show Jumping, Show Hunter, Eventing, Competitive Trail, Barrel Racing, Fox Hunting, Polo, Ranch Work, and Freestyle.
A $5,000 Ambassador Award will go to the most popular trainer, who will earn the distinction via online polling. And the winner of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Award, which went to Icabad Crane last year, will be awarded $10,000.
As professional and amateur riders put their Thoroughbreds through the paces, luminaries from the racing world, including Kentucky Derby winning trainer Graham Motion, will be on hand to help judge, and top coach Bernie Traurig will premier his film, “Tribute to the Thoroughbred Sport Horse.”
Other household names in the Thoroughbred world, on hand to celebrate the breed, include top jockey Rosie Napravnik, Eventer Laine Ashker, Denny Emerson, Colleen Rutledge, Lizzie Snow, Dale Simanton, Nuno Santos, Jane Sleeper, Dorothy Crowell, and many more.
“A lot of people who are participating are from the era when Thoroughbreds were dominant in the sport horse world, and they’re coming because they feel they owe it to the horses,” Pittman says. “They’re thrilled with the event, and they tell me that people used to ride better when they rode Thoroughbreds.”
A launch party for Off Track Thoroughbred Magazine, which was recently launched by The Horse Media Group, will also add to the buzz of excitement.
The bigger venue, the buzz, and the growing reach have long been part of the plan to make Thoroughbred sport horses popular again, Pittman says. “This is exactly what we envisioned when we started this (effort) five years ago,” he says. “I believe attitudes are changing among the 10 million horse owners who might choose a Thoroughbred, and that’s the game. That’s why we spent so much time on horse expos and promoting the Thoroughbred at horse expos. We’re doing this, not because Thoroughbreds are going to slaughter, but because they’re great horses to own.”
For tickets, please visit the Retired Racehorse Project: https://www.retiredracehorseproject.org/2015-makeover-tickets