New York riding stable Shadowbrook Farms Equine Facility is hosting the Tribute to the OTTB Benefit Show next month to promote the talents of adoptable ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds, and raise funds to benefit the Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue.
All Thoroughbred competitors are welcome to participate in a daylong event July 10, which includes Western and English disciplines.
In creating the show, farm owner Cherie Pettit and show manager Sandy Porter-Gonyea hope to highlight the versatility and overall talents of ex-racehorses in all disciplines, while demonstrating their willing natures.
“So many beautiful horses with incredible potential wind up in feed lots on their way to slaughter, and it breaks my heart,” says Porter-Gonyea, the owner of two off-track Thoroughbreds, Hoy and Jerry.
She adds, “They’re thrown away for no reason, and we know from experience that with a little time, they can do anything.”
Former Finger Lakes racehorse Hoy is a case in point. Porter-Gonyea purchased him in 2006 for her daughter Mariah. Her daughter was only 9 when her mother decided that if the child were to have a horse, it should be a noble Thoroughbred. In this way, Porter-Gonyea would make her daughter happy and at the same time make good on a secret promise she made to herself when she discovered that Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand had died in a Japanese slaughterhouse. ([intlink id=”4221″ type=”post”]Please see related story[/intlink]).
“When I heard the news about Ferdinand I told myself that if I was ever ready to buy a horse, I’d buy an off-track Thoroughbred,” she says.
The horse show is an event to recognize all the good that has emerged within the Thoroughbred industry. It honors the people who have worked to re-home and retrain the horses, as well as the equines, owners and riders, she says.
The New York chapter of ReRun,Inc. is sending prospective adoptees to compete in the show, and has donated a horse painting to help raise proceeds, Porter-Gonyea says.
Further support has been offered by the New York Thoroughbred Breeders and Development Fund, which donated $500 toward the show.
Show proceeds will be donated to the sprawling retirement and re-homing facility at Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue in Pawling, N.Y. The unique rescue was founded by award-winning breeder John Hettinger, a gentleman who guaranteed a retirement home for the Thoroughbreds he sold, and also became an avid campaigner against horse slaughter.
The organization members who work so hard re-training and caring for ex-racehorses say they are honored to be recognized by the show.
“Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue is honored to be involved with the Tribute to OTTBs horse show,” members stated in a press release.
“Now more than ever, Thoroughbreds are proving to be able to transition into second careers, and this show highlights the adaptability and heart of the breed.”
Akindale also plans to participate in the show by entering adoptable horses in classes.
There is a lengthy list of classes in all disciplines—jumping, dressage hopefuls and western—to choose from. For a complete list, please visit Shadowbrook Farms Equine Facility, or find the show on Facebook: “Tribute to the OTTB” Benefit Horse Show.”
When Porter-Gonyea adopted Hoy and Jerry, who raced under the name My Favorite Scrub, she couldn’t help but think of all the horses who didn’t make it to new homes after their racing days ended.
Horses like Ferdinand, but also the lessor known runners she imagined to be exactly like her good-natured pair.
“These horses deserve so much more, they deserve better,” she says. “It makes me ill to think of these horses going to slaughter.”