The second annual Thoroughbreds for All fundraiser and awareness-building event broke all attendance records as crowds thronged the West Wind Farm in Kentucky, on April 26.
More than 500 people hailing from 28 states came to watch, listen and learn at the feet of master horsemen such as America’s most winning three-day event rider Phillip Dutton, and Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron.
What they and other expert horsemen helped demonstrate to a crowd, in town already to attend the famous Rolex Kentucky Three-Day that same weekend, was that ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds are competitive, willing and trainable at the end of their track careers.
“The (sessions) were an inspiring demonstration of just how game and intelligent a Thoroughbred is after a racing career, and how much can be accomplished with them in a short time with skilled riding,” says Steuart Pittman, founder of Retired Racehorse Training Project, a Thoroughbred charity that joined with New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program to organize the fundraiser.
Approximately $12,000 was raised for New Vocations Racehorse Adoption and for the Training Project to add to the coffers of the nonprofit organizations that work so hard to help re-train and re-home ex-racehorses.
Among the many highlights of this year’s event was the participation by Phillip Dutton, who offered expert opinion on the conformation and temperament of New Vocations sale horses who participated in training exercises.
And Chris McCarron gave a 30-minute riding demonstration to show, first hand, how a racehorse is ridden and trained on the track.
“Chris rode a recent New Vocations arrival who demonstrated both the brilliance and the spirit one would expect from a young horse alone in an arena with 500 strangers,” Pittman states in the press release, which is available to read on the Retired Racehorse Training Project website.
“He spent the first 10 minutes gently leg-yielding back and forth along the rail … allowing the horse to face the crowd … and all the while moving his feet and staying in a beautiful round connection to Chris’s magic hands.”
In addition to various Thoroughbred demonstrations, attendees were invited to tour both the New Vocations facility, as well as the famous Thoroughbred stallion farm, Three Chimneys.
The Jockey Club provided and presented etched vases to honor equestrians who entered their Thoroughbreds at Rolex that weekend. A total of 16 Thoroughbreds competed, and five finished in the top 15.
As Kentucky was abuzz with the Rolex Three-Day and the excitement around the upcoming May 4th Kentucky Derby, the Jockey Club reminded the audience of its own growing commitment to support efforts to help ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds.
“The Thoroughbred Incentive Program recognizes and rewards the versatility of the Thoroughbred through sponsorship of Thoroughbred classes and awards at horse shows and events across the United States and Canada,” say Kristin Leshney, legal associate for The Jockey Club.
“The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is the epitome of equine athleticism, and it was an honor to be able to recognize so many Thoroughbreds competing at this level.”