26 trainers selected for TB Makeover event

Steuart Pittman of Retired Racehorse Training Project

Steuart Pittman of Retired Racehorse Training Project

Steuart Pittman, president and founder of the Retired Racehorse Training Project issued the following press release:

The Board of Directors of the Retired Racehorse Training Project announced today its selection of the 26 horse trainers who will participate in the RRTP Thoroughbred Makeover.

Each trainer will chronicle online the training of a Thoroughbred that has raced but had no training for a second career. All will appear at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland on the first weekend of October to show what the horses have learned. The event is called the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium and will include seminars, demonstrations, entertainment, and vendors.

RRTP, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing demand for Thoroughbreds off the track, received 142 applications from 29 states and Canada. The applicants were professionals, amateurs, and juniors and specialized in ten different equestrian disciplines.

“We were overwhelmed not only by the number of applicants, but also by the high quality, the diversity, and the passion of these trainers,” said RRTP President Steuart Pittman. “These are the people who work hard every single day educating these magnificent animals to ensure that their futures are secure.”

In alphabetical order the 26 participating trainers are as follows:

Marissa Bianchi, 32, and Carlos Gonzalez of Potomac, MD; Patricia Hechter-Bosley, 52, of St. Michaels, MD; Rebecca Bowman, 40, of Woodstock, GA; Heather Carlson, 45, of Milford, CT; Daniel Clasing, 26, of White Hall, MD; Katie Cooper, 32, of Owings Mills, MD; Billie Rae Croll, 33, of Lexington, VA; Nikki Egyed, 22, of Paso Robles, CA; Patti Fiedler, 47, of Pinellas Park, FL; Robin Hannah, 27, of St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada; Jessica Bortner-Harris, 32, of Thurmond, NC;  Dan James, 30, of Lexington, KY;  Lara Borson Knight, 35, of Whites Creek, TN; Alexandra Knowles, 26, of Paris, KY; Emily Kocubinski, 33, of Philadelphia, PA;  David Loman, 49, of Crofton, MD; Amber Lynn Longreen, 12, of Hummelstown, PA; Jessica Morthole, 31, of Camden, DE;  Elissa Ogburn, 14, of Crownsville, MD; Mark Powers, 55, of East Palestine, OH; Nuno Santos, 43, of Reisterstown, MD; Jennifer Selvig, 32, of Savage, MN;  Dale Simanton, 57, of Newell, SD;  Erin Sylvester, 27, of Unionville, PA;  Suzanne Wepplo, 31, of Minneapolis, MN;  and Cathy Wieschoff, 54, of Lexington, KY.

*To read the complete press release, please visit Retired Racehorse Training Project’s website.

For additional information contact: Steuart Pittman 410-507-3351 steuart@retiredracehorsetraining.org 

10 responses to “26 trainers selected for TB Makeover event”

  1. Gloria Stagmer

    Great story. There needs to be more responsible breeding practices and ownership across the board not just in racing. These animals once they are born deserve MORE than a one way ticket to the dinner plate. The statistics are saddening. We need to ask why.Where is the human responsibility in this.I wish they could raise the betting ticket by one dollar for every ticket with that dollar going towards the retirement of horses and the health needs of track workers. Bravo to all who are giving OT horses and others a chance to live out their lives.

  2. laura wiencek

    I know I can speak for myself and the other trainers that are participating in the makeover here in Ohio to extend a heart felt good luck to all the trainers in this challenge and hope we all continue to grow and have open minds about how amazing these ottb’s are.

  3. Tina Messick

    Thank you ,Mr. Pittman! Something has to be done to stop the slaughter of these poor horses and many more! Horses have done so much thru out history. They have helped us fight and win wars, provided transportation and plant fields. Today they are therapy for lots of disabled kids. It is very sad and they do not deserve to be sent to slaughter houses. There needs to be laws passed to make this horrible abuse illegal!

  4. TBDancer

    Not sure I agree with the comment on the bio of the trainer from CA that she comes from a part of the country and a sport where the breed’s reputation is “poor.”

    1. Nikki

      Not to argue, but I’m on the road with my OTTB nearly every weekend…At mostly Barrel Races and Gymkhana’s, and they are both sports where the QH dominates, and Thoroughbreds are looked down upon. (I know this all to well, because I’ve have had very un-kind things said to me about my horse…And I’m no stranger to this, as my Arabians receive a similar response.) I’m not saying this is a state-wide thing, but our area / county just doesn’t support the idea that a TB can compete on the same level with the cow horses & AQHA performance horses. If anything, they’re stereotyped as being only suitable to go into dressage, jumpers, and eventing. There just isn’t a place for them as Western performance horse in this area, and my biggest goal is to change that opinion.

      1. Kristi

        Thank you for being an advocate for thoroughbreds and taking them to gaming shows despite the negative attitudes of others. On the west coast thoroughbreds have the same kind of reputation. They are either used for polo or eventing, or nothing at all. We ride our OTTBs western. People are really surprised to find that they are off the track. Little by little I do see opinions changing. Keep up the good work!

        1. Joann

          I did competetive trail and endurance with my Morgans. I bought an ottb and trained her long distance and started her in 25 milers. I often was told by other competetors and vets that we wouldn’t do well because tb’s aren’t “sturdy” enough or there isn’t enough bone to handle mile after mile of trotting. Well , we proved them wrong. Also, her ground manners at vet checks were excellent even though they we’re so cautious around her expecting her to explode. I even allowed my daughter to ride her first 25 miler on her at about age 12 and they placed. Also did team penning on her successfully. Just let your horse prove itself and the naysayers will change their tune.

          1. Nikki

            That’s awesome! I’ve been wanting to try an endurance ride on my OTTB Gelding…It’s one of my goals for this fall!

        2. Nikki

          Thanks!! 🙂

  5. KathrynW.

    Thank you, Mr Pittman! This retraining effort is both practical and necessary so that ex-racers can not just get to their ‘next career’, but so they can avoid the the easy-out that too many trainers/owners take by shipping to slaughter.
    160,000 US horses shipped to slaughter last year in Mexican and Canadian plants and that is unacceptable. How many came from the TB racing or breeding industries? TB racing would be smart to make a dedicated effort to see that EVERY ex-racer avoids slaughter. Imagine the public relations bounce that that would bring to racing! CANTER was a fabulous starting point, but racing needs to step it up. For every horse.

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