It’s been a big week for OTTBs, but I feel like I could say that every Saturday, looking back at all the news, initiatives, heroes, and controversies that make up the Thoroughbred world. It’s truly the year of the Thoroughbred. Here are some of the stories that caught my attention:
“I’m utilizing Thoroughbreds in a suicide prevention model to deal with the fallout of war.”
Paulick Report and Three Chimneys’ Good News Friday story this week is on Saratoga War Horse, a program designed to assist veterans of war as they transition back into everyday life at home.
Saratoga War Horse is a three-day course that gives local veterans the opportunity to interact with Thoroughbreds in a trust-building exercise. The concept – based on the equine communication methods of Monty Roberts – is that by using a horse’s own language, humans can form a bond with the animal. Nevins said with soldiers, who may have buried their emotions and shut down internally, the results have been remarkable.
Bob Nevins, a veteran of the Vietnam war, hopes that Saratoga War Horse will become a nation-wide program. It has already attracted the attention of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, who are studying its effects on participants.
“The incentives of the TAKE2 program should help to turn back the clock by creating a fresh demand for Thoroughbreds on the horse show circuit in New York.”
The New York Racing Association, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, and the New York Thoroughbred Breeders have made their first big aftercare move, announcing TAKE2, a sponsorship of Thoroughbred-only classes at the spring 2012 AA-rated Skidmore College Saratoga Classic (held in mid-June at Saratoga Racecourse) and the AA-rated Saratoga Springs Horse Show, held the first two weekends of May.
Both The Saratoga Classic and the Saratoga Springs Horse Show prize lists include a division of Low Thoroughbred Hunter and Thoroughbred Jumper 1 m. and 1.15 m. II 2B.
New Jersey horsemen are sponsoring Thoroughbred only classes at the AA-rated Garden State Horse Show.
Thoroughbreds have been shoved out of the top ranks of the hunter/jumper show world in the past few decades, as riders have flocked to European warmbloods, and a growing number of new competitors and would-be riders seem to have no idea that Thoroughbreds once dominated show horse ranks, or that 15 of the 20 horses in the Show Jumping Hall of Fame are, in fact, Thoroughbreds. The growing efforts from the racing industry to renew understanding and awareness of the tremendous show-ring potential and ability of Thoroughbreds is key to reversing this trend, and I applaud any efforts by the racing establishment to put the spotlight back on OTTBs.
More on the TAKE2 initiative and other announcements from New York’s racing organizations are here at The Blood-Horse.
“Combining public education with a marketplace for buyers and sellers to meet is a formula that has potential to increase demand for ex-racehorses everywhere.”
That quote is from Steuart Pittman, regarding the new Thoroughbreds For All! symposium that will be taking place following the cross-country phase of this year’s Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, held at the Kentucky Horse Park in April.
What it sounds like: the best party a Thoroughbred enthusiast could ever ask to be invited to, with demos from Chris McCarron and his jockey school students, training demos, evaluations of adoptable OTTBs by Bruce Davidson, Cahty Wieschhoff, and Dorothy Crowell, and an appearance by WEG silver medalist Molokai.
There will also be catalogs of Thoroughbreds available in central Kentucky, which will assist fired-up party-goers in acquiring a brand-new OTTB before they even have to find a cab to take them home.
Tickets are $35 and there is a limited number. You can find more info here at the Retired Racehorse Training Project’s website.
The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program, the high-point awards program that will recognize Thoroughbreds in open competition in disciplines ranging from dressage to western pleasure, has updated their web portal with a full calendar of horse show dates, information on OTTBs in sport, help for those trying to identify their OTTB, and their non-competition prizes, which include awards to Thoroughbred-based charities or therapy programs, and an essay contest for junior applicants.
Horses need to have their Jockey Club name available in order to qualify for the T.I.P incentives, but if you don’t have your horse’s registration papers, you can contact the Jockey Club for assistance, even if the horse doesn’t have a legible lip tattoo.
All of the info can be found from their homepage, here.
“Do OTTBs have the same capability for jumping that warmbloods do?”
That was my pick for Google search term of the week. Type it in and it will take you to my piece Show Jumping’s Wake-Up Call, (which happens to be featured in Australian online magazine Go Jump this month). In case readers still aren’t convinced that OTTBs can jump like giant bunnies, check out this video of astonishing Sweet and Low, who in 1983 jumped 7’1″ at the Washington International Horse Show’s puissance class. Thanks to the fan who placed this great video on my Facebook page!
That’s what has been on my radar this week. What have you seen?