396 Trainers Accepted to 2024 Thoroughbred Makeover

February 15, 2024

The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) announced today that 396 trainers have been accepted to the 2024 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America. The world’s largest and most lucrative retraining competition for recently-retired racehorses and broodmares takes place on October 9-12, 2024 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, awarding over $100,000 in prize money.

The flagship event of the RRP, the Thoroughbred Makeover not only provides a showcase competition for the horses participating, but serves as an inspiration point to encourage more equestrians to get involved with the breed. The competition is open to professionals, amateurs, juniors and teams, all competing on an equal footing with racehorses that raced or trained to race within the past two years with no more than 15 retraining rides prior to December 1, 2023. The Former Broodmare division offers competition alongside the Retiring Racehorse division for mares exiting the breeding industry; Former Broodmares compete for a separate pot of prize money.

“Congratulations to all of the trainers accepted into the 2024 Thoroughbred Makeover,” said Erin Halliwell, executive director of TCA. “We sincerely appreciate the time and dedication it takes to transition Thoroughbreds into their next careers. We’re looking forward to October where we’ll see hundreds of Thoroughbreds demonstrating their new skills in many different disciplines.”

L-R: Erin Halliwell, executive director of TCA; Kirsten Green, executive director of the RRP; 2023 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion Knockemdown, trained by Alison O’Dwyer.

Competition at the Thoroughbred Makeover is available in ten disciplines, and trainers can choose to compete in up to two per horse: barrel racing, competitive trail, dressage, eventing, field hunter, polo, ranch work, show hunter, show jumper, and freestyle (a free-form discipline to showcase skills of the trainer’s choice).

While trainers did not need to declare their entry intentions for their individual horses on their applications, they did need to provide a horseman’s resume that detailed their training and competition experience, including riding video in their disciplines of declared expertise. Applicants also furnished letters from their veterinarians stating that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to appropriately care for a horse transitioning from the track. An independent application committee considered each applicant’s ability as described in their application to bring along a recently-retired Thoroughbred and compete at a national venue in a big environment.

Accepted trainers are encouraged to register their horses with the RRP as soon as they acquire them; horse registration closes on July 31, 2024. As horses are registered and approved, they will appear on the entry list at TheRRP.org/entries. Trainers have signed up to bring a total of 416 horses. (Late applications will also be considered through June 28, 2024.)

“Efficient and effective aftercare in North America is dependent on demand for horses from sport and pleasure riders who want to support the transition from racing,” said Kirsten Green, executive director of the RRP. “We’re proud to welcome the Thoroughbred Makeover class of 2024 to the vital community of individuals and organizations who have transitioned more than 4,700 horses since the inception of the event.”

2023 People’s Choice Award winner, multiple graded stakes winner Arklow, trained by Gina Gans.

The 2024 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium is a gathering for North America’s aftercare industry with networking opportunities for both non-profit and for-profit entities. The event includes the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace and ASPCA Right Horse Adoption Barn, offering horse shoppers and adopters the unique opportunity to watch horses compete, trial ride, and complete a pre-purchase exam all in one location. A hands-on seminar series and vendor fair round out the Makeover experience for attendees.

The Thoroughbred Makeover is the flagship event of the RRP, a 501(c)3 non-profit committed to increasing the demand for and value of Thoroughbreds in careers beyond racing. Sponsorship opportunities are available for the 2024 Thoroughbred Makeover: contact mgarlich@therrp.org for more information.

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