First Annual Give Back to Go Scholarship Awarded to TB Makeover Trainers

March 12, 2019

Always a lifelong believer in the concept of “paying it forward,” Daignault-Salvaggio had enjoyed great success at the 2015 Thoroughbred Makeover, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America. Believing wholeheartedly in the mission of the Retired Racehorse Project, she wanted to provide a scholarship opportunity that would refund an applying trainer’s entry fee — with a twist. In applying for the Give Back to Go Scholarship, each trainer had to make a donation, however large or small, to a horse-related charity of their choice.

Twenty-four applicants donated over $1,000 to a total of 19 different 501(c)3 charities across the United States and Canada, surpassing Daignault-Salvaggio’s hopes for the inaugural year of the scholarship. “The applicants really did embrace the concept of giving back to their communities,” she shared. “Through this scholarship I’ve been privileged to be introduced to some truly amazing horsemen who are already walking the walk and giving back.”

In their applications, trainers had to describe — either in writing or in video — what it would mean to them to receive the scholarship. A first round of judges, consisting of Tik Maynard, Isabela de Sousa, Kasey Evans, Sarah Hepler, Lindsey Partridge and Nicole Valeri, had their work cut out for them, narrowing the pool of 24 applicants to a final round of three. A final round of celebrity judges, including retired champion jockey Ramon Dominguez, award-winning Thoroughbred photographer Barbara D. Livingston and World Equestrian Games and Olympic-level eventer Boyd Martin, placed the top three.

The winner of the 2019 Give Back to Go Scholarship is Ali Dacher, founder of CANTER’s California division. “Ali is a testament to anyone who believes that with some hard work, determination and belief in yourself that anything can be accomplished,” described Daignault-Salvaggio. “She truly does embody the spirit of giving back to go.”

Said Livingston, “Ali has obviously put so much of her heart, and no doubt resources, into the care and placement of OTTBs for more than a decade now. Imagine the number of Thoroughbreds who now have good and productive lives, partly or largely due to Ali’s efforts.”

“She also recognizes that, regardless of receiving recognition for her efforts, her life will be spent in this pursuit,” Livingston added. “Paying it forward seems only right, in granting her this scholarship.”

With such a pool of deserving applicants who embraced the “give back to go” spirit, however, Daignault-Salvaggio couldn’t stop at awarding just one scholarship. “This idea, this result, these people and their stories touched me quite a lot. Because of this I have made the decision to give my own entry fee to our runner-up Megan Waelti.”

Waelti described how she would use her scholarship to attend more eventing competitions in her equestrian community and displayed a strong commitment to raising awareness of off-track Thoroughbreds as sport horses. Dominguez was impressed by Waelti’s story: “I, as well as anyone who loves horses and riding, can relate to the way she beautifully describes her experiences with her horse.”

Lauren Nethery stepped forward to donate an additional $300 to the Retired Racehorse Project as part of the Give Back to Go Scholarship, ensuring that all three trainers in the final round would have their entry fees refunded. This allowed third-place applicant Kallie Zeinstra to receive her entry fee back.

“Kallie’s story — she runs an equine non-profit and uses horses to provide therapy for seniors and youth — is inspiring enough but adding to it her mother who is fighting breast cancer and who attended the 2018 Makeover one week after being diagnosed, well that’s an awful lot of stuff that a little bit of good karma could help give back to!” Daignault-Salvaggio described.

“I love that this experience of applying for the scholarship encourages others to pay it forward, keeping the roots of the Retired Racehorse Project in the forefront of our minds,” Ali Dacher shared. “I found the experience to be both inspirational and motivating!”

“I’m really proud to be a part of all of this. I’m grateful for the reminder to keep paying it forward when you can!” Meagan Waelti detailed.

Kallie Zeinstra shared, “I think it is easy at times for us equestrians to lose perspective on what or why we are doing something when faced with unexpected challenges. Writing my essay to apply for this scholarship encouraged me take a step back and look at the larger picture.”

“We cannot thank the RRP staff and board enough for listening to and being receptive to this idea,” Daignault-Salvaggio added. “Our hope is that the path we have cut this year will lead others to want to give back with their own efforts, funds or items in their sphere of the horse world in the future. I look forward to being at the Makeover and cheering on all who applied to this scholarship. I hope that in 2020 we can do this again and look forward to seeing what those applicants look like and what they have done to give back in their own lives.”

For more information about the Give Back to Go Scholarship: https://givebacktogo.wixsite.com/home.

EmilyScholarship

In Other News

June 12, 2024

RRP Wins United Horse Coalition’s Unity Award

RRP staff and board members were honored at the American Horse Council luncheon on June 11.…
Read More
Featured image for “RRP Wins United Horse Coalition’s Unity Award”
June 10, 2024

Anonymous Donor to Match $4,500 in RRP’s Fund-a-Need Campaign

This pledged contribution will be matched in a series of monthly fundraisers to double the impact of donations.…
Read More
Featured image for “Anonymous Donor to Match $4,500 in RRP’s Fund-a-Need Campaign”
June 3, 2024

2024 Thoroughbred Makeover Ambassador Award Now Open for Nomination

The award is now designed to recognize a Thoroughbred Makeover graduate horse which has gone on to serve as an ambassador for the athleticism and trainability of the retired racehorse in its career beyond racing…
Read More
Featured image for “2024 Thoroughbred Makeover Ambassador Award Now Open for Nomination”
May 29, 2024

Thoroughbred Makeover Adds Clinic Opportunities

Clinics and guided schooling will be offered at the conclusion of preliminary competition for horses and their trainers that did not qualify for the Finale Championships.…
Read More
Featured image for “Thoroughbred Makeover Adds Clinic Opportunities”
May 27, 2024

Selecting the Best Hay for Your OTTB

Understand the differences in hay available to your off-track Thoroughbred…
Read More
Featured image for “Selecting the Best Hay for Your OTTB”
May 24, 2024

May Trainer Newsletter: Upcoming Deadlines, Makeover Updates, and other Events

The 2024 Thoroughbred Makeover is fast approaching! Now is the time to make sure you are prepared for the upcoming deadlines such as horse registrations, entry type changes, jumping video submissions, and more. The Real Rider Cup and the Thoroughbred…
Read More
Featured image for “May Trainer Newsletter: Upcoming Deadlines, Makeover Updates, and other Events”
May 23, 2024

After the Races & Retired Racehorse Project Split Win in Resolute Racing’s Poker For Ponies Tournament

ATR and the RRP jointly announced their gratitude and appreciation for splitting the win in Resolute Racing’s Poker For Ponies Tournament earlier this month on May 1.…
Read More
Featured image for “After the Races & Retired Racehorse Project Split Win in Resolute Racing’s Poker For Ponies Tournament”
May 13, 2024

Picking Prospects May 2024

Makeover trainers evaluate sport horse potential based on conformation shots.…
Read More
Featured image for “Picking Prospects May 2024”
May 3, 2024

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: HERO PICO Donated as Top Prize for Make the Makeover Fundraiser!

Great news, Thoroughbred Makeover class of 2024! Thanks to the incredible generosity of Magnus Magnetica, we’re thrilled to share with you today that we’re offering a TOP PRIZE for the Makeover trainer who raises the most funds for the RRP…
Read More
Featured image for “SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: HERO PICO Donated as Top Prize for Make the Makeover Fundraiser!”
April 30, 2024

The Real Rider Cup Announces 2024 Competition Dates

Mark your calendars: the friendly show jumping competition returns for 2024 to raise funds for Thoroughbred aftercare!…
Read More
Featured image for “The Real Rider Cup Announces 2024 Competition Dates”
April 29, 2024

Understanding Track Surfaces for Racehorse Safety

Consistency of racing surfaces at a track, between surfaces and from track to track is key for racehorse safety…
Read More
Featured image for “Understanding Track Surfaces for Racehorse Safety”
April 19, 2024

April Trainer Newsletter: EHV-1, KY3DE, and Fundraising Tips!

There are 189 days until the 2024 Thoroughbred Makeover, but who’s counting? Now that we have your attention, please take a moment to catch up with our April trainer newsletter. What follows is important information regarding your horse’s vaccination requirements,…
Read More
Featured image for “April Trainer Newsletter: EHV-1, KY3DE, and Fundraising Tips!”
April 15, 2024

The Thoroughbred Lovers’ Guide to the 2024 KY3DE

Join the RRP for Thoroughbred-centric activities at the Defender Kentucky Three-Day-Event, April 25-28!…
Read More
Featured image for “The Thoroughbred Lovers’ Guide to the 2024 KY3DE”
April 11, 2024

Erin Gilmore Photography Announced as Official Show Photographer of 2024 Thoroughbred Makeover

Erin Gilmore Photography covers internationally rated equestrian events as official photographer in the Northeast USA and beyond.…
Read More
Featured image for “Erin Gilmore Photography Announced as Official Show Photographer of 2024 Thoroughbred Makeover”
April 5, 2024

Save in the RRP Store in the Spring Fling Sale!

Score seasonal savings in the RRP Store and wear your OTTB pride.…
Read More
Featured image for “Save in the RRP Store in the Spring Fling Sale!”
March 25, 2024

Ask a Trainer: Introducing Lateral Work

Alison O’Dwyer shares her tried and true method to introduce lateral work to the green OTTB.…
Read More
Featured image for “Ask a Trainer: Introducing Lateral Work”
March 14, 2024

RRP Launches 2024 Thoroughbred Makeover Fundraising Initiatives

Learn more about the Make the Makeover and Fund-a-Need campaigns!…
Read More
Featured image for “RRP Launches 2024 Thoroughbred Makeover Fundraising Initiatives”
March 11, 2024

Building a Nutrition Plan for Your OTTB

How to feed your retired racehorse: Start with high-quality pasture and hay, then look to grain to shore up any deficiencies, consulting experts whenever possible.…
Read More
Featured image for “Building a Nutrition Plan for Your OTTB”
March 7, 2024

2024 Thoroughbred Makeover Vendor Fair Applications Now Open

Reserve your space by April 30 to secure early bird pricing!…
Read More
Featured image for “2024 Thoroughbred Makeover Vendor Fair Applications Now Open”
February 28, 2024

Tendon Injuries in Off-Track Thoroughbreds

If you give an OTTB with a tendon injury the time necessary to recover fully and are diligent about preventing re-injury, the horse can have a long, healthy second career.…
Read More
Featured image for “Tendon Injuries in Off-Track Thoroughbreds”
February 26, 2024

February Trainer Newsletter: Trainer Fundraiser, Marketing Opportunities, & Educational Resources

Earn a refund on your 2024 entry fees by participating in the new “Make the Makeover” fundraiser, find your audience in sharing your horse’s retraining journey, and start the process off right by utilizing RRP’s educational resources! Read the entirety…
Read More
Featured image for “February Trainer Newsletter: Trainer Fundraiser, Marketing Opportunities, & Educational Resources”
February 15, 2024

2024 Trainer Acceptance Letter

Congratulations! You are one of nearly 400 talented trainers and team members who are on track to show the world what a Thoroughbred ex-racehorse can do at this year’s Makeover. Would you like to announce your acceptance on social media?…
Read More
Featured image for “2024 Trainer Acceptance Letter”
February 15, 2024

396 Trainers Accepted to 2024 Thoroughbred Makeover

Accepted trainers have signed up to bring a total of 416 horses.…
Read More
Featured image for “396 Trainers Accepted to 2024 Thoroughbred Makeover”
February 12, 2024

Picking Prospects: Spring 2024

Makeover trainers evaluate sport horse potential based on conformation shots.…
Read More
Featured image for “Picking Prospects: Spring 2024”