TCA president Mike McMahon with 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover champion Fallon Taylor and Cowboy Swagger, RRP managing director Kirsten Green, TCA executive director Erin Crady, and RRP executive director Jen Roytz. Photo by CanterClix
Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) has extended its support of the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) as the title sponsor of the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium through 2021. The RRP announced the postponement of the 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover earlier this summer and will be hosting a “double Makeover” for both 2020 and 2021 entries at the Kentucky Horse Park on October 12-17, 2021.
The TCA Thoroughbred Makeover features trainers, who can compete as professionals, amateurs, juniors and/or in teams, from across North America who have been working throughout the year to prepare recently-retired Thoroughbred racehorses to compete for more than $100,000 in 10 equestrian sports. The 2021 Thoroughbred Makeover event will feature two divisions of competition: one for horses who were eligible and registered for the postponed 2020 event, and the regularly-scheduled 2021 division.
“The work of the Retired Racehorse Project is an integral part of Thoroughbred aftercare,” said Erin Crady, executive director of TCA. “2020 marks the eighth consecutive year that TCA has supported the Thoroughbred Makeover because we believe in the importance of its mission. We must continue to work to create a market for Thoroughbreds once their racing days are over.”
TCA’s support for the Makeover is part of its annual grant-making activity. TCA recently announced that its 2020 grantmaking topped $1 million for the first time in many years. For more than three decades, TCA has worked to support not only Thoroughbred aftercare but also programs that provide health and human services for backstretch and farm workers. This year, 70 non-profits were approved for grants including 45 aftercare organizations, 16 backstretch and farm worker programs, one research organization, five equine-assisted therapy organizations, and three Thoroughbred incentive organizations.
“The 2021 ‘mega-Makeover’ will not only be our largest Makeover in history, but an incredible showcase of Thoroughbred sport horse talent that will draw competitors, horse shoppers and spectators from throughout North America,” said RRP executive director Jen Roytz. “We are incredibly grateful to TCA for seeing and supporting our vision for this exciting event and our greater mission to increase demand for Thoroughbreds after racing in the equestrian world.”
Trainers for the 2020 TCA Thoroughbred Makeover applied at the end of 2019 into early 2020, demonstrating their ability to successfully transition a horse off the track through applications, references and video. This year, 616 trainers were accepted for the 2020 TCA Thoroughbred Makeover, representing 604 unique individual trainers and teams. The majority of these trainers have elected to retain their entries when they were given the option to continue preparing for the 2020 division or roll their entry to the 2021 division.
Each horse and trainer will perform in one or two of the ten disciplines offered and will be scored on performance and progression in training. Featured disciplines include barrel racing, competitive trail, dressage, eventing, field hunter, polo, ranch work, show hunter, show jumper and freestyle (a freeform discipline allowing trainers to demonstrate any skill of their choosing). The top five scorers in each discipline will compete in a Finale competition, and an overall winner, scored by the judges from all ten disciplines, will be crowned Thoroughbred Makeover Champion. The 2020 and 2021 divisions will each have its own Finale and its own Thoroughbred Makeover Champion.
Some aspects of the 2020 TCA Thoroughbred Makeover will be offered virtually this year, including seminars (presented as webinars), the Thoroughbred Aftercare Summit, a virtual 5K, the vendor fair, and the innovative Makeover Master Class training demonstration and discussion. The ASPCA Makeover Marketplace horse sale has transitioned to a listing service this year, and dozens of transitioned and restarted horses originally intended to compete at the 2020 Makeover have been made available by their trainers for purchase or adoption.
The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization working to increase demand for off-track Thoroughbreds in the equestrian world. In addition to producing the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, the organization also publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, hosts off-track Thoroughbred retraining clinics and programming at major horse expos and events around the country, and maintains the online Thoroughbred Sport Tracker (the internet’s only user-driven database tracking second career talent and accomplishments of registered Thoroughbreds). Visit the RRP online at RetiredRacehorseProject.org.
TCA’s mission is to provide a better life for Thoroughbreds, both during and after their racing careers, by supporting qualified repurposing and retirement organizations and by helping the people who care for them. TCA distributes grants to several categories of Thoroughbred-related nonprofits including rehabilitation, retraining, rehoming and retirement organizations; backstretch and farm employee programs; equine-assisted therapy programs; and research organizations. Since its inception in 1990, TCA has granted over $24 million to more than 200 charities. TCA is the charitable arm of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).