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Posts Tagged ‘Anna Morgan Ford’

Photo by Erika N. Walsh

Photo by Erika N. Walsh

We’re counting down the days to the 2016 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, organized by the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP), a nonprofit dedicated to the placement of ex-racehorses in second careers, and sponsored by Thoroughbred Charities of America.

You can join thousands of others who believe that every Thoroughbred deserves a chance to win at life at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, October 27-30, as top trainers engage in the process of transitioning ex-racehorses to second careers. The Thoroughbred Makeover serves as the only national gathering of the organizations, trainers, and farms dedicated to serving OTTBs and features educational clinics and demonstrations, as well as the Makeover Horse Sale and the $100,000 Thoroughbred Makeover competition.

The 2016 Makeover features over 300 Thoroughbreds that began working with trainers from across the country after the first of the year and who will compete in up to two of ten equestrian disciplines to showcase their talents and trainability.

“The Thoroughbred Makeover is a unique opportunity on so many levels,” says one of the event’s judges, TSB author and president of EquestrianCoach.com Bernie Traurig. “First, it’s a wonderful way to see firsthand the great qualities the Thoroughbred has to offer for so many disciplines. There are over 300 OTTBs competing and demonstrating their versatility in a wide array of sports. Second, for those interested in purchasing an OTTB, many, perhaps half, are available to be tried and purchased. David Hopper and I are judging the jumpers, and we are both really excited to see some of these great Thoroughbreds.”

As supporters of the Retired Racehorse Project, TSB is proud to have a number of authors joining Bernie Traurig (creator of DEVELOPING PERFECT POSITION and other DVDs) in this year’s Makeover. BEYOND THE TRACK author Anna Morgan Ford’s OTTB adoption organization New Vocations always has a significant presence at the event, and both Denny Emerson (HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD) and Yvonne Barteau (THE DRESSAGE HORSE MANIFESTO) worked with OTTBs with the competition in mind.

 

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“I did not know of the RRP Thoroughbred Makeover challenge until my friend Lisa Diersen of the Equus Film Festival mentioned it to me,” recounts Barteau. “Since I spent seven years on racetracks, working with Standardbred and Thoroughbred racehorses, and also a few years training ex-racehorses, it seemed like a good thing for me to do.

“I started working with SeventyTwo (‘Indy’) in February,” she says. “I found him a bit aloof at first and also somewhat challenging. He likes a good argument and will try to drag you into one if you are not careful. He is also funny, charming, and extremely clever. He learns things, (good or bad), super fast, so I have had to stay ahead of him in the training game.

“I am having such fun with Indy, I plan on keeping him and continuing to train him up the levels in dressage as well as making an exhibition horse out of him. I don’t know how he will be when I take him to a new environment (the Makeover), so however he acts there will be just part of our journey together. I’m looking forward to it either way!”

Don’t missing seeing Indy and all the other winning ex-racehorses as they show off what they’ve learned over the last few months and compete to be named America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred! Tickets for the 2016 Thoroughbred Makeover are on sale now (CLICK HERE).

Watch Yvonne and Indy working together in this short video:

 

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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Over the last 20 years I have ridden a number of OTTBs (off-the-track Thoroughbreds), but most recently I have been riding an absolutely stunning and incredibly earnest gelding named “Rocky,” owned by Gayle Davis—a friend and fellow event rider. This enormous chestnut won his Advanced division at Millbrook Horse Trials with US Olympian and TSB author Phillip Dutton in the irons in 2012, right before Gayle purchased him.

Most spectators are surprised when they hear Rocky came off the track, as he floats across the ground like a Warmblood and his conformation wouldn’t lead you to believe he’s all Thoroughbred. Riding Rocky has truly been a treat—I am incredibly grateful to be able to ride such a naturally gifted athlete. He might be the most powerful horse I have ever sat on, and when you combine that sheer strength with his sincere attitude and wealth of knowledge, you can’t help but smile as you glide across the ground!

TSB Publications Assistant Lila Gendal on the OTTB Rocky.

TSB Publications Assistant Lila Gendal on the OTTB Rocky.

My positive experience with Rocky and with the other OTTBs I’ve ridden means that I find the mission of the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) all the more valuable. RRP is a non-profit organization that kick-started in 2010 when a small group of devoted Thoroughbred enthusiasts came together with a clear vision in mind: To promote ex-racehorses by offering them a second chance at succeeding in life beyond the track. This was made possible by increasing demand for them in a wide range of equestrian sports, and supporting those farms, trainers, and organizations that helped transition them.

Shortly after RRP began, the Thoroughbred Makeover Project debuted in 2013 and grew exponentially within the next two years attracting crowds, thoroughbred advocates, equestrians and all sorts of individuals from across the country, as they all gathered at the Kentucky Horse Park. The 2015 event was a huge success with its $100,000 in prize money for close to 200 horses that competed in ten disciplines with less than ten months of training. The 2016 Makeover continues to evolve, adding more educational opportunities to its program, as well as building in more time for potential OTTB buyers to evaluate the horses that are being showcased.

At Trafalgar Square Books (www.horseandriderbooks.com), we wholeheartedly support the retraining and rehoming of OTTBs, and we are proud to sponsor the Thoroughbred Makeover but to have a number of authors who are actively involved with RRP and the Makeover as well.

BETHTRIn 2008, TSB worked with Anna Morgan Ford, Program Director for New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program and winner of the 2015 Equus Foundation/USEF Humanitarian Award, to create the book BEYOND THE TRACK. Ford’s book (written with Amber Heintzberger) has become a trusted resource of those entering into partnership with OTTBs. New Vocations was founded at Ford’s family farm in 1992 and now has five locations in Ohio, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. The organization rehabilitates and rehomes over 400 ex-racehorses each year. (Read an excerpt about choosing the right OTTB from Beyond the Track that appeared in Practical Horseman Magazine by clicking HERE.)

ModEventwPhilDut-300Leading US event rider Phillip Dutton is the author of the TSB bestselling MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON (written with Amber Heintzberger) and is known for his ability to rehabilitate ex-racehorses and turn them into successful event horses. (He details the stories of a couple of his well-known OTTBs in a special section in his book.) Currently Dutton—who was just named to his sixth Olympic team, representing the US in Rio de Janeiro this year—has several OTTBs in his barn, one of which is “Icabad Crane,” the horse that won the $10,000 America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred at the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover in 2014. (Watch a free “How to Be a Successful Eventer at Any Level” webinar with Dutton HERE.)

GoodRiders-web-300This year two TSB authors are retraining OTTBs with the Makeover specifically in mind: USEA Hall-of-Fame eventer Denny Emerson, author of HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD has two OTTB mares, “Frosty” and “Raven,” that he is working with in preparation for the Thoroughbred Makeover this fall. Emerson keeps his large Facebook audience up to date on what’s happening with these two exciting young mares—you can follow along HERE.

DrHorseManifesto300Yvonne Barteau, author of THE DRESSAGE HORSE MANIFESTO, is participating in this year’s Thoroughbred Makeover Project on her horse “Indy,” a 15.3-hand Thoroughbred gelding. Barteau has trained over 10 horses to the Grand Prix level and has won numerous USDF Horse of the Year titles, but before she was a Grand Prix dressage rider, she got her start on the track. Beginning in high school, she worked—first as a groom and then as a trainer—at harness-and flat-racing tracks up and down the East Coast. You can keep up with Indy’s progress by watching the wonderful video journals Barteau regularly posts HERE.

Stay tuned over the next few months as we touch base with our TSB authors who are participating in RRP’s Thoroughbred Makeover Project, bringing you highlights and an inside look at their experiences!

-Lila Gendal, Publications Assistant

 

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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CLICK IMAGE to watch the “painting racehorse” on the Today Show!

You may have seen our previous post about Metro Meteor, the “painting racehorse,” and how his exploration of his artistic side is helping to fund New Vocations Racehorse Adoption (CLICK HERE TO READ FULL STORY).

Metro Meteor made his primetime television debut this morning as he was profiled on the Today Show (CLICK HERE TO WATCH).

Metro’s paintings have become a sensation, with a waiting list of fans. Selling for up to $500, the paintings have brought in $20,000 in the four months since Metro started producing them.

“He’s our most popular artist,” gallery owner Peggy Rock told the Today Show’s Jill Rappaport. “I just shipped one of the smaller paintings to Japan. We probably shipped to at least 20 or 30 different states. There is a real contemporary flair to them.’’

Half of the proceeds from the paintings go toward Metro’s medical bills, and the other 50 percent go to New Vocations—a wonderful program that offers retiring racehorses a safe-haven, rehabilitation, and continued education through placement in experienced, caring homes. The New Vocations focus is on adoption versus retirement, believing that each horse deserves to have an individual home and purpose. Close to 4,000 retired Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds have been placed in qualified homes through New Vocations’ efforts since its inception, including 429 ex-racehorses that were placed in 2011. These horses have come from 18 different states and have been adopted by families throughout the country.

BETHTRNew Vocations Program Director Anna Ford expanded the organization’s reach when she wrote BEYOND THE TRACK: RETRAINING THE THOROUGHBRED FROM RACEHORSE TO RIDING HORSE, alongside cowriter Amber Heintzberger. Their marvelous book provides the most thorough, clear, step-by-step system for successfully transitioning ex-racehorses to new careers, providing thousands of horses (and their lucky owners) the opportunity to enjoy each other in both recreation and sport. In addition, a portion of the proceeds of the sale of each book goes to support the New Vocations program.

“Metro Meteor has done more for retired racehorses than any ambassador,’’ Ron Krajewski, his owner and “artist’s assistant,” says. “He is spreading the message that you just don’t discard them when their racing careers are over. They can all do something.”

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On June 15, “The Rail” horse-racing blogger Leslie Knauf described how two sports perhaps perceived far apart on the equestrian spectrum—racing and dressage—have in fact long been interwoven.

“The highly contained nature of dressage,” Knauf writes, “with its collection and extension of the horse’s three gaits — walk, trot and canter — within a relatively small arena would appear to be the antithesis of racing — galloping at top speed around a vast oval — but its fundamental principles of rhythm, looseness, contact, impulsion, straightness and collection can provide a solid foundation for all forms of equestrian sports, including racing, where it already has had Triple Crown implications.”

This was news to me! Sure, I know the stories of ex-racehorses that have gone on to successful dressage careers, even at the highest levels (of course most notably Hilda Gurney’s Olympic mount Keen). But has dressage actually been used to prepare a Thoroughbred for competition on the track?

Knauf goes on to explain: “More than 35 years ago, the 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew was a gangly, unraced 2-year-old with significant coordination and conformational issues. Paula Turner, then the wife of Seattle Slew’s trainer Billy Turner, reportedly used her previous training and competitive experience in dressage and three-day eventing to help Seattle Slew develop the impulsion and self-carriage the young colt needed to overcome his physical challenges as he embarked on his career as a racehorse.”

It would appear the 1970s were the heyday for this dressage-racing integration! And with the winning examples provided, it certainly appears to have been a formula that worked.

I do think that there is today more awareness regarding the need for retraining those Thoroughbreds that do not “make it” as racehorses for one reason or another. Programs such as New Vocations Racehorse Adoption, directed by TSB author Anna Ford, go to great lengths to prepare these horses for the new homes and new “jobs” that can secure them a long and healthy future. (Anna Ford’s book BEYOND THE TRACK is a wonderful resource for those considering adoption of an off-the-track Thoroughbred.)

However, it would seem that there are also great possibilities for racing trainers to more actively incorporate dressage principles as they prepare young stock for the track. This kind of “cross-training” is surely not so farfetched as it seems.

Perhaps Leslie Knauf’s point, made toward the end of her New York Times’ piece, should be more boldly stated, and yes, repeated: “…the paradigm for racehorse training already is starting to shift toward incorporating fundamentals of other competitive horse sports, including dressage, as part of their racing training, which promises the potential for an even brighter future for racing’s most important players. The odds are heavily in favor of all involved — especially the horses — coming out as winners.”

—Rebecca Didier, Senior Editor

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TSB author Anna Morgan Ford is featured in the July issue of Practical Horseman, available now.

Anna Morgan Ford, Program Director at New Vocations Racehorse Adoption and author of BEYOND THE TRACK (with equine journalist Amber Heintzberger) is featured in a two-part series in the July and August issues of Practical Horseman magazine. The articles, by Kim F. Miller, are based on the techniques Anna uses to prepare off-the-track Thoroughbreds (OTTBs) for a new life and a new career at New Vocations. In addition, you can find excerpts from Anna’s bestselling book BEYOND THE TRACK on Equisearch.com.

As Triple-Crown season winds down and racing no longer dominates prime time, many of us forget about the amazing Thoroughbreds who train and race hard during the early years of their life, often to find themselves “retired” from the track—due to injury or poor record—at a young age. These horses are often capable, athletic, and sane, and more than ready to enjoy life with you on the trail or in the competitive arena. Anna Ford’s book BEYOND THE TRACK makes it possible for any compassionate horse person to make an OTTB his or her next riding partner, and to successfully and safely transition the horse to life after the home stretch.

The first part of “From Track to the Arena,” featuring Anna Ford  and covering turnout, nutrition, leading, and ground manners, is in the July issue of Practical Horseman, which is available now wherever magazines are sold.

BEYOND THE TRACK is available from the TSB bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

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Barry Irwin's vocal criticism of trends in US racehorse training reminds us of what we need to do to ease a transition to a drug-free life when Thoroughbreds retire.

It was with keen interest I scanned the piece in the New York Times yesterday on Team Valor International chief Barry Irwin’s blunt criticism of US Thoroughbred trainers. “At the heart of Irwin’s broad swipe at trainers,” writes Joe Drape, “was the use of medication — drugs given to keep horses running, to make them run faster, to make them run through pain or infirmity.”

Legislation has only just been introduced to limit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of flat racing, and the United States is admittedly behind the times when it comes to control of these substances. “Major players in the industry have acknowledged that medication rules in the United States are out of step with Europe, Hong Kong and Australia, where horse racing thrives,” says Draper, “and that it is time for a significant overhaul.”

The issue first came to my attention when I worked on our TSB book for transitioning and retraining “retired” Thoroughbreds—BEYOND THE TRACK by Anna Morgan Ford (Program Director for New Vocations Racehorse Adoption) with equine journalist and photographer Amber Heintzberger. In the chapter on common lameness and health issues seen in OTTBs, Ford and Heintzberger included a section on the aftereffects of anabolic steroids, as they can remain in a horse’s system for months even after administration has ceased, and negative side effects can last a year or even longer. It is of the utmost importance that those adopting retired racehorses or providing foster homes prior to finding them permanent living situations be aware of this issue and manage the OTTB carefully until enough time has passed for the horse to no longer feel the steroids’ effects.

According to Ford, there are several things you can do to ease an ex-racehorse’s transition to a life “off” steroids:

1  Quickly, but strategically, incorporate regular turnout in the horse’s life (a mild sedative may be necessary for the first few sessions), and if possible, introduce a confident, friendly same-sex turnout companion that remains the same for several months.

2  Handle any horse coming off steroids as you would a stallion—be extremely conscious of basic safety measures when grooming, handling, and working around him/her in the stall, and use a chain over the nose when leading.

3  Be sure to adjust the horse’s diet so he/she is consuming enough calories to gain weight as he/she loses the extra muscling associated with steroid use.

4  Above all, be patient and give the horse lots of time to withdraw from the drugs gently.

BEYOND THE TRACK, the book Liz Harris—former Executive Director of Thoroughbred Charities of America and current Vice President and Executive Director of Churchill Downs Incorporated—called “breakthrough racehorse literature” and “the ultimate in training manuals for anyone thinking about adopting an ex-racehorse,” is available at the TSB bookstore, where shipping in the United States is always FREE.

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