October 23-25, 2015 saw nearly 200 former Racehorses with a maximum of 9 months of re-training compete at the Makeover Challenge. The Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY hosted this amazing event which formerly had been at Pimlico Race Track in Maryland. This year, the entries were encouraged from all over the US and Canada, resulting in over 300 original nominees.
Every Canadian participant posted outstanding results in their field of competition, against some impressive pedigrees and professional status riders.
Ruth Crawford-R(ON)/Candace Sirianni-O/Perfect Suspect : 15th/27 Dressage
Nadine De Koning (MB)/Cash On The Run: 10th/43 Show Jumper; 22nd/28 Show Hunter
Katie De Wolf(ON)/Backstretch Babe: 9th/43 Show Jumper; 13th/38 Eventing
Amy Jackovich-R(ON)/Sharon McMaster-O/Cavalier's Destiny: 14th/28 Show Hunter; 21st/27 Dressage
Tik Maynard(BC)/Mr. Pleasantree: 1st/25 Freestyle; 5th/38 Eventing
Hannah Nordstrom(ON)/JP Express: 25th/38 Eventing
Lindsay Partridge(ON)/Lionofwallstreet: 2nd/12 Competitive Trail; 10th/25 Freestyle
Lindsay Partridge(ON)/Soar: 1st/12 Competitive Trail; 3rd/25 Freestyle
Katherine Patterson(ON)/Look At My Gizmo: 11th/28 Show Hunter
Hilary Popiel(ON)-R/Brenda Lamb(QC)-O/FourF's And A D: 4th/8 Field Hunter; 37th/43 Show Jumper
Valerie Topp(ON)/Ojibway Signal: 9th/27 Dressage; 17th/38 Eventing
Andrea Volasko(ON)-R/Shannon Smith(ON)-O/Realbigwig: 6th/28 Show Hunter; 7th/38 Eventing
Ontario Sires were VERY well represented at the RRP 2015 Makeover Challenge...
Trajectory.....SOAR (America's Most Wanted Thoroughbred) Lindsey Partridge O/T
One Way Love...Perfect Suspect - 2015 RRP Thoroughbred Makeover Participant, Candace Sirianni -O; Ruth Crawford- T
Old Forester....TC Tucker, Olivia Green O/T (Michigan)
Niigon....Ojibway Signal O/T Val Topp
Giant Gizmo..... Look At My Gizmo-2015 RRP Competitor, Katherine Patterson, O/T
Mobil...Cavaliers Destiny, Sharon McMaster-O, Amy Jackovich-T
Where's the Ring....Legal Ring, Nicole Valeri O/T (Pennsylvania)
North Light....Northern Ransom, Kim Waite O/T (Ohio)
Seven Canadian Bred, Two Manitoba Bred and 7 Ontario Sired Horses for a Grand Total of 16 Canadian Bred Horses participated in the 2015 RRP Makeover Challenge!
As the ultimate Achievement, Lindsey Partridge of Pontypool, ON and her Ontario bred mare, Soar were named "America's Most Wanted Thoroughbred" by a panel of judges that included Denny Emerson, Bernie Taurig and Graham Motion.
In addition, an Ambassador's Award was voted on by the public. Four of our Canadian participants finished in the top 15 of the voting: Tik Maynard, 2nd; Lindsey Partridge, 3rd; Andrea Volasko, 9th; Val Topp, 15th. They inspired support and participation from fans for their goals and accomplishments in the Makeover process.
It was my privilege to volunteer on all three days of the Makeover Challenge. On the first day, I was recruited to judge an obstacle on the Competitive Trail course. On the second day it was an honour to be a Dressage Ring Steward and work with Jan Roehl, Executive Director of the Thoroughbred Horse Show Association. On day 3, I was installed at an entry point and spoke to many OTTB advocates about their goals, interests and roles in the Industry.
Because I believe rescue is not the answer to the critical issues surrounding ex-racehorses finding purpose and alternate careers, I have founded an organization named Ontario Retired Racehorse Program (ORRP) with the goal and mission of Rehabilitating, Re-training and Re-marketing the Ex-Racehorse in Ontario through engagement, education and participation with the riding public on the exceptional qualities of former racehorses in every equestrian pursuit. The fact that our Canadian participants in the RRP Makeover Challenge were such stalwart ambassadors for the OTTB and have generated considerable interest and news, is encouraging and rewarding. As the Leaders of the Thoroughbred breeding Industry in Ontario, it is my wish that the CTHS will acknowledged and herald their successes as a positive for the Racing Industry.
As an addendum, Two of our Makeover Challenge Participants will be competing in the TB line and performance classes at the Royal Winter Fair and Lindsey Partridge and Soar were invited to participate and demonstrate during the entire schedule in the "Spirit of the Horse" Exhibition. Their impact has been phenomenal and inspiring as she daily achieves more and more enthusiastic response to the performances of her little grey Ontario Sired Thoroughbred. I attach a video she made of one of her evening performances, which typifies the qualities of "America's Most Wanted Thoroughbred".