Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Inc. had the privilege of taking part in a history making event on Saturday, July 14, 2012. We are one of the recipients of the funds raised at the Totally Thoroughbred Show created and hosted by Maryland Racing , more specifically by Georgeanne Hale, Maryland Racing Secretary and Stacie Clark of Adena Springs retirement program for Frank Stronach’s horses.
The funds will help to support the momentous task of rehoming retired Maryland Thoroughbred racehorses, but, more importantly, the event itself has confronted and disproved many of the stereotypical perceptions the public has about Thoroughbreds, especially ex-racehorses.
Yes, while at the track, being conditioned to win races, Thoroughbreds are on their toes and highly reactive. Aren’t they supposed to be? That’s the point. However, when welcomed into the show or pleasure community, they are a pleasure to be around and work nonstop to give their new roles everything they’ve got.
The Totally Thoroughbred Show drew hundreds of people with hundreds of horses. No one anticipated that this show would draw so many competitors, and because of its unexpected size, there were some glitches in the organization, and often the wait times were long. I make this point not to point out flaws in the show—it was a tremendous success and all the volunteers gave their all—no, I make this point because of the overall peaceful atmosphere that prevailed throughout the day. People leisurely strolled about the infield on their horses or stood, talking and enjoying the day while their horses “hung-out” together, resting and swatting flies. There was a sense of pride in being there on their beloved Thoroughbreds. It was a victory just to be at this place at this time–you had to have a Thoroughbred to do it.
This was the opportunity for Maryland Horsemen to see the value in providing a dignified retirement for their horses. Maryland racing has received more positive publicity from this one day than it has in the last ten years and it was a gift from our retired Thoroughbreds. Curious race trainers, breeders and owners attended to see if any of their past racehorses would be at the show. This was a reunion of sorts and at the same time an opportunity for the show and race world to stand as one for their horses.
As I looked down the track, trailers lined both sides. Horses stood quietly in their trailers or tied to the outside–one even stood under an awning, no drama there. The lead line classes were really special: small, adorable children sitting happily and proudly on a “crazy Thoroughbred” as they were being led before the judges—not a hoof out of place even by ex-racers, walking on the infield of a race track.
The hack classes were amazing. There were so many horses in the ring at one time that it was mind boggling. I don’t know how the judges kept track, let alone selected a winner. They did it ,though, and my hat is off to them. These packed classes were still more evidence that our wonderful retired athletes are far from crazy…still not a hoof out of place…by any of them.
Did these horses know the world would be watching? That the “nay-sayers” would be carefully seeking the evidence to back up the premise that these horses are crazy, ding dongs. Was each horse minding his behavior knowing the welfare of the herd was at stake? Doubtful, albeit a nice theory. In reality, these horses are happy to be in the company of others horses, and they love to work. They love to be admired. They love their humans.
The Totally Thoroughbred Show went a long way to highlight the Thoroughbred, the horses themselves accurately represented who they are. So, the next time someone comments that Thoroughbreds are crazy, difficult, or too hard to work with, invite this person to the next Totally Thoroughbred Show—I’m going to!
The Thoroughbreds there said it better than I ever could have and those individuals who worked so hard to put on this show, gave the horses a voice they never had before.