The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) and Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) jointly announce today that TCA has returned as the title sponsor of the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, the flagship program of the Retired Racehorse Project. TCA’s commitment to improving the lives and welfare of Thoroughbred racehorses both on and off the track has guided its support of the RRP since 2012.
Designed to serve the RRP’s charitable mission to increase demand for Thoroughbreds beyond racing, the Thoroughbred Makeover is a retraining competition and showcase, featuring trainers from across North America who have worked throughout the year to prepare recently retired Thoroughbred ex-racehorses to compete for more than $100,000 in ten equestrian sports. This year, competition scope has expanded to include a pilot program for recently-retired broodmares exiting the breeding industry.
“The Thoroughbred Makeover has really moved the needle in aftercare by increasing the demand for and value of Thoroughbreds in their post-racing careers,” said Erin Halliwell, executive director of TCA. “TCA is pleased to once again support this important event that has impacted the lives of thousands of Thoroughbreds.”
TCA’s support of the Thoroughbred Makeover is part of its annual grant-making activity. This year, TCA granted over $821,000 to 75 approved organizations. For over 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.
“TCA recognized early on the potential that the RRP had to make a significant change in how we approach aftercare in this country, and we would not be here today, continuing that impact, without the early and continued supported that TCA provided,” said RRP executive director Kirsten Green. “We applaud TCA for recognizing the critical need to fund a variety of aftercare programs that are taking diverse approaches towards our shared goal of ensuring a smooth transition to life beyond racing for Thoroughbreds.”
The Thoroughbred Makeover culminates in a four-day competition as well as a symposium with educational, networking and social opportunities – but the true Makeover process begins in December of the previous year, when the retraining process officially begins on December 1. A total of 551 horses were registered for this year’s competition, and 404 made a final entry. This retention rate is the highest to date, indicating that the Retired Racehorse Project’s educational and support services are working for participating trainers.
With TCA’s support, the Thoroughbred Makeover has impacted over 4,700 horses, representing an estimated $41.1 million in private funds spent to care for the participating horses that are transitioning into riding careers. Since 2015, the RRP has also documented an 94% increase in value of horses upon retirement from racing that participate in the Makeover.
A full schedule of Thoroughbred Makeover events can be found at TheRRP.org.
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 world’s largest and most lucrative retraining competition for recently-retired racehorses, the organization also publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, produces the Master Class retraining clinic series, and presents programming at major horse expos and events around the country. The RRP maintains an educational library of content to empower more equestrians to ride a Thoroughbred.
TCA funds and facilitates the support of Thoroughbreds and 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 $26 million to more than 200 charities. TCA is the charitable arm of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).
Photo: Bethany P Photography