In just a few days, nearly 400 Thoroughbred ex-racehorses will begin competing at the Kentucky Horse Park (Lexington, KY) in the 2017 Thoroughbred Makeover, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America. The competition and educational symposium runs from October 5-8 with 22 trainers hailing from Maryland. There are 341 trainers in total competing, the largest field of entries so far.

Although the majority of the trainers are classified as “professional,” 13% of this year’s entries are “juniors” showing how trainable these horses can be. One such junior Marylander who jumped on the Thoroughbred bandwagon a few years ago is Chloe Bellerive from Keedysville. A hunter and jumper rider, Chloe has been showing Thoroughbreds since 2012. She is currently a Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP) Junior Ambassador and shows two ex-racehorses, Elect Me and He’s Mine. She has seen a rise in Thoroughbreds as mounts in the show ring from the local 4-H level through the A-circuit, especially for juniors!

Make sure to follow The Equiery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram from updates from the RRP Makeover and in the meantime, read below a brief essay on the Thoroughbred as a junior show mount by Chloe.

by Chloe Bellerive, TIP Junior Ambassador

With the growing popularity of Thoroughbred retraining programs across the county, more and more Thoroughbreds are being introduced back into the hunter and jumper show ring. After attending a few horse shows this past summer while home from college, including my local County Fair as well as the USHJA Emerging Athletes Program, I saw just how greatly the numbers of Thoroughbreds participating and competing have grown. Not only have they grown at the local horse shows over the past few years, but the number of Thoroughbreds competing on the A circuit have also sky rocketed.

During the USHJA Emerging Athletes Program at the Virginia Horse Center, I was able to ride my talented Thoroughbred who exceeded all expectations. When I first participated in the EAP Clinic in 2014, I was one of the only riders on a Thoroughbred. This past year however, almost half of the horses participating were Thoroughbreds. Each and every one of them held their own against the Warmbloods. It was truly amazing to see just how talented and willing the breed is, even though they are initially bred for a totally different sport.

At the Washington County Fair this summer, every horse in my division was a Thoroughbred. It’s refreshing to see 4-H riders using off-the-track Thoroughbreds as 4-H projects. When I got my first Thoroughbred way back in 2012, I was the only 4-Her with a Thoroughbred in my county and one of the only ones at the Maryland State Fair. I was able to show him in both Western classes as well as the English classes, which I think helped show how versatile Thoroughbreds can be to my fellow 4-Hers. Over the years, I’ve watched more and more 4-Hers buy a Thoroughbred as a 4-H horse, which has been amazing to see. I truly hope to see the numbers continually grow in my area.

I hope the number of Thoroughbreds competing both on the local circuit as well as the rated circuit continue to increase. It’s always nice to see the Upperville Back to Track Hack filled with Thoroughbreds, and the Thoroughbred’s Hunter and Jumper divisions filling with more and more entries. The Thoroughbred Incentive Program has had a huge impact on the retraining of the OTTB’s, and I am proud to be able to represent such a wonderful organization.

From the track, to let down into the hearts of 4H’ers and anyone willing to give them a chance, they will take you to local shows, county and state fairs, clinics and AA Circuit shows. The Thoroughbred horse continues to prove their heart is unbeatable!