After many hours of nail biting the morning of February 1st, I got the text from Horse Nation editor Kristen Kovatch Bentley that 2018 Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover accepted trainers had been unveiled. For a moment I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to look at the list — after all I had stressed myself to the max about the possibility of not being accepted. Finally, I broke down and pulled up my email to see one titled “Your 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover Application.”
And we were accepted!
794 initial trainers were accepted to compete at the 2018 showcase, a record high for the competition (only 587 were accepted in 2017). That being said, of the 587 accepted last year only 305 were actually able to compete so I am unsure of how this year’s number will be affected once October rolls around. According to a press release from the Thoroughbred Makeover, they expect the final number of entries to be within the 400-500 range.
Amateurs make up 42% of the field and I am thrilled to be part of that representation. Amateurs are a driving force in our industry and I am excited to take this as an opportunity to show that just because I am classified as an amateur does not mean my abilities as a horsewoman are lessened in any way.
There are only fifteen competitors accepted from my home state of Missouri. To my knowledge, the closest competitor to my area is at least three hours away. This gives me the opportunity to shine the spotlight on English riding in southeast Missouri. Fox Run Stables, the barn I call home, is only one of a whopping two riding facilities with an emphasis on English riding in our area. Smack dab in between Memphis, TN and St. Louis, MO, it is my hope that one day southeast Missouri will develop into a growing hunter/jumper hub. Maybe my entry in the Makeover will contribute to that!
For now, Flash’s final disciplines are undecided. I am a jumper rider who swore off hunters forever, but Flash definitely has the movement to hold his own in the hack. Originally I was planning on showing him in the hunters and his secondary discipline being either competitive trail and field hunters. We are going to take it day by day and see where his heart lies and that is where we will focus. I not only want him to be competitive, but most importantly I want him to be happy.
At this time here are 171 people who declared their primary discipline in the hunters, 29 in trail, and 39 in field hunters. Those numbers could vary greatly as horses take further steps in their training and show their trainers where they are most likely to succeed. I haven’t all together sworn off the idea of turning him into a jumper either….
Until now, Flash’s training since the opening date has been light. A wee bit accident prone, he has gotten to enjoy more downtime than expected, but I think it has been good for his four year old brain (by Jockey Club records he is now five, but his physical birthday isn’t until April). Every time I place my foot in the irons he impresses me even more. I cannot wait to see what he has in store, but for now we are just getting to know one another and placing a firm foundation in the basics. I hope to take him to his first show on my birthday at the end of March and show him in the crossrails just to get him adjusted to hauling around, but other than that we have no pressure to meet a certain goal by a deadline.
I am more focused on training a happy, healthy horse than seeing what ribbons are in our future. I think if my focus is right, I will have that and could have a horse who could hold his own in a large class. We just have to take it one step at a time.
T-minus nine months to the Makeover.