Journey to the RRP Thoroughbred Makeover 2021: Lindy Gutman’s October Update

The journey to the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover continues — now slated for 2021. Read on for our eighth update from Lindy Gutman.

Yesterday, I started working on this blog about my journey to the now-postponed Makeover.  I started with a quote from Abraham Lincoln and went so far off on a tangent that I’m going to have to use that blog for something else!  Maybe Jumper Nation will want it anyway…I’ll have to ask…

[*Editor’s Note: Hmm…we’ll give it a read! Sounds interesting!]

So, I begin again this morning.  I left you last month with a promise to update you on Talk Show Man’s first hunter derby and completion of our Real Rider Cup video, so let’s start there.  

Photo by Brittany Sommer.

In September, my trainer had asked me if she could ride Riley in a local $1,000 hunter derby.  He was the only horse that she competed that day, and it was only his second show.  It made me feel so happy that it was my horse that she wanted to ride!  We entered him at 2’6”, as that’s really as big as he’s been schooling at home.  He was nothing short of spectacular.  I’m sad to say that I didn’t get video because I can’t watch a round and video, but he had a cheap rail down.  Turns out, he had to pee and just dropped one hind foot a split second too soon, early in the course.  He did all of the handy turns and jumped all of the high options, much of the day in the pouring rain.  He was so perfect (and so was she) that since she couldn’t win the class, she won best adult rider for the day.  Can you say “perfect knees?”

Photo by Brittany Sommer.

Later that week, I picked up my silks and we set my Real Rider Cup course.  The course and its measurements had been sent to us, in advance, so that we were all jumping the same course. Same oxer placement, same Liverpool, etc… This was my first entire 2’6” course in at least a dozen years.  My goal had been to be able to do a 2’6” course for the Makeover and I’d been a little worried, when entering, that I wouldn’t be ready, especially with a green horse.  Karma intervened and, on the very week that we’d have been in Kentucky competing at the Makeover, I did it!  I jumped a 2’6” course.  Even better, so far, Talk Show Man and I have raised $1,860 for Off the Track Thoroughbred aftercare charities!

Here’s the link to my Real Rider Cup bio video:

Here’s the link to my Real Rider Cup competition course video:

We’ve been continuing to hunt once a week or so.  Our hunt holds a “Vixen Chase”, an all ladies foxhunt.  It’s a blast! We’ve also been regulars on the local Paper Chase circuit, where Riley has been an absolute STAR!  He’s such a fun horse to ride.

Photo by Alyssa Murphree.

Possibly, the best thing that happened after my last blog is that a complete stranger reached out to me about my journey and how to do this herself.  I ended last month’s blog with this “Please, reach out if you’re thinking of retraining your first OTTB.  I’d love to help from a rookie amateur standpoint.  I can talk about Thoroughbreds all day!”  It happened!  An amateur from Iowa sent me a private message on Facebook.  We messaged back and forth a few times, and then we spoke on the phone.  

I’ve never been a particularly goal oriented rider.  This has journey has really changed that for me.  This horse has also changed that for me. I don’t think that I ever understood how much of a game changer a certain horse could be until I found one underneath me.  Years ago, I had a horse that “hunted” the jumps.  When I say that, I’m talking about a horse that lands from one jump and sort of “asks” you where the next one is.  One that likes to jump that much.  Talk Show Man is one of those.  He’s also very athletic and talented, so I’ve set a new goal.  I’m going to tell you what it is, but I’m not making any promises…

My goal is to be able to jump the 3’ hunter course at the 2021 Mega Makeover.  I’ve never jumped a 3’ course before.  In fact, I’ve only jumped a 3’ single jump maybe once or twice in my life…yes, that includes in my younger life. To that end, we’ve been going back to the basics and working on my equitation.  Until yesterday, I hadn’t jumped in three weeks.  We only jumped yesterday in advance of a show on Saturday and I needed to practice.  My posture and release really need some work.  Can you say, “up, up, down, up, up, down?!?”

My sister purchased a Makeover prospect early last week.  She restarted an OTTB in her early 20’s, but has been doing less riding, of late.  She figures that this is the year, since I’ll be going with a 2020 horse and have a space in my trailer.  He’s a cool dude, and he’s little and young.  If she doesn’t get accepted, it’s okay.  She’s going to have a nice horse.  His name is Winner, and while he wasn’t one on the track, he will be in his second career as a do-everything horse.  I asked her today if I could ride him a day or two a week, after December 1st.  We need to keep him Makeover eligible.  She said yes.

Photo by Tammie J. Monaco.

Upcoming, Riley and I have got a lot of foxhunting to do.  Opening formal meet is the first Saturday in November.  We’ve got Paper Chases most Sundays.  (Disclaimer – I do have two horses; this is not all on Riley!) 

“A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.” — Joe Vitale

About Lindy

Lindy Gutman lives in Westminster, MD with her husband, Adam, two hounds, a mini pig, and three Off the Track Thoroughbreds.  She describes herself as an “amateur’s amateur” and has ridden, in some capacity, most of her 51 years. She balances a full time job in sales with foxhunting and showing hunters at the terrifying, towering height of 2’3”-2’6.”  The Thoroughbred Makeover is her loftiest goal to date. Talk Show Man is her first restart project.