The Retired Racehorse Project and the Journey to the Thoroughbred Makeover 2020

Thoroughbreds are some of the most athletic, intelligent, and versatile equine breeds in the world.  Though many associate Thoroughbreds strictly with the racing industry, they can be found in disciplines anywhere from showjumping to western pleasure.  There is no event that showcases them quite like the Thoroughbred Makeover, created by the Retired Racehorse Project and presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America this year, October 7-10, 2020 at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Photo by Thoroughbred Makeover 2019.

The Retired Racehorse Project is an organization that exists to facilitate placement of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses in second careers by increasing demand for them in equestrian sports. Founded by Steuart Pittman, it grew from a small website in 2011 to a much larger event, the national 2013 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium at Pimlico.  26 trainers chronicled their journeys to the Makeover, as they each retrained horses who had learned nothing but racing prior to beginning one of ten featured disciplines.  Makeover growth continued, and the 2015 Makeover presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America in particular was overwhelmingly successful with nearly 200 horses competing in ten disciplines after less than ten months of training.

This year, in 2020, 616 entries have been accepted.

The 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover competitors are professionals, juniors, amateurs, or teams with off-track Thoroughbreds, each with 10 months or less of retraining.  There are three days of competition in 10 different disciplines, vying for a share of over $135,000 in prize money. Thousands of spectators watch the competition online and in person.  At the end, one overall winner will be crowned Thoroughbred Makeover Champion.  This is the only national gathering of the organizations, trainers, and farms dedicated to serving these horses when they retire from racing.

Photo by Thoroughbred Makeover 2019.

The action will take place across these disciplines:

  • Barrel Racing
  • Competitive Trail
  • Dressage
  • Eventing
  • Field Hunters
  • Freestyle
  • Polo
  • Ranch Work
  • Show Hunters
  • Show Jumpers

As training goes underway, we have teamed up with four bloggers, each their own unique stories, to chronicle their journeys to the Makeover in October.  We can’t wait to ride along with their Thoroughbreds.

To learn more about the Retired Racehorse Project, click here.  For further information on the Thoroughbred Makeover (including spectating to cheer on your favorite horse/rider combinations!) click here.