Trainer Applications Now Open for 2019 $100K Thoroughbred Makeover

If you’ve ever considered competing in the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover, 2019 is your year! Trainer applications opened over the weekend, with an entry deadline of Jan. 15, 2019. All accepted trainers will be announced February 1.

Now in its fifth year, the Makeover, which is presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America, has ponied up $100,000 in prize money, in addition to the incredible opportunity to introduce an ex-racehorse into his new career. Next year’s Makeover will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park on October 2-5, 2019.

The competition gets bigger and bigger each year. This is its fifth annual edition of the current format and will include educational seminars, a sponsor fair, the Makeover Marketplace horse sale, the Makeover Master Class featuring demonstrations and insight from leading trainers, and live streaming of the top competitions from each division.

Detailed information is available at the website but here’s a fast and dirty guide:

How do I apply to be a Makeover trainer?

The Makeover is open to all members of RPP so if you aren’t already you’ll need to join. Membership is $45 a year and has several perks including a one-year subscription to Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, a copy of Retired Racehorse Resource Directory, free or discounted admission to RPP events including the Thoroughbred Makeover, discounts from sponsors and other benefits.

The next step is filling out an online trainer application, which asks for competition highlights, references, and videos of your riding skills. The application window is open through Jan. 15, 2019.

There’s a $300 entry fee; if not accepted the fee will be returned minus a $25 processing fee.

What is the Team entry? 

Introduced in 2019 with success, RRP now offers a team entry in all disciplines. Teams are treated as a trainer status, just as professional or amateur would be. The team entry is a great option for groups of riders who have shared in the process of preparing a horse for the Makeover.

Teams will compete in the same divisions as individual entries and will be eligible for the same prize money allocation. Teams must be made of at least three individuals.

Is my OTTB eligible?

The Makeover is open to Jockey Club registered horses (lip tattoo or JC microchip required) that raced or had a published work after July 1, 2017. They must not have begun training for a second career before Dec. 1, 2018 other than a maximum of 15 allowable rides or training sessions that introduce skills specific to non-racing careers. Some trainers will already have horses identified and others will begin a search after they are approved. Trainers can contract with owners or acquire the horse themselves.

What does it cost? 

There’s a $300 entry fee for one discipline; if not accepted the fee will be returned minus a $25 processing fee. Other expenses, such as multi-discipline cross entries and stabling at the competition, are outlined here.

What does the Makeover competition for show hunters, jumpers or field hunters entail? 

Format for show hunters: Horses will be scheduled in groups of no more than 12 based on course height. Horses will jump two over fences rounds in a rotation determined at the in-gate then return to be judged on the flat
in a group. Each horse will jump two straightforward show hunter courses comprised of eight fences. Riders may elect to jump the courses set at 2’, 2’6” or 3’. Height selections will be made with discipline selections six weeks before the competition. Trainers should select the height that best demonstrates the quality and progress of their training. The two primary jumping rounds must be performed at the same height and will be ridden in a rotation of trips as determined at the in-gate.

Following the two over fences rounds, horses will be judged on the flat in groups no larger than 12 at the walk, trot, and canter both ways of the ring.

Show hunter finale: The top five scoring horses will perform over fences in the Covered Arena during the Finale. The Finale round will be performed at the height chosen by the Trainer on the evening before the Finale.

Format for field hunters: In order to ensure safety and proper hunt field etiquette, all Trainers wishing to enter in the Field Hunter division must provide a letter from a Masters of Foxhounds Association-recognized hunt stating that the Trainer has fairly hunted within the last two years. The Field Hunter test is broken into three parts over two days: the under saddle, the individual test and the mock hunt. Courses will be comprised of cross-country portables of natural construction similar to those found in the hunt field and may vary in height, not to exceed 3’.

Field hunter finale: The top five horses will perform in the Covered Arena demonstrating the skills required of a field hunter. Horses will jump individually and may be asked to perform other tasks specific to the work of a
field hunter.

Format for show jumpers: Riders will select a maximum jump height of 2’6”, 3’ or 3’3”. Height selections will be made with discipline selections six weeks before the competition. The test includes four parts: flat work, gymnastics and two rounds of jumping.

For flat work each horse will  enter the arena at a trot, halt, and salute the judges. They will then proceed to perform a simple flatwork pattern. Immediately at the conclusion of flat work, riders will trot through
the following two gymnastics one time each:
a) Three ground poles set 4’6” apart followed by a small crossrail set nine feet from the third ground pole
b) A single ground pole followed by a cross-rail nine feet beyond, followed by an ascending oxer 18’ beyond, set at the maximum height of the round to be jumped.

Immediately after the second gymnastic exercise, riders will canter a show jump course of between eight and twelve fences. Height will be 2’6”, 3’, or 3’3” as selected by the rider in advance of the competition. This course will not be ridden for time. After a break of no more than 45 seconds riders will canter a second show jump course set at the same height as the first. This course may present turning or adjustability questions typical of a jump-off course and will be ridden for optimum time

Finale for show jumpers: The top five horses will do two jumping rounds (a regular and jumpoff round) in the Covered Arena before the judges. The height will be chosen by the Trainer on the evening before the Finale.

What happens after the Makeover is over?

Owners can choose to keep their horses at the end of the process or offer them for sale. The Makeover Horse Sale is not an auction but an opportunity for buyers and sellers to do business in a setting that allows trial rides, pre-purchase exams and observation of horses in competition.

For much more information, visit the RRP website’s 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover page.

Thoroughbred Makeover Links:

Go OTTBs. Go Jumping.