Retired Racehorse Project is testing an expansion to the Thoroughbred Makeover with the addition of a team competition in 2018. The Starting Gate Consulting Team Competition will allow members of Pony Clubs and collegiate, high school and show stable teams to collaborate in transitioning a horse off the track, under their coach or trainer’s guidance. It will also allow those considering entering the Thoroughbred Makeover as individuals in the future to experience the process without committing to acquire a horse of their own.

The deadline for applications has been extended to May 4.

“We’ve heard over and over again that there’s a sector of people out there who very much want to compete in the Makeover, but for a variety of reasons they were hesitant to take on a horse by themselves,” said Jen Roytz, executive director of RRP.

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“We created the Starting Gate Consulting Team Competition to offer groups of equestrians a chance to bring a single horse along and share in the expense and time commitment. Teams can work together to bring the horse along, then decide which members will present the horse at the Makeover. Furthermore, it’s the perfect way to show Thoroughbreds’ versatility as lesson horses or intercollegiate mounts, as these horses will be judged under multiple riders.

“It’s a pilot program, meaning we’re testing it out this year,” she added. “If it proves successful and popular, we may well add it into the mix as a permanent fixture for the competition.”

The team competition horses will be scored and placed separately from those in the main competition and are not eligible to compete in the Makeover Finale. They will also have separate prize money.

Teams must have at least four members, with one designated as team captain. There’s no limit to the number of people who can be on a team. All participants must be RRP members, and all can take part in retraining the horse. The team captain will determine which two riders will compete the horse at the Makeover.

This year’s team competition will offer Show Hunter and Show Jumper divisions only and is tentatively scheduled to be held Sunday, Oct. 7. RRP will accept up to 20 teams, each of which can enter one horse.

The Show Hunter team division will include two hunter courses set at 2' and an under saddle portion. Two riders will present the horse — one will show on the flat and in a jumping round, and the other in the second jumping round.

Horses will receive scores between 0 and 100 for each over-fences round and under saddle, making possible a maximum total score of 300.

The Show Jumper competition will include four parts: flat work, a show jumping round, gymnastics and a second show jumping round similar to a jump-off.

The maximum jump height will be 2'6". Two riders will compete each horse—one will present the horse on the flat and in the first jumping round; the other will present over the gymnastics and in round two.

The maximum score in each round is 100, but the flat work and gymnastics will be reduced in value by 50 percent, making the total possible score 300.

All Makeover horse eligibility rules apply, and team horses can compete in one or both divisions. Trainers that have been accepted to compete in the Makeover can convert their entries to take part in the team competition instead, or in addition to the individual competition (using a different horse for the team portion).

“There is such a sense of camaraderie and sportsmanship around the show grounds each year at the Thoroughbred Makeover,” said Kirsten Green, RRP director of operations. “Even though it’s a competition, everyone is united in their love of Thoroughbreds and their commitment to helping them reclaim their rightful place in the show ring. The team competition will add a new dimension to that, hopefully engaging even more equestrians in our mission to increase the demand for and the value of Thoroughbreds as sport horses.”

Visit www.retiredracehorseproject.org for team competition details and the application.

Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) works to facilitate placement of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses in second careers by increasing demand for them in the marketplace and inspiring equestrians to provide the training that secures their futures. RRP offers online directories, educational resources, and publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine.

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