The Thoroughbred Incentive Program proudly celebrates its young horse owners who are dedicated to the off-track Thoroughbred. Meet May’s selected T.I.P. Youth Ambassador!
Ella Sciog is an eleven year old hunter/jumper rider from Florida. Ella competes with her Thoroughbred Defying Gravity or CJ for short (Registered Jockey Club Name: Aqua Al). When asked how she started riding, she responded that she always has been in love with horses and always does what she can to ride.
When she was seven years old she was leasing a horse. One day, her mother took her to look at a pony. He was in poor shape and they couldn’t leave him there. So her mom got her their first pony. He had never been ridden without a lead-line and had been previously used for pony parties.
After months of getting him healthy, Ella trained him herself. She googled and read whatever she could. They had a lot of help from other horse people, but Ella was the only one small enough to ride him. He and Ella learned together. “Now he’s the best pony ever. He loves kids” Ella says.
Ella has since grown too tall to ride him now, so he sometimes goes to other barns to teach beginners to ride. “He’s really great with the really small kids. I love to hear how he’s everyone’s favorite pony to ride” she says.
When Ella was nine, a woman at her barn brought in a rescued Thoroughbred. The woman who brought him to Ella’s barn worked very hard to get him better and loved him very much. She wanted to find him a forever home, and that is how Ella found CJ. He is named after her (the woman who rescued CJ) granddaughter.
Ella’s favorite thing about her horse is that he will do anything she asks him to do. Ella explained, “He just knows and always tries his hardest. I love how competitive he gets at shows. You can just see the fire in his eyes before he goes in and I think ‘We’ve got this’. When he’s not at a show he’s a huge teddy bear. People are always amazed how quiet and well behaved he actually is”.
Ella used to also plays sports and track. She enjoys spending most her time however working with her horses. She is always looking to work with OTTB’s that she can help.
When asked what she wants to do or be when she grows up, Ella responded, “I’m not sure yet. But I know I will always have horses in my life. Definitely will involve working with OTTB’s and help restart them for new homes”.
Fun Facts about Ella
How many pets do you have and what kind?
3 dogs: a Chihuahua, a Jack Russell, and a Pomeranian; a parakeet; and 2 horses
Favorite animal (besides a horse):
Mac and Cheese
What is something unique about you?
I’d take an untrained horse over one already trained anytime. I love the challenge and feeling of accomplishment.
What is one word that your friends would describe you as?
Q: As one of our first youth ambassadors, with the mission to represent our program and the Thoroughbred breed, what is one thing you would like to tell people about Thoroughbreds or the Thoroughbred Incentive Program?
A: “I want to educate young riders about Thoroughbreds … Thoroughbreds are the most versatile breed with more heart than any other horse. Mine is always the most well behaved on trails, he can do barrels and poles. When we go try obstacle challenges, he always tries, even when I can tell he’s scared. He never gives up. And he can fly over jumps. Thoroughbreds can be great in all [disciplines]. The T.I.P. Program is great. I hope every Thoroughbred rider gets involved. It is important to keep educating riders what an amazing horse a Thoroughbred really is. I love meeting other Thoroughbred owners. They have the same passion as I do about them.”
The Thoroughbred Incentive Program was created by The Jockey Club to encourage second careers for Thoroughbreds when their racing days are over. The T.I.P. sponsors Thoroughbred-only classes and high point awards as well as Performance Awards, special year-end awards specifically for Thoroughbreds. The T.I.P. also recognizes non-competing Thoroughbreds through its Young Rider program as well as a special award for Thoroughbreds in careers such as therapy horses or other non-profit outlets.
To learn more about the Thoroughbred Incentive Program, please visit the organization’s website.