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Applications Open Now for the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover

Have you always dreamed of applying and experiencing the happiest horse show on earth for yourself? Here are all the details you need to know on the application process for the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover!

Clare Mansmann on Hill Four Eleven and Kristen Kovatch Bentley on Jobber Bill at the 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover. Photo by Allison Howell.

Applications opened on Saturday, December 15, 2018 for the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover, the banner event produced by the Retired Racehorse Project. To be held October 2-5, 2019 at the Kentucky Horse Park, the Thoroughbred Makeover is in its fifth year of its current format and location and has become a bucket-list show for many equestrians.

Not only does the Makeover allow professionals, amateurs and juniors alike the opportunity to share the journey of introducing second-career skills to ex-racehorses, but the educational opportunities are constantly expanding as well: last year’s Makeover Master Class will be back in 2019, featuring experienced OTTB trainers demonstrating and explaining their processes for starting off-track Thoroughbreds. A new schedule for 2019 allows more Makeover competitors the opportunity to take advantage of both the Master Class and the array of seminars offered, plus enjoy the iconic Kentucky setting in the heart of Thoroughbred country.

Have you always dreamed of applying and experiencing the happiest horse show on earth for yourself? Here are the quick details:

Who can apply? Anyone! Professionals, amateurs and juniors all compete side-by-side. New for 2019 is an expanded team status — show barns, competitive teams or groups of friends can all show a horse together, offered in all ten Makeover disciplines.

What horses are eligible? Any Jockey Club-registered horse with a race or timed work on or after July 1, 2017. Horses cannot have started retraining for a second career before December 1, 2018 other than a maximum allowance of 15 post-racing rides. Applying trainers do not need to have acquired a horse at the time of application.

What disciplines are offered? There’s something for everyone! The Thoroughbred Makeover offers competition in barrel racing, competitive trail, dressage (with western dressage a new option in 2019!), eventing, field hunter, freestyle, polo, ranch work, show hunter and show jumper. Freestyle is open for trainers wishing to showcase any skills that don’t fit into one of the other nine disciplines.

When are applications due and trainers notified? The application period is open until January 15, 2019, and all trainers are notified of their acceptance status on February 1, 2019.

How do I apply? Retired Racehorse Project membership is required to apply, and comes with plenty of benefits. Trainers should be prepared to furnish a letter from their veterinarian describing the trainer’s ability to properly transition and care for an ex-racehorse in the RRP’s new initiative to better emphasize equine welfare. The application itself includes sections to describe experience, provide references and include video links to provide a well-rounded representation of individual skills.

How much does it cost? Applications cost $300; non-accepted trainers will receive a refund of the application fee minus $25 for processing.

Need more inspiration? Horse Nation’s own Kristen Kovatch Bentley competed in 2018 and chronicled her experience with Jobber Bill in “Race Horse to Ranch Horse.” She competed alongside Jumper Nation’s Meagan DeLisle and Eventing Nation’s Kate Samuels — Nation Media loves the Makeover!

Thoroughbred Makeover Links:

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