Graded Stakes: Retraining racehorses for college credit

Kait Schultz and Tesla Parker are university students with a big idea: buying, retraining and selling ex-racers… for a grade. Their project is called “‘The Thoroughbred Chronicles.”

From Kait & Tesla:

What do you get when you stick two motivated, horse-crazy college students at a school in a very rural area of Western New York, conveniently located about an hour-and-a-half away from a racetrack? A really good idea. An idea that was not new for most and was quickly catching on around the country, but was unique to a University setting and one we thought was worthy of sharing with the rest of the horse world.

We called our project “The Thoroughbred Chronicles.” We approached our program director at Alfred University’s Bromeley-Dagget Equestrian Center, Nancy Kohler, with a wild idea: to take horses off the track, re-train them and sell them. Much to our surprise, she agreed right away and so the story began. We started by perusing the Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds  website and creating a list of possible equine subjects. A visit to the Finger Lakes Racetrack helped whittle our list down from twenty-something horses to a final lucky two.

Pogo and Ryker were soon the new additions to the Alfred University Bromeley-Dagget Equestrian Center and became the stars of our blog, The Thoroughbred Chronicles. As we are getting school credits for working with these horses, we are required to keep track of their progress as well as promote the breed, so we figured what better way than to start a website! This program is the first of its kind as far as we know and has the potential to be a course offered yearly at Alfred.

Almost the day after the horses were finally ours, we heard about a project developed by Steuart Pittman called the Retired Racehorse Training Project. It was basically just like our project, only instead of college students, professionals were training, and instead of a semester, they had about a month. Great minds think alike!

Thoroughbreds–so trainable a college student can do it!

About Kait and Tesla: Kait is a senior Biology student at Alfred University with a minor in Equestrian Studies. Tesla is a junior Political Science student with a minor in History, also at Alfred. Both plan to further their riding and training skills after college and hope to one day become professionals themselves.

Ryker’s second jump session (Feb. 14)

Pogo’s second jump session (Feb. 13)

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