Friday Standing Ovation, Presented by Ovation Riding

This week: Thoroughbred Exhibitors Association.

Presented by:

ovationThis week’s honoree:


Each Friday Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization that is doing good work in the horse world. This week we salute the Thoroughbred Exhibitors Association.

Jennie Lovell kindly took a few moments to answer a few of our questions about the organization. Photos are from the 2014 TBEA Open Show, courtesy of Pamela Hagedoorn of SilverDream Photography.

What is TBEA’s mission?

The Thoroughbred Exhibitors Association (TBEA) promotes the Thoroughbred as a talented sport and pleasure horse possessing heart and stamina across all disciplines. TBEA contributes to the rescue, retraining and rehoming of Thoroughbreds, and organizes horse shows and educational clinics for the benefit of Thoroughbred and Half-Thoroughbred owners and their horses.

We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and any donation made to our club is deductible for tax purposes. 50% of all office fees from our shows are donated to local horse rescue foundations.


How did it get started?

TBEA was founded in 1977 by Bill Taylor. Some may say that OTTBs are now “trendy,” but TBEA has been around for 37 years! Our rule book still contains a purpose statement written by Bill that illustrates the emphasis of the club while under his guidance:

Although Thoroughbred horses are bred to run, many of them excel in other areas. Too few of them ever have the opportunity to prove themselves.

Only a portion of the Thoroughbred horses raised in Oregon have been successful on the racetracks. For those who are not, there are only a very few options. Some become jumper or hunter contestants in horse shows. Most of these lose their identity, since registration is not usually required.

An occasional Thoroughbred is used as a roping or barrel horse, again losing its identity. By far, the larger number join the ranks of the “grade” horses. For these, we could say it is oblivion.

We, who know the Thoroughbred horse, believe him to be the most versatile equine on the face of the earth. To consign such a horse to oblivion is a waste of the breeder’s time and money. One more statement, which is by no means the least, “an infusion of Thoroughbred blood will result in genetic improvement no matter where in the light horse industry it is used.”

Why not give these horses an opportunity to prove themselves. If we are right, we have opened a market for many horses and for stallion services, which may be excess to the racing industry, thereby benefiting the breeders of Thoroughbred horses.

The Thoroughbred Exhibitors Association will promote Thoroughbred and Half-Thoroughbred horses in all ways possible; in shows in both English and Western equipment; in endurance and distance riding; in dressage and pleasure driving; in pleasure and trail riding; and wherever they can be used and enjoyed.


Looking at TBEA’s Facebook page, there are photos of Thoroughbreds participating in a variety of disciplines: eventing, show hunters, jumpers dressage and even western events. I take it the breed’s versatility is an attribute TBEA is trying to promote?

Absolutely! The classes included at our shows, the clinics we hold, and our year end awards and Registry of Merit system all provide opportunities for our Thoroughbreds to shine, regardless of whether they compete in Western or English, flat classes or jump, dressage or trail ride. We held a well attended trail obstacle clinic this summer, and our combined test this fall included western dressage and trail courses that could be combined for Western divisions. We have also sponsored group trail rides and a couple of poker rides in the not-too distant past, attracting non-showing horsemen.


There are a lot of misconceptions out there about Thoroughbreds. Is that a challenge for TBEA?

Not at all. We strive to show that Thoroughbreds are more than just race horses. Our mission statement shows the versatility of the breed. Our members also do great promotion by taking their Thoroughbreds to many different events and showing the cool collected nature of the Thoroughbred. Thoroughbreds love to work and have a job that they excel at. They take pride in their events and it shows in the many pictures on our website.


The TBEA calendar looks pretty full. What type of events does the organization promote?

Our main annual event is our spring all breed schooling show which is held early in the season and is a fun low-key event that is a great opportunity for green (or just winter fresh!) horses as well as novice participants to get out and get some experience. Many locals have warm memories of attending the event, one club member said “I grew up showing horses at the TBEA spring show!”. In the fall we traditionally hold a TB & 1/2 TB show. We hold educational clinics as well.


What’s in the future for TBEA?

We would love to host more shows throughout the year — combined tests, dressage shows, possibly hunter/jumper shows, with a focus on Thoroughbred/1/2 Thoroughbred classes. We would also love to incorporate the TIP program run by the Jockey Club. They do some lovely awards for classes and our members would feel proud to compete. We would also like to continue to offer clinics and learning opportunities geared towards our members. Growing our membership is a huge priority also and we would love to see all Thoroughbred and ½ Thoroughbred owners become members.


How can thoroughbred owners and enthusiasts get involved?

Our next club meeting will be November 9, and we’d love to see some new faces there! Information about the meeting can be found on both our Facebook page and our web site. The membership application and horse registration forms are also available at that site.


Anything else you think readers would be interested to know?

Thoroughbreds have contributed to the athleticism of many types and breeds of horses, including Warmbloods, Quarter Horses, Draft Crosses, Anglo Arabians and others.


We applaud TBEA for the great work they do. Go TBEA, and Go Riding!

Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.


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