Caitlin Brady will be blogging for HN throughout the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover! Today, she introduces herself and her OTTB Azorian.
The Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover (or RRPTM) opened its entry status in January for trainers, riders and thoroughbred enthusiasts to select and enter their off-the-track thoroughbreds into the competition. The makeover is opened to all disciplines to compete to win a grand prize of $100,000. The makeover is hosted with a goal to raise awareness of the talent in thoroughbreds that come off the track to enter into a variety of disciplines for their future career.
Off-the-track thoroughbreds struck my interest while I was attending Clemson University and riding on the Clemson Eventing Team. I saw the talent that these horses had and fell in love with the breed. New Vocations, an off-the-track thoroughbred adoption program, was my top choice when looking for my next horse. I adopted a three year old, tall, dark and handsome OTTB named Technique. Technique and I evented through college and had big dreams. But in May of 2014 Technique had a pasture accident, tearing the soft tissues in his fetlock. We were on the path to a full recovery, and Technique was coming back stronger then before. In April of 2015 those dreams of his recovery became distant as we discovered he had re-tore the injuries with more extensive damage. Technique would not be returning to eventing.
I had learned about the RRPTM and thought this would be the best opportunity to restart another off-the-track thoroughbred. I was beyond excited to start my search for my next equine partner. New Vocations was my first phone call. The following weekend Melissa at the Kentucky facility showed me Azorian and she thought he would be the best partner for me. She was right! I pulled into the farm in Aiken, South Carolina with Azorian, a 16.3 hand, bay 3 year old. He was all legs with the kindest eye. Azorian’s racing career was far from successful as he never won a race in his career at the track — a racetrack reject. Azorian had under 10 re-training rides under his belt and he was a clean slate to go in any direction. Being a full-time jumper groom I decided it would be fun to take him in the direction of jumpers.
Azorian is a dream, very easygoing and right there with you. Azorian won my heart over in two weeks of being with me. After working with him for the first few months, I knew he was a very special horse and decided to go in the direction of dressage and jumpers. Azorian went to his first dressage test and was awarded reserve champion for the show! What a rock star!
One of my favorite things about owning an off-the-track thoroughbred is that their previous racing homes love being updated on how they are doing. That day after the show I sent a picture of Azorian in his ribbon to his previous owners and got the response, “Azorian is finally the champion he should be!” To this day, that warms my heart and makes this journey totally worth it.
Pairing with Laura Regan and Doug Payne in Azorian’s training he has come leaps and bounds since his first dressage test. Azorian has improved his dressage score by 15 points and the judges’ remarks are so helpful and positive! Azorian and I will be competing in his first rated dressage show at Tryon International Equestrian Center on August 1st and I cannot wait to tell everyone how he does!
Azorian’s first gymnastics schooling with Doug Payne.
This makeover has been such a great opportunity to meet new people, meet awesome horses, make great connections and memories that will last a lifetime! Azorian and I are so thankful for those who follow our journey! If you would like to follow or join our journey, watch for our future articles here on Horse Nation and on Facebook. If you have any questions that you would like to see answered in the next article or personally you can reach us by email at [email protected]
GO OTTBs! #FairytaleEnding
Caitlin is a Clemson University 2014 graduate. Currently living in Aiken, SC Caitlin is working as a professional show jumper groom. Interests include transitioning off-the-track thoroughbreds for new careers.