Meet Kelsey Loft!
T.I.P. presents April’s featured Youth Ambassador: Kelsey Loft. Kelsey, 18, is from Ontario, Canada. Kelsey has background in hunter/jumper but currently participates in dressage with her Thoroughbred, Libby, otherwise known as New York Liberty (or Wonn Brite Bayb through The Jockey Club). Kelsey had been leasing Libby the past two years up until the end of March when her parents surprised Kelsey and bought Libby. This year Kelsey was also selected to visit Wellington, Florida for the Canadian Dressage Youth Mentorship Program. There was a total of six riders selected from Canada chosen between the ages of 16 and 21. As part of the program Kelsey was able to meet top level Canadian riders, visit programs and barns, and attend the Global Dressage Festival. Kelsey continues to support the Thoroughbred breed and T.I.P. as a Youth Ambassador through all of her ventures and is passionate to promote both through social media and in all of her activities.
Kelsey Loft (18, Ontario)
Registered Jockey Club Name: Wonn Brite Bayb
Show Name: New York Liberty
Barn Name: Libby
How did you start riding?
My parents put me into riding lessons when I was about 5 or 6 years old at a local lesson farm. They realized I was a little girl that loves horses and decided I should pursue that through lessons.
What is your favorite thing about riding/or your horse?
How it changes my mood at any moment, she always is able to make me feel better and brighten my mood on my worst days. I love the trust and the bond that has been created between Libby and I — I swear we think alike sometimes, and the freedom that comes from riding.
What would you like to do when you are older?
Not sure yet… most likely a lawyer.
Tell us your favorite quote and why:
“Somehow, we have to get back to the horses we have in this country. There are tens of thousands of horses out there. There are Gem Twists out there. The American Thoroughbred is the best sport horse in the world. I had two very early European mentors, Otto Heuckeroth at Ox Ridge, who was a great horseman, and Bertalan de Nemethy. Both of those Europeans told me repeatedly, ‘George, the best horses in the world are these American Thoroughbred horses.’ I would like somehow in the next 25 years to see some people with deep pockets get back in that direction and utilize this internal resource. Somehow, we need to tap into the thousands of Thoroughbred breeders in the United States and show them that there is big money to be made beyond racing.” –George Morris.
This is my favorite quote because the Thoroughbred horse is so versatile and so well bred that people need to start recognizing that and using them as sport horses. George says “… show them that there is big money to be made beyond racing” and I believe this is so, so very important and true. We need to show breeders and riders that Thoroughbreds have so much potential and can do so much more than just race. They can go into so many different disciplines and excel in them and people need to give them the chance and become a lot more aware of this. If we start promoting the breed more now, I can only imagine how people will see them in 25 years. Thoroughbreds are the best horses, they have so much potential and are, in my opinion, the most athletic breed that can go into any discipline, or even multiple ones, and excel beyond our beliefs.
More Fun Facts
How many pets do you have (and what kind)?
3 cats and a dog
What is your favorite animal (apart from a horse)?
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite food?
What is something unique about you?
I have to put things back how I found them initially
What is one word that your friends would describe you as?
What is one thing you would like to tell people about Thoroughbreds or the Thoroughbred Incentive Program?
I would like to tell people Thoroughbreds deserve a second chance just as humans do. Thoroughbreds excel at their second career and are more dedicated than most are at what they do. I want people to know that the T.I.P. program brings more awareness to the breed and that it allows for people to get more of an insight on how much the breed excels in their careers off track, and allows people to see just how versatile and athletic they are.
What are your goals for your horse in 2017?
It is Libby’s second year showing so our goal us to compete at the Silver training level and doing first level on our on property schooling shows. I hope to achieve a good ranking within Ontario in our division. We are showing London Dressage and are trying to decide on 2 other series that would be the right match.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
The first Thoroughbred I initially rode I was actually a tad scared of. It was a few years back at an old farm and the Thoroughbred had dumped me off and still had a lot of “spirit” and at that time it actually freaked me out. However, when I first began riding my mare, she made me realize my love for the breed and now I would choose a Thoroughbred over any other.
I also love to travel, I have yet to go to Europe but I am hoping to make that a goal within the next few years. I began university this fall… I intend to join my school’s equestrian team next fall as well. Besides riding, I used to row and play volleyball. I am obsessed with 80’s movies (my favorite being The Breakfast Club), and I still sing to Justin Bieber. In my down time you can probably catch me at some point watching Grey’s Anatomy with my sister as well. In the fall, I absolutely love going on hikes. I love going to fall fairs as well! I go to most of the local ones (especially to watch the horse shows). I generally very much dislike shopping. I would much rather be outside getting dirty and enjoying the fresh air than sitting in a shopping mall!
Until about almost 2 years ago now, I was competing and training in the hunter discipline (so about 11-12 years) and then I switched to dressage when I moved to my current facility and started riding Libby. Ever since switching I have realized how much more I love dressage and the aspects behind it. Sure, I still jump, but I would much rather take a dressage test over a jump course. I really do enjoy seeing the results that hard work and dedication can and does create.
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.