A Sincere Thank You to Our Supporters: Marcella & Nessi

Thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout our journey.

For the over 400 trainers who made the journey to the Retired Racehorse Project‘s 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover, the competition is now over. Over the training period, three of those trainers blogged their journeys, including their triumphs and their heartbreaks, successes and failures, for Horse Nation readers. Marcella Gruchalak was not able to make it to Kentucky. Here she reflects on the journey and thanks those who stood behind her.

Throughout this journey, Nessi and I have been supported by so many wonderful people and companies. Each person who has helped us along the way has made a difference and has helped to really settle Nessi into a second career.

Without everyone’s support, helping Nessi along her journey would not have been possible. Here’s to all the great people and companies that have helped us along our journey:

American Legion Auxiliary, White Oak Unit 701 and Sons of the American Legion, White Oak Unit 701

The American Legion Auxiliary, White Oak Unit 701 and Sons of the American Legion, White Oak Unit 701 are part of the American Legion Family, which is the largest veterans organization in the world. I am proud to say that these local divisions were my first sponsors in 2016 and have supported me through every Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover that I have prepared for. Their support has been appreciated over the years and I could not have done it without them.


Double K Leather Works

Double K Leather Works is a talented lady who can leather work just about anything you can imagine. Her skills are incredible and she has made tack sets, gun holsters, belts, apparel items and more! She is based out of Western Pennsylvania. I am fortunate to be an endorsed rider for her company because she truly is an amazing entrepreneur. If you plan on ordering from her, use code 19TDKMarcy for a discount!

Photo by Katherine Lynn Photography

Hired Gun Horsemanship and Horse Training

Hired Gun Horsemanship and Horse Training is a training barn in North Carolina that specializes in training for the horse and rider, colt starting, mounted shooting and problem horses. If I needed an expert’s advice, Hired Gun Horsemanship and Horse Training had the means to get it. Nessi was having a hard time gaining weight and Hired Gun Horsemanship and Horse Training was able to get a nutritionist which I was able to ask questions and provide Nessi with the best diet for her needs. I will forever be grateful for the resources Hired Gun Horsemanship and Horse Training was able to provide.

In Stable Hands

In Stable Hands is a nonprofit organization in Greensburg, Pennsylvania that offers equine-assisted learning and personal development programs to people of all ages. This nonprofit has the goal of improving the quality of life and human potential by using equine-assisted learning. Anytime Nessi and I needed a place to lay-up, or some trails to decompress, this organization welcomed us with open arms.

Kaydee’s Cleaning

Kaydee’s Cleaning is a local cleaning company out of Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania. Let’s be honest — sometimes between a full-time job and working horses afterwards, cleaning the house is last on the to-do list. Kaydee’s Cleaning has stepped in multiple times to keep my house on point while I worked outside with Nessi. She has even gone as far as cleaning stalls.

Katerina Procyk – Photographer

Katerina Procyk is an accomplished photojournalist out of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. She has achieved many awards as a photojournalist and had extended her services to help Nessi and me better document our journey. If you have been following my blogs here at Horse Nation, you have seen some of the awesome photography work Katerina Procyk has created.

Photo by Will Yurman

Kristy Chronister-Workman – Equine Dentistry

Kristy is an equine dentist who provides dentistry work to horses out of several veterinary clinics. She also provides dentistry work through farm visits and extends her services all over the nation. When Nessi first arrived, she had mouth ulcers resulting from dental issues. Kristy was able to resolve Nessi’s dental issues with good dentistry work.

NC Equine – Horse Training

NC Equine is a horse training and boarding facility run by Nicole Cammuso. Nicole starts her horses correctly and makes them soft and sensitive to cues. Nicole is also a former Retried Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover trainer. She was a finalist in Freestyle and Barrels, placing in the top five in both disciplines. At one point during our journey, Nessi and I plateaued. Nicole was willing to take Nessi for a few weeks to improve her overall riding.

Photo by Marcella Gruchalak

Pay-A-Way Inc.

Pay-A-Way Inc. is a payroll and business services company out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This company has supported me throughout all three Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeovers. This is another long-standing sponsor that has made it possible for me to retrain a off-track Thoroughbreds for a second career.

Ranae Procyk – Farrier Services

Ranae is a farrier who services the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. Ranae has been a great resource and her horsemanship is impeccable. Over the course of the past several months, Ranae has educated me on the hoof and proper care, teaching me how to provide the best care for Nessi’s hooves.

Photo by Lisa Fryman

Rustbelt Equine – Equine Massage

Rustbelt Equine is operated by DeAnn Long Sloan. DeAnn is also a former Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover competitor placing in the Top Ten in Competitive Trail. Rustbelt Equine has sponsored me through two Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeovers. Rustbelt Equine provides equine and canine massage and red light therapy. DeAnn has provided Nessi with massages and red light therapy which has aided in Nessi’s improved movement tremendously.

Shady Acres Saddlery

Shady Acres Saddlery is a local tack shop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They are a family run business and most likely have anything you could imagine needing for your horse. They have the biggest selection of saddles, bridles, clothing and anything else horse related that I have ever seen in a tack shop. This business has supported me as a rider and allowed me to be a brand ambassador for them, an opportunity for which I have been greatly appreciative. If you’re in the area, this tack shop is a must go!

Sunny Ridge Veterinary Services

Sunny Ridge Veterinary Services is a small and large animal veterinary clinic in Rogers, Ohio run by Dr. Amy Chronister. Dr. Chronister had extended her veterinary services and did a health check on Nessi as well as pulled blood work to make sure Nessi was healthy and ready for a second career.

The Western Thoroughbred

As an Ambassador for The Western Thoroughbred, I have learned so much about the breed. But, what makes this group so special is the support we give each other as we make our journeys with our Thoroughbreds. No matter what issues I faced, or what questions I had, this group of experienced Thoroughbred lovers were the ones I would bounce ideas off of.

Western PA Search and Rescue Development Center

Western PA Search and Rescue Development Center is another organization that has sponsored me throughout all three Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeovers. This organization has developed my dog and has also contributed to the success of my Thoroughbreds. This organization has a lot of services to offer.

Willow Creek Stables

Willow Creek Stables is a horse boarding facility owned and run by Beth McKee that specializes in mounted shooting. Beth has offered her help and indoor arena to help me and Nessi with whatever we may need to be successful.

Photo by Hudson Photography

Again, I can not thank these wonderful people and organizations enough for believing in me and supporting us through this journey. Even though we didn’t make it to the Kentucky Horse Park this year, I was able to transition Nessi into a second carreer, and I have the individuals and organizations above to thank for it.

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