Standing Ovation by Ovation Riding: The Western Thoroughbred

Every Friday, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight those doing good work in the horse world. Today we recognize The Western Thoroughbred, a grassroots organization that is taking a firm stance on equine care and nutrition. 

Katelin an Corybant. Photo provided by Katelin Bradley.

Although there are many organizations that promote the well-being of various breeds of horses, few can claim the truly grassroots nature of The Western Thoroughbred. The Western Thoroughbred got its start when founder Katelin Bradley wanted a way to raise awareness of the athleticism of Thoroughbreds and their suitability for western disciplines.

“I was inspired by horses that I had owned and horses I had seen competing to showcase Thoroughbreds that were competing in barrel racing, roping, cattle sorting and other western disciplines,” stated Bradley. “I had no idea just how many great Thoroughbreds I would find excelling at the highest levels of western sport.”

Katelin and The Love Monkey. Photo provided by Katelin Bradley.

She began by creating Facebook and Instagram accounts that were dedicated to featuring western Thoroughbreds.

The Western Thoroughbred utilizes its social media presence to promote the use of Thoroughbreds, whether they be off-track or unraced, in western disciplines. According the the website, the organization’s main goal is to “showcase success stories, share educational content and display the talent and willingness of the breed to equine enthusiasts worldwide. Our mission is to encourage horsemen and horsewomen to ride a Thoroughbred!”

What began as social media accounts with a modest following has grown into over 20,000 followers, a website, an online store and a burgeoning presence beyond the online community. Bradley has gathered 30 page ambassadors to help her promote western Thoroughbreds and has engaged in fundraising efforts to offer incentives for those competing in western disciplines at the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium.

Katelin and Metro Maggie at the 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover. Photo provided by Katelin Bradley.

However, The Western Thoroughbred is now working to do more than just highlight and raise awareness of the versatility of the breed. The organization is taking a firm stance on proper equine care and nutrition. In one of its latest posts, The Western Thoroughbred announced that it “will only feature horses that are in good health and receiving sufficient care.”

View this post on Instagram

The Western Thoroughbred is dedicated to promoting the use of Thoroughbreds in western disciplines. In order to showcase the breed at its best, we will only feature horses that are in good health and receiving sufficient care. Photos submitted to us for features will all be held to the same standard. Horses that appear to have a body condition score of 4 or higher will be accepted for features. We will not post photos of horses that appear to have a body condition score of 3 or less. Refer to the illustrations and descriptions on this chart: Thoroughbreds are not naturally underweight nor are they meant to be. The breed of a horse should not be an excuse to provide inadequate care. The Western Thoroughbred and our team of experienced Ambassadors welcome any questions that our followers may have concerning body condition, health care, and weight gain. See additional publications:

A post shared by The Western Thoroughbred (@ottbwestern) on

When asked what inspired the policy, Bradley said, “There seems to be a widespread misconception that Thoroughbreds are meant to be thin. While they may be a lighter breed, that should not be an excuse to ignore underweight and underfed horses. By raising our standards, we hope that the truth about Thoroughbreds will reach others. There is no reason for these horses to be unhealthily thin if they are receiving proper vet care and sufficient feed.”

The Western Thoroughbred not only wants to feature the breed at its best, but the organization also looks to help educate its followers by providing resources that can point them in the right direction if they are struggling with proper care.

Katelin and The Love Monkey. Photo provided by Katelin Bradley.

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.