One Mega-Makeover, Two Champions
This year marked a momentous year for the Retired Racehorse Project. 2020’s cancellation meant that 2021 combined two competition years to make one Mega-Makeover. That also means two champions were crowned at the Kentucky Horse Park over the weekend.
Thunderous Affair Is 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion
Thunderous Affair and Lindsey Partridge on their way to winning the Freestyle. Photo by CanterClix.
Thunderous Affair, trained by Lindsey Partridge, was selected by the panel of judges of the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America, as the 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion, sponsored by Churchill Downs.
The 2017 16.2 hand gray/roan mare was bred in Kentucky by Jim Williams. She never made a start, but did train to race. By Liaison out of the Thunder Gulch mare Thunder Fan, Thunderous Affair was placed through CANTER Michigan.
Lindsey Partridge, a professional based in Pontypool, Ontario, is no stranger to the Thoroughbred Makeover — she won the overall title back in 2015 with Soar — but this particular journey has not been without its challenges.
“She didn’t trust me in the beginning,” recalled an emotional Partridge. “I really had to slow down and just go to events, and just not make it about competing. Just the fact that she was so calm and relaxed here and able to trust me to do everything — gosh, I’m going to start crying!”
Partridge, who has made a name for herself with her unique brand of horsemanship and crowd-pleasing freestyle routines, trained Thunderous Affair to not one but two discipline championships — Freestyle, in which the pair played with Partridge’s signature big blue tarp and other props, and Competitive Trail, in which Thunderous Affair’s easygoing demeanor impressed judges and spectators alike.
“It’s all about putting that relationship first,” Partridge described, reflecting on her past Makeover performances and her road to success. “I’ve done ranch and field hunter and trail and freestyle, but it all comes back to that partnership first.”
2020 Thoroughbred Makeover Discipline Champions (in order of go):
- Eventing, sponsored by Tipperary Equestrian: Legend’s Hope, trained by Jazz Napravnik
- Show Jumper, sponsored by Excel Equine: Canton Comet, trained by Samantha Fawcett
- Show Hunter, sponsored by Beyond the Wire: Still Dreaming, trained by Charles Hairfield
- Field Hunter, sponsored by Masters of Foxhounds Association: Zapper, trained by Cameron Sadler
- Dressage, sponsored by PTHA’s Turning For Home: Elbow Room, trained by Helen Pianca
- Polo, sponsored by United States Polo Association: That’s My Bertie, trained by Willowbrook Polo Team
- Freestyle, sponsored by New Start: Thunderous Affair, trained by Lindsey Partridge
- Barrel Racing, sponsored by SmartPak: Czraina Maria, trained by Jessica Frederick
- Competitive Trail, sponsored by Godolphin: Thunderous Affair, trained by Lindsey Partridge
- Ranch Work, sponsored by MidAtlantic Horse Rescue: Aussie Prayer, trained by Raechel Ramsey
Forthegreatergood is 2021 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion
Ten discipline winners from what was hailed as one of the strongest Thoroughbred Makeover competition years yet awaited results in a picture-perfect lineup at the Kentucky Horse Park this evening at the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America — but there was only one 2021 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion, sponsored by Churchill Downs, and that was Forthegreatergood, trained by Laura Sloan.
Forthegreatergood (Scipion – No Peeking, by Langfuhr) is a 2015 16.1 hand gray/roan gelding who was bred in Maryland by Donna Lockard. Lockard also trained and raced the horse herself for his 22-race career, hitting the board five times at Maryland tracks for total career earnings of $46,734.
Sloan, a professional hailing from Southern Pines, North Carolina, teamed up with Forthegreatergood for owner Donna Verrilli, who wanted to produce a horse for the Makeover in honor of her late husband Richard who passed away in December of 2020 of pancreatic cancer. A Master of Foxhounds, Richard had been Sloan’s employer.
“I’m so glad that I can do this for [Donna],” Sloan stated. “The Thoroughbred is just such a great breed. It’s amazing how you can have ten of these horses in the same race, and they can go into ten different disciplines. The versatility of this breed — they could have all raced together, and then one’s a barrel racer, and one’s a fox hunter, and one’s a dressage horse. It’s pretty cool.”
Sloan and Forthegreatergood achieved top marks in the Field Hunter discipline all week long, leading the pack first in the under saddle phase, then the individual test. Receiving high scores in the mock hunt on Thursday morning gave the pair a comfortable lead going into Sunday’s 2021 Finale, and their beautiful final test in the TCA Covered Arena sealed their victory for the discipline. Their performance also impressed the judges from the other ten Makeover disciplines, who scored all discipline winners throughout the day to crown the Thoroughbred Makeover Champion.
The People’s Choice Award, sponsored by Achieve Equine, was given to Icarius, the winner of the Show Hunter discipline, trained by Alexandra Beckstett.
2021 Thoroughbred Makeover Discipline Winners (in order of go):
- Eventing, sponsored by Tipperary Equestrian: Fleet Stepper, trained by Hillary Irwin
- Show Jumper, sponsored by Excel Equine: Raise Em Up, trained by Kristina Aaron
- Show Hunter, sponsored by Beyond the Wire: Icarius, trained by Alexandra Beckstett
- Field Hunter, sponsored by Masters of Foxhounds Association: Forthegreatergood, trained by Laura Sloan
- Dressage, sponsored by PTHA’s Turning For Home: Kubo Cat, trained by Alison O’Dwyer
- Polo, sponsored by United States Polo Association: Ramses, trained by Benjamin Lynch
- Freestyle, sponsored by New Start: Papa Al, trained by Jody Busch
- Barrel Racing, sponsored by SmartPak: Tip Top Diva, trained by Dakotah Rowel
- Competitive Trail, sponsored by Godolphin: Super Terrific, trained by Abbey Blair
- Ranch Work, sponsored by MidAtlantic Horse Rescue: War Candy, trained by Muri Triantafilo
A full list of results and awards can be found at TBMakeover.org.
The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization working to increase demand for off-track Thoroughbreds in the equestrian world. In addition to producing the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, the organization also publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, hosts off-track Thoroughbred retraining clinics and programming at major horse expos and events around the country, and maintains the online Thoroughbred Sport Tracker (the internet’s only user-driven database tracking second career talent and accomplishments of registered Thoroughbreds). Visit the RRP online at RetiredRacehorseProject.org.