Thoroughbred Charities of America Returns as Title Sponsor of Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium

Thoroughbred Charities of America Returns as Title Sponsor

of Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium


The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) and Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) jointly announce today that TCA has returned as the title sponsor of the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, the flagship program of the Retired Racehorse Project. TCA’s commitment to improving the lives and welfare of Thoroughbred racehorses both on and off the track has guided its support of the RRP since 2012.

Designed to serve the RRP’s charitable mission to increase demand for Thoroughbreds beyond racing, the Thoroughbred Makeover is a retraining competition and showcase, featuring trainers from across North America who have worked throughout the year to prepare recently retired Thoroughbred ex-racehorses to compete for more than $100,000 in ten equestrian sports. This year, competition scope has expanded to include a pilot program for recently-retired broodmares exiting the breeding industry.


“The Thoroughbred Makeover has really moved the needle in aftercare by increasing the demand for and value of Thoroughbreds in their post-racing careers,” said Erin Halliwell, executive director of TCA. “TCA is pleased to once again support this important event that has impacted the lives of thousands of Thoroughbreds.”


TCA’s support of the Thoroughbred Makeover is part of its annual grant-making activity. This year, TCA granted over $821,000 to 75 approved organizations. For over three decades, TCA has worked to support not only Thoroughbred aftercare, but also programs that provide health and human services for backstretch and farm workers.


“TCA recognized early on the potential that the RRP had to make a significant change in how we approach aftercare in this country, and we would not be here today, continuing that impact, without the early and continued supported that TCA provided,” said RRP executive director Kirsten Green. “We applaud TCA for recognizing the critical need to fund a variety of aftercare programs that are taking diverse approaches towards our shared goal of ensuring a smooth transition to life beyond racing for Thoroughbreds.”


The Thoroughbred Makeover culminates in a four-day competition as well as a symposium with educational, networking and social opportunities – but the true Makeover process begins in December of the previous year, when the retraining process officially begins on December 1. A total of 551 horses were registered for this year’s competition, and 404 made a final entry. This retention rate is the highest to date, indicating that the Retired Racehorse Project’s educational and support services are working for participating trainers.


With TCA’s support, the Thoroughbred Makeover has impacted over 4,700 horses, representing an estimated $41.1 million in private funds spent to care for the participating horses that are transitioning into riding careers. Since 2015, the RRP has also documented an 94% increase in value of horses upon retirement from racing that participate in the Makeover.


A full schedule of Thoroughbred Makeover events can be found at

About the Retired Racehorse Project: 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 world’s largest and most lucrative retraining competition for recently-retired racehorses, the organization also publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, produces the Master Class retraining clinic series, and presents programming at major horse expos and events around the country. The RRP maintains an educational library of content to empower more equestrians to ride a Thoroughbred.


About Thoroughbred Charities of America: TCA funds and facilitates the support of Thoroughbreds and the people who care for them. TCA distributes grants to several categories of Thoroughbred-related nonprofits including rehabilitation, retraining, rehoming and retirement organizations; backstretch and farm employee programs; equine-assisted therapy programs; and research organizations. Since its inception in 1990, TCA has granted over $26 million to more than 200 charities. TCA is the charitable arm of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).

Thoroughbred Makeover Marketplace Expands in Partnership With the ASPCA

Thanks to the continued generous support of the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) announced today that the 2022 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America, will include for the first time the ASPCA Right Horse Adoption Barn, in addition to the returning ASPCA Makeover Marketplace. The ASPCA Right Horse Adoption Barn, open through the Makeover on October 12-15 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, will include Thoroughbred horses of varying ages and backgrounds who are up for adoption from partner organizations of the ASPCA Right Horse program.

“Our continued partnership with the Retired Racehorse Project has been a fantastic avenue to support placing retired racehorses in new careers and loving homes,” said Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of ASPCA Equine Welfare “We are thrilled to launch the ASPCA Right Horse Adoption Barn this year to help even more Thoroughbred enthusiasts find their right horse through equine adoption.”

Participating horses will be identified closer to the event and a list of participating organizations will be published in the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace catalog, available both digitally and printed as an insert to the Fall 2022 issue of the RRP’s award-winning publication, Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine. The Fall magazine issue also doubles as the Thoroughbred Makeover program. Leading up to the event, prospective adopters can visit, the ASPCA’s online adoption platform for equines, to search for adoptable Thoroughbreds.

In addition to the horses available through the ASPCA Right Horse Adoption Barn, the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace catalog is expected to include over one hundred transitioned, restarted and competition-experienced Thoroughbreds who will compete at the 2022 Thoroughbred Makeover. Interested shoppers and adopters have the unique opportunity to watch horses perform, take a trial ride in a designated arena, and vet prospects on-site, all in one location, in one weekend. The trial arena and ability to schedule pre-purchase exams are also open to the ASPCA Right Horse Adoption Barn participants, as well.

“We’re grateful for the ASPCA’s continued support of the Makeover Marketplace and their commitment to the RRP’s work,” said RRP executive director Kirsten Green. “Through their Right Horse program, the ASPCA has fostered a new level of collaboration and innovation within the equine welfare community. The ASPCA Right Horse Adoption Barn is just one example of that, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to expand the scope of the Marketplace to serve more Thoroughbreds.”

The ASPCA Makeover Marketplace has become an adopter’s or buyer’s trusted source for Thoroughbreds for sport and pleasure. Makeover graduates available through the Marketplace have undergone extensive preparation for the event, with emphasis placed on a healthy transition from the track and appropriate training and exposure to a big show environment. Past ASPCA Makeover Marketplace graduates have gone on to successful careers in eventing, hunter/jumper, field hunter, western performance, pleasure, and trail riding.

Organizations wishing to participate in the ASPCA Right Horse Adoption Barn are encouraged to sign up by August 15th, 2022, as space is limited. More information is available on the RRP website.

Sign up to receive your free copy of the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace catalog, including the list of organizations participating in the ASPCA Right Horse Adoption Barn as well as Makeover graduates available for sale and adoption. The digital catalog will be released at after August 15 and the print version will be mailed in late September.
About the Retired Racehorse Project

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 world’s largest and most lucrative retraining competition for recently-retired racehorses, the organization also publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, produces the Master Class retraining clinic series, and presents programming at major horse expos and events around the country. The RRP maintains an educational library of content to empower more equestrians to ride a Thoroughbred.


About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) was the first animal welfare organization to be established in North America and today serves as the nation’s leading voice for vulnerable and victimized animals. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation with more than two million supporters nationwide, the ASPCA is committed to preventing cruelty to dogs, cats, equines, and farm animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA assists animals in need through on-the-ground disaster and cruelty interventions, behavioral rehabilitation, animal placement, legal and legislative advocacy, and the advancement of the sheltering and veterinary community through research, training, and resources. For more information, visit, and follow the ASPCA on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

482 Trainers Accepted to 2022 Thoroughbred Makeover

The Thoroughbred Makeover will take place Oct. 12-15 at the Kentucky Horse Park.


The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) announces today the acceptance of 482 trainers, including both individuals and team members, to the 2022 class of the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA).

The Thoroughbred Makeover is the world’s largest and most lucrative retraining competition for ex-racehorses, awarding over $100,000 in prize money annually since 2015. The Makeover returns to its single-year format in 2022 after the postponement of the 2020 event led to a “double” Makeover in 2021, with two competition years running simultaneously. The 2022 Makeover will take place on October 12-15, 2022 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

Open to professionals, juniors, amateurs, and teams, the Thoroughbred Makeover is a retraining competition for recently-retired ex-racehorses. Competition is available in ten disciplines, with trainers choosing to compete in up to two: barrel racing, competitive trail, dressage, eventing, field hunter, polo, ranch work, show hunter, show jumper, and freestyle (a free-form discipline to demonstrate skills of the trainer’s choice).

All horses compete in preliminary rounds in their respective disciplines, with the top five in each discipline returning for the Finale Championship on Saturday to determine final placings. A panel including all discipline judges will determine the overall Thoroughbred Makeover Champion and a $10,000 cash prize; a popular vote by in-person and online spectators will determine the People’s Choice Award who wins the right to direct a donation to an equine charity of their choosing.

“TCA has been a supporter of the Makeover since the beginning because we believe strongly in the mission of the RRP,” said Erin Halliwell, executive director of TCA. “The RRP and its programming have made a positive impact on the lives of thousands of Thoroughbreds over the years. We congratulate the trainers accepted into the 2022 Makeover and appreciate your dedication to Thoroughbreds.”

Accepted trainers are encouraged to register their horses at as soon as they acquire them; horse registration closes on July 29, 2022. As horses are registered, they will appear on the entry list at Trainers have signed up to bring a total of 505 horses.

The application process for the 2022 Thoroughbred Makeover required trainers to complete a “horseman’s resume” that detailed their training and competition experience and included riding video, allowing the application committee the best possible look at applicants’ experience levels and their ability to bring along a recently-retired Thoroughbred and compete at a large venue with a big environment. Applicants also furnished letters from their veterinarians stating that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to appropriately care for a horse transitioning off the track.

The Makeover has historically attracted a broad cross-section of the horse industry, represented by junior, amateur and professional equestrians, as well as teams (allowing families, stables, or collegiate teams the opportunity to prepare a horse together). The great equalizer at the Makeover are the horses: eligible Thoroughbreds competing in 2022 will all come from similar backgrounds, with no more than 10 months of retraining for a second career and all having raced or trained to race within the past two years.

This format allows all trainers to all categories to compete side-by-side on equal footing. Juniors, amateurs and teams routinely enjoy great success at the Makeover and have earned top-five finishes; the 2017 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion Old Tavern was trained by junior Charlie Caldwell.

With the uncertainty of training green horses, the length of time between acceptance of trainers and final entry, and the fact that some horses sell before the Makeover, the RRP is once again offering a waitlist. Individuals who missed the initial round of applications are welcome to apply to the waitlist and can do so at The waitlist does not guarantee final entry into the competition, but does widen the impact of the Makeover and helps more horses transition to second careers.

New for 2022, the Makeover will also play host to The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.) Western Championships and Central Region Dressage Championships. After a successful implementation of the inaugural T.I.P. Barrel Racing Championships in 2021, the RRP and T.I.P. are expanding on their working relationship to add more opportunities for Thoroughbreds and Thoroughbred enthusiasts to make the most of the week at the Kentucky Horse Park.

For riders seeking a well-started off-track Thoroughbred for competition or pleasure, the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace will return in 2022, offering buyers and adopters the unique opportunity to watch a horse compete, trial ride, and complete a pre-purchase exam all in one location. New for 2022, the Makeover will offer the ASPCA Future Prospects barn, including recently-retired Thoroughbreds available for adoption from participating aftercare organizations.

“Although we’re back to our ‘normal’ Makeover schedule at the Kentucky Horse Park in October, we’re pleased to expand other aspects of the event to reach more Thoroughbred lovers and serve a broader portion of the aftercare industry,” said RRP executive director, Kirsten Green. “Hosting additional T.I.P. Championship classes and the pilot year of the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace Future Prospects barn is broadening the scope of the Thoroughbred Makeover and making it a true cornerstone event for Thoroughbred enthusiasts.”

The Makeover also provides ample opportunities for education for both trainers and the public, including the Thoroughbred Aftercare Summit, the seminar series, and the Makeover Master Class (a retraining demonstration featuring three trainers with their own unique approaches to initial training sessions with recently-retired Thoroughbreds). A vendor fair provides plenty of shopping opportunities for attendees as well.

The Thoroughbred Makeover is the flagship event for the RRP, a 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to increasing the demand and value of Thoroughbreds in their careers after racing. Sponsorship opportunities are available for the 2022 Thoroughbred Makeover: contact for more information.

Thoroughbred Makeover fast facts:

  • The 2022 competition is open to any Thoroughbred that raced or had a published work after July 1, 2020 and did not start retraining for a second career before December 1, 2021
  • Trainers indicate their primary discipline(s) of expertise on their applications, but are free to change disciplines as the competition approaches and they learn their horses’ strengths. A horse can compete in up to two disciplines, and a trainers can compete a maximum of three horses
  • Trainers do not need to have obtained the horse they intend to compete at the time of application. Horses can be registered through July 31
  • Participation in the Thoroughbred Makeover Marketplace sale is entirely voluntary, but many trainers take advantage of the extra exposure to market their horses. All sales are private contracts between individual trainers and buyers; the RRP is not involved and receives no commissions

Sales Companies and Buyers Support TCA’s Backstretch and Farm Employee Charities

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Thoroughbred Charities of America announced today that over $100,000 has been raised to assist backstretch and farm worker-focused charities.  The funds will be awarded to approved grant applicants during TCA’s current granting cycle.

Keeneland’s September 2020 Yearling Sale, November 2020 Breeding Stock Sale, and the January Horses of All Ages Sale offered buyers the opportunity to donate one-half of one percent (.05%) of their total sale purchases to TCA via a voluntary contribution on their invoices. Fasig-Tipton made a generous direct contribution in support of these fundraising efforts.

“Our workforce is vital to our industry and it is imperative that we take care of them,” said Mike McMahon President of TCA. “During the height of the pandemic many of our human-focused charities incurred significant additional expenses to care for workers affected by COVID-19, so we asked Keeneland and Fasig for their help in raising money for these charities. We are very grateful to the buyers and sales companies for their contributions.”

Since 1990, TCA has distributed over $24 million in grants to approved charities working to provide Thoroughbred aftercare as well as health and human services for backstretch and farm workers.

Last year, TCA distributed grants totaling nearly $1,070,000. A record 92 grant applications were received during the organization’s annual grant cycle. Ultimately, 70 organizations were approved for a grant including 45 aftercare organizations, 16 backstretch and farm worker programs, five equine-assisted therapy organizations, three Thoroughbred incentive programs, and one research organization. Grant recipients from the last three years can be found on Additionally, the Horses First Fund, an emergency fund started in 2016 by LNJ Foxwoods and managed by TCA, provided Coronavirus relief funding to three backstretch organizations, seven aftercare organizations and supported two feed assistance programs earlier this year.  The total expended from the Horses First Fund was $79,900 bringing the organization’s total 2020 grantmaking over the $1 million mark.

TCA’s mission is to fund and facilitate the support of Thoroughbreds and the people who care for them. TCA distributes grants to several categories of Thoroughbred-related nonprofits including rehabilitation, retraining, rehoming and retirement organizations; backstretch and farm employee programs; equine-assisted therapy programs; and research organizations.  TCA is the charitable arm of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).

Thoroughbred Connect Information now Available with Digital Foal Certificates

The Jockey Club Registry announced December 17th that contact information submitted through its Thoroughbred Connect program by those interested in providing aftercare or assistance for a Thoroughbred is now available when a horse’s digital certificate of foal registration is accessed by the certificate manager.

Thoroughbred Connect enables anyone with an Interactive Registration (IR) account to express his or her willingness to be contacted by someone in possession of a Thoroughbred in the event the horse is in need of aftercare or assistance. It is also a resource for horse owners to list a Thoroughbred that is in need of aftercare or assistance.

With this update, contact information for those who would like to help a specific Thoroughbred is displayed by default on a horse’s digital certificate page. Thoroughbred Connect users can elect to opt out of this setting at any time. Contact information associated with horses born prior to 2018, and who thus might not have a digital certificate, can still be shared with a successful connection made via the Thoroughbred Connect link after logging into IR.

“Adding contact information from Thoroughbred Connect to a horse’s digital certificate page ensures that a horse’s emergency contact will never be lost or removed and will always be easily accessible to its current digital certificate manager,” said Matt Iuliano, executive vice president and executive director of The Jockey Club.  “We believe this change will facilitate connections to transition Thoroughbreds to new homes when their racing or breeding careers are over.”

“We at Herringswell Stables believe in the importance of ensuring that Thoroughbreds are cared for at all stages of their lives and have attached our contact information to physical copies of foal papers for years,” said Graham Motion. “We are excited to take advantage of The Jockey Club Registry’s update to Thoroughbred Connect, which replicates the purpose of stickers and stamps in the age of digital certificates.”

“We commend The Jockey Club for their aftercare initiatives and their efforts to help horses transition to careers beyond the racetrack or breeding shed,” Staci Hancock of Stone Farm said. “From the Thoroughbred Incentive Program and “Transferred as Retired from Racing” designation to this most recent update to Thoroughbred Connect, we thank The Jockey Club for looking out for the welfare of Thoroughbreds and promoting their potential as sport, pleasure, and therapy horses.”

Since its introduction in May 2011, more than 3,500 users have signed up for Thoroughbred Connect, and there are currently more than 8,600 horses in the system that have at least one customer who has provided contact information to indicate their willingness to provide aftercare assistance.

For more information about Thoroughbred Connect or to sign up for an IR account, please visit

The Jockey Club, founded in 1894 and dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing, is the breed registry for North American Thoroughbreds. In fulfillment of its mission, The Jockey Club, directly or through subsidiaries, provides support and leadership on a wide range of important industry initiatives, and it serves the information and technology needs of owners, breeders, media, fans and farms. It founded America’s Best Racing (, the broad-based fan development initiative for Thoroughbred racing, and in partnership with the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, operates OwnerView (, the ownership resource. Additional information is available at

Retired Racehorse Project Virtual Makeover Week

We’ve got an action-packed week ahead! Here’s the schedule of our activities and opportunities in celebration of what would have been the 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America.



Virtual Vendor Fair: shop from participating vendors and enjoy special deals and discounts! Browse the list of participating vendors online, check out featured products and services on the RRP Facebook page, and keep an eye out on Tuesday for a special e-blast
Silent Auction, sponsored by Ocala Jockey Club: browse an array of unique and original items and experiences, including halters from star racehorses Tiz The Law and Authentic! The Silent Auction closes on Saturday, October 10 at 4 PM ET
Make 2020 Over Virtual 5K, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim: register for our virtual 5K (run, walk, or ride!) through Wednesday, October 7, and share how YOU finished your kilometers on social media with #make2020over5K!
ASPCA Makeover Marketplace: in the market for a new Thoroughbred partner of your own? Shop from dozens of restarted and transitioned OTTBs in our catalog!




Retired Racehorse Project Postpones 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover

After extensive information gathering, research and consideration, the board of the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) has made the difficult but unanimous decision to postpone the 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA), until 2021. The RRP plans to host an expanded Thoroughbred Makeover on October 12-17, 2021 that will offer separate classes in all ten disciplines for both 2020 and 2021 entries.


Click here to watch a video message from the RRP.

Put on each year by the RRP, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, the Thoroughbred Makeover typically draws hundreds of competitors from 40+ states and multiple Canadian provinces, each of whom has taken on the challenge of bringing along a Thoroughbred in his or her first year of retraining post-racing. In a normal year, the event also includes the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace (a large-scale horse shopping experience), a vendor fair with more than 70 on-site retailers and other equine businesses, seminars, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Summit and various social and networking events.

To comply with COVID-19 pandemic event guidelines as recommended by US Equestrian and the Kentucky Horse Park, many of these aspects, which monetize a significant portion of the event, would have to be eliminated or heavily modified.

“This was a decision that was not entered into lightly,” said the RRP’s executive director Jen Roytz. “We went to great lengths to look at the feasibility of putting on the event from various perspectives, including preparedness of our competitors, current sponsorship commitments, the cost and steps necessary to implement COVID-19 risk management protocols for an event like ours, and what changes we would need to make to the event to comply with state and venue regulations. We also explored various ‘what if’ scenarios with our legal counsel, insurance company, and board, and what their impacts could be on not only the event, but our organization as a whole.”

Frank s Gift

With the Thoroughbred Makeover being a competition for horses in their first year of training after racing, the organization sent out two surveys to its competitors, one in April and one in June, to better understand how the pandemic was affecting its competitors’ ability to prepare their horses. Questions in the survey also aimed to gauge how their competitors would feel about the changes to the event that would have to be made in 2020 in order to put it on.

Trainers expressed concern through these surveys about having their horses adequately prepared for the show environment, as well as financial concerns due to lost income during shutdowns. In some cases, horses could not receive necessary maintenance care or undergo elective veterinary or therapy procedures. Furthermore, every state’s pandemic guidelines were different which had, and continues to have, an impact on competitors.

“We worked hard to identify what the best course of action would be, not only for our constituents and horses, but for the long-term viability and stability of our organization,” continued Roytz. “Our competitor survey responses showed us not only that a significant percentage of our competitors were behind on their training due to a variety of factors, but also that if we were to implement the changes that the pandemic would force us to make, it would not only put our organization in a precarious position financially but would negatively impact our competitors’ enjoyment of the event.”

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A critical aspect of the Thoroughbred Makeover on the part of participating trainers is having recently retired racehorses, all of which are relatively green in terms of their show career, adequately prepared for a big show environment at the Kentucky Horse Park. Typically, this is achieved by trainers exposing their horses to various competitive environments in the ten-month training period prior to the Makeover.

“The Thoroughbred Makeover at its core is designed to serve the mission of the RRP as a showcase of the versatility and trainability of the breed,” said Managing Director and Event Organizer, Kirsten Green. “Much of the feedback we’ve received, as well as the results of our surveys, tell us that the majority of our competitors are not feeling as confident as they typically would about their ability to showcase their horses as well as they otherwise would have. Furthermore, the Makeover typically draws entries from more than 40 states, as well as a significant Canadian contingent, and we’re still contending with a continually changing landscape over the coming months. We don’t yet know when the Canadian border will reopen, we’re seeing states re-implementing quarantine mandates for travelers, trainers having their income impacted, and more. That is only compounded by the financial challenges we and other nonprofits have faced in recent months and changes we would have to make in order to move forward with the event. By postponing the competition until next year and expanding the Marketplace virtually for this year, we felt it was the best way to create the most opportunities for all involved, while also doing what is in the best interest of the horses and our organization.”

Western Competitors at Makeover

Several aspects of the 2020 TCA Thoroughbred Makeover will be run virtually this year in October, including a virtual vendor fair, webinars in place of seminars, and the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace. The Marketplace will transition into an expanded online showcase of transitioned Thoroughbreds who were intended to compete in October and be offered for sale or adoption at the Makeover.

“I know I speak on behalf of the entire RRP board and staff when I say this was an incredibly difficult decision, but we feel it’s the right one,” said RRP board president Carolyn Karlson. “The challenges presented by the pandemic are unprecedented. The RRP expanded its online educational offerings this year to better support those retraining horses amid all of the travel and shelter-in-place restrictions, like our Five-Minute Clinic series and webinars, and we have several more exciting initiatives to roll out as the year goes on. We are steadfast to our commitment to our competitors, sponsors, vendors, volunteers, supporters and, most importantly, the horses we and they serve.”

Trainers who entered this year’s Thoroughbred Makeover will have the opportunity to retain their registered 2020 horses to compete in a special 2020 division at the 2021 Thoroughbred Makeover. They also have the option to withdraw their 2020 horses and roll their entry fee to the 2021 competition with a new 2021-eligible horse. In some cases, some 2020-entered horses will be able to retain their eligibility for the 2021 division as long as they do not exceed the maximum of 15 retraining rides before December 1, 2020.

“It’s been a priority for us to make sure that we found a solution that was flexible for our trainers and their horses and give them options to suit whatever their goals might be,” said Green. “We look forward to working with everyone to offer content and activities to honor the Makeover this October, and to welcome everyone back to the Bluegrass for a knockout event in 2021.”

Remember Gizmo

Added Roytz, “We are incredibly grateful to the TCA, ASPCA and our other major sponsors and donors for being exceedingly understanding and supportive of this decision. Many of them have also been affected by this pandemic and anticipate feeling the effects well into the coming year, but were eager to help us find ways to support both this year’s and next year’s classes of Makeover competitors in meaningful ways.”

For more information and updates about the Thoroughbred Makeover, please visit More announcements about virtual activities and events will be released throughout the summer and early fall. Sign up to receive the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace catalog at

RRP logo

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 putting on the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, the world’s largest retraining competition for recently retired racehorses, the organization also publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, hosts off-track Thoroughbred retraining clinics around the country, maintains the Thoroughbred Sport Tracker(the internet’s only user-driven database tracking second career talent and accomplishments of registered Thoroughbreds) and presents programing at major horse expos across the country. Visit RRP online at

TCA’s Horses First Fund Supports Backstretch and Aftercare Organizations Amid Pandemic

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Thoroughbred Charities of America’s Horses First Fund is providing funding to backstretch and aftercare organizations working to support the Thoroughbred community amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Established in 2016 by LNJ Foxwoods, the Horses First Fund assists Thoroughbreds and their caretakers in need of emergency aid due to large scale neglect, natural disaster, or other catastrophe.

The Backstretch Employee Service Team (BEST) will receive funding to support their on-site medical clinic at Belmont Park. The Sam Houston Race Park Chaplaincy will receive an emergency grant to provide meal services for backstretch workers at the now closed racetrack. The Horses First Fund will also provide grants to several aftercare organizations throughout the U.S. that have taken in additional Thoroughbreds due to the pandemic or have additional needs. It is expected that more funding will be distributed as further emergency needs are identified. Thoroughbred industry related nonprofit organizations interested in applying for an emergency grant may contact Erin Crady at

TCA has worked to stay in touch with its grantees throughout this uncertain time. One concern, echoed by numerous grantees, is for the loss of revenue due to cancelled fundraisers and events. TCA is working to create a free webinar that will offer suggestions on how to create virtual events and tips for digital fundraising.  Further details about the webinar will be released as they become available.

Emergency grants from the Horses First Fund are only possible because of the support of our generous donors. To join us in our efforts to assist Thoroughbreds and backstretch workers in need of emergency aid please consider a donation to the Horses First Fund. To donate, please visit

Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) was formed in 1990 to raise and distribute funds to charities in the Thoroughbred industry that provide a better life for Thoroughbreds, both during and after their racing careers, by supporting qualified repurposing and retirement organizations and by helping the people who care for them. In 2019, TCA granted nearly $475,000 to 64 charities working within Thoroughbred retraining, rehoming and retirement; backstretch and farm worker services, research and equine-assisted therapy. Over the last 30 years, TCA has granted over $23 million to more than 200 charities that successfully meet the criteria set forth in its annual grant application. TCA also administers the Horses First Fund, founded by LNJ Foxwoods in 2016, to assist Thoroughbreds in need of emergency aid. TCA is the charitable arm of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).

Louisiana Bred Tenpin Sugar Wins Show Jumper Division of 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover


Cowboy Swagger is 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion With Fallon Taylor

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Cowboy Swagger, 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion with Fallon Taylor. Photo by CanterClix

Champion barrel racer Fallon Taylor takes on a new challenge every year: in 2018, she took up show jumping. This year, she took on the Thoroughbred Makeover. Already a champion — she was the 2014 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Champion and 2018 AQHA World Champion — Taylor can add one more line to her deep resume: trainer of the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion, Cowboy Swagger.

Much like winning the average in a rodeo, Taylor and Cowboy Swagger’s consistent, steady performances earned them victory in the Barrel Racing discipline at the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America. Taylor didn’t lead after the horsemanship component, nor did she set the fastest times in the two daily barrel runs, but through those consistent performances she maintained the best overall scores in the division. After clinching the championship in Barrel Racing, Taylor’s fan base rallied behind her to vote her to the overall title.

In the TCA Covered Arena for the voting and award presentation, Cowboy Swagger stood quietly as the other horses circled around him, with just a set of reins around his neck and a massive blanket of roses that Taylor had made specially for her Thoroughbred barrel horse. A casual bystander might not guess that this horse just a few hours ago had been agilely turning barrels and sprinting for home flat-out in the same arena.

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Fallon Taylor and Cowboy Swagger in the Finale in front of a packed house. Photo by CanterClix

“I think the coolest thing about these Thoroughbreds is their demeanor,” Taylor commented. “This is a special, unique horse. I’m just sitting here with no bridle on, people all around, all these cameras pointed at him, and he’s completely unaffected. The Thoroughbreds want to please. And these guys are made to run — they’re made for this job. It’s our job to be kind, be patient and help these horses learn the pattern and learn their new job. We need to go out and get these horses and scoop them up!”

Taylor acquired Cowboy Swagger based on the advice of a friend who knew the horse on the track and loved his personality. He was bred in Oregon by Dr. and Mrs. Jack B. Root Jr., and as of his last start on January 8, 2019 at Portland Meadows he was trained by Sam Dronen. By Grindstone out of the Baquero mare One Fast Cowgirl, Cowboy Swagger made 16 career starts with three wins and total earnings of $20,299.

As a savvy social media personality, Taylor understands how to lever that fan base for a good cause. She’s documented her journey to the Makeover with Cowboy Swagger over the past few months, but that turned out to be just the beginning. “I documented every single ride that I took on this horse so that I can keep sharing that next year with my following and help more people try this competition,” she detailed.

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Fallon Taylor and Cowboy Swagger. Photo by CanterClix

“The horsemanship pattern was a challenge for me,” Taylor admitted earlier in the week. “But I like knowing that the horses are leaving the Makeover with a good foundation, especially if they’re selling at the Marketplace, to know that the next rider is going to have a really cool horse to play with later.”

And as for what this particular personal challenge has taught Taylor that she’ll take away to apply to her other barrel horses? “I’ve had to really be patient with this horse, and that’s going to help me on my other horses as well.”

2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Discipline Champions:

Competitive Trail: Belfast Cowboy, trained by Toni Harmon
Dressage: Fifth Ace, trained by Alison O’Dwyer
Eventing: Sanimo, trained by Rosie Napravnik
Field Hunter: Diplomat, trained by Sara Katz
Freestyle: Grande Warrior, trained by Amy Bowers
Polo: Great Reward, trained by Buck Schott
Ranch Work: Silence Is Awesome, trained by Amber Jacobson
Show Hunter: Furaha, trained by Susan Deal
Show Jumper: Tenpin Sugar, trained by Katherine Deichmann

For full results from the Thoroughbred Makeover, please visit

Tenpin Sugar, a 2013 bay mare by Tenpins out of Storm Cat mare, Hurricane Amy won the show jumper division of the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover with trainer Katherine Deichmann. Bred in Louisiana by Emile J. Barras Farm Stables LLC., Tenpin Sugar earned $7,586 in her racing career.



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Press Release: Inaugural Thoroughbred Aftercare Summit to be Held at Thoroughbred Makeover



On October 1, 2019, the Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA), Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), Thoroughbred Incentive Program and Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) will join together to present the inaugural Thoroughbred Aftercare Summit, a conference focused on education and networking among those with a professional interest in the retraining and rehoming of Thoroughbreds after racing. The conference will be held the day before the start of preliminary competition at the Retired Racehorse Project’s annual Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America.

The Thoroughbred Aftercare Summit will focus on topics such as finance, business management, board governance and grant and sponsorship-seeking best-practices. There will also be a roundtable session for individuals and organizations to discuss and idea-share on challenges affecting them.

“The Thoroughbred Makeover is the perfect opportunity to convene aftercare advocates for a couple hours to learn, discuss and share some best business practices,” said Erin Crady, executive director of TCA. “The session may be particularly helpful for grant-seeking nonprofit aftercare organizations, however most topics will be generalizable to for-profit retraining and rehoming operations as well.”

Featured speakers will include Mike Meuser, TAA president and a Lexington-based attorney with the law firm of Miller, Griffin & Marks whose specialty includes equine law and civil litigation and Jen Shah, TAA treasurer and a CPA who serves as the head of equine services for Dean Dorton, a Lexington-based financial consulting firm, as well as representatives from grant-funding organizations, including the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, Thoroughbred Charities of America, ASPCA and The Right Horse Initiative.

“We at the TAA are thankful for Mike Meuser and Jen Shah’s leadership and knowledge about both the nonprofit sector and the equine industry, and we think this will be a great experience for TAA-accredited organizations and those wanting to become accredited to learn from these experts,” said TAA operations consultant Stacie Clark.

The conference is a collaboration of the four presenting organizations in an effort to bring together the Thoroughbred aftercare community.

“Whether we work in the for-profit sector, for a non-profit organization or work to rehome or otherwise advocate for Thoroughbreds after racing as private individuals, we all often face similar challenges as both horse people and as professionals,” said Jen Roytz, executive director of the Retired Racehorse Project. “We worked hard to curate a collection of topics and speakers for this inaugural Summit that will offer valuable insight to those in all sectors of Thoroughbred aftercare, and we look forward to expanding the subjects broached in future years.”

Tickets for the Thoroughbred Aftercare Summit are free, however limited seating is available, so those planning to attend are asked to register. Parking at the Kentucky Horse Park is $5 per car without a Kentucky Horse Park or Thoroughbred Makeover parking pass.

The Thoroughbred Aftercare Summit will be held in the Covered Arena Lounge at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky on October 1 from 3:00 to 5:00. It is held in conjunction with the $100,000 Thoroughbred Makeover, a training competition for horses in their first year of retraining after retirement from racing. This year’s Makeover will feature approximately 450 Thoroughbreds coming from 40 states and 4 provinces to compete across ten disciplines, including barrel racing, competitive trail, dressage, eventing, field hunters, freestyle, polo, ranch work, show hunter and show jumping. The full schedule of events can be found at

For more information on the Thoroughbred Aftercare Summit, go to the designated webpage at


Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization working to increase demand for off-track Thoroughbreds and build the bridges to second careers. It publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, hosts the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, maintains the Retired Racehorse Resource Directory, manages the online Thoroughbred Sport Tracker, and presents programs at major horse expos across the country. Visit RRP online at