RRTP Contracts Benson for Marketing

She will help expand the organization's work to increase demand for OTTBs.

Retired Racehorse Training Project has contracted with Heather Benson of Back Forty Media and Marketing to increase demand in the equestrian sport and recreation markets for Thoroughbred ex-racehorses.

"This is a huge step forward for RRTP and the horses we serve," said founder and president Steuart Pittman in a release. "Heather will work with us to improve our interactive web databases, create our state-by-state Retired Racehorse Resource Directory for distribution to racetracks everywhere, and make the pitch to the two million horse owners in America that an off track Thoroughbred just might be what they are looking for."

Benson first connected with RRTP when her clients, Dale Simanton and Dorothy Snowden of Horse Creek Thoroughbreds in Newell, S.D., were selected to participate in the RRTP Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium. She created the event's popular Cowboy Up Jockey Challenge in which four jockeys went head-to-head in a team sorting competition with live cattle on Thoroughbred ex-racehorses.

"It didn't take us long to figure out that Heather was a marketing genius," said RRTP vice president Carolyn Karlson in a statement. "When we learned that she had been just as creative as general manager of a racetrack and had an encyclopedic knowledge of racing, pedigrees, and handicapping, we knew that she could tell the story of these horses in the way that we want it told."

Benson said she is enthusiastic about her contract with RRTP.

"What this organization has achieved for Thoroughbred horses in less than three years astounds me," said Benson. "I think the work that RRTP is doing will be a game-changer not just for the horses after they race, but also for the public perception of horse racing."

Back Forty Media and Marketing is a full service consulting firm that manages marketing and media portfolios for agribusiness and equine industry customers.

RRTP received the Thoroughbred Charities of America Industry Service Award earlier this month, and released the first national survey describing the paths to second careers for racehorses.

Its Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium at Pimlico in October was the first national gathering of the farms, organizations, and individuals that provide the bridge to second careers for Thoroughbreds. An expanded version of that event will take place at Pimlico on Oct. 4-5.