The April 26 Thoroughbreds For All event nearly doubled in size from last year with 500 attendees from 22 states while raising more than $12,000 for two Thoroughbred aftercare charities.
The majority of the audience was made up of equestrians in town for the Rolex Three Day Event who wanted to learn more about retired Thoroughbred racehorses. The racing industry was also well represented, as the event was sponsored by AmWest Entertainment, Gulfstream After Care, and Three Chimneys Farm.
The beneficiaries, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program and the Retired Racehorse Training Program, partnered to host the educational event at New Vocations' Lexington facility. The evening consisted of dinner followed by a special presentation from The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program to recognize each of the 2013 Rolex riders competing on registered Thoroughbreds with a gift. Each Rolex rider shared their thoughts and reasons for using retired racehorses for eventing purposes.
"The Thoroughbred Incentive Program recognizes and rewards the versatility of the Thoroughbred through sponsorship of Thoroughbred classes and awards at horse shows and events across the United States and Canada," said Kristin Leshney, legal associate for The Jockey Club. "The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is the epitome of equine athleticism, and it was an honor to be able to recognize so many Thoroughbreds competing at this level."
The remainder of the evening consisted of four sessions focused on how to choose and work with newly retired racehorses. Presenters included Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron, Olympic rider Phillip Dutton, veterinarian Kevin Keane, Steuart Pitman, and local event trainers Kathy Wieschoff and Dorothy Crowell.
Eight New Vocation horses recently off the track were used during the demonstration, and all behaved well in front of the large crowd. Dutton worked with three of the new retirees and had them successfully jumping small fences in less than an hour. Throughout the evening Dutton sang his praises of the Thoroughbred as a choice athlete for many disciplines sharing, "I just love looking at Thoroughbreds."
The goals of the event were to educate the equestrian public on how to obtain and work with a retired Thoroughbred racehorse as well as to raise funds for aftercare efforts. Both goals were met and the huge response proved that there is an overwhelming interest in using retired racehorses for second careers. This was seen April 26, as well as the morning of April 28 when despite dreary weather nearly 200 equestrians showed up for the complimentary Three Chimneys Farm tour included with their ticket.
"Three Chimneys was honored to give a 'behind the fences' glimpse of a large scale international Thoroughbred breeding farm to the attendees of the Thoroughbreds For All event," said Jen Roytz, Three Chimneys marketing and communications director. "We're committed to producing sustainable long-term equine athletes whose usefulness extends far beyond the racetrack. As a professional in the racing industry who has a personal passion for the sporthorse industry, it's always gratifying when synergy can be created between the two."