Multiple graded stakes-winning gelding Declan's Moon was voted Best Suited for Dressage at Saturday's Pennsylvania Horse World Exposition, a part of the Retired Racehorse Training Project's 100-Day Challenge. The 2004 juvenile champion is one of four horses in the challenge, all of whom have received basic dressage and jumping experience in the last 11 weeks.
The project, which was launched by trainer Steuart Pittman as a way to promote the use of OTTBs in second careers, will conclude following two more weeks of training. At the end of the project, three of the four horses will be offered for sale. Declan's Moon will be retained by owners Jay Em Ess Stable, which will make him available for lease to a rider who will continue his new career.
Pittman says Declan's Moon has been dropping jaws with his light, elastic way of moving which “so clearly destroyed the stereotype that sport horse people have created, that a top racehorse that wins as a 2-year-old is not suited to dressage particularly and even jumping.”
“They say that the racehorse industry is no longer breeding the big, rangy, distance-type horses and that those are better for sport,” Pittman told the Daily Racing Form. “I've been finding that, in fact, that's not true. Even horses that are sprinters or that win as 2-year-olds are often really fantastic.”
Challenge horses will have a graduation day to complete the project on March 9 at Caves Farm near Baltimore, where they will show off their new skills. More information is available at www.retiredracehorsetraining.org.
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