For nearly as long as Thoroughbreds have raced against one another in organized pari-mutuel events, there have been breed and age restrictions to qualify for certain races. The same is true for the horse show world. Classes can be (and often are) restricted by age, level of training of the horse, rider and breed.
In the last several decades, Thoroughbreds have been getting into the mix of breed-restricted classes and horse shows as well. Today there are classes and even entire horse shows throughout the country restricted to Thoroughbreds, many of which have additional awards or prize money. The result is a slow but steady uptick in the earning potential, and ultimately the value, of non-racing Thoroughbreds.
The Jockey Club's Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP) has been at the forefront of this effort. Created by The Jockey Club in 2012 to encourage the retraining of Thoroughbreds in a variety of disciplines and to promote retired racehorses as viable riding and competition mounts, the TIP sponsors Thoroughbred-only classes and divisions at both rated and non-rated horse shows and competitions open to all breeds, as well as cumulative year-end Performance Awards, a Thoroughbred of the Year Award and a Young Rider of the Year Award.
There are more than 2,400 horse shows around the country each year that feature TIP-sponsored Thoroughbred-only classes at all levels, in a wide variety of disciplines and in nearly all regions of the country. The TIP website features an interactive horse show calendar that allows users to search for competitions with TIP-sponsored classes by discipline, types of classes and awards, location and date.
The TAKE2 Second Career Thoroughbred Program, Inc. operates in a similar vein but focuses exclusively on hunter/jumpers at USEF-sanctioned horse shows. Based in New York to serve members of that region's Thoroughbred industry, the program grew from just a handful of shows in New York, New Jersey and Texas over an eight-week period in the summer of 2012 to more than 350 shows across 23 states this year.
“The TIP is much broader in scope, offering smaller awards to a wider variety of disciplines,” said Andy Belfiore, Executive Director of the TAKE2 Program. “One area where the two complement each other is in the Thoroughbred Hunter division. TAKE2 sponsors the 3' division, while the TIP will often sponsor the 2'6” division, which is a great stepping stone for the horses just starting out.”
The TAKE2 Program also has an interactive calendar of horse shows throughout the country.
In addition to programs like TIP and TAKE2 that sponsor select classes at open shows, there is an ever-expanding number of entire horse shows exclusive to Thoroughbreds.
The Run for the Ribbons in Florida, New Vocations Charity Thoroughbred Horse Show in Kentucky, Thoroughbred Heritage Horse Show in Virginia, Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show in California, Fair Hill Thoroughbred Show in Maryland and many, many others have come about over the years, offering a wide variety of classes restricted to Thoroughbreds.
For those who ride, or even drive, their Thoroughbreds regularly, but do not compete in the show ring, the TIP recently introduced its Thoroughbred Recreational Riding Incentive Program. Riders (or drivers) can earn TIP swag such as hats, tumblers, saddle pads/blankets and logo appeal for logging and submitting the hours they ride their horses outside of the traditional riding arena. Riding can be done in the form of trail rides, endurance rides, hunts, hunter paces and other non-arena riding. More information on the TIP Recreational Riding Program, including downloadable forms to log a rider's hours, can be found here.
With more classes, shows and opportunities coming about each year, there is no shortage of opportunities for Thoroughbred owners and riders to get in on the fun and celebrate their horse's breed and heritage.
Jen Roytz is a marketing, publicity and comprehensive communications specialist based in Lexington, Kentucky. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, her professional focus lies in the fields of equine, health care, corporate and non-profit marketing. She holds board affiliations with the Make a Wish Foundation, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and the Retired Racehorse Project, among others. While she currently has no plans to build an arc, she is the go-to food source for two dogs, two cats and two off-track Thoroughbreds.
Email Jen your story ideas at [email protected] or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2020 Paulick Report.