The Horse

FEB 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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36 TheHorse.com THE HORSE February 2018 the track and later in life," he says. He also played a leading role in developing RRP's annual Thoroughbred Makeover, in which professionals, ama- teurs, and juniors select recently retired racehorses to train for no more than 10 months before competing in one of 10 disciplines for a share of cash prizes. The Jockey Club also developed its Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP) to promote the retraining of Thoroughbreds in other disciplines following their racing careers. In addition to presenting awards at competitions with TIP divisions, the program offers incentives for OTTB own- ers involved in recreational pursuits and noncompetitive careers (such as therapy or police horses) with their mounts. Rosenberg believes the Makeover, TIP, and other efforts to promote Thorough- breds have started to create a demand for horses at the end of their racing careers. "I feel strongly that these efforts to market Thoroughbreds as sport horses are begin- ning to have the desired effect and are ultimately the solution," he says. And, of course, there are the OTTBs that garnered national and international attention, competing at the highest levels of their sports, against Warmbloods and other breeds—and winning. You'll remember these names, too: For The Moment earned multiple Olympic medals around the time Warm- bloods had begun dominating the show jumping arena. He became the oldest horse to win a Grand Prix, at age 21. Molokai made his mark on eventing as the first USEF National CCI**** Cham- pion at the inaugural Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event ("Mo" won second, but the winner hailed from New Zealand). And then there was Gem Twist, who earned Olympic team and individual silver medals in show jumping in Seoul, Korea, and was the only horse to have won the American Grand Prix Associa- tion Horse of the Year title three times. The gelding is widely regarded as one of the best show jumpers in history. Have These Efforts Helped? In a word, immensely, say our sources. "Demand and value have increased, especially during the months that train- ers are shopping for Makeover horses," Pittman says. "It varies geographically, and it is more apparent among sound, larger geldings, but there are also more people willing to take on the risk of a horse that needs rehab from an injury. Getting some money for a retiree isn't important to high-end players in the racing game, but at the lower-end tracks where most horses retire, the sale price is a real incentive to retire a horse when it's still sound." Paulus agrees, noting that OTTBs seem to be thriving in all disciplines, which will only boost demand further. "I talk to people daily who may not be ready to make the move to an off-track horse, but the interest in having one in the future is there," she says. "Value has seemed to in- crease more than ever over the past year." And, of course, there's a new generation of OTTB superstars promoting the breed's athleticism and versatility. Flashy and fancy Courageous Comet was a longtime fan favorite, representing the United States on both Olympic and World Equestrian Game teams. Veteran CCI**** eventer Donner has traveled the world competing on the U.S. Eventing team. And let's not forget Neville Bardos, an eventer who finished seventh at the CCI**** Land Rover Burghley Horse Tri- als, just months after being saved from a barn fire that claimed six equine lives. Still Work to Be Done Progress in ensuring aftercare has been steady, but there's still work to be done and concerns to address. There are still perceptions among equestrians and in the general public that racing is all about the money, and the horses and their care are an afterthought. Rosenberg hopes to change this belief. "I can categorically say that this isn't true," Rosenberg says. "Roughly 85% of the horses in training don't earn enough to pay their training bills, let alone the cost of production or of acquiring them. If this was all about the money, why would so many people be willing to lose money?" Some people also believe that race- horses are forced around the track, which Rosenberg says is also far from the truth. "Labrador Retrievers don't bring that stick or tennis ball back to you 5,000 times because people taught them to do it; they do it because it is natural dog behavior and one that humans selectively Initiatives such as Retired Racehorse Project's Thoroughbred Makeover and The Jockey Club's Thoroughbred Incentive Program promote the breed as a sport and recreation mount. BELOW: COURTESY TIP; LEFT: COURTESY SARAH ANDREW The number of foals born in the United States has decreased by 50% since 1990 The Evolution of Thoroughbred AF TERCARE

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