Lexington, Ky.—Oct. 6
Sometimes the obvious pun is cringeworthy, but that certainly was not the case at the 2017 Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover when Alien Gray trotted in the ring for the freestyle competition. Rider Cedar Potts-Warner totally went there with the adorable 4-year-old gray gelding—he was sporting metallic antenna, lime green wraps and a bonnet to go with Potts-Warner’s cape and tinsel crown.
The freestyle competition is among the most popular at the makeover, featuring crazy routines like leaping through rings of fire or bridleless reining demonstrations. Potts-Warner had big shoes to fill this year as she took second with another horse in the competition last year, and she didn’t disappoint—Alien Gray piaffes in hand, bows and Spanish walks on command, and demonstrated beautiful gaits while circling around his set of little planets.
The RRP Thoroughbred Makeover is what first introduced Kentucky-based dressage trainer Potts-Warner to the Thoroughbred horse in 2016.
“I didn’t have Throughbreds as a kid, and I had worked with them here and there but nothing consistently before the makeover and I was really pleasantly surprised,” Potts-Warner, 30, said. “They’re super athletic, and their attitude and willingness to try things is awesome. The one I had last year also piaffes, and this one picked it up as a 4-year-old.”
Potts-Warner trains under Jean-Philippe Giacomini at Baroque Farms, an Andalusian and Lusitano breeding and dressage training facility outside Lexington, Ky.
“My parents weren’t horse people, I just always loved horses and every time we would go out of town I would beg to go ride at trail ride places,” Potts-Warner said. “The trainer I grew up riding with in Jackson, Mississippi, did a lot of dressage, some natural horsemanship, some driving, some jumping, so I got a little bit of everything, and in Kentucky I’ve become more focused on higher level stuff.”
With Giacomini, Potts-Warner has ridden in demonstrations at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and the 2014 Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event. At home she trains horses from babies to upper level dressage mounts.
“The most advanced horse I’ve trained is an Andalusian Lusitano mix, and he can do 15 one-tempis bridleless,” Potts-Warner said.
Alien Gray is for sale after the competition, but Potts-Warner still has her Throughbred from last year’s makeover and plans to compete him in dressage competitions.
“The competition is amazingly organized and the people that are a part of it, you could not ask for a better group of people,” Potts-Warner said. “It’s just an amazing event, I’m thankful to be a part of it.”