Yay! Glad it's back, though I confess I liked the former format a bit better - it was fun to read the various blogs and coverage of the process and I liked the different trainers' perspectives.
I agree. Although I think both formats are good for the horse. All 4 of the horses in this group are LOVELY. I expect they will all make nice competitive sport horses. What may be interesting in this format is to see how 4 different horses progress in the same training program (albeit one that is flexible for the particular horse).....so people can perhaps see how different horses progress at different speeds.
I especially love the older campaigner. He is really nice and I suspect will progress very quickly....and hopefully people will see that sometimes the older war horses may actually be easier to bring along and worth taking a chance on.
** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **
I'm glad it's back! I watch all of the first ride videos last night and like all of the horses. I love how patient Steuart is with all of the horses, especially Gunport. I can't wait to see how they all progress!
I love how this program educates the general public about ottb's. My favorite so far is Suave Jazz (the older war horse!) but I like Alluring Punch as well. I actually like that they picked horses that have prior injuries and those who have run quite a bit because I think it lends an opportunity to show the public that just because a horse has a previous injury or perhaps a ton of starts doesn't mean they aren't sound.
I love how much Declan's Moon looks like a dressage horse from the way he moves to the way he's built. They all look like really nice horses.
Kudos to the connections of all the horses for participating but especially to those of Declan's Moon. Having an Eclipse Award winning Champion participating should trigger some interest from the racing press which will get the attention of racing trainers all over the US. He was a serious racehorse. I can't wait to see what they can all do.
I would love an update on what the horses from the first challenge are up to these days. I think that's Solidify jumping and looking gorgeous in the main photo on the facebook page, but interested to see what the others are up to.
How cool! I really like Alluring Punch. But then, I love chestnut TBs. LOL That's how we named our stable (Chestnut Run). At the time, my husband and I had 5 horses--1 bay and 4 chestnuts and they were all either racing or had retired from racing.
justhiofit - our hope is to do weekly video updates. This past Monday we couldn't get it done due to timing, but will hopefully get it later this week. Sarah Andrew is coming out tomorrow to take photos, so be prepared for some gorgeous ones!
They are all so different! Gunport is a gorgeous but nervous little thing (ok, 16.1+ hh but refined); Alluring Punch is like a big goofy teenager; Suave Jazz is the consummate gentleman (he's my current favorite but mostly because I'm a sucker for a great story and he's got one - plus he's thin which makes me feel sorry for him - the fattening is well underway); Declan really just wants people to look at him. He's the supermodel of the bunch and I swear he poses for camera shots. I know...anthropomorphism and all that, but it sure seems true.
We tossed around a LOT of ideas on how to do this year's challenge but opted to focus on the horses (last year it was focused on the trainers). To make it fair - the best way to compare horses, they get trained by the same person. Steuart's doing the training - waaaay easier to get regular video, make training progress reports, get photos, etc. than if they were far away or spread out amongst different trainers. So far, it is a lot of fun and interesting to see the big differences between all the horses. All the owners are thrilled with the whole program and are possibly more excited than we are. Kim Dutrow (Suave Jazz's connection - the wife of trainer Tony Dutrow) has been in touch with Samantha Siegel (Declan's Moon's owner) and is trying to convince her to fly out for the Expos (Ms. Siegel lives in CA, so it's not a quick trip!).
Last edited by Erin Pittman; Dec. 11, 2012 at 10:07 AM.
Reason: Added more....
I am so excited to watch there progress especially that handsome devil Declan. (I know I know everyone knows he is my favorite!) I look forward to seeing how they all progress but mostly the publicity these amazing horses will recieve!
Personally a bit disappointed in this format. The previous contest brought over 3,000 people to the Expo at Harrisburg. The format made people excited.
I also think one trainer does not produce the excitement I think it will be hard, from a publicity standpoint, to maintain the enthusiam over such a long period of time. I disagree that it was about the trainers, and not the horses. I thought Tiffany Catledge, Kerry Blackmer and Eric Dierks did a fabulous job in making it about the horses and not themselves. I enjoyed the whole thing and felt it was a marketing bonanza from top to bottom.
We "get" the training....the public needs the contest to understand the training.
Hey troll-fingers thumbs-downiepantz, you know -- if you have criticisms of the RRTP, it would be more productive (oh, and MATURE) to EXPRESS them rather than just anonymously "not appreciate" posts about it. Unless you're in middle school or something; in that case, please don't bother...
Seriously surprised that no one has mentioned the elephant in the room, well the one I perceive anyway..
I think this has become more about the Pittman Training hour, and less about retraining a Tb.
I prefer a different format, but then I would prefer a larger competition with real people allowed to be included. It's not just one barn, one trainer or one professional that can retrain a Tb. And lots of regular folks buy a horse off of Canter and do amazing things with them.
I'd like to see that displayed to the public. Because honestly right now we're showing what can happen when a Tb farm sends a horse to an experienced professional trainer and pays for training board. Not that interesting to me. Of course 4 horses of training board has to be good for the trainer.
Last edited by Xctrygirl; Dec. 12, 2012 at 10:04 AM.
"Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries
I don't like the format either. I love Declan but know he had major soundness problems when he was on the track so I imagine his next career will have to be relatively modest.
Personally, I like both formats. The format of the first challenge was exciting because I got to see different training styles, etc. and it was cool to hear different voices about the training of thoroughbreds. I did notice that I enjoyed Tiffany C's posts the most and one of the reasons was that she had two horses and I enjoyed comparing the two of them as to how they were progressing and what they were up to. It was an easier comparison because it was the same voice.
This format I think is interesting because the initial selection of the horsese came from people within the racing industry. If you could get some of the more high profile owners invested in the post race careers of their non-breeding stock, you might find more horses leaving the track relatively sound. Given that the focus of the RRTP seems to be as much about showing the racing world the opportunities for post race careers as it is about educating the sport horse world about what retired racers can do, I think this one is a good idea. I expect given the presence of Declan's Moon and Suave Jazz there will be more racing press coverage of this challenge.
As for Declan's Moon, he's been in a field for 4 years and looks pretty darn sound for riding now. Any issues he may have had as a 2 and 3 year old racing distances on dirt may have resolved with time off and besides, nothing he'll be doing from here on will be remotely as strenuous as racing. I'm really excited to see what he can do. Such a beautiful mover.
Edited to add, after seeing Emily's post, I'm not seeing the ego trip that you're hinting at. I think you and the elephant are alone in the room. I like most of your posts and I think you have a lot of offer but sometimes I think you look for the bad in people. I'm usually pretty pessimistic about human nature but I'm a little incredulous that you would accuse them of doing this for the training board. The repurposing of OTTBs into sport horses is SP's life's passion. He's a professional who is committed to the TB. I think this new challenge idea is a great one. I watched all four videos, and I've been reading the updates. The level of passion and committment he and his team seem to have already developed into each of these horses after such a short time is inspiring.
And yes a lot of people can retrain a TB. Because of the budgetary realities of a lot of people who are likely to purchase one, a lot of OTTB's don't get access to the same level of training that a WB of comparable ability would. And then they're compared disfavorably and the cycle continues. I love that these guys are at a professional farm and I like seeing the different approaches to each horse from the same trainer.
I thought the trainers from the last challenge did a great job too.
I accept that whoever is doing the training (SP this round, or the younger trainers in the first round) does get some business and marketing opportunity, which isn't a bad thing.
But you're right that both rounds do focus on the send-for-professional-restarting model which is hardly the only one.
It seems like RRTP is partially marketed toward the race trainers, and perhaps for them the most convincing "sell" is "you could sell your OTTBs for more $/profit by sending them for a month of professional training first." But that may also send the message to potential OTTB purchasers that you may not want to try this at home.
I like your idea of incorporating "regular people," either in a future round or as part of the RRTP storyline in other ways.
I saw that it is generating some interest on the TB Champions forum, a lot of it because of Declan's Moon. Hope that someone will go over and consistently update the group there. Agree that it's important to really try to involve the racing side--since over here we already know how fabulous the OTTBs can be.
I found the four videos with the same trainer interesting because it shows both how similarly and differently one has to train to account for the difference in the horses. Especially picked up some pointers about longing--and about not trying to impede that forward energy when starting out.
I'm excited. Looking forward to following along.
Also--there's another training challenge going on at Dallas Keen's site in Texas with some of their rescue horses. That should also be interesting.
I love the mix of horses and how they got "big" Maryland connections; I think it will be more interesting to people in the racing industry. I'm just sad that the expo is 3 weeks after I move out of state! I might have to trek back up here
In related news, I read that the great English 'chaser Kauto Star has been sent to a dressage trainer after his retirement. I wish we could compare his progress with Declan and Suave Jazz!
Holy crap, how does Darwin keep missing you? ~Lauruffian
I'm excited. I think that, with four horses under the same trainer, we'll get a better chance to see how all four improve and, maybe, how the same trainer can, and should, use different methods to achieve the most positive results for each horse.
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past - let us accept our own responsibility for the future.