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Retired Racehorse Trainer Challenge

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  • Retired Racehorse Trainer Challenge

    For those who've not seen this yet, the Retired Racehorse Trainer Challenge is underway and looks like a really neat program. Three trainers (Eric Dierks, Tiffany Catledge, and Kerry Blackmer) have been chosen to take an OTTB and work with it for five weeks, showcasing the trainability, mind, and talents of thoroughbreds as sport horses.

    More information here:

  • #2
    Think they are looking for horses...donor/Loaner needs to include $1000. training fee.....


    • #3
      Sounds like a fun idea that could also have positive impact on the way OTTBs are perceived.

      If it would cost an owner only $1000 (total) for the training, I think it could be well worth it. Wish one of my critters was only recently off the track!
      They don't call me frugal for nothing.
      Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


      • #4
        Thanks, GotSpots! Yep! Steuart is actively looking at horses this week. I'm not sure how many he has to look at, but he'll be busy...

        Trainers do receive a $1000 training fee for the 5 weeks of training, but interested owners can certainly try to find a sponsor if they can't afford the fee. We wanted to mimic what happens in the "real world" as much as possible.

        We're working on plans to do a much bigger trainer challenge as a stand-alone event, with amateur and professional divisions, taking place over 3 months (maybe this summer?). Trainers would be responsible for getting their own horses for the bigger one. More details when we get through this one!!! It's shaping up and should be a LOT of fun! Also hoping to get it on HRTV...stay tuned to the Facebook page for updates.
        Dodon Farm Training Center - on Facebook


        • #5
          This is excellent promotion for ottbs and you guys are incredible at planning and executing it! Thank you very much!


          • #6
            I can't wait. It sounds like FUN and sort of a way to bring out, in public, what many of us do on our own, and have been doing, for many, many years. My FIRST horse was an off-track thoroughbred and I brought him along myself as a teenager (14). . . and guess what, I STILL have off track thoroughbreds!

            I hope to be at Horse World Expo for the introduction Friday afternoon and plan to write a report for Horse Junkies United, but that's just the plan at the moment...hopefully work will cooperate...

            I wish I could get a horse and give it to this program, it would be WELL worth $1,000, I think, for five weeks training, from any of the three trainers -- they are all very accomplished and savvy horse people.
            Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
            Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


            • #7
              Hey, my OTTB has been off the track for 5 years-think I can send HIM????? ;~)
              Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


              • #8
                Not meaning to be a downer here, but I don't really get this............so you get to put your horse in training with a trainer at their regular rates. BIG WHOOP...........

                What am I missing here...............


                • #9
                  I don't think the goal is for the owner. I think it is for people who think of TBs as nutcases to be able to see just how far a recently off the track TB can come with 5 weeks of training. More to get those (not us!) who don't know how wonderful TBs are to see more of them
                  OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


                  • #10
                    I'm with equinedriver: confused after reading the page several times.

                    These TBs are already privately owned. They're not in the hands of track trainers/owners or an organization like CANTER.

                    Presumably, their current owners obtained them as prospective riding horses, either directly from the track or from a rehoming org.

                    Is the goal is to show what a TB can do with five weeks' professional training? Five weeks is not a long time in terms of training a horse, especially if it's young and just off the track.

                    Is the goal to get more CANTER-type buyers to put their horses in professional training?

                    Then there's this:
                    Horses will be available for sale after the Challenge at prices determined by their owners.
                    Which would mean the owners don't intend to keep these horses after putting $1000 of training into them. So is this about demonstrating to the horsey public that you can get a horse off the track, put $1000 into it and sell it at a profit?

                    I'm not trying to trash this program. I thought it sounded exciting. I thought it would be experienced trainers taking on CANTER (or similar org) horses and showing the before-and-after results at the horse expo.

                    But this is private owners paying pro trainers to train their horse. The message is: if you put $1000 into your OTTB with a pro trainer, you'll have a horse you can sell.

                    So yes, like equinedriver, I'm confused about the goals of this program.


                    • #11
                      The main purpose to the program is to demonstrate the attractablity of ottb. Showing that they deserve to be considered for our top spots with our elite riders. By showcasing this the hope is to encourage more people to look on the track verses the breeding shed to find their next top horse. I am sure that Steuart will not find horses right off the track as they would obviously need some down time and I am also sure he will work with the local tb rescues to find ones of equal quality. This is a trial run but it is meant to show the progress you can make in just 5 weeks of regularly training. The reason they are most likely offering them for sale is after people watch and follow these sort of things you begin to get connected to one particular one which is why they are letting you know a head of time that you may purchase one. I don't know if this helps you or not but rregardless this is a way to publish the chronicles of an ottb to increase peoples awareness to where greatness lies.


                      • #12
                        Why not PM Erin or e-mail Steuart himself and get the straight answers.

                        I for one as an OTTB re-seller am totally onboard and excited for this program.

                        CANTER has its own in-house re-training program and so does New Vocations, I hope that this is going to be an educational tool for those who want to buy OTTB but are some what afraid.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Hiwaythreetwenty View Post
                          The main purpose to the program is to demonstrate the attractablity of ottb. Showing that they deserve to be considered for our top spots with our elite riders.
                          So you're trying to encourage people to send OTTBs to 'elite riders'?

                          IME, 'elite riders' don't care where a horse comes from or what it is as long as it has the talent and rideability to be a UL eventer.

                          Originally posted by Hiwaythreetwenty View Post
                          By showcasing this the hope is to encourage more people to look on the track verses the breeding shed to find their next top horse.
                          The breeding shed? Recently, we've had threads on this forum as well as the breeding forum about how Americans don't buy youngsters or buy from US breeders. The abundance of cheap OTTBs was cited as a reason for this.

                          But again, you're talking about 'top horses.' So is this a scheme to get OTTB to top pros, at pro training rates? That's different from getting the pros to scour the listings in search of a future superstar OTTB.

                          If anything, this seems like a programme to encourage elite-level TB event horse ownership. Is that correct?

                          (And I don't think there's anything wrong with encouraging ownership. To the contrary. I love being an owner as I enjoy working with young horses but have no interest in competing.)


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JER View Post
                            I'm with equinedriver: confused after reading the page several times.

                            These TBs are already privately owned. They're not in the hands of track trainers/owners or an organization like CANTER.
                            Actually, we ARE looking at horses owned by racing owners, not by the folks who will own them in the end. Steuart is out looking at horses today. One at MidAtlantic Horse Rescue (they were the first to approach us about not only sponsoring the challenge but paying for one of their horses to get training), another owned by a private person who trains and resells OTTBs; Steuart also has one to look at later that comes from a breeder/race owner who cares where his horses go after they're done racing and yet another one with a private race owner. The idea is, as others have said, to showcase retired racehorses as VALUABLE and that racehorse owners should strongly consider investing in even a small amount of training for their horses rather then selling them down the line at very very low prices, while also proving to the horse-owning public that they aren't, in fact, crazy fire-breathing dragons. They gain value with training. Yes, the trainers are getting paid; we went back and forth about how to do this, whether to get sponsors for the horses etc., but decided that we wanted willing race owners to do it. We also want them to be there to introduce the horses at the start of the challenge.

                            The whole thing will be videotaped - at the Expos (hopefully by HRTV, but we're still working on that; they did seem interested) and while in training with frequent updates from the trainers. These videos will be made public and will hopefully help others working with OTTBs themselves.

                            It is not to "encourage elite-level TB event horse ownership," though we have absolutely no problem whatsoever with elite-level eventers getting their next superstar off the track The mission of the RRTP is to increase the demand for retired racehorses through education and promotion. This first trainer challenge is just one small part of what we want to do. Future Trainer Challenges will be longer, will be stand-alone events with seminars on care, etc. in addition to multi-discipline riding demonstrations, will have Pro and Amateur divisions, plus trainers will be responsible for buying and training their own horses...still in the planning stages, though. The Expo venues are neither large enough nor do we get enough time to do what we'd REALLY like to do.
                            Last edited by Erin Pittman; Jan. 5, 2012, 12:47 PM. Reason: added more...
                            Dodon Farm Training Center - on Facebook


                            • #15
                              I think it's a really neat idea!!
                              http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                              • #16
                                Thank you Erin!!


                                • #17
                                  I think it will be fun to watch. Assuming that people buy and send to trainers frequently anyway, why not publicize the process and let everyone learn more about various retraining methods, and drool over some horses. The judging at the end will be fascinating.

                                  Also, I can't wait for the amateur one! I have always started my own OTT and I think watching other amateurs doing the same would be really interesting.

                                  That said, the financial aspect does read as odd to me too--why do they all have to be for sale afterward? Is that to encourage race trainers to put their OTTBs in training to sell to sport people? Or to encourage amateurs to buy OTTBs and send them to training as short term investments?

                                  That part does seem to be promoting the trainers just as much as the horses. Which makes sense, if it is directed toward race trainers. But I think most show/event riders know all about full training.

                                  I don't know, I think it will be worth watching for sure, worth participating if your plan was already to buy an OTTB, put it in training, then sell it.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Beam Me Up View Post
                                    That said, the financial aspect does read as odd to me too--why do they all have to be for sale afterward? Is that to encourage race trainers to put their OTTBs in training to sell to sport people? Or to encourage amateurs to buy OTTBs and send them to training as short term investments?
                                    Yes! In other words, all of the above. These horses are already for sale whether from a rescue/placement organization (in this case, MidAtlantic Horse Rescue), a breeder/owner, or someone else. I assume that it's possible one of the owners might decide to keep it, but who knows...the idea is to promote the Thoroughbred as a sport horse to both the racehorse owners and to people looking to buy a new horse. Hopefully that makes sense...
                                    Dodon Farm Training Center - on Facebook


                                    • #19
                                      Don't forget to do the Bloodline Brag.. I want to find another FuPeg baby!!!
                                      http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Erin Pittman View Post
                                        Actually, we ARE looking at horses owned by racing owners, not by the folks who will own them in the end.
                                        That makes sense but how many racing owners/trainers want to put $1000 into a horse they want off their feed bill?

                                        The website says it's about value-add:

                                        Owners will pay the trainers a market-rate fee for the training that their horses receive with an expectation that the value of those horses will increase substantially.
                                        Substantially. Substantially from where? Up from $500? $1500? Will you make back the cost of your $20K yearling?

                                        It's a substantial promise to make (if the owners 'expect it), that the $1000 in training fees will increase the horse's value. What if the horse needs more time? What if the horse is nervous or spooky or requires a tactful, experienced rider?

                                        (Or is under 16hh or is a mare? I assume you won't be choosing those.)

                                        5 weeks = 35 days = not a heck of a lot in the universe of horse training. Yes, it might be fun as a game show but this is neither realistic nor representative of how green horses become consistent, confirmed riding horses. Over and over again, I hear from trainers that owners (1) don't want to put enough time into proper training and (2) have unrealistic expectations as to what 30 days' training can accomplish.

                                        So I'm still scratching my head as to the positives here. But I also don't know the TB market in MD. Maybe this would make more sense to me in that context.