The Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover has officially begun, and the 2018 edition will be its biggest Makeover ever. The RRP announced a whopping 794 Thoroughbred trainers will be vying for a portion of $100,000 in prize money across 10 different disciplines, October 4-7 at the Kentucky Horse Park. Although applications for the event are now closed, there are many ways you can get involved.

Become a member of RRP

The Retired Racehorse Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to increase demand for Off-Track Thoroughbreds. Becoming a member of RRP allows you to do your part to support OTTBs. The $45 membership includes free or discounted tickets for the Makeover event, a subscription to Off-Track Thoroughbred magazine, a Retired Racehorse Resource directory, access to member-only events and educational seminars, and discounts on apparel and products from their sponsors.

Follow along on social media

Thoroughbred Makeover trainers are typically quite active on social media. Spectators and Thoroughbred enthusiasts can join the Thoroughbred Makeover Facebook group, where they will be kept up to date on events and happenings in the organization and get to know many of the trainers and their mounts. Many of the trainers also have individual Facebook pages created so that others can watch the journey as they take racehorse to sport horse in a short 10 months.

Nicole Scherrer and Small Batch

Watch demonstrations and events

Throughout the year leading up to the Makeover event, RRP hosts several events to showcase the current and previous year’s trainers and their horses. Demonstrations by the current year’s trainers allow spectators to watch the progress unfold and get a closer look at the horses’ journey through training. RRP is also known to hold “Makeover Rematch” events where competitors from prior years can showcase the progress their horses have made after the Makeover has ended.

Although events for this year have not been announced, expos and demonstrations have routinely been held at the Virginia Horse Festival, Pennsylvania Horse World Expo and Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event.

Become an owner

With 46% of the accepted trainers classifying themselves as professional riders, several trainers will be looking to partner with owners to train and compete a Makeover mount. Purchasing a horse or allowing an eligible horse you currently own to be trained and competed at the Makeover event allows a first-hand experience into the world of retraining Thoroughbreds.

The Makeover boasts trainers that are decorated Polo players, have experience in upper level Eventing, have earned their USDF Gold Medal in dressage and much more.

With high-quality trainers from 40 states and 3 Canadian provinces entered to compete, chances are owners can easily find high-quality trainers to partner with and bring along the OTTBs in the sport of their choosing.

Attend the event

The Makeover event is much more than a training competition. With an expected 500 horses competing in 10 different disciplines for $100,000 in prize money, the stakes are high. Spectators are welcome to attend the Makeover and watch the horses in action. After two days of initial competition, the top five horses from each discipline are invited to the Finale on Saturday to compete for $5,000, which is awarded to the winner of each discipline. The winners go on to vie for an additional $10,000 and the title of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred.

In addition to the training competition, the Thoroughbred Makeover is also home to a vendor fair held throughout the event and the Thoroughbred National Symposium, which is held on Sunday. The Symposium offers educational seminars and mounted clinics which are free to audit.

The Thoroughbred Makeover is also home to the Makeover Horse Sale. In 2017, 100 horses trained and actively competing in 10 different disciplines were marketed for sale during the event. Buyers from across the country are encouraged to make the Thoroughbred Makeover their shopping destination for Thoroughbred sport horses. With prices ranging from $3,000 to $30,000, there is sure to be a horse for every buyer.


About the Author
Lindsay Gilbert is the owner of Transitions Sport Horses, based in Lexington, KY. She specializes in repurposing OTTBs for careers in eventing, jumping and dressage. She also publishes a blog chronicling her road to the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover.