The Jockey Club, the registry for Thoroughbreds, has launched a $100,000 pilot program designed to encourage people to adopt horses off the track to train for dressage, jumping, eventing and showing.
The Thoroughbred Incentive Program is soliciting applications from 2012 shows and events who would like to host a Thoroughbred class among their competitions. The amount of money shows get for prizes will depend on how many shows apply and the level of the competition.
Higher-level competitions will get more money. A variety of classes and awards are available; for more information, go to TJCTIP.com.
Kristin Hix of The Jockey Club, who helped organize the program, said the goal is to encourage all levels, even those straight off the track now. So if you're thinking of getting a horse soon, "you just might think 'Thoroughbred' rather than warmblood," she said.
The pilot program is a complement to The Jockey Club's other efforts toward aftercare, including its Thoroughbred Connect site, which lists horses for adoption; tattoo identification service and retirement checkoff for breeders. To be eligible for the new incentives, horses must be registered with The Jockey Club.
"The Thoroughbred Incentive Program is a natural extension of our ongoing efforts in aftercare," James Gagliano, The Jockey Club's president and chief operating officer, said in a news release. "We encourage other groups to join us as we assist with the transition of Thoroughbreds into second careers."
In addition to the incentives, The Jockey Club will offer two new awards of $5,000 each.
The TIP Thoroughbred of the Year Award will recognize a Thoroughbred who has excelled in a non-competitive career such as equine-assisted therapy or police work. The money will be awarded as a grant to the non-profit organization associated with the horse or to a horse-related charity chosen by The Jockey Club.
The TIP Young Rider of the Year Award will honor a rider 18 or younger who owns or leases a Thoroughbred for use in 4-H, Pony Club or other activities. Winners will be determined through an essay contest, with total awards of $5,000 annually that can be applied to the colleges of their choice or their participation in an event that furthers involvement with horses.
Thoroughbreds have long been popular as sport horses, but in recent years, as concern over horse slaughter and proper aftercare has increased, new programs have been created to encourage potential owners and help horses retrain after racing.
"Although a Thoroughbred named Kim's Song never beat a horse on the race track, she went on to be a national hunter champion and put me on the map as a young rider in the 1970s, so I have a deep-rooted appreciation for Thoroughbreds competing in the show world," R. Bruce Duchossois, a horse breeder and championship competitor in multiple equestrian disciplines, said in support of the announcement.