Changes in the show industry have resulted in a decreased demand for OTTBs. Thoroughbreds developed a reputation for being “hot” or “unsound” or inferior to the imported Warmbloods. As a result, more Thoroughbreds were ending up in low-level auctions or were purchased directly from racetracks by horse dealers with a bleak outlook for a second career. It was this environment that lead The Jockey Club and the launch of initiatives aimed at aftercare of Thoroughbreds. Beginning in 2008 with the Retirement Checkoff Program. Then it expanded to include Thoroughbred Connect, Tattoo Identification Services and the launch of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
Perhaps the most well-known aftercare program of The Jockey Club is the Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.). The Jockey Club Member Dell Hancock spurred the creation of T.I.P. in October 2011 to showcase the breed’s many talents at all levels of competition and encourage the retraining of Thoroughbreds once they have finished their racing or breeding career.
T.I.P.’s humble beginnings focused on sponsorship of Thoroughbred classes and high point awards at sanctioned horse shows and two annual awards, the T.I.P. Thoroughbred of the Year Award and the T.I.P. Young Rider of the Year Award. Programming was expanded in the past few years to include the year-end, self-reported Performance Awards, the T.I.P. Youth Ambassador Program and the support of an all Thoroughbred Show at the Kentucky Horse Park with New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program.
2017 promises to be the biggest year yet for T.I.P.. On January 1 was the launch of the Thoroughbred Recreational Riding Incentive Program (TRRIP). The program is designed for Thoroughbred owners who spend most of their time outside of the show ring, whether on trails (including competitive trail rides), endurance rides or even driving. Many OTTBs and owners like recreational riding more than to showing and TRRIP rewards recreational riders for choosing Thoroughbreds.
Riders who would like to record their hours electronically can do so using the Kentucky Equine Research ClockIt™ Sport App. This is a free mobile app that allows riders to easily track time and mileage for TRRIP. The App also includes detailed session reports and build summaries of total riding time and has an optional heart-rate monitor to gain insight into a horse’s fitness level. For more information and tips on getting started, click here.
2017 will also be a big year for competition horses with the inaugural T.I.P. Championships, the first all Thoroughbred Championship Horse Show. The Championship will be in conjunction with the two-day New Vocations Charity Thoroughbred Show. The Championships will offer a total of 12 divisions for Hunters, Jumpers, and English Pleasure with prize money of at least $1,000 per division. In order to qualify for the championships, riders must participate in a show offering T.I.P. awards, classes or divisions in the applicable discipline between September 1, 2016, and July 31, 2017, or participate in the 2016 T.I.P. Performance Awards. Riders must also submit a Declaration Form by August 15. More information is available here.
Since its inception, the Thoroughbred Incentive Program has demonstrated the passion of equestrians for retired racehorse. The championship horse show will showcase these riders and their horses that have excelled in disciplines beyond racing.