Uncategorized

Makeover Watchlist: Ranch Work

The Ranch Work division at the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium combines a Ranch Riding Pattern and a Ranch Trail test. During the trail test horses could encounter several obstacles typically found on ranches including gates, bridges, logs, and cattle. Horses are judged on their willingness to move forward and responsiveness to aids. The top five scoring horses will come back on Finale Saturday to determine final placings. The winner will be in contention for the $10,000 award of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred.

We interviewed three Ranch Work competitors to gain insight on their training process for the Thoroughbred Makeover.

Amber Jacobson and Silence is Awesome

Amber Jacobson is a professional from Alberta, Canada. She is the owner and manager of a small Thoroughbred breeding operation. She also boards, starts colts, and races a limited few. Her first real encounters with horses were in her early twenties when she became involved on the Chuckwagon Circuit. From there, she went to the Horse Racing Alberta Olds College Groom School. Upon graduation, Amber worked with standardbreds and then moved onto Thoroughbreds. She was sent to Kentucky for the KEMI program and became the manager of Highfield Stock Farm, one of Alberta’s leading breeders. She left Highfield in 2012 and started Running Fawcett Thoroughbreds Ltd. Until this year, other than trail riding and some minor ranch riding, Amber was only familiar with racehorse training.

Amber and Awesome.

Amber is entered in the Thoroughbred Makeover on Silence is Awesome, also known as “Awesome.” Awesome is an Alberta bred mare by multiple graded stakes winner Silent Name and out of Just Awesome, by Siphon. She started eleven times, won two races, and earned $5,752 on the track. Her two wins were at Lethbridge and her final start was in October of 2018. In addition to Ranch Work, Amber and Awesome will also be competing in Competitive Trail. You can view Awesome’s profile and ride times at https://www.tbmakeover.org/horse-profile-19?horse=53

OTTBwestern: What inspired you to compete in the Thoroughbred Makeover?

Amber: I had a horse that was eligible. I bred, raised, started, raced, and bought my horse back after she was claimed from me. I was doubtful I would be accepted due to my lack of competition experience but am so grateful I was! This adventure has taught me more than I could have imagined.

Amber and Awesome

OTTBwestern: What have been your biggest challenges and greatest accomplishments in your Makeover journey?

Amber: I think the biggest challenge has been getting confident in the show ring and understanding how judging works. As a team, I think it has been hard to let go of what she used to be and believe in what she is now! Our greatest accomplishment has been not only competing in a Ranch Rodeo, but winning it. It was a dream come true to take a Thoroughbred in a Ranch Rodeo! And honestly it was a goal of five years, not eight months.

Amber and Awesome

OTTBwestern: What are your plans for your horse after the Makeover?

Amber: If she doesn’t sell, which secretly I hope she doesn’t, I plan to continue the ranch versatility competitions with her as well as our local cow horse competitions. I think she has such a great foundation, so asking her to learn the barrel pattern with some speed added, will not turn her into a racehorse on me again.

OTTBwestern: What advice would you offer other trainers that are interested in competing in the Makeover?

Amber: I don’t know if I can answer that one yet as I am a newbie. I haven’t experienced it all yet. But if you are thinking about it, DO IT! The process up to has been worth all the time in the world. The knowledge I have gained has been unimaginable. Don’t worry about others, just focus on your team and it will be a great one!

Amanda Cousins and Art Imitates Life

Amanda Cousins is a professional from Virginia. She grew up in South Jersey and graduated with BS in Equine Studies from Virginia Intermont College. She has been a professional since 2007. Amanda runs Ashland Equestrian, a multi-discipline facility that offers boarding, training and lessons. She has had the unique opportunity to dip her toe into many disciplines to help give the best training to her students and horses possible. You can follow Amanda at https://www.facebook.com/ATRoadToRRP/

Artie

Amanda is entered in the Thoroughbred Makeover on Art Imitates Life, also known as “Artie.” Artie is a Florida bread gelding by multiple graded stakes winner Artie Schiller and out of Dixie Time Thief, by Dixie Union. He sold for $47,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company August Yearlings Sale. He started fourteen times, won three races, and earned $51,740 on the track. His three wins were at Fair Grounds and Indiana Grand Race Course. His final start was in July of 2018. In addition to Ranch Work, Amanda and Artie are also competing in Eventing. You can view Artie’s profile and ride times at https://www.tbmakeover.org/horse-profile-19?horse=140

OTTBwestern: What inspired you to compete in the Thoroughbred Makeover?

Amanda: Many of my horses I had as a junior were OTTBs, so my love for the breed started early. I was living and working Maryland when the Makeover was still held at Pimlico. I really wanted to participate but wasn’t in a place where I could have a second horse. I had a big job change in 2016 that finally opened the door for me to be able to participate. There’s been no looking back since then!

OTTBwestern: How did you acquire your Makeover horse?

Amanda: I got Artie through Amy Lynn Paulus. She helps trainers at tracks throughout Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana responsibly retire their horses.

Amanda and Artie on a cross country course

OTTBwestern: Did you choose Artie for your intended discipline or did you let him decide what he wanted to do?

Amanda: I absolutely let him choose what he wanted to do. But I did pick him off his demeanor and movement in his jog video.

OTTBwestern: What have been your biggest challenges and greatest accomplishments in your Makeover journey?

Amanda: My biggest challenge has been getting Artie to a good weight. He was thin and tucked up when I got him. Every time I felt like he was gaining weight, he’d have a growth spurt either upwards or outwards. Our greatest accomplishment is hard to pinpoint. Artie has been such a pleasure to work with through every new experience, whether it was the first time he worked cows, or met fox hounds, or his first time out Cross Country schooling. It’s where his hashtag #itsartie came from. He’s just so sensible and brave. He’s a true testament to the breed. In one week he went and did 2’9” Jumpers at a show, went out and worked cows, and then went hound walking with a local fox hunt.

OTTBwestern: What are your plans for him after the Makeover?

Amanda and Artie

Amanda: He’s for sale, although I want to keep him all for myself. If he doesn’t sell at the Makeover, he’ll come home, and we’ll continue to hone our ranch skills and also our English skills until he finds his person.

OTTBwestern: What advice would you offer to other trainers interested in competing in the Makeover?

Amanda: First, buy from someone trustworthy – a person who understands track life and has great references. Second, ask for help. Even as a professional, I still take lessons and ask questions of my peers. Continually work on yourself because the better rider you are, the better partner you’ll be for your horse. And enjoy the process. Everyone at the Makeover wants to see you succeed and welcomes you into the fold.

Jake Sutton and Toast to Ghost

Jake Sutton is a professional from Kansas. He grew up on a ranch on the southeastern side of the state where he learned to ride prowling pastures with his father. He currently works at Wheat Ranch, a cattle operation where they custom graze around 6,000 yearlings annually. He is often horseback while on the job and at home.

Jake and Ghost

Jake is entered in the Thoroughbred Makeover on Toast to Ghost, also known as “Ghost.” Ghost is a New York bred gelding by multiple graded stakes winner Hansen and out of Shake Baby Shake, by El Corredor. He started five times and earned just $2,037 on the track his best effort was a fifth-place finish at Saratoga and his final start was in August of 2018. In addition to Ranch Work, Jake and Ghost are also competing in Freestyle. You can view Ghost’s profile and ride times at https://www.tbmakeover.org/horse-profile-19?horse=402

OTTBwestern: What inspired you to compete at the Thoroughbred Makeover?

Jake: I went last with my wife who was competing, and I was extremely bored. I told her I wouldn’t go back unless I was competing too! I also wanted new challenge. I wanted to see if a Thoroughbred could become a good reliable using horse.

Ghost

OTTBwestern: How did you acquire your Makeover horse?

Jake: My wife and I were looking for horses and ran across Ghost on Amy Lynn Paulus’s page. We saw that he was bred by Craig and Tina Minten. We know them through other horses we have acquired, so we contacted them with questions about the horse. Turns out, they were actually looking for Ghost. We put them in contact with Amy and they bought him back. Two days later they called us and asked if we wanted to use Ghost and another horse, Man of the Sword, for the Makeover. The rest is history in the making.

OTTBwestern: What have been your biggest challenges and greatest accomplishments in your Makeover journey?

Jake: Overcoming my greatest challenge was my greatest accomplishment. That was teaching Ghost to do a sliding stop. It’s nowhere near perfect, but it’s there and when he does it I couldn’t be more proud.

Ghost with a young rider

OTTBwestern: What are your plans for Ghost after the Makeover?

Jake: As of right now, the plans are he will go back home with Craig and Tina after the Makeover. I am hoping to talk Craig into letting me keep Ghost to take him to the Battle of the Breeds at Equifest of Kansas in March of 2020. I really think he would have a chance at winning that tittle.

OTTBwestern: What advice would you offer to other trainers that are interested in competing in the Makeover?

Jake: This is not a part time job! This is something you do daily! I am fortunate enough to have a job that allows me to ride daily and instill patience in a horse. You need to expose these horses to everything you can think of and then some.

The Western Thoroughbred is proudly sponsoring buckles for the winners of Ranch Work and Barrel Racing and the top-placed western riders in Competitive Trail and Dressage! For more information on attending, participating, or competing in the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover visit: http://www.retiredracehorseproject.org

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s