The Retired Racehorse Training Project has run successful challenge and makeover projects since 2009, pushing for more Thoroughbred competitions beyond racing and shining a light on the need for more efforts to help horses find careers beyond the racetrack.
It all moves another step forward next month with the first Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium at Pimlico Race Course Oct. 5-6. The event will provide the public appearance of the latest crop of Thoroughbreds to dive into the RRTP, 26 horses chosen by 26 trainers to teach, convert and showcase in a variety of disciplines from polo to eventing to steer roping. We will be highlighting the Makeover's Mid-Atlantic connections (bothhuman and equine) in the weeks leading up to October 5 and 6.
Thoroughbred in Training: Same as Always ("Al")
2009 dkbbr., g., Action This Day - Petite Wink, by Classic Go Go
Bred in Kentucky by Frank Schaffer
Last Raced: 2/11/12 at Penn National
Makeover Trainer: Amber Lynn Longreen (13) of Hummelstown, PA
Amber began riding ex-racehorses at the tender age of 8. Her first off-the-track Thoroughbred, Curtis, took her all the way to the novice level of Three-Day-Eventing at the American Eventing Championships. Her mother, Cheryl Keller, is the head trainer at Bowcrest Farms, which is not only a large boarding and lesson barn but also a New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program facility. Amber began riding the ex-racehorses at New Vocations in 2012, and currently has two ex-racehorses that she is Eventing.
Same as Always, or Al, was in training at Fair Hill with Joe Shuman and last published a work in April, before being donated by his breeder's Estate to New Vocations. "As soon as I saw Al step off of the trailer, I just feel in love with him," says Amber, "The first time I rode him his gaits were so beautiful and his movements were so smooth; he was just perfect." Wise beyond her years, Amber saw in Al a wonderful prospect with a long, fruitful career ahead of him.
Feeling confident, Amber took Al to his first show in July and placed 5th. "I was so proud of Al." While her blogs don't wax poetic about her training techniques or her views on the Thoroughbred's capacity as a sport horse, Amber lives up to her application's promise to work hard and be a wonderful representative of New Vocations in the Thoroughbred Makeover.
Watch: Amber rides Fancy Francine at New Vocations
Buy tickets to the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium and receive free general admission to Jim McKay Maryland Million Day, October 19, 2013 at Laurel Park!