Applications are now open for the 2021 competition year of the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America. Applications will be accepted through Jan. 15, 2021 and accepted trainers will be announced Feb. 15, 2021.
As the 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover was postponed to 2021 due to the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 edition of the Retired Racehorse Project's banner event will include competition groups both for horses that would have competed in 2020, as well as those entering for 2021. The two groups will compete separately, including two separate Finales to crown each year's Thoroughbred Makeover Champion. Applications for the 2020 competition year closed earlier this year, though new owners of horses already entered for 2020 may apply to compete.
Entering its seventh year at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, the Thoroughbred Makeover features competition in 10 disciplines for recently-retired Thoroughbreds in their first year of retraining for a career after racing. Horses and their trainers may compete in one or two disciplines of their choice, including Barrel Racing, Competitive Trail, Dressage, Eventing, Field Hunter, Polo, Ranch Work, Show Hunter, Show Jumper, and Freestyle (a freeform discipline showcasing skills of the trainer's choosing).
Horses and trainers will compete for more than $100,000 in total prize money per competition year, plus the coveted title of Thoroughbred Makeover Champion at the Kentucky Horse Park Oct. 12-17, 2021. The Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium includes not just the competition, but educational seminars, a vendor fair, the Makeover Marketplace horse sale, and the Makeover Master Class, featuring demonstrations and insight from leading trainers. The Finale features the top five horses in each discipline and will be live-streamed for viewers at home.
The Thoroughbred Makeover is open to professionals, amateurs, juniors (ages 12 and over), and teams. Applicants are required to provide information about their riding and competition background as well as references, including one from a veterinarian. Applicants are encouraged to provide links to riding video, which is a requirement for first-time competitors. Competitors do not need to have acquired their horse at the time of application, though they must register their horse no later than July 31, 2021.