“It was a personal goal of mine to compete in the Thoroughbred Makeover. Once I moved to the East Coast, I jumped on the opportunity right away. Excitement, nerves and anxiety all followed once I applied then got accepted.
So now I was looking for a RRP eligible horse. The OTTB Market App had just launched and I joined right away. After a month of searching, I found the right horse, American Star, who was still at the racetrack. With all the cards lined up just in time, I was ready! Luckily at the time, I was at a barn where the trainer had been to the Makeover the previous year. She told me that the show was extremely well run and very organized.
A couple of things we learned on our own is to definitely reserve a round pen. Round pens are very convenient and worth it. Order bedding and shavings WELL ahead of time. Everyone orders at once and getting all of your reservations in WELL ahead of time, makes life A LOT easier for you and everyone else.
Hotels too! They also sell out and/or cost higher the closer to the event time. With braiding, get pictures before you hire a braider. Jumper braids are nice for the class (but not necessary) this is the top of the top of OTTB competitions. Judges like to have clean looking braided horses, if you can do it, braid. Go to the expo! So many amazing clinicians, shops, info, go! You do get your judges card at the end of competition. Get it! It's a rare occasion for Hunters/Jumpers to see the judges comments. All judges cards/ribbons are in the main indoor arena where the shopping is. The Kentucky Horse Park is BIG, if you can get a golf cart or bring your own do it, even a bike would be helpful. Cars are not allowed all over the Park so bring your own Park transportation. Overall, we had a blast and will definitely plan to go again soon!
Final price of advice: join the RRP Facebook groups. Ask questions and have fun. Good luck to all of the 2023 candidates and hopefuls!”