“The Retired Racehorse Project TB Makeover advice (from all of us at Pacific Farms Incorporated) will always be to keep the big picture in mind. The Makeover is a fun show, but it is not a big deal in terms of physical competitiveness. This is not to diminish the experience, but to keep perspective. It takes YEARS to develop a horse. We would say it is 36 months before they are really ready to begin training. This doesn’t mean to ride, or even compete, but to begin having any sort of expectation (actually, never have those — they’re horses) or ambition. We need to develop their skill sets and musculature and feet and all of the foundations. Some are easier than others, but they still need that foundation, and the time frame does not matter.
Racehorses are fabulous because they have such a fantastic background and have so much to bring to the table, but for our purposes, they are green. An advanced Event horse is still green in their first few years at that level. That measure is a factor of time and experience and systematic training, and the time it takes them to assimilate the aids and information we give them. Add a rider who is still learning themselves and this takes even longer. None of this is bad unless you have a notion that it doesn’t take the time that it takes!
We have had several California bred horses from Tommy Town TB through a connection there, and all have been wonderful. Buff Dude had a mild tendon injury when he came to us. With proper rest and rehab, it has never been an issue. Fun fact — all our horses are resales, as we are a business. No one would buy this horse. He was too small, too quiet, not enough personality, etc. People didn’t like his front end over fences (but missed his incredible hind end!). And so…we just kinda kept him and here we are.
We also now have another fabulous horse by the same sire from the same farm, and he went to the Makeover as a 3 year old last year. It’s been fun to have the brothers from other mothers, with loads of talent and perfect brains!
Dude is a very talented horse, but very careful and stoic and sensitive all at once. He’s also not very big at 15.3h. We had several interesting setbacks after the Makeover due to all the things that can happen to horses, but all has worked out exactly as it should and as God has designed. He moved up to the Preliminary level at the end of last year and will reboot for this season. He is a fabulous little Dude with a very famous hiney!!”