The Jockey Club's Thoroughbred Incentive Program Youth Ambassadors are a special group of young off-track Thoroughbred supporters who want to share their passion for ex-racehorses with the equestrian world.
Twelve individuals are selected each year to help promote the T.I.P., which encourages the retraining of OTTBs for other disciplines.
While a love of the breed unites the group, the reasons why they each got involved and stay involved with Thoroughbreds are different. Some were life-long fans, while others are recent converts. Read what a few of the ambassadors have to say about why they wanted to be an ambassador for the T.I.P. and why they love their OTTBs.
On Why They Got Involved:
"I wanted to be a TIP ambassador so that I could encourage the use of Thoroughbreds in my area. The area I live in is predominantly (focused on) Quarter Horses and western events. I wanted to educate and encourage riders to show Thoroughbreds because of the incentives in our area. I have met so many people and have been given so many opportunities because I have shown Thoroughbreds, and I wanted to share those opportunities with others." — Morgan Kasner, 19, Glyndon, Minn.
"I wanted to be an ambassador to change people's perceptions about Thoroughbreds, and really educate the equine community and promote Thoroughbreds in second careers. There are a lot of misconceptions about them and their ability to do anything but race after they are retired, but there is such a vast amount that need homes when they are no longer running. For me, the biggest influence has been my farm and my coach, Robin Hannah-Carlton at Sherwood Farm. She has brought multiple Thoroughbreds through our barn doors and is a huge advocate for their abilities." — Teri Simone, 19, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
"I wanted to be a T.I.P. ambassador because I once held negative stereotypes about Thoroughbreds, and if I hadn't changed my mind I never would have bought my horse. I hope what the T.I.P. ambassadors do changes the mind of at least one other person. Maybe as a result they'll also find their dream horse." — Meredith Orme, 18, Royersford, Penn.
"When I first got my Thoroughbred, I noticed there weren't many younger kids riding them. Even adults kept telling me Thoroughbreds were 'too much horse' for kids. I wanted to show them how Thoroughbreds were the best breed and had the biggest hearts." — Ella Sciog, 13, Naples, Fla.
"I wanted to be a T.I.P. ambassador as I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to represent such a unique and versatile breed." — Chloe Bellerive, 19, Keedysville, Md.
"I wanted to become a T.I.P. Youth Ambassador because I love Thoroughbreds and I wanted to meet other people that have Thoroughbreds to connect over our shared love of OTTBs." — Audrey Newbrey, 12, Snoqualmie, Wash.
On Why They Love OTTBs:
"I love showing/riding Thoroughbreds because they have such big personalities and will give you an honest ride... Thoroughbreds are very quick learners and will always try their hardest to make you happy. They are very fun to ride, with their goofy personalities and 'can do' attitude." — Audrey Newbrey
"Thoroughbreds are by far my favorite breed of horse to ride due to their temperament, athleticism, and overall demeanor. I find the breed to have a tremendous work ethic and ability to focus on what is being asked of them. It's easy to communicate and learn from one another when they're so willing to please and try so hard." — Chloe Bellerive
"I enjoy it because Thoroughbreds are just so much more fun to ride. You can tell they love what they do." — Ella Sciog
"If I was forced to give one reason that I enjoy riding and showing Thoroughbreds, it would be that I could take a singular Thoroughbred in many disciplines, and we could hold our own. You'll never get bored with a Thoroughbred." — Meredith Orme
"They really just want to please. No matter the discipline, they are phenomenal horses. 'Indy' has taught me so much about myself and riding: patience is always a necessity; if you don't get it right the first time; keep going. There will be days that you need to just breathe and take time to connect, but when everything clicks, it's amazing." — Teri Simone
"They tend to have to weirdest quirks but they have the biggest hearts and will put 110% into everything... I also love how versatile Thoroughbreds are. With my two Thoroughbreds I have competed in almost every event possible from the english and western pleasure classes, games, jumping, dressage, sorting, and even goat tying." — Morgan Kasner
*This article is courtesy of Erin Shea and Bloodhorse.com