2016 Thoroughbred Makeover – A Young Rider’s Experience


My name is Chloe Duffy, I am 15 years old and have been riding since I was 3/4 years old. My Grandpa Bert bought me my first pony and I was hooked!

This 2016 year has been amazing! I have had lots of learning opportunities with a great little off-the-track thoroughbred Carless Cousin. We call him Eddie and he is the cutest little 4 year old dark bay gelding who has such a great heart for humans and sport. Our family adopted him from LongRun Retirement Thoroughbred Society on December 31, 2015. I say we adopted him but he actually adopted us!


At the same time as the adoption was going through there was an announcement of an event being held at the Kentucky Horse Park the last week of October 2016. The event was called the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium and was being hosted by the Retired Racehorse Project. They did a fantastic job in all areas of planning for this event. I thought this would be great! Eddie and I tackling a new thing together. It was the best 10 months. The application process for the makeover consisted of two narratives of my short and long term goals and a video of my riding. The approved trainers list was released early February 2016 and we were thrilled that Eddie and I were chosen to compete. Eddie and I were the only junior horse and rider combination from Ontario, Canada competing in the discipline of Eventing. We also entered Dressage as a second discipline as Eddie loves the flat work.


We placed very well in the junior division; 4th in Eventing and 3rd in Dressage.

In the overall finalized scores we competed against professionals, amateurs and juniors.

We placed 29th out of 58 horse riders combinations in Dressage.  In Eventing we placed 39th out of 65 horse rider combinations

What an amazing experience! For 10 months Eddie and I either worked on the ground, over stadium fences , cross country fences and many hours of flatting to prepare for the Makeover 2016. The winter months were a bit of a challenge but Eddie never missed a beat.


My takeaway of the whole experience is that the OTTBs are courageous, talented and extremely athletic creatures that have the heart for any discipline. In the coliseum at the Makeover at the Kentucky Horse Park there were 10 different disciplines with completely different canters for example. All of these horses raced in the sae gallop at top speeds in one or more of the 65 racetracks in North America in their first career, but here in Kentucky at the Makeover there were many different gaits presented by the OTTB and all learned over just 10 months of training for their second careers! Don’t underestimate the thoroughbred. They have gone from the Sport of Kings to the King of the Sport.

One more very important thing I have taken away is the absolute need for the after care programs and financial assistance for the OTTBs as they transition from racing to family farms. There is such a need for programs such as LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society in Toronto Ont and the Retired Racehorse Project in Davidsonville , Maryland USA. We can all make a difference with our many resources to ensure the quality of life for the OTTBs that retire from our racetracks. Let’s give them a second career!


As I look forward to our 2017 year I have definitely scheduled in my planner to apply to compete once again at the Kentucky Horse Park Retired Racehorse Project 2017 Makeover which will be held the first weekend of October.

Follow our journey on Duffy Equestrian on Facebook and Instagram.


Thank you
Chloe Duffy , lives on a family farm with my parents and two siblings in Sombra Ontario

November 30, 2016 |

Holiday Shopping and Black Friday

holiday shopping

Skip the crowds and do your Black Friday and holiday shopping online and support local athletes at the same time! In August 2017, the Eat Sleep Ride Repeat team will be competing in the 250 mile (400km) Shore to Shore race with their horses. The race is run over 5 days starting at the shore of Lake Huron and ending at the shore of Lake Michigan. We are fundraising to help offset the costs for preparing and participating in the race.

You do not have to do anything extra and it will not cost you anything more than what you spend. Every time you shop online using this link:, Flipgive will give them a percentage of your purchase to go towards their goal. The link will give you access to big name retailers such as Indigo, Apple, Lowes, Under Armour, Bass Pro, Hudson’s Bay, Groupon, and many more.

Please feel free to share this with family and friends and they thank you in advance for your support.

Eat Sleep Ride Repeat is a team of endurance riders from Ontario that blog about their adventures with horses, both at home and abroad. Check out their website for more information.

holiday shopping

November 21, 2016 |

First Time Horse Buying Mistakes To Avoid

horse buying mistake

Horse Buying Mistakes To Avoid

Looking at buying your first horse? Avoid these common mistakes and find the right horse for you.


1. “I only want black Arabian stallions”

No you don’t. You want something that is going to be safe and pleasurable to ride and be around. Rule out horses that are not beginner friendly, such as stallions and babies. Keep an open mind as to age. An older horse is great for beginners as they have been there, done that and are a great confidence booster.

A good horse comes in any colour/breed. If you’re looking to do a certain activity with your horse, then you can be a little pickier. Make sure to have a discussion with your trainer or coach about what kind of horse they think would match your intended riding activities.


2.Buying a horse without having much horse experience

Do you even know how to look after a horse? Have you actually cared for a horse yourself? Would you be able to tell if your horse was sick? If you don’t know the answers to these, you have some learning to do. Reading books and researching on the internet are good places to start but you need some practical experience as well. If you take lessons, ask to help out at the barn. Hold horses when the vet or farrier visit and don’t be afraid to ask them questions. Learn about vaccinations and what diseases may be in your area. Learn the difference between a good and bad shoeing job and what the farrier is trying to achieve with each horse.

If you’re not already taking lessons, find a reputable coach or trainer in your area. If you’ve only been riding a few months, it is not an appropriate time to rush out and purchase a horse. You should be able to walk, trot, and canter comfortably in an arena and out and you must know how to stop a horse safely or calm him down if he bolts or spooks. As you become a more experienced rider, you will become more comfortable handling a variety of horses as well.

horse buying

3. Only looking online

While many great horses can be found online, it is not the best place for a first time horse buyer to be looking.  If you ride with a coach or trainer, they will be your best resource to ask as they will be familiar with your riding ability and what you need in a horse. They may have a horse in their barn that is suitable for you or know of a contact that has reputable horses for sale.

Word of mouth is also a great resource to find a horse. Sometimes horses just aren’t advertised.  Friends and family may be familiar with the horse and know it’s personality and it will be fairly easy to find out his background and past health.

Online ads can be a useful tool in your search if used correctly. You can narrow down your search to horses in your area and see vidoes and pictures. Remember, ads can make a horse sound wonderful but he may turn out to be different in person. When reading ads, avoid ones that describe the horse as “green”, “not a novice/beginner ride”, or “needs a confident rider”. Looks for ones such as “push button”, “packer”, or “schoolmaster”.


4. Not going to see the horse in person prior to purchasing

Once you have narrowed your search down to a few potential candidates, make appointments to go vist them. Make sure to bring a knowledgeable horse person with you, such as your coach to get a second opinion.  If you make an appointment, keep it or give the other party ample time if you have to cancel or reschedule.

When you show up, pay close attention to how the horse looks.  Is he sweaty or tired? Likely, the seller rode or longed him already which is cause for concern. Why did the seller have to tire him out? Is the horse hyper or behaving badly? If so, this is how the horse is most likely going to act once you bring him home and is not a good choice. You want a horse that’s easy to handle. Watch the seller groom and tack up the horse.  Is the horse grumpy or is he calm? Pinning of the ears or a swishing tail could be an indication of a health or behavioural issue. Don’t assume that you will be able to work with a horse to improve his behaviour. There are lots of well-mannered horses out there for you.

Note what kind of tack the seller uses.  The bit should be mild. Large shanks or severe mouthpieces are red flags. The seller should also not need to use any gadgets like draw reins during the test ride.

Ask the seller to ride the horse before you get on. If you are planning on jumping, ask to see the horse jump. If you want to trail ride, ask to see how the horse goes outside.  The horse should walk, trot and canter calmly. If the horse bucks, rears or acts up and you feel nervous about getting on, do not feel bad about saying that this is not the horse for you, say thank you and goodbye. If you can ride the horse successfully and both you and your trainer like him, then you can consider buying him.

horse buying


5. Rescuing a horse

Rescuing a horse sounds like a great idea, but you must remember that these horses may have been abused or neglected or have health or training issues and may require more resources than you have to put in. You are better off donating your time to the charity rather than adopting a horse. There are some great charities out there that do a fantastic job of taking off the track Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds and turning them into great riding horses. These are a great option if you are a more experienced rider and the horse has been assessed and is suitable for the activities you wish to do.

Auctions are also a poor place to look for a first horse. You will not know much about the horses up for sale and if any information is provided, it may not be accurate. You will also most likely be unable to ride and test out the horse before purchase.



It might take a while to find the horse that’s right for you, but there is no rush. Don’t buy the horse that is not quite what you are looking for.  Horse shopping is a long process and you don’t want to have to go through it again if you have to sell the one you just bought because it is not working out. Be patient, avoid making these horse shopping mistakes and you will find the right horse eventually.

November 8, 2016 |


Samuel Parot and JK Horsetrucks Chantilly winner of $35,000 Camelot Stables Cup presented by Golden West Radio in the Royal West International Championship, PHASE 1 1.45 m

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Oct. 20, 2016, Calgary, Alberta:  It was opening night at the Agrium Western Event Centre in Calgary for Royal West featuring the prestigious $132,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Calgary presented by pandaHAUS Equestrian on Oct. 29.

At the top of the bill on opening night was the $35,000 1.45m Camelot Stables Cup (presented by Golden West Radio). A full field of 39 on Werner Deeg’s challenging course provided a stirring challenge for the prize money. (more…)

October 21, 2016 |

Canadian Pony Club

canadian pony club

The Canadian Pony Club is hosting National Pony Club Day on November 1, 2016.  Pony Club Day was decided to be on November 1st because that is the day that Pony Club started in Canada! Find out how you can do your part here. You don’t have to be a member to show your spirit!


Kim Leffley is the current chair of the Canadian Pony Club. She came across the organization while looking for riding lessons for one of her horse-crazy daughters. What drew her to the organization was that it provided comprehensive equestrian training, with members partaking in riding components as well as educational programming.  After seeing the confident, disciplined, well-rounded children emerging from the program, Kim knew she wanted to be involved and help promote this wonderful organization.

canadian pony club

In this episode of the podcast, we cover such topics as what is Pony Club, what are the costs involved in the program, what the programming is like and the variances in the different clubs across the country and what kids can learn when they get involved.

Kim also discusses with us how she got her start in horses, her role in the organization, and what her visions and goals for Pony Club are.

More information on Pony Club

For more information, please visit their website at

canadian pony club

October 20, 2016 |

Podcast Episdoe #29 Linda Finstad – Photographer


Linda Finstad is a professional photographer and owner of A Sharper Image Photography in Edmonton, Alberta.

linda finstad

In this episode, Linda tells us how she got into horse show photography and gives her advice for aspiring show photographers.

She also talks about the books she has written, including marketing strategies for horse people trying to gain clients, attendees to clinics, etc. as well as her controversial book “Don’t Shoot the Horses”.

You can find out more about Linda at her two websites,, where you can read more about her books and workshops, and, where you can see her horse show photographs.

A big thanks to our sponsors for this episode of The Horse Show Podcast: Holly Oaks, Darcy Lane, Lynn Whetham of Stepright Capital, and Leg Up Equestrian.

Listen Here:

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here:        or on Sticher Radio here:
October 6, 2016 |

Ailsa Morrison on NAJYRC 2016

Ailsa and Princess Sophia

Ailsa and Princess Sophia

This past summer the North American Junior Young Rider Championships were held at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Co and I was fortunate enough to be selected to represent Ontario and Canada in the Eventing 1* division.  Having competed at NAJYRC in Kentucky in 2015, I knew what a challenging and rewarding experience this would be. A goal that I had been training for had come to fruition and it was exciting to be part of such an incredibly talented Ontario team. My horse Sophie was excited at first until she learned she had a 2 day, 2000 km trailer ride to get there, but I promised her she’d get to run around a really fun x-co track and she was back on board with my plan. I left out the part that she’d be competing at 5900 ft elevation and figured I’d break the news to her once she was on the trailer and half way across Iowa.


Princess Sophia and I have been together for 4 1/2 years. I bought her from Karl Slezak and picked her up on New Years Eve. It was an awesome way to ring in the new year and set goals for the future. With Karl’s guidance and coaching Sophie and I moved up the ranks from entry to the preliminary level. In the first few weeks I had Sophie I quickly learned that she was a fiery little mare with lots of sass and I was excited for the challenges and adventures that the future held for both of us. In the early stages of our partnership, I got a good taste of her lively personality… and the dirt. Things really came together for us in the 2013 season and we were the 2013 Ontario Pre-Training division champions. Since then we have gone on to accomplish being the 2014 Ontario Training Champion and was top placed Ontario Young Rider at NAJYRC in Kentucky in 2015.  As a young aspiring event rider, I was often asked the question of why I didn’t buy something with more experience that could show me the ropes of upper level eventing?  I would tell them that the opportunity of being part of a horses journey of progressing through the levels and turning into a true competitor, and knowing that you did it all yourself is a feeling I wouldn’t trade for a four star horse.  Still to this day I would not change my answer, as the lessons that my little mare has taught me and the people I’ve met along the way are priceless.


In preparation for NAJYRC 2016 in Colorado, I headed south at the beginning of December 2015 to Ocala, Florida to continue my training and working student program with Jon Holling. I worked and trained with Jon in the winter/spring of 2015 and although there was a steep learning curve, I looked forward to being immersed in the environment that only a top level competition program can provide. Location at my home base in Belle River, is one of my biggest challenges as coaching and shows are very far away. I knew that taking time off from school to head south to train was a must if I wanted to accomplish the goals I had for NAJYRC 2016.  Sophie and I had a great winter season competing in the CC1* at the Ocala Horse Properties with our personal best score of 45 penalty points in dressage and a clear showjumping round. It seemed as though a winter of working and training hard was paying off. When I got home I stationed myself at Holly Jacks Equestrian to train until I was named to the Ontario 1* team and excitably, alongside an incredibly talented team with some good friends, I was off to compete again at NAJYRC.


Young Riders is always an experience like no other. It’s a competition that tests your ability to deal with the pressures of being on a team, the focus required to compete your best and the courage to put it all on the line. I couldn’t have been happier with Sophie in the dressage phase as she was more relaxed and obedient then ever. We did not score as well as I had hoped, but our score was still competitive enough to help put the Ontario 1* team in gold medal position at the end of day two. Next was cross-country day. Sophie tore around a difficult one star championship track, doing what she loves best to finish double clear, adding no penalty points to her dressage score. Showjumping lead to an unfortunate two rails down for Sophie and I, however the rest of the round she jumped her socks off for me. The team finished just a fraction of a point out of bronze medal position to finish fourth in the team divisions.


The relationship you have with your team truly is a unique experience. The pressure comes from not wanting to let your teammates down with a bad score and still wanting to preform at your personal best. At the end of the day, whether somebody had a good day or a bad day, you know your team was there to support you. When I watched my teammates compete I would be just as nervous for them then I was for myself!


Overall the North American Young Riders Championships is, as always, the highlight of the summer for many future top event riders and an experience to remember.

September 14, 2016 |
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