By Barbara Sheridan
Many ex-racehorses are finding second careers once their racing days are over, thanks to the ever increasing awareness of what these multi-talented athletes can also do off the track. As a result of this growing movement to retrain the racehorse, Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, Quarter Horses and other breeds have successfully been transitioning from the track to a new lifestyle as sport horses, show horses, or all-around pleasure mounts.
Canadian Olympian Jessica Phoenix is a huge proponent of the “ex-racehorse” breed and has successfully worked with them for years. Two of her top horses—Exploring and Exponential—were off-the-track Thoroughbreds (OTTBs) that successfully took Phoenix to top international levels in eventing.
“Exploring went to the Pam Am Games in 2007, and Exponential went to the Olympics and the Word Equestrian Games in 2010 and 2012,” says the Cannington, Ontario resident. “Exponential is such a tough horse. He’s 17 now and is still competing at the four-star level.
“I believe that Thoroughbreds are so appealing to our sport because they love to run, as that’s what they’re bred to do, and I think that’s one of the biggest draws to having a Thoroughbred in our sport,” says Phoenix. “They also have such a courageous spirit and a zest for life.”
Phoenix feels that she would not have been able to get a start in this sport if it hadn’t been for Exploring and Exponential: “They were both inexpensive horses to purchase and they were both extremely talented,” she says. &l