The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP) Sept. 13 announced the 2016 recipients of its two non-competition awards: the TIP Thoroughbred of the Year Award and the TIP Young Rider of the Year Award.
Thoroughbred of the Year
The Thoroughbred of the Year Award recognizes a Thoroughbred that has excelled in a non-competitive career, such as equine-assisted therapy or police work.
This year’s winner is Big Saga, aka Louie or Shadow Dancer, a therapy horse with The Right Step Inc., in Littleton, Colorado.
Big Saga is a 1989 dark bay or brown gelding by Arctic Saga out of Don’t Plan, and was foaled in Idaho. Before transitioning into therapeutic riding, Big Saga excelled in the show ring. For many years, he was division champion in the Colorado Hunter Jumper Association. He taught numerous children about riding, and he had three different young owners who he helped bring up through the horse show ranks.
Big Saga has also exceled as a therapy horse. According to The Right Step, he has a wonderful work ethic and is always ready to go. He is kind and patient with humans and horses alike and carries some of the youngest and smallest clients with great care.
“Louie isn’t a horse to stop and hold still for very long,” said Christine Remy, board chair of The Right Step. “But one remarkable day he did just that. In a therapeutic riding lesson he stopped, planted, and refused to budge no matter what his horse leader did. The instructor realized what was happening and had the side walkers secure the rider. The rider lost control of his body and proceeded to have a seizure. Louie’s sens