The USPA is a proud sponsor of the polo division of the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium taking place Thursday, October 12 through Saturday, October 15 at the Kentucky Horse Park located in Lexington, Kentucky. This year, the polo division will be judged by Nick Rennekamp and Meghan Shader-Jumet. The preliminary competition on Thursday, October 13 will take place on an outdoor polo field, with riders performing a short working session followed by a stick-and-ball session. Saturday’s finale will take place in a covered arena and will feature short work, a stick-and-ball session and a chukker.
The Retired Racehorse Project’s mission is to facilitate placement of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses in second careers by increasing demand for them in equestrian sports and serving the farms, trainers, and organizations that transition them. To that end, the 2022 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium is a training competition designed to showcase the trainability and talent of off-track Thoroughbreds and inspire equestrians across a variety of disciplines to consider the Thoroughbred as a competitive or recreational partner.
The highly successful symposium features top professional and amateur equestrian trainers competing hundreds of off-track Thoroughbreds in 10 different disciplines for $100,000 in prize money. At the end, one overall winner is crowned America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred. Polo has seen great success at the Makeover, with Old Tavern, trained by Charlie Caldwell, winning America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred in 2017 as selected by audience vote. In 2018, the addition of a seven-minute chukker in the Finale was immensely popular with competitors and spectators alike and added to the buzz that the polo division created.
For those unable to attend the event in person, The Thoroughbred Makeover will once again be providing a livestream of the Makeover Finale, and viewers get to choose (via text vote) who among the 10 division champions will be named America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred! More information on livestreaming the event will be available soon at here.
Combining the 2020 and 2021 competitions due to the pandemic, last year’s event produced two winners in the polo division – That’s My Bertie, trained by Willowbrook Polo and ridden by Michael Groubert, and Ramses, trained and ridden by Benjamin Lynch (who will return to the competition again this year).
For more information on the event, please visit www.therrp.org.
Please join the USPA in congratulating all the 2022 polo entries below:
|First||Last||Jockey Club Name|
|Mary||Wright||Anna One Anna Two|
|Mary||Wright||Big Kiss Bode|
2021 Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover Polo Champion Ramses, trained by Ben Lynch. ©Canter Clix
POLO DIVISION SCHEDULE AND FORMAT
Thursday, October 13, 2:00-2:30pm ET – Polo Field
Format – Riders will complete an agility pattern including the following: figure-eight with lead changes at the canter both directions, two roll-backs (left and right), two turns (left and right – tightness of the turn will be judged), two tight circles (left and right), a check and release and two complete stops and step-backs. After the agility pattern, contestants will demonstrate each of the following strokes, hitting the ball and following it: nearside forehand, offside forehand, nearside backshot and offside backshot.
Scoring – The entire preliminary competition will be scored out of 95 points. Polo Agility will be judged with a maximum possible score of 35 points. Each of the following will be scored on a scale of 0 to 10: calmness of horse (10 points), responsiveness to rider’s aids (10 points), adjustability of pace (10 points), quality of lead changes (10 points), quality of stops (10 points). Stick-and-Ball Work will be judged with a maximum possible score of 40 points. Each of the following will be scored on a scale of 0 to 10: nearside forehand, offside forehand, nearside backshot and offside backshot. If any strokes are performed more than once, a score will be awarded for each occurrence and then averaged. At the end of both the agility pattern and the stick-and-ball work, horses will then be scored for overall impression out of 20 points, with calmness of horse (10 points) and responsiveness to aids (10 points) both being scored on a scale of 0 to 10.
Steward – Ali Davidge, Intercollegiate/Interscholastic Program Coordinator
Judges – Nick Rennekamp, accomplished polo pony trainer; Meghan Shader-Jumet, 6-goal women’s arena player
2022 Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover Polo Champion That’s My Bertie, trained by Willowbrook Polo and ridden by Michael Groubert. ©Canter Clix
Saturday, October 15, Makeover Finale (Time TBD) – J TCA Covered Arena
The top five contestants from the preliminary competition will perform both the agility pattern and a seven-minute exhibition chukker for an additional score to determine placings, followed by Thoroughbred Makeover Champion voting. The Finale will be scored out of 120 total points. The agility pattern (Short Work) will be worth 70 points based on the same criteria as the preliminary competition and the Finale Chukker will be worth 50 points based on calmness of horse (10 points), responsiveness to rider (10 points), adjustability of pace (10 points), straightness and pace (10 points) and speed and agility (10 points).