Planning for 2015…..

Hard to believe we are already into February! The last couple of months have been spent keeping waterers unfrozen, riding when we can, staying as warm as we can, and planning for 2015. We have lots of exciting stuff on the calendar- we already attended the MD Horse World Expo, and will be at the PA Horse World Expo and the Retired Racehorse Project Makeover in October in KY. In the meantime, we will have a couple of open houses and name your own price tack sales, plus are planning a big benefit auction this fall. One of the things we are most excited about is the Thoroughbred Alliance Show Series (TASS), now coming into our third year.

In 2012 we held an all TB show at Heavenly Waters Park in Bel Air, MD- it was a lot of fun, well attended by TB folks everywhere, and raised a good amount for the rescue. Pimlico had an amazing day in July with their Totally TB Show- never have I seen so such an event- it was simply awesome, and we were also honored to be selected as one of the rescue beneficiaries.

After that, a group of us got together and decided to put together a series of all TB shows in the region. We wanted to give TBs a venue and a chance to shine as well as raise money for qualified aftercare programs. Georganne Hale, Fran Burns, Sue Smith, and I had our first meeting at the Dark Horse Saloon in Bel Air. We decided to try something fresh and new- instead of having the standardized prize lists and year end awards, we wanted each show to put out their own prize list, with horses and riders accumulating points throughout the season not by what division they showed in, but rather by things like state bred, money won, last race date, etc. We called the series the Thoroughbred Alliance Show Series, because that is what we wanted to be- an alliance of thoroughbred lovers and aftercare organizations.  The Equiery quickly came on board as a series sponsor, and we were thrilled to add the Equiery’s Jennifer Webster to our board. That first year, 2013, was awesome- but we were a bit naive as far how hard it would be to track points. Sue gallantly offered to set up an Excel spreadsheet and she got it done, but it wasn’t easy! We raised about $30K that first year for various rescues, so that was awesome in itself. Our year end banquet at Laurel was a lot of fun and we got busy with 2014.

The biggest move we made in 2014 was getting show secretary and organizer extraordinaire Bev Abbott to track points for us using her horse show savvy and software. We tweaked a few divisions, added new shows, brought in new competitors, and had an even better year, this time raising over $19K for aftercare programs. After another kick a$$ Laurel banquet, we got ready for 2015.

Fast forward to today- we have two super new board members, Carrie Everly and Karin deFrancis, who are bringing great energy and insight to the group. We are excited about new shows and venues and aftercare beneficiaries. We are excited to see old friends and new as the season kicks off in March. To be honest, I have always been an event / fox hunt type of person, but these shows are so much fun that I am going to try to get Drifter as white as possible, put away my eventing tack here and there, and give the series a try. I am not saying we are going to win any ribbons, but one thing is for sure, we will have fun.

Check out our website: www.thoroughbredalliance.org, grab your favorite thoroughbred, and come join us–you won’t be sorry! And if you see someone riding around on a big grey TB with a red ribbon in his tail who might not be the best behaved, wave and say hi!

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