You have to love freestyle reining competitions – they bring out some of the most creative runs! In 2010, Laura Mae Schoeller rode Pickup Chic to a win in the All American Quarter Horse Congress Freestyle Reining competition. But what’s even more notable about this ride is that Schoeller did it in an English saddle – a racing saddle, to be more specific.
You see, Schoeller transformed herself into a jockey and her horse into a racehorse for this run. It’s a super fun and creative take on the freestyle challenge, and the pair pulls it off beautifully. Despite wearing blinders and a racing bridle, Pickup Chic performs beautifully. Schoeller also maintains excellent form, even though her stirrups are shortened to near jockey length. That takes some serious strength and balance!
Schoeller’s run draws attention to the world of Quarter Horse racing, and how Quarter Horses who raced can go on to have successful second careers. Quarter Horse racing is a popular sport, though it’s not as widely known as Thoroughbred racing is. Still, countless Quarter Horses are bred and trained to race each year. And like Thoroughbred racing, their racing careers typically end when the horses are still relatively young.
But the end of a racing career leaves owners with a horse which will no longer bring in prize money, but which needs to be supported and cared for the next 20 years or more. Many Quarter Horse racehorse owners decide to seek out new homes for the horses that they have retired from racing.
That’s where racehorse rehoming organizations, like LOPE Texas, come in. LOPE Texas helps retired racehorses (both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds) to find new adoptive homes. The nonprofit rehabilitates and retrains ex-racehorses so that they are ready to go on to new careers. These rehoming organizations are an incredibly important part of the racing industry, since they help to make it possible for racing to continue and for these retired horses to have good futures.
Adopting an ex-racehorse isn’t quite the same as adopting your typical riding horse. Adopting a horse right off the track can be a challenge, especially since a racehorse will need some specific training before he can become a reliable everyday riding mount. Rehoming and retraining organizations make ex-racehorses more accessible to more riders and horse owners. Many of these horses are capable of going on and having successful careers in other disciplines, including jumping, trail riding, pleasure riding, reining, and more.