Southern Pines, NC-Grand Prix rider Hillary Simpson has been invited to be a headline participant in the Retired Racehorse Training Project's Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, October 5-6 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD.
Simpson will participate with her 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Arkansas, on whom she has won several Grand Prix ribbons this year including a win in the Mt. Equinox Grand Prix in Vermont.
The event will feature two full days of educational seminars, meetings, demonstrations, and a trade fair at which thirty organizations and businesses that support second careers for Thoroughbreds will have tables and booths. Participating will be 26 trainers from 15 states in 10 equestrian disciplines who will demonstrate what their Thoroughbred horses are doing in their post-racing careers. Polo, dressage, eventing, barrel racing, cattle work, police work, hunters, jumpers, natural horsemanship, and tricks will be featured both by the Makeover horses and in special demonstrations from top horses in many of these disciplines. The weekend also includes an evening celebration with Thoroughbred Storytelling.
"I am a big believer in Thoroughbreds and in Arkansas in particular," Simpson said. "I am thrilled to have this opportunity to demonstrate what Thoroughbreds can do as show jumpers and also to show our sport to a multi-discipline audience."
On Saturday morning, October 5, Simpson will participate on a Trainers Panel with Show Jumping Hall of Famer Rodney Jenkins and Eventing rider/trainer Cathy Wieschoff. That afternoon, she and Arkansas will do a jumping demonstration on Pimlico's famed race track. Culminating her appearance, Simpson will be part of Saturday evening's Thoroughbred Storytelling at a gala celebration in the Pimlico Hall of Fame Room.
"Thoroughbreds have a cherished history in show jumping and I believe that there is room for them on our circuit today," Simpson said. "As long as you give Thoroughbreds what they need, let them do their own thing and bring them along at their pace, they will always give you everything they can."
Foaled in 2003, Arkansas raced on the track under the name Blackcuda. He had 17 starts and had three top-three finishes including one win. Simpson believes he has the potential for more success as a Grand Prix show jumper. "He has a good brain," she said. "He has plenty of power and speed, but what stands out is his great mind. He believes he can do anything. You can put him in the ring and whether the jumps are bigger or the course is more technical and difficult, it doesn't matter. He will still give you 110 percent every time you go in the ring. He's a good match for me and I think he's going to be a really special horse for me for a very long time."
Simpson and Arkansas are scheduled to perform on the track as one of the event's headline features at 1:30 pm on Saturday, October 5 in a performance entitled: "America's Best Off the Track Thoroughbred: Arkansas and Hillary Simpson." Other headline features that day include Ride Like A Jockey: Chris McCarron and North American Racing Academy at 2:30 pm, From Racing to Polo: US Polo Association at 3:30 pm, and The Western Invasion at 4:30 pm.
"Not only is this a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the great jumping ability of Thoroughbreds, it is also a great chance to expose our sport to a large multi-discipline audience," Simpson said. "I am honored and thrilled to participate."
Further information about the Retired Racehorse Training Project's Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium is available at www.retiredracehorsetraining.org.