On October 5, 2017, hundreds of Thoroughbreds with their trainers descended upon the Kentucky Horse Park to compete in the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover. Among them, Canada’s Horse Whisperer, Lindsey Partridge, with her three Thoroughbreds and 15-year-old student, Franny Galvin-Hynes.
The Thoroughbred Makeover is a competition where trainers choose a recently retired racehorse and train them to compete in a different discipline. There are 10 options to compete in. The trainers can choose a maximum of two disciplines for their horse, and are allowed to compete a maximum of two horses.
The disciplines are hunter, jumper, dressage, eventing, barrel racing, freestyle, field hunter, polo, ranch work and trail. Lindsey, from Pontypool, Ontario, is a veteran of the competition, winning the Trail division in 2015 and 2016, as well as the Freestyle in 2016. She is also the only trainer to have both her horses finish in the top three of both their disciplines. Her record at the makeover is extremely impressive. In 2015, she was first and second in Trail, third and 10th in Freestyle. In 2016, she was first and third in both Trail and Field Hunter.
Competitors travel from all over North America and England to share their love of Thoroughbreds and try to earn their piece of the $100,000 in prize money. This year, Lindsey had three horses at the competition. Bowdrie and Here Comes Adri (nicknamed Blizz) were the two horses she competed. The Bowie Van (nick named Little) also came to compete with Franny.
Bowdrie competed in Freestyle and Trail. Lindsey had an inspiring freestyle where she did liberty and rode him bareback and with no bridle through some amazing obstacles. She qualified for finals for both disciplines. You can watch the freestyle below:
Blizz competed in Trail and Field Hunter. Lindsey had a great showing in both disciplines, really showcasing the versatility of Blizz. They qualified for finals in Trail, and were one point shy of finals in Field Hunter, finishing that discipline in sixth place.
Little competed with Franny in Trail and Field Hunter. This is a horse that is the shortest Thoroughbred racehorse in history standing at a mere 14.3h. He was able to keep up with the big horses and clear all the jumps. They qualified for finals in trail and finished 14th in Field Hunter. Franny earned Top Junior for both Field Hunter and Trail.
The magic happened during Finals on Saturday when the top five horses from each discipline competed for the top placings. About 400 horses narrowed down to the top 50 horses from across the disciplines (Bowdrie and Lindsey taking two of the spaces).
“The finals are always intense. It is a really energetic atmosphere and the horses can feel the nerves and excitement so they all act differently,” said Lindsey. Each horse competed in their discipline and when they got to trail, the top five horses completed their course. Bowdrie, Blizz, and Little put on their best effort with the help of Franny, Lindsey, and the Harmony Horsemanship calm connection exercises.
They proved to have spectacular rounds – going straight through the water box, backing through the zig zag, dragging the log and even standing while their rider took a quick trip to the outhouse – yes that really was an obstacle!
After the course was complete, the top 10 riders from the discipline are invited into the ring for placings. They announced fifth place, fourth place, and Bowdrie, Blizz, and Little were still waiting. Next up, third place was announced “Here Comes Adri,” and then was it the student or the teacher? “Second place goes to Bowdrie and Lindsey Partridge,” which meant there was a very happy Franny and “The Bowie Van taking firstplace.” Franny was so happy she went for a gallop around the ring.
The Canadians had a clean sweep in the Trail division earning first, second and third – all horses owned by Lindsey Partridge and trained with Harmony Horsemanship. “Harmony Horsemanship is a program that focuses on finding a calm connection with your horse first, which is why our horses are so successful. They trust us to go through the obstacles or over the jumps, but they can also stay calm enough to take our direction even when in an exciting environment like finals,” said Lindsey.
The championships didn’t end there for the Canadian team, though. Bowdrie earned the top Canter award, and Blizz earned the top Turning for Home award. These are the large Thoroughbred Adoption Programs that these horses came from and were giving the award to the best horse from their program.
“I’m just excited to show people that ex-race horses can be amazing partners,” said Lindsey. “Often these horses are stereotyped for being crazy and hot headed. I love to show everyone that they aren’t. These three horses were trained with no bit, spurs, crop, or martingale. We just use the calm connection exercises from Harmony Horsemanship and develop a trusting partnership so that we can go anywhere.”
Lindsey isn’t joking about taking her horses anywhere. On the way down to Kentucky they made a pit stop at their hotel and she actually checked Blizz in with her, paying a $10 pet fee. She actually brought her horse into the hotel room with her and they snuggled up watching some TV. If you follow Harmony Horsemanship on YouTube you’ll see she likes to take her horses on adventures – to the beach, downtown New York City, Upper Canada Village, the tack store and more.
At the end of the day we’re proud to call her Canada’s Horse Whisperer, and proud the Canadians did so well in Kentucky. For more information about Lindsey visit www.PartridgeHorseHill.com or for Harmony Horsemanship visit www.HarmonyHorsemanship.ca