Hadifly pictured with some campers. (Photo courtesy of New Mexico Center for Therapeutic Riding)
The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.) today announced the recipients of its two non-competition awards, the T.I.P. Thoroughbred of the Year Award and the T.I.P. Young Rider of the Year Award, for 2018.
The Thoroughbred of the Year Award recognizes a Thoroughbred that has excelled in a non-competitive career, such as equine-assisted therapy or police work, and includes a $5,000 grant to the non-profit organization associated with the horse or, if no organization is associated with the horse, to a horse-related charity chosen by The Jockey Club.
This year’s winner is Fly, registered as Hadifly, a 20-year-old gelding that serves as a riding horse at the New Mexico Center for Therapeutic Riding (NMCTR). NMCTR works with students from the Santa Fe Public Schools and the New Mexico School for the Deaf, at-risk teens, and other clients with cognitive, emotional, and physical special needs.
Hadifly is a Texas-bred son of longtime leading Texas stallion Hadif who raced 48 times before becoming a three-day event horse and then joining the team at NMCTR. He is known for his patience, sensitivity, and will to please. He spent most of his racing career in New Mexico, where he won eight times with five seconds and 11 thirds and more than $80,000 in earnings.
Last year Texas-bred Raja’s Best Dancer, a now 24-year-old gelding that serves as a police mount with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, won the same award.
“I feel this is his calling,” said Ashley Armijo, the program director and Fly’s owner. “The calmest and happiest I’ve ever seen him is while he’s working with clients, helping them fulfill their dreams.”
The young rider award, which recognizes riders 18 or younger who own or lease a Thoroughbred for use in 4-H, Pony Club, or other activities, has been awarded to Lottie Crawford, Katelynn Krieger, Katie Kalfayan, and Caitlin McFarland.
Lottie Crawford, 13, lives in Ashland, Va., and owns Get it in Ink, also known as Ink, a 12-year-old gelding. They compete in dressage at training level, and Crawford serves as a T.I.P. Youth Ambassador.
Crawford was introduced to Thoroughbreds through her mother, who has owned and ridden them for years. She plans to use her award funds to pay for upper-level training and to work on her horse trailer so that she can travel to attend the T.I.P. Championships in Lexington, Ky.
“Through it all, Get it in Ink has been right by my side as a testament to how amazing the Thoroughbred is as a breed,” said Crawford. “But, he is, after all, a Thoroughbred. Having a huge heart with athletic ability is what sets them apart from other horse breeds.”
Katelynn Krieger, 18, lives in Bushkill, Pa., and owns Texas Living, also known as Hollister. The pair has been together since 2012 and competes in jumpers. In 2017, the pair was named the T.I.P. Champion in the Jumper division and the Junior Rider division.
Krieger’s partnership with Hollister has inspired her to pursue a career as an equine veterinarian. She would like to put the funds from her award toward tuition at the University of Kentucky.
“Hollister was my first horse and is my forever horse,” said Krieger. “I could not be prouder of all that Hollister has accomplished in the six years that we have been partners.”
Katie Kalfayan, age 16, lives in Morganville, N.J., and leases Cattail Creek, also known as Norm. She competes in equitation and dressage and is a Youth Ambassador for T.I.P.
“Since becoming an ambassador, I have met so many other Thoroughbred lovers that are just as passionate as me and those that work incredibly hard to find ex-racehorses a loving final career,” Kalfayan said. “Additionally, I have learned more about racing, rehoming, and education of the general public on ex-racehorses.”
Kalfayan has been riding for more than a decade and fell in love with Thoroughbreds through her mother, who founded New Beginnings Thoroughbreds, a retraining and rehoming organization for ex-racehorses, in 2014. Kalfayan would like to use her funds to help support her goals of competing in equitation at the national level and riding in clinics.
Caitlin McFarland, age 15, is from Collegeville, Pa., and owns Alfar, or Ally, a 5-year-old Thoroughbred mare. McFarland adopted Ally from Turning for Home, a racehorse retirement program affiliated with Parx Racing, in July 2017.
Ally is McFarland’s third horse and second Thoroughbred. She plans to put her award toward her college fund or competing at the Kentucky Horse Park.
“I love Thoroughbreds because they all come with a different story, different backgrounds, and they have character,” McFarland said. I believe if you are willing to put the time and effort in, you can come so far and transform a Thoroughbred.”
Created and announced in October 2011, T.I.P. recognizes and rewards the versatility of the Thoroughbred through sponsorship of Thoroughbred classes and high point awards at sanctioned horse shows, year-end performance awards, a recreational riding program and non-competition awards. Additional information about T.I.P. is available at tjctip.com and on the T.I.P. Facebook page at facebook.com/tjctip.