IEHJA and Santa Anita Park Form Partnership to Promote Off the Track Thoroughbreds in Hunter/Jumper Competitions

by Patti Schooley

Thoroughbreds have a long history of competing in Hunter/Jumper competitions in the United States. For many years, they dominated the show ring and the cross-country fields. Some may wonder why IEHJA and Santa Anita Park want to promote Off-the-Track-Thoroughbreds (OTTBs) in a sport where they are well established? The answer lies in the words “off-the-track.” The term means that Thoroughbreds who were bred to race have retired from racing and are looking for a second career.

Santa Anita Park houses the office of the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA) and provides significant funding for their activities. CARMA is a 501(C)3 organization that receives voluntary funding from Thoroughbred owners and trainers via a 0.03% deduction from race purses to help provide aftercare in the form of rehabilitation and retraining of OTTBs. Santa Anita Park matches this contribution dollar for dollar in support of CARMA’s programs. The latter include “educating owners and trainers on equine retirement options and working to unify the racing industry in support of its equine athletes. Ways in which this is accomplished include facilitating the transition of racehorses off the track through its placement program and showcasing the breed’s versatility in various equine disciplines.”

IEHJA’s role in this partnership is to spotlight OTTBs and their suitability for the Hunter/Jumper ring. OTTBs are not only for advanced competitors but can also ridden by juniors and adult amateurs. With the right temperament and a good trainer, many beginners can start their riding career astride a beautiful OTTB. IEHJA also intends to showcase CARMA and its affordable placement program. IEHJA will have information available at its sanctioned horse shows and a Santa Anita Park liaison outreach booth at the end of year show this November 11th-13th at Galway Downs. In addition, IEHJA has made a commitment to increase the number of Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP) classes at its regularly sanctioned horse shows again starting at the 2022-year end show. IEHJA has developed guidelines for show managers, show secretaries, and competitors to register for the TIP program, secure prizes, and track points. IEHJA will publize the TIP program via its website and social media platforms. A link to CARMA and its placement program, Santa Anita’s horse care and safety page and TIP will also be included in the revised IEHJA website.

Caitlin Lee and Beckett. Photo: Von Dell Images
IEHJA Banquet.

The IEHJA/Santa Anita Park partnership extends to other 2022-23 activities. Santa Anita Park will sponsor IEHJA’s “Meet and Greet” competitor dinner at the year end show. In addition, Santa Anita Park will sponsor TIP class prizes starting at the year end show. Check your show premium (in the mail soon) or for a list of TIP classes. The winner of the IEHJA 2022 hi-point OTTB will also be awarded a tack trunk at the year-end show. Showcase Training Stables and Caroline Betts donated the trunk and Santa Anita Park has agreed to donate items for the trunk. Remember, the IEHJA year end show is double pointed for members. It’s not to late to become an IEHJA member! Contact Jessica Abbott Clark at for membership information.

The IEHJA/Santa Anita Park partnership is an exciting and innovative agreement to publize the versatility of OTTBs. It brings awareness to CARMA and its OTTB placement program. It increases the number of TIP classes in Southern California hunter/jumper show venues. Most importantly, it focuses the public’s attention on the work being done by racehorse owners and trainers, Santa Anita Park, CARMA, its aftercare facilities, IEHJA and horse lovers everywhere to create second careers for OTTBs.

Jessica Abbott aboard kindred Spirit

For more information on this program please contact Jeanne Schnell, Santa Anita Park Thoroughbred Aftercare Liaison at or Patti Schooley, IEHJA Board of Directors at To learn more about the CARMA placement program or to see a list of aftercare facilities, please visit