It’s all about giving back…
My very own OTTB. This is Baby B Free, aka Frankie. Fabulous jumper, failed racehorse, equine model, artistic muse, and part time therapist.
I’ve always had a thing for Thoroughbreds, and I was delighted to find an awesome organization in Austin, TX, that partners with Texas trainers and owners to retrain and rehome TBs who didn’t quite make it as a racehorse (ahem, Frankie, ahem. Cough cough.) I’ve been a supporter of theirs for years, created pieces specifically for their fundraising efforts, and gotten to know the backbone of this incredible organization, Lynn Reardon, author of Beyond the Homestretch. (Haven’t read it? READ IT!!) LOPE continues to do lifesaving work, not only for the horses they directly handle off the track, but in helping to dispel the myth of the “crazy, uncontrollable thoroughbred who has no future outside of a racetrack.” I’m beyond honored to be named the official artist for LOPE. Visit www.Lopetx.org for more information!
A special note from Joanna: “I grew up riding OTTBs sent to us from Arlington Racetrack in Chicago. You’d think that young TBs recently removed from the track and horse crazy eleven year old girls would be a disastrous combination, but there were surprisingly few problems. What we found were horses who, despite being in an unfamiliar environment and bombarded with unexpected stimuli (what’s that leg pressure all about? What do you mean “trot”? Why are we going in a circle to the right?) were athletic and willing to the extreme with good brains, a great work ethic, and a true eagerness to learn something new. They learned the basics of W-T-C, trot poles, and small jumps, and we learned to be light in our hands, Zen-like in the saddle, safety conscious in the barn, and generous with praise. We rode in a sales barn, so those horses did not stay with us long, but many of them went on to successful careers in the hunter/jumper world. While we “barn rats” may not have played a pivotal role in the long-term development and retraining of those horses, they taught us a lifetime of lessons to be applied both in and out of the saddle. I’m forever grateful to them for introducing me to the world of infinite possibility, incredible resilience, and untapped potential that can be found in the unlikeliest of individuals. I am overjoyed to partner with LOPE and support their lifesaving work devoted to the retraining and rehoming of these incredible equine athletes.”