Canter for the Cause at Pimlico

DH had the time of his life on his OTTB, jc: Cleveland Sound

Super well run and how wonderful were the outriders who helped those who’s horses got a bit excited :smiley:


Could you explain or link to something that would describe the event?

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Wow. How fun!

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I had a blast when I went in 2019! I’ve been wanting to do it again but it just hasn’t worked out. Maybe next year!


Nevermind. I looked it up.

ETA: Oops, missed your response but thought I’d leave this up anyway. :slight_smile:

Sure thing!

The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance organized this, along with Maryland Jockey Club and Pimlico, to raise money for their organization. I found out about it from a shared fb post. Because this was DH’s dream to do with his boy, we drove over 3 hours to get there.

For $60 you got to go through the starting gate (walk not break), walk, trot, canter, gallop around the track twice. Or you can go in a group that w/t/c, or just w/t and they had a leadline group as well. 30 riders went out at a time and they told you if you were cantering/galloping stay on the inside rails, walking stay towards the outside.

We all parked in the Clubhouse lot (dozens and dozens of trailers coming and going), checked in with coggins and a signed release and then once tacked up you walked your horse up to the gap by the stables where you got on.

They had outriders all across the track making sure folks were ok. I stood by the finish line and there were a few former racehorses who went weeeeeeeee! and had to be pulled up by the outriders. Every time someone came galloping down the lane the rider would yell “you ok?” and would act accordingly on how the rider answered. There were a fair few who yelled “all good!” and looked like they were having a blast!

And they were so kind to a few timid riders I saw, giving them a lead down the track when the rider was too nervous.

Also the track photographer took your picture in the winners circle, available for purchase. Those will be posted in a few days.

I was trying to figure out the connection to breast cancer and can only figure someone make the connection to “the Cause” and as its Breast Cancer Awareness month, well it kind of took off. Lots of pretty pink.


When I went in 2019, I was riding my homebred mare. Teaching her to be a reliable partner under saddle has been a looooong road. So when I said I was taking her to Canter for Cause, everyone who knows her was like, “you sure about that?” My farrier at the time even tried to talk me out of it.

I was so glad I didn’t listen! The day was seriously the best ride I have ever had on her in terms of fun. It started off with a moment of dread as she even though she was not a racehorse, when the group we were with pealed away at a canter, she flipped me the bird and took off. After an initial “oh my god I have no brakes” moment, I got my wits about me. I was never an exercise rider at the track, but I did break TB babies and ride at a training center, so my brain kicked in and I reminded myself to just keep going and she would get tired eventually. My porky warmblood made it maybe half a furlong in her racehorse impression before she tired herself out and decided listening to me was in her best interests. :rofl: After that we had the most delightful time trotting and cantering around the track.


DH said his horse was very calm while they were waiting to go through the gap but as soon as his feet hit the track he could feel Lightnin’s heart rate increase and he just got taller. He did have to hold on to him the first lap pretty strongly as he wanted to warm up after such a long drive.

So there was some sideways racehorse prancing that happened. Especially if someone passed him.

Second time around he just let him go but not completely, just up to the point where he thought he might not be able to stop him. And Lightnin’ said thanks Dad, I got this!

They both had a blast.


Call me Debbie Downer but I thought this sounded like a terrible idea from the moment I first heard it. They have done a really nice job of keeping people safe but had a very serious accident this year. Will be interesting to see if they decide that was enough and can the idea.

Oh! I was hoping that accident wasn’t serious. We did see them transfer someone from what looked like a track EMT transport to a bigger fire depart ambulance right behind our trailer in the parking lot.

I am so very sorry to hear this!

ETA: I have no clue what happened, just saw the EMTs and ambulances.

My farrier said the first years were a sh*tshow. I don’t know if that’s true or not.

My personal experience was I was impressed how well they kept the environment calm for something that easily could be incredibly dangerous.

I’m sorry to hear there was a serious accident, though.

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Sharing vague details of the accident although not sure racetrackers like me would actually call if an accident. Anyway, young rider had her freshly off the track TB (don’t hold it against him, exercise riders are the real stars of the show for a reason) flip and broke her pelvis and lacerate her spleen. It sounds as if she will make a full recovery from what I have heard.


Interesting fact, at least in Maryland the track ambulances are not licensed to leave the grounds of the track no matter the condition of their patient. Despite the fact that there is a trauma center about 1/4 mile from the backside. We had an exercise rider pass away about 15 feet from my shedrow while two trainers did CPR. By the time the ambulance that could transport arrived she was long gone.

Oh wow, I cannot imagine taking a freshly off track TB back to the track. I chickened out taking my Clydesdale because he’d been out of work for a few weeks due to an abscess and can be a bit spooky.

The exercise riders and outriders are for sure the stars.

I saw that when we drove in so was surprised they did the transfer right in the parking lot behind where we were parked. I so hoped it was not a critical injury.

I’m terribly sorry about the exercise rider. How horrible.

I went the first 2 years and I had a blast! It is honestly one of the most fun things that I have done with my horse and I have done A LOT! It is really well organized and I didn’t see anyone have trouble.


Well, sorry but that is on her! I would never think about taking a young OTTB to it unless you are an exercise rider.

I think it’s a great idea. Risky perhaps, but I’m guessing it’s all adults out there.

What fun that would be. I’m happy for your DH @Syrynx. He looks great out there. What a lovely horse!


Thanks @skydy ! He is still happily processing the experience. He takes such joy in his horse and their relationship, it is just amazing to see.

However, I will tell you, I did take the cutest video of a teeny tiny cantering her little mini across the finish line to send to my trainer as inspiration for her 6 month old. LOL And there were a fair few littles on their ponies out there. Most in groups and some anchored to a bigger horse/rider combo on a leadline.

Also, I did see two outriders with a girl who looked maybe 12 and somewhat terrified sandwiched between them, speaking so kindly to her. You could just see her visibly calm down. I don’t think her horse was really acting up but theylooked after her and were so very nice.


You can see by the picture that he’s in tune with his horse and vice-versa. Tell him congrats for us. Will you be adding a few new photos to your walls?

That would have been my dream when I was a kiddo, from 10 onward. I had no fear and would have loved to have a good gallop around! I still would but decrepitude prevents.

I think it’s a really fun and generous thing for them to do and I hope the American penchant for suing everyone and every entity, doesn’t ruin things for them. I expect though, that somehow they won’t have that issue.

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I will tell him!

And you may get a kick out of this. :slight_smile:

His horse broke his maiden his first trip out, then never won again. I took the image from his win photo and added it to this Pimlico photo I grabbed from the video.

A rep from West Point tbs told my husband that Lightnin’ had the talent, not the inclination. :rofl:

And now we’re waiting on the official track pictures which should be up soon and which we will 100% buy!