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Contact: Andy Belfiore                                                    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TAKE2 Executive Director                                               Mar. 27, 2018
(718) 848-5045
Erin Crady
TCA Executive Director
(859) 276-4989

Melissa Deryn Foster, a 15-year-old from Canada, and Brian Moggre, a 16-year-old from the great state of Texas, proved just how deftly young riders can handle Thoroughbreds as they took home the champion and reserve champion ribbons in the TAKE2 Thoroughbred Hunter division at the HITS Ocala Championship Mar. 20-25.

Ms. Foster, aboard Robin Swinderman Mitchell’s Zamini, won three of the four classes over fences to seal the championship. She had never ridden a Thoroughbred before.

“This was my first experience with a Thoroughbred,” Ms. Foster confirmed. “I jumped him in a ticketed warm-up ring before we showed together, and he was very nice and soft to ride.”

She added, “Thoroughbreds have a different jumping style and way of going compared to Warmbloods. They definitely have more energy, so I had to stay a little stiller over the jumps and going around the ring to make sure I wouldn’t interfere with his jump.”

Mr. Moggre, riding Rachel Fugate’s Little Bit Foolish, tied for reserve champion with Lori Solomon’s Cat Daddy.

“I own a horse that is a half Thoroughbred, but I had never shown a full Thoroughbred,” Mr. Moggre said. “We clicked instantly. He was very lovely to ride. It was very interesting to get to know this horse’s personality and compare it to a typical Warmblood.”

Click here for videos of Melissa and Brian in action at HITS Ocala.

Both riders are now eligible for the new TAKE2 High-Score Junior Rider Award, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA).  This award recognizes the junior riders competing on Thoroughbreds in nationwide TAKE2-affiliated Hunter and Jumper classes, with a trophy for the champion, and TAKE2/TCA saddle pads for the top five junior riders in each division.

“There is a misconception that you have to be a professional rider to compete on Thoroughbreds,” TAKE2 President Rick Violette Jr. said. “Nothing could be further from the truth, as Melissa and Brian so ably demonstrated. In fact, a Thoroughbred can help to hone a young rider’s skills, and there is nothing more enjoyable than jumping a round on one of these athletic and forward horses.”

“TCA is thrilled to present the TAKE2 High-Score Junior Rider Award,” said Erin Crady, executive director of TCA. “Thoroughbreds are versatile, athletic and intelligent and we are happy to see that so many junior riders are embracing them, not only in the Hunter-Jumper ring, but in many other disciplines as well.”

All junior riders who are enrolled for the award and compete in TAKE2 classes will be eligible for a drawing for a $1,000 scholarship grant from TAKE2. The grant can be used to pay tuition and expenses for higher education anywhere in the U.S. The drawing will be held at the Skidmore College Saratoga Summer Horse Show on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 18.

Riders must register to be eligible for the TAKE2 High-Score Junior Rider Award, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America. They can earn points in TAKE2 Hunter and Jumper classes on one horse per season. Registration is free. Go to to sign up now. The qualifying period for 2018 is Dec. 1, 2017 – Aug. 26, 2018.

TCA’s mission is to provide a better life for Thoroughbreds, both during and after their racing careers, by supporting qualified repurposing and retirement organizations and by helping the people who care for them. TCA distributes grants to several categories of Thoroughbred-related nonprofits including rehabilitation, retraining, rehoming and retirement organizations; backstretch and farm employee programs; equine-assisted therapy programs; and research organizations.  Since its inception in 1990, TCA has granted over $22 million to more than 200 charities. TCA also administers the Horses First Fund, a fund started by LNJ Foxwoods in 2016 to provide emergency aid for Thoroughbreds in need. From 2000-2016, more than 95% of TCA’s expenditures were allocated to program services including direct grants. TCA is the charitable arm of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).

The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) partnered with the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. (NYTB) to create TAKE2, with the goal of making it easier to find new homes for retired racehorses. In addition to founding the League, TAKE2 sponsors awards and prize money in Thoroughbred Hunter and Jumper classes, and supports Thoroughbred aftercare initiatives nationwide. The program has expanded quickly, from eight shows in three states in its first year in 2012 to more than 350 horse shows in 23 states in 2017. A 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, it is co-funded by members of the Thoroughbred industry around the country: Fasig-Tipton Co.; New York Breeding and Development Fund; Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Associations in Illinois (through Galloping Out), Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania (through Turning for Home); Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company; and Florida Thoroughbred Farm Managers. TAKE2 is a 2017 TCA grantee.

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