By Melissa Bauer-Herzog, @mbauerherzog, America's Best Racing
The Totally Thoroughbred Horse Show on July 13 at Pimlico Race Course will have more meaning for Betty McCue than any other show she’ll take her Thoroughbreds to this summer.
“We show almost every weekend during the summer, but this event is more meaningful to me personally,” McCue said. “Bringing the Thoroughbreds to the all-Thoroughbred show is really exciting.”
McCue founded EHM Stables with her sister Evelyn Martin seven years ago to give Thoroughbreds a home after retiring from racing.
At the Pimlico event, the barn will have 10 riders showing 12 horses. At EHM Stable, the riders learn everything from cleaning stalls to riding to other important parts of horse ownership. While riders aren’t required to stay at the barn all day, they never seem to want to leave.
“We don’t have a big group, about 12 that are dedicated to coming out all the time,” McCue said. “When you come to our barn, it is everything. You learn to do the stalls, you learn to do your tack, you learn to put on bandages with the vet and the blacksmith. It isn’t a camp but they seem to come early and stay late.”
McCue credits 12 years of teaching second grade for her success transitioning Thoroughbreds to a second career and developing young riders.
“Teaching elementary school for 35 years and having a full background in horse racing, because I was raised on a horse farm, is important,” McCue said. “I have patience as the horses learn a new career and the children work with them and learn to ride. I carry that back and forth because just like some horses need to learn in a different way, so do some children in the classroom.”
This isn’t the first time EHM Stable will be involved with an event at Pimlico this year. During Preakness week, they took part in the Sunrise at Old Hilltop Tour to explain where horses go when they are done racing.
The EHM riders set up a table and handed out a brochure explaining what careers Thoroughbreds can thrive in after their racing days are over.
The effort her riders put into the Thoroughbreds and educating the public about their lives after racing brings a lot of pride to McCue. As the wife of Maryland Jockey Club photographer Jim McCue, she saw the need to help Thoroughbreds transition into a new life, which inspired the idea of starting EHM Stable.
“There is a need for someone to help work with them,” she said. “That is why we started with lessons and we have grown to have some wonderful riders and students who love Thoroughbreds.”
The Totally Thoroughbred Horse Show will begin at 9 a.m. EDT on July 13. Last year’s show featured more than 800 Thoroughbreds and raised $16,500 for charity. This year, the show is part of the Thoroughbred Alliance Show Series, a series of shows in the Maryland and Virginia to showcase the versatility of the Thoroughbreds after their racing careers.
For a full schedule of Thoroughbred Alliance Show Series events, click here.