A Classy Champion, 1989 Belmont Stakes Winner Easy Goer
My name is Morgan Hayden and I am an amateur from Townsend, Del. This will be my fourth time competing in the Thoroughbred Makeover. I am an all-around English rider with a love for eventing. I am extremely excited about competing this year in the Thoroughbred Makeover, especially since for the first time I will be competing with as an individual with my horse Goldie’s Boy.
I have been fortunate enough to adopt Goldie’s Boy through Midatlantic Horse Rescue (MAHR). Goldie was transitioned to MAHR through Maryland’s Beyond the Wire initiative. At the time, I was not looking for another horse, especially since I just received the news that I would have to retire my Mega-Makeover graduate at only 9 years old. Goldie came into my life unexpectedly, but it was certainly meant to be. To say I am excited to be on this journey with them would be an understatement.
The Thoroughbred Makeover every year brings such a multitude of emotions, stress, happy tears, sad tears, excitement, and joy. The makeover tests every ability we have as trainers no matter what stage of our journey we are on. At the end of day when we reflect on the “why,” it becomes obvious all the reasons, especially for myself, why I continue to hold the makeover near and dear to my heart.
The Thoroughbred Makeover is extremely symbolic in my life, meaning every year the makeover “closes the circle” for me. I started my love for OTTBs as a young girl with the opportunity to ride all different horses growing up when I could.
My family could not afford lessons or a horse growing up, so anytime someone else had a horse that needed riding or attention I was the girl for the job. In 2017, I was introduced to Midatlantic Horse Rescue, where I went to volunteer for the day and left the same day with a job. Needless to say, I still work there today alongside my full-time job as an human resource generalist for a utility company.
The job opportunity at MAHR came to me at a time in my life where I was really down on myself and life. In the years before MAHR, I experienced the most difficult loss of a loved one that I could. It truly had me down and I lost sight of who I was as a person.
At MAHR, there are times where we have 30-40 horses on property that come from all different backgrounds. Some are transitioned directly from the tracks, some transitioned by other organizations, and some are even transitioned and saved from auctions and kill pens. Each and every horse comes in with their own story, their own hardships, their own personality, and their own big heart looking for their next partnership.
Needless to say, my love for the Thoroughbred has grown and flourished at MAHR. Having the opportunity to work with every horse that has come through our program since 2017 in various ways, like providing Pulse PEMF sessions, caring for their wounds, riding them for potential adopters, or just giving them a smooch at the start and end of each day has been such a gift in being able to connect deeply with these horses. I have over the years been able to find myself and find my passion again.
At the end of hard days or even exciting days while training for the Thoroughbred Makeover, the last thing I find myself doing is counting my blessings and self-reflecting — most importantly, reminding myself of the “why” behind competing in the makeover.
So many Thoroughbreds have been instrumental in helping me find who I am and healing me without passing any judgement, and I am exceptionally grateful knowing that each year at the Thoroughbred Makeover I can repay the favor and help another horse find themselves in their new career and showcase the amazing work ethic, versatility, and love that the breed has.
So at the end of each day or ride, whether it is good, bad, or ugly for the next nine months, do not forget to reflect on your why and not to lose sight of how great it will feel when we are all successful at the 2023 Thoroughbred Makeover!
The Jockey Club supports many aftercare initiatives including the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, the only accrediting body in aftercare, and Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.), which encourages the retraining of Thoroughbreds into other disciplines upon completion of careers. View all of the initiatives supported by The Jockey Club.