Ohio native Dr. Ashlie Henricks grew up showing on the A circuit in the hunter ring but put her successful show career aside to attend vet school at Ohio State and start a family. After accomplishing such major milestones, Henricks was ready to take on another exciting challenge.
“I was introduced to the OTTB world as a veterinary student at Ohio State,” Henricks said. “I would help ride some OTTBs at a local barn for an adoption organization. After vet school, I took some time off from riding to focus on my new career and to start a family. I always kept in the back of my mind that one day it would be really rewarding to adopt an OTTB.”
In 2020, Henricks did just that and adopted Ide B a Classic from TAA-accredited New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program in Louisiana.
“I had been looking for a while for an OTTB,” Henricks recalled. “The trainer at the New Vocations Louisiana facility thought there might be a better fit for me who was recently retired from racing and just coming off an injury. I remember when she texted me the first photo of him and my heart was pounding. It was a feeling I couldn’t ignore. Of all the horses I had been looking at over the past few months, this was the first one that caused my heart to jump and an instant gut reaction.”
With two young kids at home, Henricks was excited to share her passion for Thoroughbreds and wanted to find a horse that the whole family could love. After 30 starts in five seasons on the track, Ide B A Classic retired with a record of 5-5-3 and earnings of $57,925. The son of Ide may not have found success as a racehorse but earning his warhorse status equipped the chestnut gelding with the perfect temperament to join the Henrick family.
“Seeing how excited my family was to meet him the day he walked off the trailer and watching them each create their own bond with him over the past year is really what this is all about,” Henricks said.
This past year, riders from across the country and from various disciplines and backgrounds set their sights on the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover. Following the cancellation of 2020’s event, 2021’s Thoroughbred Makeover combined the entries from 2020 and 2021— including Henricks. At the Makeover, Henricks was most proud of how Ide B A Classic, now known as “Mac,” handled the electric atmosphere of such a large event.
“I was worried how he would handle it because it was by far the largest show we had ever taken him to,” she recalled. “He was so calm, cool, and collected the whole time.”
The pair competed in both the show hunter and show jumper divisions, with large, competitive class sizes exceeding 65 competitors. Although Mac and Ashlie did not make it to the finale of the makeover, she was more than happy to take home the judges’ feedback to make improvements for the next show season. With her short-term goal of competing in the Mega Makeover now complete, Henricks looks towards her ultimate goal for Mac— to share the ride with her young daughter.
“It’s a testament to the fact that these ex-racehorses are 100% capable of learning new skills, starting new careers, and creating unwavering human-animal bonds with new families,” she said. “I never would have imagined the bond we have formed with him could happen this quickly or how fulfilling this whole journey would actually be.”