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L-R: Thunderous Affair, Lindsey Partridge, RRP Executive Director Jen Roytz, TCA Executive Director Erin Crady
L-R: Thunderous Affair, Lindsey Partridge, RRP Executive Director Jen Roytz, TCA Executive Director Erin Crady

The 2021 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America, was an historic event with competition years running for both 2020-eligible and 2021-eligible horses, due to the postponement of the 2020 event. Competition years competed separately across three days of preliminary competition, vying for a total of over $100,000 in prize money, with each competition year crowning its own Thoroughbred Makeover Champion.

Thunderous Affair, trained by Lindsey Partridge, was selected by the panel of judges of the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America, as the 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion, sponsored by Churchill Downs.

The 2017 16.2 hand gray/roan mare was bred in Kentucky by Jim Williams. She never made a start, but did train to race. By Liaison out of the Thunder Gulch mare Thunder Fan, Thunderous Affair was placed through CANTER Michigan.

Lindsey Partridge, a professional based in Pontypool, Ontario, is no stranger to the Thoroughbred Makeover — she won the overall title back in 2015 with Soar — but this particular journey has not been without its challenges.

“She didn’t trust me in the beginning,” recalled an emotional Partridge. “I really had to slow down and just go to events, and just not make it about competing. Just the fact that she was so calm and relaxed here and able to trust me to do everything — gosh, I’m going to start crying!”

Partridge, who has made a name for herself with her unique brand of horsemanship and crowd-pleasing freestyle routines, trained Thunderous Affair to not one but two discipline championships — Freestyle, in which the pair played with Partridge’s signature big blue tarp and other props, and Competitive Trail, in which Thunderous Affair’s easygoing demeanor impressed judges and spectators alike.

“It’s all about putting that relationship first,” Partridge described, reflecting on her past Makeover performances and her road to success. “I’ve done ranch and field hunter and trail and freestyle, but it all comes back to that partnership first.”

2020 Thoroughbred Makeover Discipline Champions (in order of go):

  • Eventing, sponsored by Tipperary Equestrian: Legend’s Hope, trained by Jazz Napravnik
  • Show Jumper, sponsored by Excel Equine: Canton Comet, trained by Samantha Fawcett
  • Show Hunter, sponsored by Beyond the Wire: Still Dreaming, trained by Charles Hairfield
  • Field Hunter, sponsored by Masters of Foxhounds Association: Zapper, trained by Cameron Sadler
  • Dressage, sponsored by PTHA’s Turning For Home: Elbow Room, trained by Helen Pianca
  • Polo, sponsored by United States Polo Association: That’s My Bertie, trained by Willowbrook Polo Team
  • Freestyle, sponsored by New Start: Thunderous Affair, trained by Lindsey Partridge
  • Barrel Racing, sponsored by SmartPak: Czraina Maria, trained by Jessica Frederick
  • Competitive Trail, sponsored by Godolphin: Thunderous Affair, trained by Lindsey Partridge
  • Ranch Work, sponsored by MidAtlantic Horse Rescue: Aussie Prayer, trained by Raechel Ramsey

A full list of results and awards can be found at

The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization working to increase demand for off-track Thoroughbreds in the equestrian world. In addition to producing the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, the organization also publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, hosts off-track Thoroughbred retraining clinics and programming at major horse expos and events around the country, and maintains the online Thoroughbred Sport Tracker (the internet’s only user-driven database tracking second career talent and accomplishments of registered Thoroughbreds). Visit the RRP online at

There are more interesting articles in our section on Retire & Rehome.

Thunderous Affair and Lindsey Partridge
Thunderous Affair and Lindsey Partridge

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