To help promote proper treatment and continued appreciation for the thoroughbred horse breed, 12-year-old Snoqualmie native Audrey Newbrey-Smith has been named one of 12 thoroughbred youth ambassadors for the North American horse registry The Jockey Club.
Newbrey-Smith participates in The Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Incentive Program and is responsible for spreading awareness that after a racing career, these horses can be rehabilitated and taught other disciplines. The other 11 ambassadors are located all around the country including Kentucky, Vermont and Utah.
Audrey and her mother Jenna Newbrey explained that once thoroughbred horses retire from racing they are often sent to be slaughtered. By working with the Thoroughbred Incentive Program, she can promote the rehabilitation of those horses so they can live with new owners.
“I’m one of the 12 youth ambassadors to promote the versatility of the thoroughbred breed. So basically our job is to promote that once horses come off the track and don’t race anymore, they can do other stuff like jumping and trail riding and dressage,” she said.
Newbrey-Smith got involved with the program in 2016 when she found her horse Flint, a thoroughbred, at a rescue in Yakima and was encouraged to apply to the program by her trainer and teacher at Snoqualmie Elementary School, Kate Sharkey. After filling out the right forms, writing an essay on why she would be a good choice and getting a letter of recommendation, Newbrey-Smith became the youngest youth ambassador in the program.
The responsibilities of an ambassador task her with setting up booths at local equestrian events and contacting the shows to host their own program-sponsored awards to recognize rehabilitated thoroughbreds in non-racing activities.
While Newbrey-Smith has grown very close to Flint over the past year retraining him, her experience with him has changed her, as well. According to her mother Jenna, she grown more confident in her daily life.
“It’s been a really cool process to watch. Audrey has struggled with anxiety since she was in kindergarten, she was very overwhelmed by new situations and had trouble meeting new people but horses were one thing she was never frightened of,” Jenna Newbrey said. “Watching her this last year with Flint, she has developed this grit that I had never seen in her before… He has just given her this confidence that she didn’t have before.”
Newbrey-Smith is part of the Lake Washington Saddle Club in Kirkland and mainly attends horse shows in Kirkland, but has also traveled to places like Cle Elum and Auburn for shows and to promote the Thoroughbred Incentive Program. Now she is a preparing an auction for her next show in Kirkland to collect donations for Canter, a national organization that rehabilitates horses and provides retiring thoroughbreds with new homes.
Looking ahead, Newbrey-Smith is planning to go to more events and stay in her role as youth ambassador. She even plans to attend the 2018 Thoroughbred Incentive Program Championships in Kentucky.
“I’m going to keep doing it and keep applying for it as long as I can because it is really fun and I do feel like I’m making an impact,” she said.
For more information on the Thoroughbred Incentive Program, visit tjctip.com.