Established in 2009 by the EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation, the Humanitarian Award honors an individual in the equestrian world who has devoted considerable personal time to improving the quality of life for equines.
As the eighth generation of his family to operate Dodon Farm in Maryland, Pittman, as a breeder, trainer, and eventing competitor, saw firsthand how the athletic Thoroughbred was falling out of favor in the sporthorse world—and decided to do something about it. With friends, he founded the Retired Racehorse Project in 2010. Unique from traditional aftercare placement or adoption services for ex-racehorses, the RRP sought to increase the demand for off-track Thoroughbreds and provide educational resources for owners and trainers to help those horses transition successfully.
Thanks in part to the Retired Racehorse Project and the increasingly-popular Thoroughbred Makeover, demand for off-track Thoroughbreds is rising and their value is increasing.
“Receiving the EQUUS/USEF Humanitarian Award is a huge honor because I have so much respect for the institutions making the award,” Pittman describes. “The EQUUS Foundation keeps a close watch on all of the good work being done to benefit horses, and USEF represents all equestrian sport. I have always believed that horse welfare is good business, and the magic of Retired Racehorse Project has been that it engages professional and amateur trainers in the essential work of rehoming racehorses. By recognizing this work the horse industry is buying into this vision. We can, and must, work together as an industry to help our horses move safely from one job to the next.”