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The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP), which sponsors Thoroughbred-only classes and divisions and high point Thoroughbred awards at open horse shows and competitions, announced on August 16 the recipients of its 2012 TIP Thoroughbred of the Year Award.

Created and announced in October 2011, TIP recognizes and rewards the versatility of the Thoroughbred through sponsorship of Thoroughbred classes and high point awards at sanctioned horse shows. The Jockey Club committed $100,000 to TIP for the pilot program in 2012, for which 167 horse shows from 26 states and two Canadian provinces were approved.

The Thoroughbred of the Year Award recognizes a Thoroughbred that has excelled in a non-competitive career, such as equine-assisted therapy or police work.

This year’s recipient is Maud Star, aka Aspen, a 1989 Arizona-bred gelding who raced 32 times, won four races and earned $10,185 in his four years of racing.

Aspen is a therapeutic riding horse at the Rainier Therapeutic Riding Center in Yelm, Washington, which provides therapeutic horsemanship lessons to wounded, active-duty and veteran members of the military. Aspen is the oldest horse in the program and has helped more than 26 riders overcome the wounds of war, including post-traumatic stress, brain injuries, anxiety disorders and other physical injuries.

According to Elisia Mutter, the executive director of the Rainier Therapeutic Riding Center, “Aspen is a program favorite who stands quietly for riders as they overcome their fears and anxieties of working with a large horse for the first time. His quiet insistence that his handlers ask him for things correctly helps these amazing people once again have the confidence to be a leader.”

You can read more about him on TIP’s facebook album about him.

The complete schedule of TIP-sponsored shows and other information about the program is available at tjctip.com. Those interested in TIP can follow the program at facebook.com/tjctip.