From starting gate to starting over.
A freelance writer for Fortune 500 companies, Sylvana lives on an antebellum farm with seven horses, including a Thoroughbred adopted from Blue Bloods in 2016. She rides in all the local hunter paces, occasionally rides with the Sedgefield Hunt, gives groundwork and horsemanship clinics, and enjoys working with young and/or green horses. She now gets to ride, show and win on those glorious Thoroughbreds she could only envy as a child.
Sylvana grew up riding in the hunt country of Northern Virginia and attended Jane Marshall Dillon’s Junior Equitation School, where international show jumping stars Kathy Kusner and Joe Fargis also got their starts. Sylvana rode her plain but charming pony at the local shows and was routinely beaten in the hunter divisions by glorious Thoroughbreds.
After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, Sylvana moved to North Carolina and resumed her passion for horses. For five years, she was a working student at a training center that started young Thoroughbreds for the track. Her mentor there had trained Seattle Slew through his Triple Crown victory and attracted extremely well-bred Thoroughbreds in for training. Sylvana has evented through Training level and competed three homebreds to four NCDCTA Horse of the Year awards in eventing
In 1993 Sylvana rode her Bold Ruler-line filly in a five-day Buck Brannaman colt-starting clinic that profoundly reshaped her approach to horsemanship. An earnest student of vaquero-inspired horsemanship, she has ridden in more than 50 clinics since then with Buck, Ray Hunt, Peter Campbell, Bryan Neubert, Greg Eliel, Mark Rashid, Joe Wolter and others.
BBTAP Board Member
Dora learned to ride as a teenager and fell in love with horses. Her exposure to the world of racehorses, however, happened later in life when she met her husband Alan. A longtime racing enthusiast, he introduced her to racehorses and shared with her the world of racing and breeding.
Alan and Dora started their journey by joining a small racing partnership. That was followed by their involvement in a smaller breeding partnership. What came next was inevitable. They wanted to breed and race their own horses and did just that. They kept two of the thoroughbreds they bred and went on to race them in New York.
When their two horses, a mare and a gelding, were ready to retire (one to an injury and one who wasn't competitive) they were retired to Elizabeth MacDonald's farm. Both were adopted by really great people and began their new lives.
Meet the BBTAP Team!
As a lifelong horse lover, Susan was at the track before she could walk. She inherited her passion for horses, as well as the thoroughbreds she has owned, bred and raced from her Dad. When her Dad had horses at the track, they would visit the barn several times a week. Of course the horses on their side of the shed row were recipients of Susan's endless supply of carrots and affection! One day she noticed that a particularly handsome grey horse was not in his stall. One of the barn staff smirked and told her the horse had been donated to a "riding school for children". Being so young and naive, she believed him. It still hurts her heart when she thinks of that horse.
Susan knows that being present when her mares foal, deepens her bond with her horses and her commitment to them. With all that we ask of thoroughbreds on the track, the least we owe them in return is a safe haven once they are off the track. So it goes without saying Susan is delighted to be a part of the Blue Bloods Thoroughbred Adoption and Placement program which will facilitate many "happy endings" for some of these majestic creatures.
BBTAP Secretary and Trainer
Cymry grew up riding horses on her family's farm in Missouri. After relocating to North Carolina at age 12, she took up Eventing and then joined Pony Club. Pony Club enabled Cymry to advance her riding skills and develop good horsemanship practices. She has Evented through Training Level and has achieved the B Pony Club rating as a member of Eno Triangle Pony Club.
Cymry was introduced to off the track thoroughbreds in 2010 and in 2011, adopted a chestnut mare named Sassy N Bold. Since then, she has been passionate about off the track thoroughbreds. She loves the OTTB for their endurance, athleticism, intelligence and strong work ethic. She uses a quiet, confident approach when training a horse and especially enjoys working with challenging horses. Cymry is an Elon University Art graduate and works for Alamance County.
BBTAP Executive Director
Elizabeth Macdonald grew up riding in North Carolina at the age of 6 and was showing and fox hunting from the age of 10. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Communication Arts and Design, she worked in New York City for 18 years, then returned to North Carolina and her passion for horses. When she adopted two off the track thoroughbreds, she realized she could help many more retired racehorses.
Elizabeth soon became the North Carolina Director for ReRun Inc., an off the track 501c3 thoroughbred adoption and placement organization, based in New Jersey. After working in this position for 6 years, Elizabeth was recruited to be the North Carolina director for Second Call Inc., the Monmouth Park Aftercare Program. During her tenure with both of these organizations, Elizabeth placed over 260 horses from her farm in North Carolina. In 2013, Elizabeth founded Blue Bloods Thoroughbred Adoption and Placement, Inc. with the help and support of several dedicated and generous individuals. Elizabeth Macdonald now serves as the Executive Director for BBTAP.
BBTAP Vice President
Susan grew up in Massachusetts asking for a horse every birthday and Christmas throughout her young life. As a young adult she adopted a BLM mustang mare, naming her "Rose of Cimarron." Cimarron went on to become the mount for each of her four children in their turn.
While living in Maine, Susan discovered and fell in love with the Welsh Cob breed and purchased a little bay mare "Emmy" for the children to ride. Eventually, a small breeding herd was established with two imported Welsh Cob stallions.
Susan lives with her family on a farm in Union Ridge, North Carolina and has adopted several off the track thoroughbreds which her teenagers use in pony club and participate in the sport of Eventing.
The thoroughbred with its beauty and strength combined with its endearing character, help remind her daily of the great potential these magnificent animals possess.
Sadly the mare later suffered a fatal bout of colic and had to be humanely sent to cross the Rainbow Bridge. The gelding, however, is still living the high life and continues to grow and learn and teach his new family, Susan and Cymry Flood, BBTAP's VP and Secretary/Trainer.
A year before Dora became part of BBTAP, she lost her soul mate unexpectedly. Alan's dream was to work to find forever homes for off the track thoroughbreds and Dora hopes to continue his legacy by fulfilling that dream at Blue Bloods Thoroughbred Adoption and Placement, Inc. She knows firsthand how wonderful it feels to be able to give a thoroughbred a second chance at life.