*ATTENTION all ottb owners* - Page 3
 
 

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*ATTENTION all ottb owners*

This is a discussion on *ATTENTION all ottb owners* within the Horse Breeds forums, part of the Horse Breeds, Breeding, and Genetics category
  • Ottb temperment
  • Behavioral problems in OTTB

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    01-30-2012, 07:02 PM
  #21
Green Broke
Not all OTTBs are crazy, but in my experience there are more "crazy" ones around than sane ones, although on a forum such as this you may not see it as much because many people around here are reasonably cautious about buying a horse.

Training has a fair bit to do with it, because I think that even if you find an OTTB with a good temperament, if he hasn't be retrained correctly (usually professionally) he can often default back to his old training, and breeding. A problem with the OTTB is that they are unpredictable. If you have a horse that misbehaves reliably you can learn to anticipate this behaviour and train it out, or at least try to, but with 90% of the OTTBs I've known and ridden, they are perfectly fine for a reasonable portion of the time, but then suddenly go nuts or be completely weird, then normal again, so you can't really do consistent training to improve them. This also means you go look at a OTTB, he goes great, a few weeks later a psycho etc.

You can get perfectly nice OTTBs, lazy ones, sweet ones which is all very well, but people talk about this as though these qualities make a horse good. I don't think that saying a horse is lazy or nice means that they are worth having. When people talk about QH or SH or Anglos or Warmbloods for most of these it is expected that the horse is normal. These are often purpose bred to have normal, stable and trainable temperaments where the OTTB is not.

Overall I don't think the OTTB makes a good riding horse. There have been many articles written discussing how their conformation can make them less than ideal for collection and general riding. Their typically high withers can make saddle fitting a problem, with most people just chucking a riser pad under the saddle to attempt a dodgy fix. The temperaments can be questionable, many develop soundness problems, have poor hooves, get in to trouble with fences and other horses (so do others, but I think OTTB are over-represented in this catagory). They tend to be harder to keep the weight on, harder to keep warm on have a low resale value. So basically the selling points for the OTTB are that most are athletic, attractive and cheap.

Really though, I don't think there is much that an OTTB does that an Anglo Arab can't do, or some of the varieties of warmblood, Irish Sport Horse, ASH and to be honest a QH would fulfill the needs of most OTTB owners. Or if you must, a purpose bred riding Thoroughbred. I just don't understand why people buy OTTB so often, they're not bred or trained to be riding horses, and there are hundreds of breeds out there that are. It just seems so illogical to me.
     
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    01-30-2012, 10:54 PM
  #22
Teen Forum Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saskia    
Not all OTTBs are crazy, but in my experience there are more "crazy" ones around than sane ones, although on a forum such as this you may not see it as much because many people around here are reasonably cautious about buying a horse.

Training has a fair bit to do with it, because I think that even if you find an OTTB with a good temperament, if he hasn't be retrained correctly (usually professionally) he can often default back to his old training, and breeding. A problem with the OTTB is that they are unpredictable. If you have a horse that misbehaves reliably you can learn to anticipate this behaviour and train it out, or at least try to, but with 90% of the OTTBs I've known and ridden, they are perfectly fine for a reasonable portion of the time, but then suddenly go nuts or be completely weird, then normal again, so you can't really do consistent training to improve them. This also means you go look at a OTTB, he goes great, a few weeks later a psycho etc.

You can get perfectly nice OTTBs, lazy ones, sweet ones which is all very well, but people talk about this as though these qualities make a horse good. I don't think that saying a horse is lazy or nice means that they are worth having. When people talk about QH or SH or Anglos or Warmbloods for most of these it is expected that the horse is normal. These are often purpose bred to have normal, stable and trainable temperaments where the OTTB is not.

Overall I don't think the OTTB makes a good riding horse. There have been many articles written discussing how their conformation can make them less than ideal for collection and general riding. Their typically high withers can make saddle fitting a problem, with most people just chucking a riser pad under the saddle to attempt a dodgy fix. The temperaments can be questionable, many develop soundness problems, have poor hooves, get in to trouble with fences and other horses (so do others, but I think OTTB are over-represented in this catagory). They tend to be harder to keep the weight on, harder to keep warm on have a low resale value. So basically the selling points for the OTTB are that most are athletic, attractive and cheap.

Really though, I don't think there is much that an OTTB does that an Anglo Arab can't do, or some of the varieties of warmblood, Irish Sport Horse, ASH and to be honest a QH would fulfill the needs of most OTTB owners. Or if you must, a purpose bred riding Thoroughbred. I just don't understand why people buy OTTB so often, they're not bred or trained to be riding horses, and there are hundreds of breeds out there that are. It just seems so illogical to me.
I don't see your logic here. Any OTTB that I have ever met that was as you described; erratic and crazy, had spells like that for a reason. Inconsistant ground training, pain, ulcers, or something similiar. Some are untrainable yes, but not because they're unpredictable. All horses are unpredictable. That's why we have to 'train' them and not just 'program' them like an automobile. They each have their quirks and their limits, and its our job to find them. Any horse, no matter how well trained it is, can blow up at any second for any reason and you might not expect it. If an OTTB is deemed untrainable, it is due to physical inability of the horse or the inability of a trainer to handle said horse, not craziness.

I can almost guarentee to you that the reason those horses that you rode would 'spazz out' without any apparent cause is because of incorrect training. As I pointed out previously, MANY OTTBs are not retrained correctly because we forget that they haven't been exposed to many things that your average colt would before training to ride. You have to start from the beginning to get a good mount.

I started Noah at 'weanling' stage. I pretended that he knew absolutely nothing and started with simple things like correct leading and tying, then I went from there. Even if it seemed like he understood something, I would teach it again and reinforce it anyways.

Quote:
These are often purpose bred to have normal, stable and trainable temperaments where the OTTB is not.
I don't understand how an OTTB has a 'not trainable' temperment. I've never met an OTTB with a behavioral problem unique to only race horses. Pushiness, agression, etc, are all found in any breed at any time. These traits only show up in OTTBs more often because, once again, they have huge gaps in their training. Every OTTB that I have worked with was able to learn proper behavior within a short span of time given consistency.

Quote:
Overall I don't think the OTTB makes a good riding horse.
While you did bring up some valid points such as saddle fit and soundness, an OTTB can make a perfectly fine mount. Why else would they be the top choice for low-level eventers, dressage riders, and even rodeo people? Versality. Because they are not purpose bred for a specific job (such as a cutting or reining horse with purposely bred butt-high features or sickle-hocked legs) they can be used for many things and excell at it. Yes, many of them break down with artheritis early on and no, an OTTB is not very likely to make high level sporting again, but they can be nice all-arounders. And not all of them have lameness issues. My guy Noah hasn't had a single lame day in all of his training, even though he raced for almost ten years and had nearly 60 starts.

Often an 'OTTB' is really just a 3 or 4 year old who raced once or twice, showed no 'wow factor' when it raced, and is for sale to be used for a different sport. These horses have not been ridden very hard and many of them are VERY sound. There are those who have had long racing careers, ofcourse, and those do tend do have problems, but an animal who has worked so hard for so long deserves a nice retirement as a trail mount or 'for fun' horse anyways, don't you think?

Here in Houston, over 400 Thoroughbreds leave the track every season to be sent either to slaughter or resold. Because of their abundance, they are cheap. Not because they are low quality. There are some very nice, healthy horses who are put down every day, and trainers try hard to find homes for as many as they can- but the reality is that some horses are going to have to be put down just because of the sheer numbers. OTTBs need second chances, and people like us come to give them those chances. That's why we buy them. An animal shouldn't die just because it's not fast.

We bought Noah for $250. If he were to be resold, he would probably fetch us about $1,000 right now, maybe a little bit more. That's with one year of general training. But you know what? Even if he is shark-fin withered and is hard to keep weight on, he's the best school horse we have right now. I've NEVER once had him offer to buck, never had him jeprodize me, and never had him act out against the other horses or try anything stupid. On a ranch full of miniatures, ponies, donkeys, cattle, quarter horses, and saddlebreds, he's the most sane animal we have.
annaleah, MysticL and With Grace like this.
     
    01-30-2012, 11:10 PM
  #23
Started
Personally I think ottb's get that high sturng etc reputation from the feed they're put on while in racing.. Atleast here it is anyway. The reason they are so highly sturng etc is because the oils etc from the food they were fed can stay in the gut lining for up to 3 years (what was told).

Personally, I learnt to ride on a thoroughbred (not ottb though) and the horse I have now, my second horse, is an ottb who had 18 starts and won 4 races and was also seen as a threat to the other competitors for the melbourne cup... But yet he is the most laid back gentle giant I know, and he has just turned 8 and has been off nearly two years now. My only problem with him is whips.
     
    01-31-2012, 06:33 AM
  #24
Weanling
My OTTB teaches me something new every day, not always the other way around. They are brought up the opposite way to most horses. They are trained under saddle before they are taught anything from the ground. I know of other breeds that have more soundness problems than our OTTBs.

I think if you are willing to put in the extra effort, time and sometimes money you will never regret an OTTB. I personally don't. I was ever a TB fan in general...but only because of what I had HEARD not EXPERIENCED. I will probably never own another breed.

Should you ever decide to take on an OTTB don't go into it blindly. Take your time to search out one that has a good nature and that is sound. Trust me, there are a LOT of them available and you shouldnt rush. When you find the right one something inside you will know. I bought myself the book "Beyond the Track - Retraining the Thoroughbred from Racehorse to Riding Horse" and have taken the time to speak to various owners and trainers to learn as much as I can before taking him on. But that should be the case whether you are taking on an OTTB, a schoolmaster or any pet or commitment in life. It's always wise to be educated.

Should the horse you choose turn out to be "untrainable" for whatever reason (even if the trainer/rider is the problem not the horse) you will be the person responsible for his or her future. Bear that in mind :)

Mine is personally the sweetest horse in the barn. He doesnt fight (has been picked on but does not retaliate due to not knowing how!) he begs for attention and a good ear rub, he stands perfectly still when I mount, He does not spook at a thing on outrides and generally is loved by all because people can't get enough of his great personality. He is a 4 year old and only stopped racing in December. He is brave and level headed IMO. I am a confidant rider and I like a little bit of "crazy" to challenge me but this is the safest I have ever felt on any horse in my life
annaleah and Endiku like this.
     

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