Adoption (horse of course) Advice - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-06-2009, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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Adoption (horse of course) Advice

I have to give some background info so you know my experience level. I am returning to riding after quite a few years. As a young girl I rode english and was involved in showing and hunting. When I was 7 my first horse was a cob paint gelding. I got him from the woman who gave me lessons, she was a friend of my parents and neighbor. She worked at an academy and he came from the academy. He was gentle and well trained.

My next horse when I was a teen was a thoroughbred bay gelding who came from the same woman--her daughters had grown up and married and no longer showed. So my parents got him for me. I rode him until I was 16.

Parents sold farm and we moved to the city (yikes) and no more horses for me. In my twenties I rode at a stable and took 'lessons' there. The 2 sisters bred arab quarter crosses and they were wonderful horses to ride.

I gave up riding due to finances and but now I am 48 and can afford it, I am going to a local stable where they let me take 'lessons' which is good because I am getting my feel for the saddle and horse again. But its boring riding in the ring and mostly kids are riding there.

So my hubby suggested that we get 2 horses and start riding together. He knows how to ride too. I have had it in my mind for years that if I were ever in a position to get a horse again I would adopt an off track ThBred or StBred. Now some people are telling me its a huge mistake they are crazy and unpredictable.

I would have thought that off track horses would be very well trained--and accustomed to many different people (grooms, trainers, exercise riders etc), grooming/shaving, leg wrapping and travelling in a trailer. I also know some of the rescue organizations evaluate and re-train them for second careers. Oh, we want to ride them for trail riding, maybe even competitive trail riding.

Does anyone have experience with adoption of off track horses or any resuces and can tell me about what they have been through with these horses?

BTW - i have many many years of canine rescue experience, while not horses, there are still issues around abuse or neglect of the animal which takes alot of consideration when getting them to adapt to new environments.

thks - alison
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-06-2009, 01:15 PM
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An off the track horse is just like any other horse, they all have differant personalities. Some CAN be flightly and unpredictible, some are calm and like to plod around.
Most of them are used to crowds and the like, but it also depends on the situation. I used to work at a track, so my opinion isn't coming as an adopter but just my experience with horses off the track (Standardbreds in my case).

I think horses OTT need to have a few months off to just relax and be a horse. The majority of horses off the track have just track training. They do not understand a lot of the cues that you would ask of a riding horse, and a standardbred is going to need to learn the cues for a canter (not as hard as some people make it out to be, they just need clear cues and consistancy).

However, you can get horses that have been off the track for a bit. Many rescues try to get volunteers to get the horses riding experience. You dont necissarilly have to start from the ground up. If you look around, you could find something that is a bit more broke than a horse that just got done racing.

Look around, try the horses out, and talk to people. OTT horses can be great, they just need to learn a new discipline. I can not stress enough how important I think it is to get a vet check done though -- Especially xrays or the legs. I had a bad experience with the only OTT horse I ever bought. If you can, look at their race records. Mine had been winning consistantly and running frequently, all the sudden he stopped running for a few months, then came back not being in the money. That was a big red flag and through the vet check we learned about a slab fracture. He would have been fine for everyday riding, but I wanted to barrel race and so he got sent back.

Im kind of rambling at this point.
Just look around, look at their training level, and work with them to learn their temperaments. Many people think TBs are flighty -- I don't really think so. Also, contrary to what some people say, STBs can canter.

I hope I didn't go on too long of a tangent and helped at least a little bit.. :P
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-06-2009, 01:28 PM
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Tailgurl, welcome to the forum!

That's good advise by Spastic Dove. Just like people, each horse is an individual. As a breed, the TB is a hot blooded horse and many are more flighty then the average Quarter Horse. That being said, it is a great way to acquire a nice horse and at the same giving him/her a second career.

Going to a rescue is a good place to start but do some homework on the facility before you go because some of them do not have the best reputation and can be downright deceptive.

Good luck!

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

It's not always what you say but what they hear.
iridehorses is offline  
post #4 of 12 Old 05-06-2009, 01:49 PM
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I was looking around for you...There are a lot of rescues in the NJ area. I'm not as familiar with PA I'm a fan of Rerun

A good place to get information is also: CANTER (Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses): Providing Retiring Racehorses with New Opportunities
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-06-2009, 02:57 PM
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My OTTB is the "likes to plod around" kind for the most part. He is super quiet - he doesn't bat an eye at most goings-on around him.
He is very light on my aids, and very responsive. At this moment I wouldn't put just anyone one him because of that.
He is very kind and willing - "honest" is the word that comes to mind - he tries his little heart out for me.
I did get a vet check done which went extremely well, and put my mind at ease when I brought him home.

New Vocations TB rescue is an amazing organization. The leaders of this organization have written a book which I call the "bible" of OTTBs, it's called "Beyond the Track"

Best of luck!

The lovely images above provided by CVLC Photography
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-08-2009, 07:06 PM
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It depends... go here....

Second Stride Inc. 501C non-profit for retired thoroughbred racehorses

Some of the horses are lame, but a lot of them are just there because their owners are going away to college and stuff. Cheap, too!

I guess you may not want to go all the way to KY, but these can be great possibilities!

You can tell a gelding. You can ask a stallion. But you must discuss it with a mare. -Unknown

Last edited by horseloverd2; 05-08-2009 at 07:10 PM.
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-10-2009, 12:59 PM
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I took in a rescue a few months ago, his name is Sammy. When I got him he was a 1.2 on a body condition sale. Now while he is still skinny, he is happy, healthy, and a overall great horse to be around. He's taught me a lot and helped me regain a lot of lost confidence.

By bringing in a rescue you take a massive risk. Some of the challenges you face are unknown health problems, past abuse, completely unknown temperament. Some may never have been touched in their lives. Some may never be sound for riding. It can take anywhere from three months, to a year or more before a rescue is fully rehabilitated depending on condition. And it, of course, is more expensive than keeping a 'regular' horse. I don't expect Sammy to be 'kinda sorta there' until August. We have started on very light riding, just enough to keep him from getting to pasture sour. He's an energetic and bright while still being level headed and manageable.

I personally find it extremely rewarding, going out every day and seeing the poor, mangy mutt you brought in out of sheer pity turn into a gleaming wonder horse. The whole is experience is a mix of fright, love, and sheer stubbornness to get diamond out of the rough.

Heres Sam, day 1:

After ten days:

After roughly 11 weeks;

After grooming:

He still has a ways to go, but he certainly is getting there :)

Wait! I'll fix it....
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-10-2009, 02:59 PM
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You have done a good job on Sammy! Every day certainly counts. Do you plan on rehoming him or keeping him?

You can tell a gelding. You can ask a stallion. But you must discuss it with a mare. -Unknown
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-10-2009, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by horseloverd2 View Post
You have done a good job on Sammy! Every day certainly counts. Do you plan on rehoming him or keeping him?
I was going to re-home him at one point, but have decided to keep him. From a financial point of view, I've put to much into him to sell him for 200-300 bucks. From a personal point of view, he's a dream horse not worth letting go :)

Wait! I'll fix it....
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-11-2009, 08:34 PM
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I got back into horses at 40, when I finally could afford a place to keep them. I started with a yearling PMU draft cross colt from a PMU/TB rescue and then ended up with 3 horses-the kids like to ride. It was a long wait for my colt to grow up but he'll be 5 next month and he is such a wonderful horse! So calm and fun to ride.

Goodluck in your search. I've know several Standardbreds OTT who are wonderful horses and some who are a little hot. Usually the rescues are good about helping you choose a horse that fits your needs.

Riverside, CA
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