Off the track thoroughbreds? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 04-12-2009, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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Off the track thoroughbreds?

Hey! New here, why not make this my second post? lol
I might be looking into getting a new horse in the near future *yay* I am a jumper and I want something quick with brains and heart that doesn't come with an insane price tag. I have heard alot of people mentioning off the track thoroughbreds. Ive heard bad stuff about off the track TBs, like they are hot and hard to retrain. Oh and alot of them are unsound. But Ive heard good stuff too!
Anyone have experiences with off the track TBs they would like to share?
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post #2 of 29 Old 04-12-2009, 12:25 AM
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You can get awesome off the track TB's. But you can get totally nuttaz wrecked ones too! You'd have to do serious looking into the horse before you bought it, going to see it multiple times for example.
From the few off the track TB's I've had/ridden, most have been... well bonkers.
But one or two were super dooper sound and smart. I guess it depends on the horse.

I have an off the track TB right now, she is moody and difficult as heck to ride (excellent bucker), but she's the sweetest horse to do ground work with. I love her because she pushes me and because she's the total opposite to my other horse (a sound Standardbred gelding).

I don't know if this helped at all...
But just thought I'd put it out there!
Good Luck!

Last edited by Jubilee Rose; 04-27-2009 at 09:23 PM.
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post #3 of 29 Old 04-12-2009, 01:36 AM
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Transitioning the Ex-Racehorse

I am of the opinion that off-track thoroughbreds get a "bad rap" and are often stereotyped because usually you only hear about the "bad" things. I presently own an OTTB and over the years, since my early 20's, have owned several others as well and........I have always had a very positive experience. When these guys come off the track, the best way to transition them to their new role "as a horse rather than a race horse" is to give them the let down time they need to re-adjust to life away from the track. If these horses get this time, maybe several months getting used to even being out of a stall and in turnout (remember, these horses are constantly in stalls at the track other then when they are being exercised or raced or traveling to yet another race track) and bringing them home to your backyard barn or a boarding stable and giving them the relaxation time they need, the time to get all meds out of their systems (if they've been on anything) and in general, get used to a new way of life, you will find that these guys are easy to train, loyal (full of heart and soul), affectionate (they just eat up attention) and usually give their all when learning a new way of life, even in training. The other positive to owning an OTTB is that they are comfortable with loud noises and a lot of commotion (the roar of the crowd at the race track and all that goes on around them), machinery (from in and around the race track shed rows where they're stalled) and also, they are very easy to trailer as they are hauled all over the place to various tracks!

A very good resource is the Canter USA website, an organization that is devoted to the care and placement of Thoroughbreds when their track careers come to an end. If you want to further information about where to find OTTB's or any other information pertaining to the care and training of these guys, I will be glad to post resources for you. I can also offer website links to many other organizations that may be geographically close to wherever you live!

The best of luck to you!


Cathy Ann

"To Thine Own Thoroughbred Be True"
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post #4 of 29 Old 04-12-2009, 01:12 PM
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i agree with everyone who has already posted. my experience with OTTB's has been all over the board. It REALLY depends on the horse.

I've ridden some highly strung (but also extremely talented) ones and some that are dead heads

My mare is the quietest horse i've ever owned and doesn't act like a "typical" OTTB at all.

just try to find the right horse for you. which might not even be an OTTB at all!

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post #5 of 29 Old 04-12-2009, 01:26 PM
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I have LOVED the two OTTBs I owned. They were some of the most intelligent, sensitive animals I've worked with. And so athletic! If you really do your research and go through a reputable rescue or bring someone experienced enough to know what to look for with you when you looking you can find a true diamond in the rough. Many of the ones you see listed as "retired sound, just wasn't fast enough to race" or "not competitive enough on the track" will make brillant show horses. Remember, not fast enough on the track is usually still very fast and athletic.

My one OTTB was extremly calm, was great at low level dressage, and clean and fast over the fences. He did everything - dressage, hunter paces, jumpers, English pleasure, long trail rides, he even played around on the barrel pattern too.

I highly recommend adopting one. Rerun has branches of their rescue all over the east coast, CANTER is great too, and there is a small rescue in New York, on Long Island called the New York Horse Rescue that I got both of my guys from. If you take your time looking, I promise you that you won't be disappointed.
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post #6 of 29 Old 04-12-2009, 02:33 PM
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You just have to go through somebody reputable, as far as I know. If they don't BUY(/get) the ones who aren't sane and reasonable, you're not going to get the insane or unreasonable horses. But definitely go through someone. CANTER's good, as far as I know. But I know of one in Georgia, called Bits 'n Bytes Farm. They have an amazing reputation and as far as I know they actually keep tabs on horses that are at the track that they want to buy when it's time for them to not run any more. They seem really good.

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post #7 of 29 Old 04-12-2009, 03:51 PM
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At our barn we have 3 OTTBs out of 20 horses, mine Starship (13) retired at 11, Annie (14) retired when she was 8 and Mouse (8) probably raced twice. They are the most high strung horses at the barn, but they are never mean. Starship and Annie do dressage now and Mouse is a hunter/jumper.
Are they different then all the other horses we have at our barn? Yes, definitely.
Are they more often injured? Unfortunately yes, that too. They are pretty fragile.
Would either of us trade our OTTB for another horse? Hell no!
They are loving, honest, work hard, want to please, are a pleasure to ride and are just awesome!! But you must like a horse that will challenge you and occasionally will only want to go fast.
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post #8 of 29 Old 04-12-2009, 10:09 PM
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agreed to what everyone has said.
I own an OTTB and I love him =] he's smart, gentle but has the GO I like. I would never get rid of him.
if you get the chance to own one, you will understand what we all mean, there just isn't enough words for the numerous ways they are a great horse.

the only down side to my OTTB is he is DEATHLY afraid of the cows down the road (eeek!) as much as NOTHING else bothers him, loud tractors, loud show grounds, kids running around, dogs barking, cars driving by, etc he just doesn't know what to think about those cows, they are scary animals hehe

the favorite part of my OTTB is when I put little kids on him and he follows me around, head WAY down, walking sooooooo slow. The moment I get on him tho, he is a completely different horse, ready to get to work.

With the right re-training any OTTB will be a GREAT horse for any household, with, of course, the right time to wind down from the track life.

as far as getting some "crazy" OTTB's that goes with ANY breed, you can get some crazy horses out there, the reason OTTB's get the wrap is cuz they are in the spotlight for racing, they are trained for the ONE thing and nothing else. don't let them fool you, they can be the same as an old push button pony, even they have their days.

16 year old TWH Mare named Ginger
3 year old APHA Paint Gelding named Fox.
RIP Evie (Clydesdale) 7.29.09 & Magic (OTTB) 2.23.10

Last edited by Audra0729; 04-12-2009 at 10:13 PM.
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post #9 of 29 Old 04-12-2009, 10:58 PM
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So where can you get OTTBs from?? I'm in Montana so I'm assuming there wouldn't be any out here?
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post #10 of 29 Old 04-12-2009, 11:54 PM
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I have two OTTB mares adopted from CANTER here in Michigan-- one is not sound to ride due to a fall/dual stifle injury/surgery, the other had a bone chip so would be sound for flat work, but my desire was for a high quality broodmare for my Appaloosa program (and I ended up with two, LOL).

I looked at several mares at the CANTER barn and a foster's barn, and there were some lovely sound horses in re-training for riding disciplines as well-- but I opted for mares that might otherwise not find a home as easily, because they fit my needs, and I was OK with their needs.

Both mares definitely had an adjustment period-- they didn't really know anything beyond whatever their routine at the track had been. They were unsure how to be led in wide open spaces (also I don't think either had ever been led witrhout a stud chain), they they had to learn how to STOP when running in a pasture due to fences and gates, they had to get used to being approached in a paddock or pasture and touched and handled without being restrained in crossties and/or a stall and/or stocks, and the biggest change, they had to learn horsie social skills in a small herd enviromnent.

They really were both pretty "slow" socially--but it has gradually improved. I was stupidly happy earlier this spring when for the first time (its been a little over a year since they arrived) I saw them engaging in mutual grooming with other horses, and their were no "fireworks"-- just happy scritch-scratching, LOL.

NOW these mares are quiet, calm, and affectionate-- it took a few months of just normal handling and letting them figure out how to be horses-- most of it was pateince and common sense stuff-- and IMO it was really worth it. They have very fun, responsive, sweet personalities.

I also have a TB mare who was in race training, but was never run. She is totally sound, was retrained before I got her, and has had a career as a lesson horse, a hunter, and etc. She has impeccable ground manners and is very docile and easy to get along with. Her only drawback is that she cribs like a feind unless she is wearning her collar.

Laura Lyon
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