Ok I just want to put this at the top. At this point I am not buying any horse just keeping my options open. What do you guys think about OTTB and what are up's and down's? What are warning signs when you go to look at them? Other important things to look for? Do you have one? I'd love to see pictures. I just would like to know your opinions I highly respect them. If and I mean a big IF I did get a OTTB I would have a trainer doing the work, I would just be learning and helping but I would have a capable trainer doing the re-training. Thanks guys.
I wasn't sure where to put this but if it's in the wrong place let me know.
I have one too and I absolutely love him! I'm not sure if all OTTBs are like him or just him, but when I bought him he had 3 months of pasture time under his belt and was ready for his new life. He is very affectionate, but at the beginning had issues with personal space and mounting up was a focus point of training as he liked to walk off once I got up. He did tend to crowd and he had NO herd manners. The lead mare would lay her ears back at him and he'd walk right up to her, completely oblivious to her cues. The first 4 months he came in daily with new bites and scratches. And once came in with two swollen joints from a bad kick that I feared would cause permanent lameness - thankfully didn't!
I spent my first few months with him doing just walk-trot-stop exercises in a confined area. And while he sometimes seems to have a few screws loose in his head - he took FOREVER to figure out how to walk through a narrow space without hitting either side, and has a horrible habit of walking into unmoving objects expecting them to move out of his way - he is an honest, hard working horse. He'll try anything. He loves to jump, and we play lots of pasture games the include him trotting after me around different objects and jumping fallen logs. He's the first horse to greet anyone in field. And despite the bad rep some OTTBs have about being a little on the pshyco side, he actually has a very sane mind. He never runs off with me, has never once tried to buck, or rid me of his back. He goes walk-trot-canter easily and on command, and - only when I ask - he'll give me his absolute fastest gear.... however this gear requires a loooong stretch to stop from. And he's pretty much bombproof.
I wouldn't reccomend a horse like him to a complete beginner because while he is a great horse, for the first few months I did have to be on my guard and willing to tell him 'no'. And unlike the lazy ranch horses who stop when the horse in front stops, you have to be willing to ask him for what you want, be it stop, go, back up, etc..
I can't tell you if all OTTBs are like him, as I've only known him well and have handled only two others.. one of which was a old school horse who hadn't seen a racetrack in 10 years, the other a trillium level jumper who I thought was beautiful but whose owner thought was a nut case - but I never saw this from the mare for myself.
This is my horse, Nikki:
^ He goes through anything. ^
When I first started working him, I wanted him as sane and calm as possible, thus we spent a lot of time bareback in a halter after I had established a level of trust with him.
^training him to stand while I mounted, I had my bf hold him while I got on from a lovely plastic bucket... I know... not the safest thing around to mount from, but I didn't want to land on the wooden mounting block if I fell XD But I never have fallen from Nikki
PerchieKisses- This has been my experience for the most part as well. There are some things that just come with their previous lifestyle, ie the walking off when mounting. But they are usually well adjusted, accustom to "stuff" and hard workers who want nothing more than to be your best friend. There's something about the heart they have... I have rarely met an OTTB I didn't like.
You're right though... even really quiet ones just aren't ideal beginner horses. You need to set down boundaries and ride. You can't phase out on a TB. But that's my kind of horse. =)
Where I board my OTTB at its mainly OTTBs (hints that's how I got my horse) The owner of the barn was friends with a trainer of racehorses and when one of her horses were retired she found a good home for them! Anyway I got my OTTB 5 days after his last race and rode him 2 days after that and he was fine. My OTTB thou is REALLY slow on learning new things he still canters speedy but he listens to me! When I ask him back down to the trot then BAM he slows down! But also mine is very docile! As I said there are a bunch of OTTBs at my barn and when most of the thoroughbreds seem hyper on the first cold day mine isnt he is just slow as ever. MY thoroughbred walked off at the mount which they all do, eventually they will get over it. Anyway they are amazing horses that deserve a second chance at life! My horse took retirement as a racehorse to the extreme! Keeps us updated if you get one :) I LOVE my OTTB!!!!
What are warning signs when you go to look at them? Other important things to look for?
Legs legs legs!!! Particularly the joints. Look for lumps, bumps, swellings, heat and scars. Check the forlegs for splints and bows. Most scars are superficial but depending on the nature of the original injury, laceration type injuries can have lasting effects on tendons and ligaments. In relation to the joints, look for free movement from the hip and stifle in particular, with reasonable reach. Ask if the horse has been injected, if so, where the site of injection was, how many times and when the last time was.
Vet check is an absolute must if you haven't dealt with OTTB's much in the past.
As for me, I have had many many OTTB's and had great experiences with them (attaching piccies of the latest two ). I have no idea if it some weird effect that I have on TB's or just the ones I have had but they are incredibly affectionate once they come to realise what affection is, girly I know but here are the pics to prove it:
Pros - Athletic, willing, bold, trainable, beautiful and lots of heart. Oh and dirt cheap!
Cons - Require regular work, tonnes of patience and it will take several outings (e.g. At shows and the like) before they learn to be calm in busy places as they tend to think they are back at the track.
Of course each horse varies greatly and each owner will have a different experience but theres my $0.02. The fact that you are seeking the help and advice of a professional will be of great benefit to both you and your trusty steed, good luck!