I am having quite the interesting time owning my first OTTB, I must say. I have owned a lot of horses, but since I was doing ranch work with them, most were stock horses. I've had a handful of Arabians, too, but no Thoroughbreds. He is wonderful for the most part in the ring and over fences, but I think I would have killed him by now if I needed to do ranch work with him or cover a lot of miles out in the open. He gets very hot out of the arena and spooks and bolts at everything. He's probably the worst trail horse I have EVER ridden. It's lucky for him that I'm planning on mostly doing dressage. I can completely see why the trail rider I got him from didn't want him. The poor guy just gets so nervous once he's a certain distance from the barn and he just loses his little mind.
The other TBs I have ridden, either that belonged to friends or the university program, were also all pretty hot. They certainly do not ride at all like stock horses. I'm not saying that I would never have another one. The TBs I've ridden try their hearts out at whatever you want them to do. My TB is much better at both dressage and jumping than my old QH mare was, and my trainer and I both agree that the spookiness in the open will probably mostly train out, it just won't happen overnight.
I like TBs a lot for the English disciplines, but I think unless I came across one that was really special, if I were going to ride western again, I'd go back to stock horses.I think understanding what the strengths of these horses are is important. I know some people use them as western horses, and some of them aren't hot and reactive, but on the whole you are much more likely to get a hot and reactive TB than a stock horse, and a hot horse is just an enormous pain for all around ranch work and trail riding.
Tug on anything at all and you'll find it connected to everything else in the universe.~John Muir