Depending on if your TB raced and for how long: assume they have ulcers.
There was a recent study done that suggest that up to 90% or more of racing TBs had ulcers.
We feed our OTTB one lb of alfalfa cubes (torn up, as he tends to choke) daily as alfalfa supposedly neutralizes stomach acids and helps with ulcers.
Digestive problems/colic in OTTBs is also supposedly increased vs. other horses..... supposedly due to their temperment and the stresses of the racehorse lifestyle (i.e. high protein diets, limited or no grazing time/turnout)
So, soundness issues and digestive issue would be the most common OTTB problems.....
with temperment being third.
When we got our OTTB, only off the track for three months, he was a fireball.
He'd never seen an apple, flipped out when turn out to graze (whirling and bucking and kicking out as soon as the halter was off... which resulted in me getting kicked and flying across the pasture...and subsequent visit to the ER), bit and kicked at the carrot stick when introduced to Parelli's porcupine game, bit people continously, reared and bucked when he was asked to do something he didn't like, etc. Basically, he had NO MANNERS whatsoever. Race horses aren't taught manners on the track, manners aren't necessary.....only things that are are speed and soundness.
Adjusting to being a family horse was a difficult process, but OTTBs are quick learners.
My advice: lay down the law from day one. Show him/her what behaviours are and are not acceptable with a stern, but calm and kind approach. Our OTTB cannot be approached with aggression, he'll come right back at you with it. Instead, we are firm with him....but never aggressive, loud or violent.
We've had him one year now, and the change in him is remarkable. He only needed to know the rules of his new life, and he adjusted remarkably fast. OTTBs are smart, most are willing to please....they just have to be shown the rules of this new game.
I will end by saying this: I NEVER wanted an OTTB or even a non racing TB. I was not prepared to devote the time and energy it takes to own a horse with these issues, both medical and personality wise. But looking back on it now, a year later....after being kicked across a pasture, the endless Parelli games sessions, the few but violent TB meltdowns....
Beau is the most amazing and wonderful horse in the world. I love him like I love my own children. He is my best friend, my comfort, and my joy....I cannot imagine my life without him, and I thank God I had the courage to buy him that day....despite all the bad things I'd heard about TBs in general and off trackers in particular. He will stand and cuddle with you for half an hour, he's friendly and obedient on the ground, he's smart as the devil, and funny, with quirks in his personality that makes us laugh.... as for riding, he's great indoors, but outside, his natural desire to run resurfaces. He is a very forward moving horse...outside. Not something for a beginner or intermediate rider for sure. On the plus side, OTTBs are generally not very spooky about things other horses are. Like crowds, flags, waving things...and weird hats. lol
He is my sweet, darling angel....thank you God, for sending him to me.
Sorry for the drama, folks......
Last edited by Beauseant; 05-07-2011 at 11:49 AM.