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Looking into buying an OTTB... am I crazy?

This is a discussion on Looking into buying an OTTB... am I crazy? within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

     
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        09-17-2010, 07:27 AM
      #11
    Green Broke
    There are some good OTTBs but I wouldn't get one yourself.

    It is not just training a horse, its trying to un-train them, but the training goes so deep. Also, OTTB sometimes get into this head space where they "flip out" under stress and go into race mode. Its very difficult to train out because it only happens in stressful situations, so he may be fine at home, or on trails, but you go eventing and he loses it.

    Additionally, they are pretty "sensitive". Some feeds don't go well with them, it can be hard to put the weight on some of them, and they often need to be rugged a lot.

    A lot of OTTBs have soundness problems, and they don't always show up until later. Their limbs have been put under a lot of stress. They also haven't been bred to be saddle horses, they are bred to run with a small amount of weight. They aren't made to put up with jumping, collection and carrying weight.

    Finally, they don't sell for that much. In some places I guess they do, but a horse of another breed with equal training and potential will usually be worth a lot more.

    If you are going to be putting the time and money into training its best to put it into the best sort of horse you can.

    I know I am making generalisations but I don't think OTTBs are that suitable a riding horse. There are some lovely ones out there, I've seen them, but for each nice one there are 10 terrible ones, and you can never pick it until you've had the horse for a while, and tried to train it. To me, often their temperaments just aren't good enough.

    From what I hear, over in the US you can pick up unbroken horses pretty cheap these days. I think you'd be better of with an unbroken Anglo, WB or something that an OTTB.

    I liked Red Rok Spirit is the best there. I wouldn't really consider the others.

    You can pick OTTBs up real cheap, often free. Look around and find one you really like if you want to get one.
         
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        09-17-2010, 10:08 AM
      #12
    Weanling
    I would say go for it if you are mentally prepared for it. Personally, I love OTTBs. Where I come from, most of us get $1,000 horses off the track and take them to pony club. The horses always turn out fine in the end. My cousin got a very race-minded OTTB straight from the track when she was barely experienced herself and now they're doing Novice dressage, jumping 1.20m+ and winning overall championships at gymkhanas. Almost every horse I've know that's come off the track has been handled by children/teenagers and have all turned into successful competition horses. The two exceptions were "trained" by a boy who I wouldn't let on my bomproof schoolmaster.
    If you know what you are in for, then I definitely say go for it. My big hints are remain calm if they get worked up. Lots of repetitive work. I also found it easier to treat them just as a normal horse. No "Oh my god, I have to ride in an arena with other horses! He's going to bolt!" instead think "I can control him, He will go calm. He's not special. He can behave just like the rest of them". That kinda thing.

    If it was me buying any of those horses, I'd go for Mr Painter. He looks like he could use proper muscling and fattening but he's a nice horse. I dunno, there's just something about him that I really like. Banker's Reserve is alright too. There's no way I'd buy Red Rok Spirit. I don't like her hind end. I can't really explain it this time of night. Something to do with pelvis tipping. Poison Ivy is decent too.
         
        09-17-2010, 10:35 AM
      #13
    Green Broke
    I am a huge fan of OTTB's and have trained many to be great eventing horses. They are also great for dressage, straight showjumping, trail riding and probably many other diciplines also.

    They require a lot of work and patience. Also be prepared to spend some $$$ on them in the beginning to get them going on the right path, all of mine recieved dentist attention immediately and chiropractic work further along the line. They usually have quite specific feeding needs which can take some time to figure out as each one is different from the next.

    Re-training can take a while, anywhere from a few months to a few years depending on what you want to do with them, their aptitude for it and your effectiveness with your training methods.

    I actually started a thread exactly for this type of question, have a look at it if you like:
    Tips for training OTTB's - add yours!

    Personally, OTTB's are without a doubt my favourite type of horse to own - athletic, smart, willing and good natured but.... I have chosen well and I am very accustomed to racehorses having worked trackwork and done pre-training. If you are not familiar with OTTB's, get someone that is to go with you and look at the ones you are interested in buying as many come with a host of soundness complications/behavioural issues so you need to sort through those and look for the best candidates.

    Good luck!
         

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