My horse is HOW OLD?? (Long Story) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-05-2012, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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My horse is HOW OLD?? (Long Story)

So...

Today, I had a new guy out to float my horse's teeth. He is an older man, 35+ years of experience in the horse world, used to race horses and has worked at the track for most of his life. I trust his judgement and his opinion, but I still need to make myself believe what happened today.

Right off the bat, he open's up Riley's mouth and says "Oh! A young fella!" I didn't think much of it, I said "Yeah, he's 12." and he continued to say how well his teeth looked for his age. A few minutes later, we started talking about his days at the track and all the horses he has worked with. This guy was really smart, he's seen at lot of things and has a bunch of cool stories.

Anyway, I started telling him about how I tried to make sense of Riley's lip tattoo earlier in the summer, but I couldn't get a good look at it with him tossing his head around. His racing career wasn't that important to me, so I just gave up on it. Immediately, he lifts Riley's lip up and starts reading the tattoo off to me. He said it was pretty legible, then I looked at it and sure enough, I saw the exact same numbers. He said he hasn't looked up a tattoo in years, so he couldn't tell me a lot about it right then and there.

So I come home, get online and go to the Jockey Club website, look up the tattoo, and my jaw hit the table. The letter in Riley's tattoo is a J. Clear as a bell. I thought it was a D this summer, which would make him a 2000 foal. When we were looking at it today, it's obviously a J. Straight line on the right, loop to the left. The tattoo isn't muddy looking or anything, it's solid.

So my 12 year old horse is really 6? For as much as I know, he could be.

Let me tell you how much I know about his history. I got him from an eventing barn last summer. I was told that his previous owner had skipped town and left him for the BO to deal with. She didn't know much about him either, just what the previous owner had told her. She said he was purchased in Kentucky from a race track and that she retrained him to do 3 day evening and had been riding him in shows for 5 years. The BO said she never looked up his tattoo, she didn't have his papers, and she had no sale papers or anything. She wasn't even sure if it was a legal sale.

After the previous owner abandoned him, the BO let one of her advanced students work with him and show him. Eventually he became a lesson horse, but the BO wanted to find a new owner for him because he was such a sweet horse, he deserved a new loving home. That's where I came in. I had no reason to question what she told me about him, I just went with it.

So. Was I lied to on purpose? Is a 12 year old horse easier to sell than a 6 year old? Was the BO lied to by the previous owner? Did the previous owner like the idea of getting an OTTB, but perhaps she got more horse than she wanted? What really happened here?

No clue.

It makes a lot of sense to me, though. He could totally be 6 years old. He has a lot of the same characteristics of a younger OTTB. I read a lot about retraining them because it has helped me overcome some obstacles with him in the past. He still has a lot of those little racing quirks. I thought he was just stuck in his ways. Maybe he was never properly transitioned in the first place.

So has this ever happened to anyone else? Is it typical for OTTBs? I've heard of people saying horses are younger than they are, but older? I have never experienced this kind of thing. I'm kind of shocked to be honest. I mean, I'm glad he is young, he has a lot of life ahead of him. I'm also feeling more comfortable about starting up dressage lessons with him now. I just wish I could talk to the previous owner and find out the whole truth. Maybe I don't want to know!


"A rider who would trade partnership for obedience
will have to settle for neither."
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post #2 of 17 Old 12-05-2012, 07:57 PM
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That's absurd haha. Must've been quite a shock to you! The one thing I'd worry about is how extensively he's been jumped if he's only young. If he's 6 now, then how heavily was he evented as practically a baby? Hopefully it hasn't caused him any issues.

But at least you know you've got plenty of years left with him :)
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post #3 of 17 Old 12-05-2012, 07:59 PM
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It is absolutely possible the BO was lied to if she didnt bother to look his info up before listing him or the owner liked to make up lies and such. That or she was riding an entirely too young horse without a care. A 1 yr old tb is not hard to spot.
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post #4 of 17 Old 12-05-2012, 08:02 PM
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Did you ever see the movie "Black Beauty?" You know the story, horse born in a lovely pasture raised by a loving man, sold due to desperate times to a person the original loving owner thinks will be good to him. Anyway, sold again and again and again. This is the true story of many horses in the world. Most come into the world because someone wanted them for one reason or another. Life changes for that person and off they go. Some do well and live most of their life happy and healthy others suffer greatly.

My point, just in case you didn't think I had one. You will likely never know everything that happened to your horse before you got him. It sounds like you got him because you really love him as an individual. My guess if he truly IS 6 is that his PRE life wasn't as exciting as his original owner would have you believe. Either way, sounds like he is a great horse so enjoy him. It is fun knowing and wondering about our critters pasts though, isn't it? Our minds can really come up with some fantastic possibilities.
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-05-2012, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Misty'sGirl View Post
If he's 6 now, then how heavily was he evented as practically a baby? Hopefully it hasn't caused him any issues.
I don't even know if her story is true. Maybe she only owned him for a year, maybe 2, maybe 6 months! I do know that at some point in his life, he developed epiphisitis in his front legs and he now has some small scar tissue bumps on his knees. It checked out fine with my vet, so I don't worry too much about it. I'm sure it's an indication of being worked way too hard as a baby though.


"A rider who would trade partnership for obedience
will have to settle for neither."
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post #6 of 17 Old 12-05-2012, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inga View Post
Did you ever see the movie "Black Beauty?" You know the story, horse born in a lovely pasture raised by a loving man, sold due to desperate times to a person the original loving owner thinks will be good to him. Anyway, sold again and again and again. This is the true story of many horses in the world. Most come into the world because someone wanted them for one reason or another. Life changes for that person and off they go. Some do well and live most of their life happy and healthy others suffer greatly.

My point, just in case you didn't think I had one. You will likely never know everything that happened to your horse before you got him. It sounds like you got him because you really love him as an individual. My guess if he truly IS 6 is that his PRE life wasn't as exciting as his original owner would have you believe. Either way, sounds like he is a great horse so enjoy him. It is fun knowing and wondering about our critters pasts though, isn't it? Our minds can really come up with some fantastic possibilities.
I know the story well! It's my favorite book and movie. I cry every time. I hate to think about anything awful happening to my baby. I was having a rough time watching him get his teeth floated! But it was for the best, so I toughed it out! :-p
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Last edited by QuietHeartHorses; 12-05-2012 at 10:45 PM.
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post #7 of 17 Old 12-06-2012, 02:22 AM
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post a picture of his teeth from the side.
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-06-2012, 02:33 AM
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It's unlikely she evented him as a baby because he was on the track. It's more likely she added the 5 years of show history to him to make him more desirable to a buyer.
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post #9 of 17 Old 12-06-2012, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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If he truly is 6, there is no way she had him for 5 years. I have owned him for 14 months, he was boarded at the barn where I got him for almost a year, so there is 2 of his 6 years. That means his previous owner got him when he was 4. Straight off the track? Maybe. But there is absolutely no way she had him for 5 years. He would have been an egg in a broodmare's uterus at that time.

Another little tidbit of info... The BO at the barn he came from is an OTTB "specialist". She adopts and retrains OTTBs all the time. She makes trips to the racehorse rehabilitation centers all around here, plus she goes to the sales at the barns in Lexington... I'm not pointing any fingers, but still. It's just interesting.

I'll just have to have my vet out to examine him. See what he thinks. I mean, the tattoo makes things pretty obvious, the description of the horse I found on the Jockey Club site is spot on (even down to the white spots on his cannon and his cowlick), but I'd still like to hear what he has to say.


"A rider who would trade partnership for obedience
will have to settle for neither."
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-06-2012, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Also! Riley isn't the easiest of keepers... he eats like no other, he has issues with his right front hoof, he has the epiphisitis scars on his knees...

Perhaps someone just wanted to dump him and it was easier to call him 12 instead of 6?
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"A rider who would trade partnership for obedience
will have to settle for neither."
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