Adopted Racehorse - so excited!

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Adopted Racehorse - so excited!

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  • Letting down ottb
  • Re-training an adopted pmu mare

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    07-01-2011, 07:40 PM
Adopted Racehorse - so excited!

Hi everyone,

I am new to this forum and it looks like there is a lot of useful information. I just acquired Leo who just retired from racing (his last race was 3 weeks ago). I would love to get your thoughts on a schedule to get him trained. I plan on using him for dressage and I know it is right to take things slow but if there is someone who has done this before, I'd love to hear from you.

He has a wonderful disposition and is great to work with on the ground. I put my bridle on him today for the first time and he was very "chewy". I took it off after he behaved and gave him sugars--bridle does not mean race time:).

I also walked him around the indoor arena by hand for the first time. He was a bit spooky at first but calmed down quickly.

Also, how do you post pictures of your horse with your name on here?

Thanks for your advice in advance!
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    07-01-2011, 08:38 PM
I love OTTB's, good luck with your guy! I can't recommend a schedule, you have to move along when your horse is ready, which I can't tell you over the internet. I think you have the right mindset, keep things slow and be very patient. Figure out how fast the horse learns before proceeding. I rode one OTTB who needed constant rides and only remembered things after about one month, lol. My current horse picks up things so fast it's scary. Each horse is different, so try your best to accommodate your guy. When I worked with the OTTB we worked on lots and lots of circles, and only expanded once she was calm. After 6 months of working with her (some work done before too) I calmly cantered her around a QH racetrack. I wish you the best of luck with your guy, and I can't help much with the pictures, it still confuses me =P
    07-01-2011, 08:55 PM

How long was it before you got on your horse? I just took ownership of him yesterday. I thought I might want to get him used to the tack and lunge him (without tack and then with) for a while before I hop on.
    07-01-2011, 09:01 PM
I strongly recommend the book "Beyond the Track" - it's written by some gals that run New Vocations, a racehorse rescue. It's absolutely full of essential information for a new OTTB owner.
In all honesty, I would recommend a 3-6 month "letdown" period before you try to retrain him; he needs to get all the drugs and "high" feed out of his system, then you will likely want to start him from the bottom up.
Good luck :) I'd love to see pics!
    07-01-2011, 09:18 PM
Lol, I never owned an OTTB. My 5yr old mare had to be put down on Christmas, so I took over training an OTTB for half a year. I now own a morgan mare. I thought about buying the OTTB, but then the morgan stole my heart, lol.
The OTTB I worked with had been off the track for a while, and was out because of an injury. I reconditioned her and helped train her to be more "ridable".... she loved to trot, and do little else. She got sold to a beginner rider after 6 months, so I guess it worked, lol. Other than that i've never ridden OTTB's or TB's much, but I do like them. The OTTB taught me a lot about horses though, and I would suggest any advanced rider to take a spin on one, especially if the OTTB likes you. They can be very loyal and loving of they like you, and will do anything for you.
    07-01-2011, 09:30 PM
I just bought the book on amazon. It looks great. Thanks for your advice! BTW--here is a picture of Mr. Leo:)
    07-01-2011, 09:51 PM
Aww, he's cute!
    07-02-2011, 12:14 AM
I got my first ottb when I was 13 and I have loved every minute of our 11 years together. Congrats on the new horse!! What I would say is that I would definitely give him a couple months to settle and get used to not being on the track and process all the drugs and hot feed out first. The great thing about that let down period is it gives you plenty of time to bond with your boy. Most thoroughbreds I know are a bit high strung and do best when they have someone they trust implicitely on their backs. So that being said I think you have the right idea. Go out and play with him. Groom him graze him play with tack and love on him and just spend time watching him. You will learn so much about your horse and his personality and ultimatly how to progress with your training just by spending time with him. That and enjoy yourself!!
    07-02-2011, 01:34 AM
I would like to suggest that you turn your new horses out to pasture for a few months and let them relax and be horses before you start the retraining process.
    07-02-2011, 01:57 PM
I'd personally keep him in work rather than giving him a break. Letting him be a lawn ornament can stress him out since he's already been taken out of his regular routine.

Lunging him with tack on is a great start, allow him to adjust to the weight of a heavier saddle. You're first few undersaddle sessions should involve just walking, lots of transitions, and allowing him to understand some new leg & rein cues. Really concentrate on maintaining rhythm, at all gaits. Don't worry about circles and serpetines and all that jazz at the trot for now, he's going to have a hard enough time establishing his rhythm and balance going in a straight line . Once you feel he can carry himself independently at the trot, you can then introduce poles, circles, serpetines, some basic lateral work, etc.

To sum it up - transitions, rhythm, straightness, balance
Cantering is a whole other ball game, so that should not be introduced until he fully understands what you want at the walk & trot, can carry himself correctly and he's not leaning, pulling, hauling, bolting, whatever. The canter is not really a "gait" to a fresh ottb, they walk, trot, and gallop. He'll most likely haul you around like a freight train and try to gallop, not because he wants to run necessarily, but because he'll be completely off balance at the canter, and if he runs, he'll be more comfortable. So once you eventually introduce the canter (could take weeks, months, depends how his progress goes) keep it short, sweet, and STRAIGHT. Pick up a few strides down the long wall, and back to trot, few strides down the long wall, and back to trot. You can gradually increase the amount of canter strides as he becomes more balanced. Once you can canter rhythmically tracking left, then you can introduce the right lead using the same process.

Good luck!
Also, reward, reward, reward like crazy

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