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Anyone have experience retraining ottb?

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    02-27-2008, 11:40 PM
  #11
Showing
First off congrats on the 2 new horses, second my full respects to you and your friend for saving 2 horses and putting them in better care.

A few years ago (6-7 ago) I owned 2 ottbs. Would you have the chance to have access to a trainer if you get yourself in trouble?

So far all the advice given was great, some experienced people for sure. Keep in mind that once a tb has been on the track, no matter how long ago when fear ever comes in whether its something new, or something unusual their first instinct is to run.
It's just something they do, early training on the track and the main reason as to why they were bred in the first place reflects that.

Always remember to be patient.
     
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    03-12-2008, 07:10 PM
  #12
Foal
I actually rode William for the first time yesterday and then again today!!!!! He was so good! He stood for me to mount, and didn't take off! We had a couple communication issues, but overall he did great. Contact is an issue we will be focusing on, he likes to toss his head when I ask for contact, but when he does give even a little I praise him like crazy. He does a beautiful leg yield to the right, but is a little too stiff to yield to the left, or is ignoring my right leg?! He really doesn't like being on the right rein, he drops his right shoulder and falls in. I am just so pleased he didn't try to kill me, though!!!! He is really easy going, but I could already tell that from the ground. We even had a lawnmower going nearby today that kept hitting rocks and making horrible noises and he practically ignored that! We also have a water issue (or should I say "swamp" issue) in one part of the arena right now and he even was good about walking through it, not that he liked it! Again, I think he has had training post track days, but the "stiff to the right" stuff is indicative of racing. I still have my work cut out for me, but I have jumped the first big hurdle.......getting in the saddle, and it went very well! Thanks to all of you who have given great advice! I'll probably have more questions to post as we continue our work! Oh, and to answer your question, my2geldings, yes I do have a friend that is a good trainer with tons of experience with ottb and I've been in contact with her a couple times through this. I even called her yesterday because I was so excited about our first ride. She's going to come out later this spring or early summer to see how we're doing and give me some pointers.
     
    10-16-2008, 12:19 AM
  #13
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzyrider    
ottbs arent really completely broken in. They are taught to go really fast in a big circle and eventually stop when they are ready lol

In the past I've approached retraining an ottb like I were dealing with a young, green horse and spend a lot of time on groundwork. Lunging is an important place to teach him what he needs to know under saddle. Plus the added advantage of lunging time is you can smooth out imperfections from the relative safety of the ground rather than in the saddle.

An old ottb I had years ago struggled with the concept of flexing around corners etc and was constantly dropping his shoulder and running through the bends. Was very annoying :) so I started leading him around in the arena doing the same patterns I would if I were riding and whenever we came to a bend I would tap him on the shoulder with the crop to teach him to bend around it. He was pretty responsive on the ground the moving away from pressure etc but he didnt get it under saddle at first :) it took me some time but eventually he got the idea and figured out what I was asking him to do. The transition to doing it in the saddle was really good and although we still had a ways to go he had improved heaps. Once we got this he also started to figure out things like slowing down and listening more to me. Each thing he learns make him that little bit more mature :)

Spend a lot of time just being friends with him too. Thoroughbreds are very loyal horses and are so eager to please. If you build a great friendship with him by doing things that he likes he will be even more eager to please :) and I believe that to truly be effective when retraining an ottb you need to have a relationship with the horse.

Go slow, learn about him and have fun with him :) play your cards right and you will have a friend for life

I agree Emily.. Well put. Patience is a virtue
     
    10-16-2008, 12:34 AM
  #14
Foal
Well done on getting 2 OTTBs and giving them another chance at life!
My horse is an OTTB- I got him a year ago- he had a bowed tendon, and cuts and scrapes everywhere from being run through a fence. I just first gave him the time he needed to recover (tendon is great now), and then took things slow.
If I'd known what I know now I would have taken things very differently, that's for sure.

For starters, you're not really 'retraining' a TB, you're just training it, as you would a green horse. Yes, you will need to get the 'omg run run run!' thing out of their heads, but apart from that you are virtually dealing with a blank slate.

Most are confused by the concept of leg, simply having 2 legs hanging down by their side, instead of a rider perched up in the saddle can be very frightening, but that ride you had on your boy sounds like he's had a bit of 'regular' riding. (I was lucky, during my boys race training he was regularly taken to the beach for exercise, in a stock saddle, to work at all paces).

Pressure on reins CAN = go faster. I took my boy for a gallop on the beach a couple of weeks ago, and the more I hung on his mouth for balance (as the jockeys do) the faster he went! (I almost crapped myself to be honest! Lol). Best thing for this is side reins! If you don't know how to use them please get someone experienced to show you as they can do more damage than harm in the wrong hands. Use side reins when he's a little more comfortable on the lunge, and this will help him accept rein contact, as well as develop some topline! That way he's not just exercising his legs ;)

Your aids- again, it seems like your first ride went pretty well, but i'll throw this in there anyway. Use vocal aids when you lunge- ie ask for the walk, trot, canter etc with your body AND your voice (and the whip if need be). Say 'whoa' or whatever feels appropriate for you to decrease speed. Most TBs are pretty **** smart and will pick this up quickly, and it won't be long til he's concentrating on you pretty **** hard while you give him lots to think about! (When I lunge I like to keep my intervals between my paces short, ie half a ring of trot, few strides of canter, down to trot then walk, back to canter etc).
Once you can do this on the lunge confidently, incorporate it into your riding. My horse sometimes still needs the vocal 'canter!' aid to pick up canter in the arena at times. Even being vocal helps him jump, with a 'hup!' at his take off point to stop and hesitation!

I'm not sure about the left rein/right rein thing- what direction around the track do your horses race? Over here it's to the left anyway, so left was always Chief's stronger side, and it took him AGES to pick up the right canter rein under saddle. (Even took a long time on the lunge). So flexion will definitely be a hurdle, and you're doing a great job by leg yielding- it's about the simplest, safest and easiest way of working their muscles properly! Just try to spend a little more time on their stiff side than the easier side, to ensure the muscles build up at the same rate.

Just throwing all that in there, but it sounds like you're doing a great job so far, so keep up the good work and keep us posted!
     
    10-25-2008, 10:36 AM
  #15
Foal
training schedule advice

I enjoyed all the info about the ottb's. I just got my ottb a few days ago. He's almost 17 hands so he's a big boy and he has a wonderful temperament. I've ridden him twice. Yesterday he was very good. We did walk trot transitions and even cantered a few circles. No bucking or head throwing. He was great. The only negative was circleing wide on the turns, especially to the right. I was wondering if anyone had any advice on a training schedule. How often to ride, how many days in a row, etc. Curious to know what type of schedule produced the best results. I'm riding english, I'm hoping to jump him when he is ready. Any advice would be appreciated.
     
    10-26-2008, 04:43 PM
  #16
Foal
As often as possible- but only as much as he can handle! Even half an hour a day 5-6 days a week and you'll notice a dramatic improvement quite quickly. TBs are generally fast learners, and are very willing.
With the circles just do more work on his stiff rein, the right rein, to help him to build those muscles up evenly and he'll get better :) Lots of trot circles on the right in 20, then 15m circles etc will do wonders. Give it time though!
     
    10-26-2008, 05:42 PM
  #17
Foal
Thanks chiefie that was helpful. Did you turn your horse out in the pasture with other horses? How did he react? Did it effect your training?
     
    10-27-2008, 02:22 AM
  #18
Foal
When I got him he had already been spelled due to a bowed tendon (that's what ended his racing career).
I think turnout is the best thing you can do for an OTTB if you have the means. Helps clear up stomach ulcers (about 90% of racehorses have them) and settles them down a bit.
Whether it's with horses or not is your own personal choice, but at the very least have him in sight of other horses if you can!
     

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