I have a question about off the track TBs - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 08-21-2010, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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I have a question about off the track TBs

I got a call from grandmother telling me a friend of her's called and told her about a 3 year old filly off the track that doesn't have the gusto to race. Apparently she quits and doesn't want to run. She's solid black with a white blaze and three white socks. Apparently she has great blood lines. My question is, is training a three year old from the track different from training a 3 year old not from the track? I don't know if we will be going to look at her or not but I want to know what I would be getting myself into before going to look at a horse and fall in love. haha. My grandmother is a trainer and is amazing but she's getting old so a lot of the training will be by me under her watchful eye. :} Thank you guys.
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post #2 of 18 Old 08-21-2010, 08:31 PM
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off the track tbs have one thing in mind and thats to run, run run. but they have different training. they taught to push down into the bit and bridle. you will have to teach her to be soft and give. i would start her all over again. act like she has never been handled with. start over. off the track horses sometimes have different attitudes. but she may be super calm.

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post #3 of 18 Old 08-21-2010, 08:45 PM
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Racehorses are taught to run & run faster, however they are also trained well to rate, turn & as slow down. They don't jsut let them out of the gate & make 'em go as fast as they can. They start off slow, reserving energy, & then in the final turn/ homestretch they're let out gradually depending on how they run best (closer,stalker,or front runner).
Not necessarily alot of time will have been put into making her good at saddling, etc.. though, but every horse is different. She'll be used to having a rider on her back & obeying rein commands so that's a very good start for whoever takes her on!

"If a horse fails to do something that is because he was not trained to do it. If a horse fails to do something properly that is because he was not trained properly."
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post #4 of 18 Old 08-24-2010, 01:04 PM
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I have a horse off the track. When we got him he definately wanted to run, however we took him back to basics, walking, trotting, poles ect. After 6 months he was amazing. My daughter took him hunter for a season then to jumper. She rode him with a copper roller no crazy gear. He was a top contender. So we peronally found our track horse a good experience. However I cant stress this enough. Have the legs exrayed or floriscoped preferably. Ours is now a pasture pet due do blown suspenseries. Did he come with a problem who no's but i would have had i had them done. Good luck
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post #5 of 18 Old 08-24-2010, 01:17 PM
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I agree, just pretend she knows nothing and start her from the ground up. Track training often skips over things most of us feel are important, like how to tie, stand still for grooming/saddling, leading without a stud chain, etc. Most of these issues are easy to overcome, but you will need to address them.

Riding shouldn't be too bad if she was with a good trainer. I would just start slow and work on calm & soft responses from her.
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post #6 of 18 Old 08-24-2010, 01:22 PM
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Often, re-training the "quitters" so to speak is much easier then re-training the average retired racehorse. We had an OTTB with us for awhile who had zero desire to run and she was the most docile thing around. Right off the track you could jump on and walk and jog her around, and just never displayed any desire to run. Naturally it took a lot of re-training as racehorses aren't really taught much at all by way of leg or bit commands, but she was just ignorant to the commands like a fresh 2 year old as opposed to champing at the bit and having to be "de-bugged" from racing.

That's not always the case, but in my experience the ones who have no desire to run tend to be easier to reprogram as they're just grateful for the chance to be allowed to walk. However, as stated above, you DO have to be prepared for the fact that every racehorse is initially trained with a completely different set of commands and schedules then your average riding horse so it IS a matter of "unteaching" a lot of those habits before being able to instill the new ones.

I was doing the "agent" thing for my friends cousin (a teenager) who was in the market for a new horse and she wanted an OTTB. We went to see one that was advertised with 30 days of re-training and ready to go. I rode first and right from the get go it was apparent to me this horse was not for beginners. I had to constantly half halt and push him into the bridle as he very blatantly wanted to GO. I was foolish and stupidly let the girl get on, not realizing how much of a novice she was and she promptly got piled into an arena wall when she tightened up on the reins and he bolted with her. I wanted to blast the woman for advertising him as suitable for novices, but I should have known better from riding him, it was obvious he wasn't anywhere near where he should be and was going to be a "tougher" cookie to crack as he preferred the speed to the arena walls.

Just be prepared as it takes a lot more then average rider skill to deprogram a racehorse in many cases!

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

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post #7 of 18 Old 08-24-2010, 03:07 PM
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Just as many have said start from the ground and work your way up. I have worked with horses on the track galloping and grooming and retrained many OTTB's. The very important thing to remember is that these horses get away with A LOT on the track many times forming many bad habits on the ground so will need to work those out before ever getting on. Also TB's are not taught to bend or turn very much. They know one thing and one thing only to RUN. Even while trotting them on the track it was a workout to keep them at that pace and to not go farther. They also are trained to lean on the bit and have very heavy mouths. Many of them take a hold of it and go. So you will want to work this out on the ground by long-lining before ever getting on. Get her soft and supple bending one direction then the other and learning that go does not mean holding and leaning on that bit. Then once on her do lots and lots of walk trot transitions, walk halt transitions, bending and flexing, trotting poles, serpentines and circles, and leg yields.
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post #8 of 18 Old 08-24-2010, 04:35 PM
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One big big point about OTTBs is that they are often given all sorts of drugs and hormones to make them easier to race - Steroids, horse birth control, supplements, all sorts of strange stuff. I've seen it take a year of regular diet and exercise for them to flush their system and start behaving like themselves. It is a long term project and not a quick fit for an easy horse. Also watch out for injuries that may not seem apparent because the horse has been on painkillers or other medications.

Others have mentioned the training isses and take issues but I would also encourage you to find out whether the horse was run in blinkers. A horse who is used to blinkers can be jumpy and spooky without them for a while. Definately not for the faint of heart!

They can be amazing horses with great personalities but just bear in mind that they come with a good share of baggage which is why they don't usually cost a whole lot. On the other hand, with a little TLC all the ones we have seen become very affectionate and really appreciate the special attention they get.
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post #9 of 18 Old 08-24-2010, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone! Your input has been really helpful and if we do decide to go take a look at her, I will post pictures.
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post #10 of 18 Old 08-24-2010, 10:12 PM
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I just wanted to say that not ALL OTTB's have the mind to "run,run,run". That's a stereotype that is totally untrue of some TB's. You have to treat them all as individuals and evaluate them on an individual basis regardless of the breed stigmas.

I agree. treat her like the baby that she is.

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