Join Date: May 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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.