Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Corpus Christi, TX
• Horses: 0
Oh dear, the misinformation!
As with any breed, you can NOT lump all OTTB's into one category. It all depends on the individual horse. 2 of my 4 OTTB's I got straight off the track wouldn't run away with you if you tried to make them! Neither of them ever did a thing wrong and after some downtime and minimal re riding, one went to a 6 year old boy and the other went to an adult beginner and were perfect for them.
Time to dispel some myths....
There is no such thing as a "cold blooded" TB. I don't know where you've heard that.
Their feet are not trimmed "very short", they are kept up with. A TB generally gets new shoes every 4 weeks. You do have to pay attention because often track shoeing means the horse is given low heels and long toes. This can almost always be corrected with proper shoeing (nothing fancy or therapeautic, just a few cycles of good work). Their feet are not bruised, but they are also used to being on cushy, well manicured surfaces and rock/dirt free. TB's feet are usually cleaned at least twice a day. They can have thin soles and be prone to bruises but many TB's do just fine barefoot once they have adjusted.
Racehorses get EXCELLENT nutrition. They are pumped full of vitamins. However many of them will "crash" once they come off the track because they are no longer recieving the amount and quality of feed and care they are used to, as well as sometimes medications. For a couple months, they might just be hard to keep weight on, they are going to loose a lot of muscle and just might not look all that great. They will get over this once their body adjusts.
TB's can make GREAT pleasure and trail mounts. Time spent on the track and number of races has so many variables, I would never count a horse out because it's had too many starts or not enough. Some horses who have run forever are totally mellow because they have been there, done that. Some are very used to the way things are and harder to retrain. People seem to like horses that haven't run much because they think they will be sounder, but unless the horse didn't run because it was just slow, it might not have been sound enough to hold up to racing.
Track trainers are very unlikely to drug up a horse to make it calm to get rid of it.
If you are moving to Kentucky, I would wait to get a horse because you are going to spend a fortune to move it from Colorado, and there are BAJILLIONS of amazing OTTBs right there in Kentucky. You will have many more options to choose from.
Also keep in mind that often pictures off CANTER do NOT do the horse a bit of justice. They do great work, but the horses are rarely set up well and camera angles can be deceiving. It's worth it to go look at the horse in person before passing any judgement on them. They are often muscled very differently than what you expect to see in a show horse.
Also keep in mind that any horse straight off the track is going to do best having some downtime for a few months. They need to unwind, clear their system and their brains, and relearn what it means to just be a horse again. No riding, no serious work, just a little vacation.