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post #1 of 9 Old 05-30-2009, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2009
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I just got my new horse! I am leasing him for the summer to see if it's going to work out or not. He's a 5 year old OTQH. Problem is: I don't know where to start.

I've trained horses before, but not a racehorse. I haven't even begun working with him yet, so I don't know how he reacts to different things.

I know I want to start with some lunging to get him calmed down and accustomed to my slow-paced life compared to what he used to do. But is training an ex-racehorse the same as training a horse that's never been ridden? I've heard that racehorses can be rather reluctant to give to the bit because they were never trained to. What's the best way to retrain an ex-racehorse? And where do I start?
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-31-2009, 12:41 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Oregon
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The best way? Get a trainer. They can be a lot different. They can come with all sorts of bad vices and issues. Get a few lessons with someone knowledgeable first then move onto working him on your own.
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-31-2009, 05:53 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Queensland, Australia.
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I trained Chinga, who is Off The Track, but he was off the track for quite a while before I got him and had been ridden very lightly before I got him so that made things alot easier. I do suggest if your horse if freshly Off The Track then do get a trainer.

Sir Success. Eventer.
2000 - 2013,
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-31-2009, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2009
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I'll try to look into getting a trainer. I have a riding instructor, but I don't really know anyone with racehorse experience except the person who owns him. The way she trains ("lighting a fire under their tail") isn't something I agree with. I want my horse to work with me, not for me like a servant.

I lunged him today and he did FANTASMIC! He has some issues with pulling, but other than that, he's great! What would you suggest to help the pulling?
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-31-2009, 11:40 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Rochester, New York
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Do you have a round pen available?
Sometimes lounging with a lounge line give the horse mixed signals, because it does pull to one side on there face.
Or is it possible to free lounge him? basically its the same thing as in a round pen, just minus the round pen and the lounge line.

When God Made Horses, He Painted The Good Ones.
"All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day."
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-31-2009, 11:40 PM
Green Broke
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Location: Oregon
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I would start with small circles only at the walk. Just really go back to basics. Then as he does well and responds to the cues to stop, lengthen your line so he has more freedom. Continue at the walk. If he pulls/acts out, bring him back into a small circle.

As he continues to behave, reward with more room then start working on walk-trot transitions.

I had to do this with my boy and he was notorious at pulling away. And as a draft, I never could hold him back. Eventually I gave up on using the lunge line at all and free lunged him and that was the key for us. He does all his transitions and stop and come to the middle of the circle when asked but without the lunge line. Put a line him and he freaks out.

Congrats on the good lesson! Good feeling huh?!!

As far as finding someone with experience start by talking to your tack store. They know EVERYTHING about your local area. Tell them you are looking for someone with TB experience. Then when you get a list, interview them, ask their credentials and choose the best.

But in the meantime you can try what I mentioned above and that will at least get you guys working together. The best thing you two can do is simply be in each other's company doing NOTHING. Just hang out. Let him get to know you. Sit in the pasture and read while he's grazing or spend time brushing him and walking him.

There are other groundwork things you can do. Lunging can really sour a horse. Work on leading, stopping, backing, sidepassing, haunch turns, forehand turns all from the ground. Do short sessions with lots of reward to get some confidence in him.

Sure hope it works out!

Oh and if he's a puller - work with gloves on for awhile. Trust me!
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-01-2009, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2009
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Wow thanks guys!

We are in the process of getting a round pen (crosses fingers) and there really isnt any place to free lunge. We have the BIG pasture and then the paddock with a house in the middle. I might try making a make-shift round pen in the corner of the paddock to do for now. I'll try that small circle, then bigger circle thing too.

One day when I'm out by myself, I'll hang out with him in the paddock. Just to show him that I don't always mean business :)

Do y'all think it's too early to start free jumping him? Or will it be good for him?

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post #8 of 9 Old 06-01-2009, 05:32 PM
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What I do with the OTTBs that come to me - I start from scratch - as if they weren't started at all. I take them for walks with me and lead them around like a puppy dog basically for the first couple of weeks, letting them get to know me, see things everywhere and just see how it is to slow right down. During this time all I do is walk them, groom and mess with them in the pasture.

It sounds kinda silly but it works for me. I've retrained several OTTBs that way and one pony lol.

~CoCo 17hh 4 yo OTTB~
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-01-2009, 06:22 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
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There's really no way of telling how to work with him until you have worked with him and spent time with him. Just build up some trust with him, do TONS of groundwork with him. Teach him the basics as if he was a totally green horse, never ridden, never worked with, and work from scratch on a day by day means. If he doesn't respond well to some thing then that is something you need to work with him on till he responds to it the way you want. DON'T settle for less than you will expect later on for groundwork. I honestly wouldn't start to do much work with any off tracker until I can completely trust them on the ground and have them trust me so they behave nicely through any conditions and that will strengthen your bonds together then once they have that trust in you the process of riding will be a much more pleasant experience for both you and the horse.
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