Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Northwestern, WA
Hi there. How long retraining would take depends on several factors: what discipline she wants to focus on, what level she wants to compete at, and of course, the temperament of the horse involved. Part of what she'll be up against is that a racehorse's power comes primarily from their shoulders, so the horse won't naturally want to engage it's hindquarters and come into the bridle. Also, she'll have to teach the horse about standard stop/go cues as opposed to racetrack cues which are different. I'd reccomend a lot of transitions and flatwork before she even thinks about teaching jumping. I'm not able to give you a definite time frame for how long it will take, but I think it's safe to say it won't be a short process because not only will she have to train, she'll have to untrain the things she doesn't want. If I had to guess, I'd say maybe one to two years to get the horse going well for unrated and schooling shows, and maybe three to four years for the upper division shows, but again, it depends on the horse) Also, the horse should have a lay-up after it gets off the track just to decompress and be a horse (it'll make her job much easier) and that can be from six months to a year if the horse she's thinking of hasn't had a lay up yet.
Now, things to look for in an OTTB. Basically, you'd want everything you'd want in any other horse. You want to know that the horse will be able to do what you want physically (conformation and soundness) and you'd want to know that it could do it mentally (temperament and work ethic). You'd also probably want a horse that did the basic things, like leading and picking up feet, well.
Hope that helps a bit. Sorry I couldn't be more specific, but that's horses, you know?
Peace, Love, and Ponies of all shapes and sizes.