Experiences with OTTB?
Anyone who has worked with a fresh OTTB, how well did it go?
What did you teach them? Any troubles?
I'm still doing ground work with Charity, the OTTB I've mentioned before. I've rode her on the lunge a few times, but it was only a walk and simple back up and turn arounds. I'd like to do more with her of course, so I'm looking into what other people have done with their OTTBs. I'm planning on teaching her dressage and some jumping later on.
my ottb LOVES jumping. and shes quite talented at it
it takes a lot of time and patience, but they turn out to be awesome horses
I've ridden several ottbs as well as otsbs. As long as they don't have major health or mental health problems... they make EXCELLENT mounts. I prefer many of the ex-racers I've ridden to the warmbloods. They tend to have more life and spirit in them, and don't do the slow-motion movie type of horse movement. :P
You can ride them in practically anything. The ones I've ridden/worked with were dressage, jumping, and endurance racing. No western, but I hear that they do great in that as well.
It takes a ton of groundwork, as well as time spent with your horse. Most of them are used to VERY light saddles, and VERY light people. So if you weigh more than 100 lbs, and you have a slightly heavier saddle than the one pound things they use for racing... you might want to put weights on the horse to adjust him to your weight, without actually being on him. Do plenty of lungeing, and work on bombproofing. They DO tend to be great horses though!
Most actually aren't that used to light people--although the saddles are usually light, most of the exercise riders are heavier then the jockeys. And race weight for a jockey is 115. :D
I've ridden FRESH OTTB (picked them up at the beginning of the week, rode them at the end of it), and though most of them were sweethearts, the problem they all seemed to have was this: cantering! lol When you ask her to canter for the first couple of times, make sure its in a small area. If they've been trained to race, canter usually means run... and run for a while!
Really reinforce your stop, back up, and mounting (most racehorses don't have jockeys mount on the side... people throw them up onto the saddle). Do a lot of work in the trot, and get them used to bending, but don't try to cram them into a frame too early (most OTTBs evade the bit and travel behind the vertical because of this). And then take the canter slow, only asking for a canter as long as the horse can keep it controlled. :D
I was a jockey/exercise rider gave up the industry but still have a lot of connections so most my horses are OT, I feel they make great horses but need the right start.
As soon as I get a horse off the track we go right back to square 1, ground work and lunging/long reining. We work on our flat work, till we have a nice relaxed walk, trot & canter. Do a lot of hacking that keeps them calm & also you can school on your rides.
When I start jumping I keep it slow & steady more so if it's a hurdler they have been taught to stand off a fence & jump flat, where as a normal jumper should get in on the fence & bascule.
But my best advise is start from the ground & work your way up slow & steady. Often they have lots of funny little issues from being a race horse so teach them how to be a horse again :D
They turn out great if they are given the time, patience and discipline. They require rules, and obedience, but in a patient manner. They have to learn what is okay and not okay behavior, and they need to "have to behave" for that is the one thing they are never taught. Lots of roundpen, ground work and respect!! They can make great horses at any discipline, they just need someone to "re-educate" them.
If you go to my website link and go to rehab photos you'll see a great guy off the track! He took lots of patients and discipline, but he turned out awesome!!
We just got an ottb a few weeks ago. He is 6 y/o now and has been retired for a little over a year due to a knee injury. The guy we got him from said that Fire Ant is sooo high strung, and wouldn't be good for kids. He is very tall, around 16.2 hands, but he hasn't shown much of a "high strung" personality since I've had him. I even went out yesterday and saddled him up and he did great except he didn't want to trot or run. He wanted to walk the WHOLE time, which was fine by me! lol
That is one thing that should be assessed when getting a horse OT is their feed intake & the energy levels of the feeds being put in them. Also an unfit horse is sometimes calmer. I know for a fact that my horse is currently going thru the calm before the storm once he gets fitter he will be a bit more peppy.
The lady I got my ottb from told me he was high-strung and an "a-hole" on the ground. Sure, he needed to be gently reminded that I am in charge, and other than a biting habit (which we're working on, and he doesn't actually make contact with teeth), but the real Scout is calm (for a TB), sweet, and friendly.
I've been working on ground handling (he had absolutely NO understanding of space and the usual manners), lunging, and long reining. The long reining (behind him - far from the hind feet, in case he gets any ideas) is actually perhaps the most useful thing I have tried with him (other than ground games), as it gets him used to the bit being used for steering and stopping. Before I got on him (which I did bareback - perhaps not the most intelligent thing to do), I made sure he would stand still while I walked around him, stood behind his shoulder, etc. Since most ottbs don't stand for mounting, this was very important to me. I then got a stool and stood next to him, stroking his sides, then began laying across his back, and we're about to progress to a saddle. It is a slow process, but very very rewarding. I just pretended he had never been ridden before, and went from there! 8)
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