TB Ex-Racehorse Retraining - Info
I don't currently have a horse so this is just sort of vague info I am after. I was thinking about getting a horse next year, maybe a nice stock horse, or quarter horse cross, or even a WB if I can afford it. As a rule I don't like Thoroughbreds. I've had one, i've leased a few, and generally they are fizzy or untrained, unpredicatable and sometimes dangerous and I have seen many prone to lameness.
Although recently I have been looking around the net at racehorses and problems with the industry, and one is the wastage. I'm a generally compassionate person and I feel that maybe I would be better of morally sort of buying a horse of the track and retraining it, instead of just a young other horse. So my questions...
Has anyone trained OTTB and what were the like?
Given time and patience can you overcome the hot head?
Can you train to be good in open spaces etc?
I'd probably be looking at doing some eventing and some SJ, do you think I could find a TB who'd be alright at both?
I've heard they have weak legs and poor hooves, if I selected carefully could I find a generally sound horse who could stand up to regular competition and daily riding?
Are all of them hard to keep the weight on?
How would I select this horse? Independent vet check etc. but how do I judge its temperment if its hot up on grain and all sort of racey?
I guess you can't really check their jumping ability - how would I sort of go about that?
I'd be buying a horse in Australia, how do I go about getting one? I don't really want to go through those middle trainers, I guess I'd rather look for one myself straight of the track.
I've seen some good ones, that are quiet and such, are these reasonably common?
What are people's recommendations?
Also I'd want a smallish one, 15.2 or so, are their many I could find in this height range, my experience with TBs is that they are large. I won't even looking until the new year, but I am not in a rush to find a horse, I want a good one.
if you dont like TBs but are thinking about an ex racehorse, why not a STB?
My boyfriend's brother races TB's. When they are not on the track in the south, he trucks them up north to us. In July he dropped of 5 TB's just off the race track. I have been trail riding every single one of them since they got here. They've been fabulous horses. I've enjoyed riding them. (granted they aren't the smoothest horses I've ever ridden, but still I've not had a single problem with any of them being hot headed or just wanting to take off.
Also, I don't know much about them, but what is their general racing age? What age would unsuccessful ones be sold of at? Also, are they broken to saddle/rider, or just harness? Are they any good at dressage, they look quite nice, I was just looking at pics, and they seem like they have reasonable conformation to do most things? Also, are trotters or pacers better?
I only have experience with one OTTB, and I have been extremely lucky. My 4 year old had already been off the track for about 4 months before I met him, so he had time to settle down and be a horse out in a pasture for awhile before his new career. I'm thinking it's probably very important to give them that down time.
I can happily say that not all of them are hot headed. Mine is the kindest horse I've ever met, although he does have a goofy side. Sometimes he'll spook at a flag or something that he's seen 100 times, but I guess they all do that. I think it's pretty easy to tell the nuts from the good ones. You can just see it in their eyes. They pretty much wear their hearts on their sleeves.
Open spaces, training is the key word. They haven't been out there before, but it's just a matter of getting them used to new things. I took mine out on his first trail ride at age 5. He didn't spook once and did fabulous over uneven terrain, water and banks. He impressed the hell out of me. We have since had a few chicken moments involving llamas and cows, but if you can sit out the initial spin and bolt and apply a good one rein stop, it's easy to keep it safe. Mine is much more brave with other horses around than alone. All the TB's I've ever ridden were petrified of cows.
Eventing - perfect. TB's are energizer bunnies and most love to jump. A lot of them are a bit post legged in back, so just make sure to look a conformation for nice dressage gaits.
Legs, depends on the breeding. Mine has huge legs for a TB. His hooves are no worse than any of the QBs in my barn. You have to use a farrier who knows TBs. They have thinner hoof wall than other breeds and it's easy to get a close nail.
I would have said yes to the hard keeper question a month ago, but give him free choice hay and not too much grain, nothing high in starch, and you'll have a fatty in no time.
For jumping ability, you want a horse with a not too long back and strong hind end. Use this forum's critique section when you find some candidates. I'm sure there's a lot of people who can help you there.
I'm not sure how you can filter out temperment if the horse is still racing. If their hyped up on oats and carbs, they'll all be nuts.
The big thing I got burned on was the teeth. I'm thinking very little attention is paid to racehorses in that area. My horse was parrot mouthed and had teeth going every which way. We've since corrected most of it, but definitely look in the horse's mouth that you're considering to make sure he'll be able to eat properly.
There are a lot more sweet wonderful ones out there than you think. Smaller might be easier to find. A lot of people won't even look at a TB that's smaller than 16.0. Definitely do a vet check, and ask a ton of questions in person. People might try to lie to your face, but their expressions will give them away if you ask them something like, "has he had any soundness issues" or "does he trailer well".
good luck from an incredibly biased TB lover.
Hope I was some help!
I was kind of under the impression that they couldn't jump. I don't know why. I've only ever known one and he wasn't very good, but I guess I've never really thought about them. I just googled a few things and they seem somewhat alright. I'd want a horse that was capable of jumping at least 4ft without problems. I'm not up to that yet as I have been out of riding for a while but I used to really like jumping. Can the average STB jump that?i dont know much about jumping, as i dont do any of that stuff (im lucky i can stay on riding!)
Also, I don't know much about them, but what is their general racing age?their general racing age? that depends, in the US horses have to retire at the end of their 14th year. but most dont race that long, usually around 7-9 is when you see the retiring the most.
What age would unsuccessful ones be sold of at? it depends, usually just a few grand at the most.
Also, are they broken to saddle/rider, or just harness? Most are just broke to harness, but are easily broke to ride. most of my harness horses have never been ridden, but i get on them bareback and ride and they arent a problem. i actually recently just rode my 7yr old mare, Sumaturo. we got her when she was 3, and she was extremely headshy and crazy. we have had her all that time, and she has NEVER been ridden. i put a saddle on her one day and got on. she rode like she had been doing it all her life. a lot of the people who have riding horses that have STB racehorses will ride them.
Are they any good at dressage, they look quite nice, I was just looking at pics, and they seem like they have reasonable conformation to do most things? as far as i know theyre pretty well rounded horses, and they are also gaited horses, so ya know....
Also, are trotters or pacers better? there really is no "better". the only thing i will say is pacers also trot naturally. some trotters will not pace and some will, so it all depends i guess on if that makes a difference to you. also they have different muscles built up from using the specific gait all the time. trotters are more muscular in their chests, while pacers and more in the hind quarters.
Has anyone trained OTTB and what were the like?
I have an OTTB and he is a darling, but when I ask for an extremly exstended canter or a in-hand gallop. He wants to keep going. But with time he has gotten better.
heres a good link on STBs and how versitile they are Meet the American Standardbred - American Standardbred Profile
Sam is an OTTB, but he was retrained before we got our hands on them, I think.
Sam started racing when he was two - and didn't stop until he was 9! He's fourteen now, and I think he's starting to get arthritis. Oh, well. He still loves to run!
Yes, they can be hot, but if you don't feed them like racehorses - they won't be racehorses! Sam and William (another OTTB Sam lives with) are on grass hay, four flakes a day, and no grain, and, get this - Willie looks rather round! They are also on 8 acres of pasture, but it's not much - all dead grass. The other horses there at the barn are now on grass hay and grain, but before they were on Alfalfa and grain - and boy did they show it!
Sam and WIllie are good in open spaces - unless you ask them to run, of course. *eye roll*.
They can have bad feet - Sam's feet are terrible, esp. his right front. I've been working really hard to get in under control, but it's hard!
Sam and William both are the greatest trail horses. They're so calm, we've put my 5yr old brother on him and he's great! Sam's just a lazy old man, my other brother, 10, was riding him and could hardly get him to canter! (I guess I'm the only one who can get him to canter, eh?)
Good luck! TB's can be nice horses if you get the right one and train him right!
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