Ex race horse
I am buying a very cheap race horse. she is totally sound, good mannered, and is very willing to learn. I am up for the challenge of teaching her a new life style. Does anyone have any tips or past experiences for re-training a racehorse?
Congrats on your first OTTB! I love OTTB's. I've had the priviledge of not only being able to ride these amazing horses, but been able to own them as well.
My first highly, reccomendation is - find a barn/facility who have worked with OTTB's on a regular basis, a Trainer who's specialy is OTTB's. Learn from them, grow from them and get as much as you can from them to better help you and your new horse.
My other biggest tip, is give her time off from the saddle. Let her rehab mentally from the life on the track. Spend lost of time on the ground with her.
Some OTTB's do well getting back to work, others don't mentally.
I have an X-race horse. I had to pretty much retrain her. All she new was walk, trot, gallop, turn left and turn right. I recommend that you start slow and do LOTS of lungline work. Especially at the canter. My mare got really exited at the canter so we had to go back to the basics lots. Ask for collection too.
If you can afford it, find a good chiropractor. Depending on how long your girl was racing, she might do well from having one or two adjustments.
Also, don't be afraid to get a little pushy....most likely, shes used to getting to do what she wants as long as she runs well, so she's going to think the same applies now!
Find out as much as you can about her injury history. This will help you a lot later when you're deciding what to do with her discipline wise, and it will also help your vet. Just because shes sound now doesn't mean she's been injury free.
I agree with SB, go slow, at least until you figure out how fast she learns, every horse is different and if you start pounding something in to her brain after shes already learned it, she might start acting out out of boredom.
Congrats on your first ottb - welcome to a very educational experience.
This is what I did with my boy (in a nutshell):
- Time off.
It's important to allow an ottb to have time off to unwind (physically and mentally), and have some time off with a few other horses to be a horse, and chill out.
- Body work.
I got a massage therapist out to make him feel good and tingley, and to find out if there is any muscle damage, pain, weak spots etc .. I should know about.
- Vet check.
It's important to have a full vet check (snans of legs, hq's, shoulder etc ..) for a future riding horse. For example - Jed has a chipped knee, and the chipped bone has refused on the cannon (which may look like a splint to the untrained eye). And he paddles on one leg (the chipped knee leg).
Obviously like all new horses, dentistry is a given.
Some ottbs don't know how to lunge correctly. And a lot of ottbs are stiff thru the body. Gentle stretching exercises (after a warm up), and gentle work thru the body will help.
And most important - GROUNDWORK.
ground work is the key to everything.
:) hope this helps.
Congrats, I own an OTTB too, but didn't do any of his training. I can tell you from the ones I work with at the hospital, you need to be bigger and pushier with them because they certainly will be with you. Even my boy now who has 10 years of his new life and training under his belt will test me and be pushy. He's about the smartest horse I've worked with though, and I love the way TB's mind works. She'll love learning with you. Good luck!
Update: She just arrived at my stables. she was an absolute sweet heart. I was expecting a jumpy excited horse who would spook. But nope, She was very calm, she was alert, but not jumpy. She went a bit crazy when we let her loose in the arena lol. We rode her around a bit also that day (just to see how she preformed in a new enviornment) and she was a delight. She is getting used to the cross ties and everything ;) it looks like it will be a good first experience with an ottb :D
That's great :D
Sounds like my boy .. here I was expecting a jumpy, pushy, hot headed horse... he just walked off the trailer, said hello to my mare (who was prancing around, he just stood there) and went off to look for food o.O
First ride was in a halter and leadrope .. just too cruisey ;)
i didn't read what others said but here are my two cents:
take it slow
give her lots of time to relax and settle in
love on her
develop a relationship
when riding her take each day in stride
they are so willing and lovable (well the two that i have had are) so enjoy it and you will have a life long relationship!
oh and post pics!
well i have a cheap ex-race horse that i just got and he isnt doing very well he is getting use to not being on exspencive feed and is thn but putting on weight slowly. u have to watch not to ride them hard at the start because they get breathing problems so i was told.
they are a really good if u wont to teach a horse like u wont to do.
so yer go for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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