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View Full Version : OTTBs and the 'spook'



Cheval Gris
Dec. 12, 2009, 10:02 PM
In the wealth of experience with OTTB's here, can you tell me something about the breed/nature of these horses. My OTTB is quite chill 95% of the time (like shake a tarp or fire a shot gun and he could care less), but anytime something goes wrong when we are riding (for example, i lost my stirrups the other day, tightened my legs to stay on and this sent him to the moon, which resulted in me eating it and breaking my ankle) he runs away as fast as he can. As I just said, I have been hurt on 3 occasions this way.
Is this related to his experience on the track, or just this horses nature to run from 'danger'? My last horse would just stare at me when I got dumped like, 'dude, why are you sitting there on the ground'.
If he didn't run, I wouldn't have been hurt like I have. I posted a few weeks ago about his powerful jump, and a week later i came unglued schooling and ended up with a broken ankle and nasty concussion. This is the third incident (4th broken bone) in 2 1/2 years, so I am facing the decision that maybe this is not the right horse for me. In my search I am wondering if I should venture away from OTTB's (but they are so affordable) and maybe find something a little more cool headed. Just wondering if I am wasting my time looking for track rejects as once they are runners, always runners. Thoughts?

grayarabpony
Dec. 12, 2009, 10:07 PM
This horse may not be the horse for you, but there are plenty of OTTB's who are good with amateurs.

yellowbritches
Dec. 12, 2009, 10:23 PM
I've ridden plenty of WBs that go bonkers when the slightest thing goes wrong and I've ridden OTTB babies fresh off the track that were kick along quiet. It is a matter of personality, not breeding. Honestly, in my experience, most of the OTTBs I've ridden have been far better citizens than most anything else.

The guy in question sounds like a lot of horse for you, but I don't think it is necessarily because of his early life. You would probably be more suited with a quieter guy. Doesn't mean racetrack rejects are out of the question, but, if you were MY student, I would be steering you toward something that was a little more settled and confirmed than starting with a baby off the track, especially with all the accidents you've had.

Cheval Gris
Dec. 12, 2009, 10:29 PM
Should I add that he sat in a pasture for two or three years doing nothing but hanging at the bottom of the chain until i picked him up at 6? I hate to give up on him because he is so talented, but I just can't keep getting hurt. My family is highly agreeable. I either find something else or retire him at 9 as a pleasure horse just because I don't want him to end up in a bad situation. I could send him to a jumper trainer and sell him as a jumper (i think he has the talent for it but I just can't get him there) or try to sell him with a few BN's under his belt. This was going to be my prelim horse, so its hard to sell him as a BN when I could get so much more as a training packer. But, then again, I can't get him to that point. So what do you do.

vbunny
Dec. 12, 2009, 10:33 PM
I love TBs, I'm a die hard fan. For one thing, they are such practical thinkers, to me they make a lot of sense. Anyways, it does sounds like this horse might not be for you.

Meredith Clark
Dec. 12, 2009, 10:41 PM
The last 3 OTTB's i've owned/ridden continually were the quietest horses I've ever been around. In fact, the spookiest horse I ever rode was my first horse, a reining bred QH. He would spook at his own shadow!

The only thing i've found upsets my OTTBs are racetrack flashbacks. Jay will shake in his shoes if he sees and old rickety round pen!

It's sometimes hard to figure out which OTTBs are going to be quiet. Juice was sorta flighty when he first came off the track and my friend, who found him for me, wasn't sure we'd match b/c I like really quiet horses. A few months off the track and into "normal" life and he's super quiet and easy to be around.

Sometimes they just need time to chill... sometimes you just need a new horse! :lol:

AppJumpr08
Dec. 12, 2009, 10:53 PM
He may not be the horse for you. But, he may also need more ground work. Is it always that he's being touched in a way that he's not "used to" that sends him into orbit?
How does he deal with being touched unexpectedly when you aren't riding him?
I'm NOT a kool-aid drinking type of person, but I've been really amazed by the difference in my young horses since I started working with my farrier who uses quite a few of Clinton Anderson's techniques. They don't get desensitized to the point of being dead, but they learn to be comfortable with being touched all over. By hands, ropes, paper bags, and bodies. I thought it was a bit hokey until I saw the results. Maybe he needs to go back to basics for a bit?

Might be worth checking out...


I hope your ankle heals quickly!!

midnightride
Dec. 12, 2009, 10:53 PM
to second, third, forth and fifth...... it sounds like this HORSE- ottb or not may not be the best for you, to agree with the above posters, even WBs as a bred can have horses that are not tolerant of mistakes and lots of OTTBs are...... i don't think you can blame the breed, maybe just not the right horse/rider match..... much like a good marriage.... so many things need to be right....

Zephyr
Dec. 12, 2009, 11:12 PM
The worst explosion I've ever sat on was from a PMU warmblood. A 3yo that I mounted and he immediately blew like a keg of dynamite, bucking. I've actually never had that experience on an OTTB - I've owned three now, and ridden dozens more.

OTTBs tend to do a "happy" buck schooling XC, but the ones I've ridden have been minor crow hops that are easy to sit. The only horse to get me off with a crow hop was also a warmblood - she was just so much bigger that it threw me too far past my center of gravity! I like the slim little guys I can hang on to. In my experience, most OTTBs are pretty sensible, even if they have their hot moments.

slp2
Dec. 12, 2009, 11:38 PM
I had a WB cross (Han/Tb) that would leave the county when I fell off of him. And usually it was after *he* unseated me by his bucking demonstration. My OTTB has never bucked me off, however, she has jumped me out of the tack and when that happened, she stopped right away and looked at me like "What happened? Why are you down there?" Every time we have "parted ways"--she has stood there waiting for me. It's not the breed or the racing background, it's the horses personality. Sorry that you got injured, but I wouldn't say that all OTTB's are always "runners".

Petstorejunkie
Dec. 13, 2009, 12:12 AM
I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that this horse isnt for you, but that you need to take more time to establish a relationship with him.
They are VERY VERY VERY sensitive and highly intelligent, i think more so than many other breeds. Because of this some take more work to earn their trust and "get in their head"
how often are you hanging out with him in the pasture for more than 30 minutes, just being in each other's space? How much time do you take to groom? When was the last time you talked to him?
I'm a die hard TB fan and when you get that connection and bond, it's darn near unbreakable, and the two of you can accomplish amazing things together.

ex-racer owner
Dec. 13, 2009, 12:13 AM
I have owned a couple OTTBs and ridden others and from my experience, they tend to be very good about certain things that would set most other horses off, but other things will throw them into a tizzy. I could walk my first OTTB along the road and have a tri-axel dump truck fly past him and him not blink an eye, but he would get scared of a chipmunk running from tree to tree. My current OTTB could have cared less about the excavation work my BOs were doing next to the arena where I was schooling him which included dumping front loader buckets into a dump truck~very noisy~ but he gets very concerned if he should spy something different, like the hunters that were trying to track a deer they shot the day before from the next property over and they were at the end of the horse fields closest to the arena.

I have experienced the same reaction to a dropped stirrup, though not quite to the degree that the OP had. I think because, at least in my case, that it just doesn't happen often, so it makes it kind of scary to the horse. I know that I do the same thing, which is the squeeze to compensate until I retrieve my stirrup. I know I should practice working without them for both my sake and so he learns its nothing to get excited about.

I will say for both my horses, when they did spook, it wasn't ever a dramatic spook. They both would more or less just stop and try to figure it out. Very, very ,very, rarely do I get more than that and when that does happen, all the horses are spooking.

One thing that I learned with my first OTTB was pretty much however I was feeling or reacting, he would pick up on it, so I find that it helps for me to be in control of myself. Teaching yourself to let go of anxiety is a very important tool to have when working with horses, especially sensitive horses, which a lot of TBs in general fall into that catagory.

That being said, I love TBs and would be hard pressed to own anything else for my own riding horse.

EqTrainer
Dec. 13, 2009, 12:24 AM
Does your horse actually *bolt* when something like this happens?

If no, then more desensitization is in order. I longe every young horse w/the stirrups down and banging around - until they could care less - because someday, someone is going to lose a stirrup. That is just one example.

As far as it being the breed or the track experience, I would say no. We've had so many OTTB's that were push horses, so many that were incredibly quiet and sensible.. it's an individual thing. The three year old in the barn right now, who raced as a two year old, is so easy going and quiet, that I forget he is 3. He is just a sweet, eager to please, relaxed baby.

Cheval Gris
Dec. 13, 2009, 12:49 AM
To answer a few questions: I have had this horse for 2 1/2 years, still getting around BN (mostly b/c of the time I have been out for injuries). He is bold, doesn't stop/run out. Figured I would spend spring at novice, move up to training in the fall, and maybe do a T3D with him 2011. Our issues are in stadium. He is pretty attached to me as he is a loner. Doesn't care too much about having pasture mates. Used to be a total introvert but has really come around. I am the only one who has ridden him really. 4 Days a week. Some days just hanging out. Lots of hacking days just chilling. My husband has pretty much given me the three strikes your out with him b/c even though he is not horsey, he feels that something is just not quite right with him. I of course have never put much value into that with him being non horsey. But after a busted shoulder, two broken wrists at the same time and now a broken ankle, I wonder after all this time and he still hasn't clicked with me maybe it just wont happen. He could care less about 18 wheelers, cement trucks, anything. And honestly at this point I don't know if I have the confidence to keep giving him chances to 'grow out of it'. Its freak things that I can't prepare for. But after 2 1/2 years (hes coming 9) if he still doesn't trust me, I just don't know if it will happen.
Oh, and as far as the bolt. He doesn't bolt, he just starts to run in fear, ignores my halts, and gets faster and then makes a decision at the last minute to go right or left of the fence, hence my injuries. Just wont stop once he gets it in his mind that he is definately going to die.

EqTrainer
Dec. 13, 2009, 12:58 AM
Oh, and as far as the bolt. He doesn't bolt, he just starts to run in fear, ignores my halts, and gets faster and then makes a decision at the last minute to go right or left of the fence, hence my injuries. Just wont stop once he gets it in his mind that he is definately going to die.

Well, that is bolting. So you have a bolter. Which is entirely different IMO then a horse who feels he is being pushed on by a banging stirrup or a squeezing leg.

Horses who bolt are mindless when they do it and very hard to retrain without a clear idea of how it is done. One thing that people will tell you to try is to run him more - I would not do that, personally, if it backfires it is very hard to fix.

If you want to keep him I would send him to a good trainer who can work w/his problem and then teach you to do so also. Otherwise, move on, but know that the nature of riding and owning horses is that you will continue to run up against the same thing over and over until you figure out how to stop it and change.

Best of luck to you and be safe!!!

mojo7777
Dec. 13, 2009, 01:25 AM
I've been in a very few situations with horses--not my present one--where I've been glad that I learned the one-rein stop or pulley rein. You have to practice it until you get a feel for it, and then it will be automatic when you need it. A good thing to know when riding any horse outside the arena as you never know what might come pouncing out of nowhere!

lstevenson
Dec. 13, 2009, 01:26 AM
You need to think about what you do exactly when things like this happen.

I see this scenario all of the time: something happens to rattle the horse and he panics and bolts a bit, then the rider makes it 10 times worse by falling backwards with their hands way up in the air trying to stop. So now the sensitive horse is really panicked. If instead, the rider kept his/her hands down and went with the horse for a bit, he would come right back mentally. IOW even though you don't really want to be galloping at that moment.....you are, so ride the gallop for a few strides with your hands down and you will stay in harmony with your horse. Then when you ask your horse to listen to you he most likely will.

If you don't already know how, have a good trainer show you the method used to control and stop racehorses.

Zephyr
Dec. 13, 2009, 09:47 AM
After 3 broken bones, I certainly don't blame your husband/parents/etc. for wanting you to get a new horse... mine would probably take him away in the night, end of discussion!

If it's a problem you just can't work through, don't feel bad about selling him to maintain your safety. You could possibly sell him to an eventing trainer that is willing to work through the problem to tap into the talent.

Stay safe!

shea'smom
Dec. 13, 2009, 10:38 AM
Couple of things.
You can't stop a true bolt with a one rein stop.
I had a really quiet TB, but one day I lost my stirrup with him and he freaked. I think the unexpected movement made him think I was going to hit him or something.
It sounds like your guy is talented. An experienced eventer might take him on for a cheap price.
Good luck.

MintHillFarm
Dec. 13, 2009, 10:48 AM
He may not be the horse for you. But, he may also need more ground work. Is it always that he's being touched in a way that he's not "used to" that sends him into orbit?
How does he deal with being touched unexpectedly when you aren't riding him?
I'm NOT a kool-aid drinking type of person, but I've been really amazed by the difference in my young horses since I started working with my farrier who uses quite a few of Clinton Anderson's techniques. They don't get desensitized to the point of being dead, but they learn to be comfortable with being touched all over. By hands, ropes, paper bags, and bodies. I thought it was a bit hokey until I saw the results. Maybe he needs to go back to basics for a bit?

Might be worth checking out...


I hope your ankle heals quickly!!


Completely agree....some desensitising, stirrups down while lunge; lots of ground work too.

What grain are you feeding and how much? Back it down and give a little more hay if his weight is good...

retreadeventer
Dec. 13, 2009, 10:58 AM
I am glad you posted your problem, because I am learning a lot from the responses. I think you have a very good insight into your horse, and I hope that the right decision comes to you.

I want to relate what happened to my horse recently. I had a young beginner, who had been riding basically every horse in the barn without difficulty, get up on him on the lunge line just for a trot.

This is a well broken horse who is 12yo. He is a training level packer. She gripped a tiny bit too much with unschooled legs, trying to find her balance, and we had a near runaway. The faster he went the more she gripped, her legs slid back to his flank, she bent over holding on, grabbing reins and hugging down. He panicked and tried to bolt but fortunately I had him on the lunge and was able to get him circling very small and stopped before she slid off or was thrown off on the side from the force of his energy. I was SHOCKED. I had no idea this horse would be that sensitive. She had never done that with any of the other horses she had ridden but she just made a tiny mistake when he got quick and compounded it, as an inexperienced rider will, by the grip and grab. Wow. I got an education there. If I had not had him on the lunge for SURE it would have been a runaway and she would have fallen.

The lesson was: it is all about your skill and your balance. It takes TIME to learn to ride a horse that bolts or spooks. Not all horses are spooky or bolt but some do, and some only do it when young, and some only do it when they are panicked about a rider. Even broke horses can get panicked when a rider gets out of position.

If you have ever had the luck to watch riders like Boyd Martin or Phillip Dutton, the way they ride, their balance and beautiful leg - the spookiest and boltiest horses just can't get out from under these guys, because of their balance. I've seen both ride some pretty crazy ponies and they just never panic, and never are out of position, no matter what pyrotechnics are going on. My trainer said this summer, "Ride like Phillip". Best advice I ever had! I work on it every time I'm in the saddle.

Don't know if this will help, but I hope that you come to the correct decision for you.

ThirdCharm
Dec. 13, 2009, 11:10 AM
What is your previous experience?

I only ask because obviously it is a completely different kettle of fish if a bolting horse is dumping an experienced Prelim+ rider, versus a bolting horse dumping someone who previously rode for a couple years at Novice on a nice family-type QH.

As far as the original question, the worst spookers/buckers/bolters I've ever sat on--four horses I can think of off the top of my head--have all been Paints. Go figure. I can probably count the Paints I've ridden on one hand, and have ridden countless OTTBs without significant incident.

Jennifer

Cheval Gris
Dec. 13, 2009, 11:26 AM
Its funny that you say that. My last horse was a paint, I got dumped once a week (probably for the first 4 years-but I was a teenager, i bounced). But I rode that horse for almost 10 years and I sold him as a training packer. Then I took some time off for college and bought this guy as a project. My first TB.
I have fallen off of this horse 4 times, 3 of which I was hurt pretty bad. I guess at this point I just get pretty scared when this happens b/c I NEVER fall off of him without getting hurt. So my reaction to what happened a couple of weeks ago was no stirrups, hold on with my legs hauling on the reins, faster horse. I am not sure exactly what happened at the end, but my trainer says I bailed. I thought he was going to run through the fence but instead he just slammed on brakes and went right, i went left.
Honestly, two of the three incidences were pretty freak things (my bit broke in half while jumping once-you can imagine), but I am battling my family at this point that he is too much horse for me and thats a tough fight to win with my record. I'm in a rock and a hard place.

judybigredpony
Dec. 13, 2009, 11:36 AM
There are things this horse might relate to when he bolts that "possibly" can put you in control and him in a comfort zone.
1. Don't Panic and pull. take a firm but lighter hold, stand up in a forward 2 point position. Cross your reins like a race rider. Knuckles down resting firmly. Keep your legs gripped only tight enough to stay in balance. Let the horse pull on himself. Slowly direct him in a large circle. Let his panic run its course.

Don't raise your hands don't stand up and lean back don't see saw and pull. All of which are hard to avoid.

Try seeing if a braver preferably male rider w/ the confidence and experiance would school him for you a few times. And do try the above it may help. His panic translates into your panic even on an uncouncious level. He's hurt you and you are expecting to be hurt.

A long time ago aand several small breeches sizes I had a "Bolter" certain things freaked him out (Appy/TB X) major talented in dressage (4th level) and prelim horse, but he would bolt and once took me thru a board fence. He had no race track training to fall back on. I learned to just go for the ride and slowly let him allow me a level of control not demand a full stop.

Good luck, but he just doesn't sound like the horse for you..

CookiePony
Dec. 13, 2009, 11:51 AM
Obviously we all have not witnessed this firsthand, but it does sound like he is not a good match for you. If he is talented and honest, then someone else might love to have him. Could you take him to a good pro, have him/her ride him, and get an assessment of where he might fit in?

And I agree that OTTBs are quite different from each other. Just between the two I've owned and not counting the many I have known, I've had a kick-along slowpoke who was always looking for a way to conserve his energy, while my current one loves to work. The first one bucked me off a couple of times because he did not want to work when I insisted. Now he's found his niche as a low-level hunter and trail horse for someone else. As for me, I'm enjoying my new guy (Taco) because he enjoys his job (and is a total superstar, I can't help adding).

LauraKY
Dec. 13, 2009, 12:07 PM
There are things this horse might relate to when he bolts that "possibly" can put you in control and him in a comfort zone.
1. Don't Panic and pull. take a firm but lighter hold, stand up in a forward 2 point position. Cross your reins like a race rider. Knuckles down resting firmly. Keep your legs gripped only tight enough to stay in balance. Let the horse pull on himself. Slowly direct him in a large circle. Let his panic run its course.

We retrain OTTBs. If you go into two point and cross reins, their race training will take over and they will speed up. So if you want to force them into a gallop for training purposes, which is what we do, go for it. Our philosophy is make the wrong behavior difficult and the right behavior easy. So, horse, if you want to run, we'll run until I want to stop, not when YOU want to stop.

If your intention is to get the horse to stop, do NOT go into two point and cross your reins. Sit deep in the saddle, like you're asking for a halt, lower your hands at the withers or below, and use a one rein stop (you MUST practice this before you have a problem so it's an automatic response and the horse understands what you're asking). If they are going too fast for a one rein stop, begin to pull on one rein with constant pressure (no sawing, that is what the jocks do to ask for speed) and ask with your leg for a circle, spiraling in until you're slow enough to ask for a one rein stop.

I second the recommendation of lunging with stirrups flapping and riding stirrup-less. You need to become comfortable gripping with your thighs, not your calves and being able to maintain your center of balance. Lunge lessons are the best way to do this, probably not on this guy. Ultimately, if you're afraid of him (and he will know it), as hard as it may be, he's probably not the right horse you.

This is the kind of horse we specialize in, but unfortunately, we're full or I might make an offer. I'm sure there is a good match out there for him somewhere if you two can't work it out. Good luck. Love my OTTBs.

Ajierene
Dec. 13, 2009, 12:13 PM
I agree with the others, that it is the individual horse, not the track training.

I also agree that it CAN be something that can be worked through.


However - how many broken bones do you want? Personally, riding is a hobby for me. I don't go out there to get myself killed and I surely do not do it for free, let alone paying to care for a horse AND hospital bills for myself. At this time in my life, if I bought a horse like this, I would have sold it. This coming from someone who used to work with problem horses for a living. There is nothing wrong with saying "I love this horse, but he is not the horse for me."

Cheval Gris
Dec. 13, 2009, 12:24 PM
I think the hardest part of this is excepting the fact that no matter how much heart and time I've put into him, he may not be right for me. Its heart breaking to have a talented horse that can accomplish all if your goals and more but that doesn't suit you. But I'm tired of getting hurt. Not sure how you go about selling a horse like this..hey I've gotten hurt three times, but he could easily be your prelim horse..want him? That sounds a bit nutty :(

retreadeventer
Dec. 13, 2009, 12:36 PM
No, do not panic, don't think badly of the horse or yourself. You're being honest and that in the end is the best policy.
Take a good look at all of his good points and emphasize them.
Yes, you've had accidents with him and that is the reason you are selling (if you decide to do that.)

And...how well does the horse lunge, and how well do you lunge? You can do a lot of good work with a horse on the lunge line. Everything from excelling at the flat stuff, polishing transitions with the help of proper use of side reins, and jumping including trotting cavalettis, etc., LOTS of things can be accomplished from the ground. Did you know that Theodore O'Connor's owner has trained her ponies from the ground for years and can teach them all how to jump and even fly changes - lunging and free lunging. So rather than ride and get hurt until you sell him or find him another place, why not polish the ground stuff with him? And if you have made the decision, then don't dwell on the negative. Onward. :)

Gry2Yng
Dec. 13, 2009, 12:46 PM
I think the hardest part of this is excepting the fact that no matter how much heart and time I've put into him, he may not be right for me. Its heart breaking to have a talented horse that can accomplish all if your goals and more but that doesn't suit you. But I'm tired of getting hurt. Not sure how you go about selling a horse like this..hey I've gotten hurt three times, but he could easily be your prelim horse..want him? That sounds a bit nutty :(

You are going thru the hard part now. Once you make the decision, you will probably be relieved. I have know several owners that had the wrong OTTB and got run away with and hurt a few times. The lead up to the right decision was the hardest part, finding a new home is hard too. It sounds like you need to move on, it is hard for horse people, but this hobby is expensive and it should be fun. Try a reputable dealer - we have one in our area who works with lots of OTTB, you might find someone like that who will trade your unsuitable horse for another. Our guy will keep trading with you until you find one you like. Good luck.

It really doesn't sound nutty. There are a lot of people who can work with the hotter OTTB's. They have a lot of experience, they aren't afraid to ride the gallop and they know how to chill. They know who they are, there are a number of them on this board as you probably noticed. Same people can also probably point you to an OTTB that is on the less sensitive/lazy side.

Cheval Gris
Dec. 13, 2009, 01:05 PM
I'm really glad I got responses from those I'd hoped for. I live in charleston sc and don't really know any dealers around here. My biggest fear is him ending up in a bad situation, as he didn't come from a great one to begin with. And he's pretty lazy but very very sensitive at the same time. I would love to trade him but don't know where to start.

sadlmakr
Dec. 13, 2009, 01:18 PM
From reading all the previous posts on your problem, I think you and I are already realizing this horse is not for you. Someone who has more experience dealing with the OTTbS might be able to take him on to bigger things. I know how hard it it is to let go but next mishap might be far worse.

If you can send him to a reputable trainer you might try that, but it sounds like you need a more steady horse. Each horse has his own personality. No blanket statement can cover all of them. I know one out here where I live that is the laziest bum I ever saw. He is lovely and a classic Throughbred. But he is will not work unless the rider has a crop and spurs.
Then he works but feels put upon for being made to work.
He is fine out hacking on trails and never spooks. In fact he almost goes to sleep under noise and commotion.

There is someone out there who can take your fellow and make a good horse out of him. But I fear you are not the one to do it.
Don't feel bad about it. It will be best for both of you. There is another horse out there who needs a home where he can be calm and reliable.
As always this is JMHO.
If advice was worth $$ I'd be selling it.

Regards, sadlmakr

ThirdCharm
Dec. 13, 2009, 01:58 PM
From what you've said I agree this is not the horse for you. Lack of experience dealing with that type of horse, the particular experiences you've had with this horse (and maybe your previous horse, I doubt you fell off weekly for several years with no psychological repercussions, were your parents morons??) and your reactions to it.... bad combination.

Sometimes greenish riders can handle green horses, even OTTBs, but it takes a certain amount of fearlessness (and possibly natural athleticism/balance, so that you DON'T fall off all the time and can preserve that fearlessness) to do it. If they do something stupid and you tense up, it will go to heck really fast. If you don't have that sort of "horse acting dumb, big deal" reaction hardwired into you (by natural inclination or long experience), then you need to look for a horse with a sense of humor.... the type that will say "Hmm, I stepped sideways real fast and you dug your heels in, but then when I sped up you jerked on my mouth so I guess you didn't mean it, hah hah so I'll just stand here while you get yourself sorted out, idiot". You are fearful and your horse has no sense of humor. Bad combo.

Jennifer

judybigredpony
Dec. 13, 2009, 02:17 PM
We retrain OTTBs. If you go into two point and cross reins, their race training will take over and they will speed up. So if you want to force them into a gallop for training purposes, which is what we do, go for it. Our philosophy is make the wrong behavior difficult and the right behavior easy. So, horse, if you want to run, we'll run until I want to stop, not when YOU want to stop.

If your intention is to get the horse to stop, do NOT go into two point and cross your reins. Sit deep in the saddle, like you're asking for a halt, lower your hands at the withers or below, and use a one rein stop (you MUST practice this before you have a problem so it's an automatic response and the horse understands what you're asking). If they are going too fast for a one rein stop, begin to pull on one rein with constant pressure (no sawing, that is what the jocks do to ask for speed) and ask with your leg for a circle, spiraling in until you're slow enough to ask for a one rein stop.

I second the recommendation of lunging with stirrups flapping and riding stirrup-less. You need to become comfortable gripping with your thighs, not your calves and being able to maintain your center of balance. Lunge lessons are the best way to do this, probably not on this guy. Ultimately, if you're afraid of him (and he will know it), as hard as it may be, he's probably not the right horse you.

This is the kind of horse we specialize in, but unfortunately, we're full or I might make an offer. I'm sure there is a good match out there for him somewhere if you two can't work it out. Good luck. Love my OTTBs.

And I buy re-train and very successfully sell OTTB right off the track.
Sitting deep and trying to pull will only make the situation worse.
Put the horse is a comfort zone.
You know as well as I do pulling only makes them run faster, they have no idea what a deep seat means and sitting back an down is way worse.
To get a race horse to relax you would take the 2 point and let the horse lean on himslef make no move to pull back and slowly direct the turn. Since a violent tug or trying a one rein stop has not worked in this horse.
Bottom line horse is not a good fit and OP runs risk of getting hurt while we arm-chair a fix.

LauraKY
Dec. 13, 2009, 03:21 PM
And I buy re-train and very successfully sell OTTB right off the track.
Sitting deep and trying to pull will only make the situation worse.
Put the horse is a comfort zone.
You know as well as I do pulling only makes them run faster, they have no idea what a deep seat means and sitting back an down is way worse.
To get a race horse to relax you would take the 2 point and let the horse lean on himslef make no move to pull back and slowly direct the turn. Since a violent tug or trying a one rein stop has not worked in this horse.
Bottom line horse is not a good fit and OP runs risk of getting hurt while we arm-chair a fix.

First, she's had this horse for 2 1/2 years, before that he sat in a field, so he's not "right off the track".

For a horse right off the track, we turn them out for 6 months (sometimes longer), then work on lunge line and long lines, then in a controlled area to teach them to stop with a deep seat and the one rein stop until we and they are comfortable. Then we slowly progress to larger and larger areas. Different strokes for different folks. Our way works for us, sounds like your way works for you.

Daughter (head trainer) comes from polo, so she can stick on anything with no fear (does tend to revert to her polo seat, much to the chagrin of her dressage trainer). Learned in high school with lots of green OTTBs that were also just green broke to the mallet. You pretty much have to be fearless with some of them.

I do think the OP needs a trainer who has been successful with OTTBs. Not everyone's cup of tea. They also need to be desensitized to pretty much everything. Sounds like OP has a good start, but needs more work under saddle with bomb proofing. If she's afraid, this is most likely not going to be effective with her as the rider.

My other question is, are you sure this guy is cut out for eventing? Maybe he would be more comfortable in say dressage?

sm
Dec. 13, 2009, 04:00 PM
Just a note, I see the worst unnecessary injuries happen when people try to stay on after control has been lost. Broken bones, concussions, you name it. Once riders are out of control to put on a halt and have a vise-like grip around the horses' barrel --- what do people HOPE will happen?

Once I know my balance/seat is lost and the horse is galloping along, I always find a safe spot, the first safe spot we're at, and I bail. A tight grip onto my TB would take me -- at the speed of light -- into atleast the next county. I'd send the barn postcards from whereever we ended up.

Even my trainer and an upper level dressage judge, at a dressage show, did the same when a horse went bonkers (a WB, not a TB), she wanted to avoid being bucked off into the chains around the arena.

Granted, there are riders who can salvage the situation, but when I personaally can't, I bail. I've had to bail a hundred times, sometimes in open fields far from home, and never once was I hurt (beyond very minor brusiing, because I controlled the fall). Never once were my horses hurt this way, they seemed rather calmer after I came loose. Granted, a loose horse is not ideal but the horse would be loose anyway if/when gravity took over and the rider was dumped.




i lost my stirrups the other day, tightened my legs to stay on and this sent him to the moon, which resulted in me eating it and breaking my ankle) he runs away as fast as he can. As I just said, I have been hurt on 3 occasions this way....

If he didn't run, I wouldn't have been hurt like I have....Thoughts?

camohn
Dec. 13, 2009, 04:04 PM
In answer to the OP: depends on the horse, not on the fact it is a TB. I have a warmblood with a God awful spook in her and a 4 YO TB that is steady Eddie. We have had 2 awful bolters here. Neither lived here long.......both were QHs.

LauraKY
Dec. 13, 2009, 04:07 PM
Agree, know when to bail, how to fall correctly (unfortunately, should be taught more frequently, a lot of the riders out there haven't had the benefit of fooling around with their pony on their own farm or hacking out in the fields, etc.) and you have to know your horse and yourself.

For example, one of our training horses you should never bail, he will absolutely flip out. He has a big buck, but it's straight up and down so it's not hard to sit if you're a competent, experienced rider. On the other hand, have others, that h*ll yeah, you need to bail! It's a twisting buck or he's heading for the fence and he absolutely knows if you are not in complete control. That takes experience to know when and how.

To me it sounds like OP needs a lot more experience. If she loses her stirrup and takes a "death grip" on the horse, she definitely needs more practice without stirrups. It's not a matter of what you would do, or what we would do, obviously, she does not have the experience to be able to do it, whatever "it" is.

Sounds like OP needs a more experienced horse or trainer depending on what she wants to spend and how invested she is in her current horse.

sm
Dec. 13, 2009, 04:47 PM
Agree, know when to bail, how to fall correctly (unfortunately, should be taught more frequently, a lot of the riders out there haven't had the benefit of fooling around with their pony on their own farm or hacking out in the fields, etc.) and you have to know your horse and yourself.

Oh right, I forgot to mention as a kid we had our Saturday Morning Hunt Club. We went out bareback on large ponies, halters only with a leadline tied around to the other side of halter, and when we were almost home the ponies always wanted to gallop back to the barn. There was no slowing down the ponies, so every ride ended in a cavalry dismount or other bail out. Every so often, one of us could land standing.

I never had an OTTB flip out over me coming loose, but then I don't have fear so no reason for the horse to pick up on that energy --- it's more like ticked off energy that I lost my seat over something so stupid. And what's always in my head, which I believe horses read loud and clear, is this is going to stop now and we will both be fine.

yellowbritches
Dec. 13, 2009, 05:51 PM
So, here's another way to look at things. Do you really, really want to keep trying to fix this horse or see if you can figure out how to ride him after you've already wasted 2 1/2 years on him and have gotten no where??

I've never understood the mentality of people who struggle and struggle and struggle with a horse who frightens them or very obviously just does not want to play the game. They get hurt and they get frustrated and year after year they see their goals and plans slip away. ESPECIALLY for people who have horses as a hobby, it SHOULD BE FUN. Unless you are a masochist, where is the fun in never getting where you want to go, getting seriously hurt multiple times (it's one thing to fall off a lot, but it is another to have several spectacular, bone breaking falls), or at the very least maybe not getting where you wanted but at least enjoying the journey??

Of course, I say that all and realize that it has taken me 3 times to learn to move on when they are telling you something's up. While two of them had the potential to kill me (one reared, one had a crazy buck), I never got seriously hurt on any of them.

Horse 1: I took from unbroke to prelim in 18 months. He was fabulous and I trusted him SO much. Then, he went crazy. He started standing up for no apparent reason and with very little pattern to it. We exhausted everything we could think of at the time (hind sight being what it is, I realize that somethings that I would do NOW I didn't know about then). I spent nearly TWO YEARS trying to piece this horse back together and get him back to his former self to no avail. He was retired and subsequently donated to a hospital to use on a colic surgery study. Looking back on him now and after hearing some similar stories, we really do think there may have been a brain tumor or some other similar issue. He just went too crazy too fast and with no rhyme or reason.

Horse 2: Very fancy, very well bred young horse who looked perfect on paper. The thing would NOT jump xc. I kept getting talked into keeping him and to keep going...he would come around. No, he didn't. Spent a year with that one. A wasted year for me and a decent horse that wanted to play another game. Also wasted a lot of money on entries and vet bills and shoeing (another way of looking at it...is it worth the bills to keep a horse that doesn't click??).

Horse 3: A bit of an unknown quanity but I LOVED him. Except for his hellacious buck. The buck wasn't our undoing, it was more the fact that he could NOT deal with the sport...and in a silly way. He couldn't deal with one days and getting on and off the trailer! He'd do dressage just fine, but he would not go and jump after he'd worn himself out in the trailer trying to kill himself and anyone near him. He'd jump fine at jumper shows and also played hunter horse well...but couldn't deal with the one days). He was a tough cookie at home, but I understood him. But the whole time I was struggling with him, I was bringing another horse along who just took to everything, did his job with a "smile" on his face, and loved every minute of it. I sold the crazy one and kept the other one. Don't regret it one bit. Much more fun to get on with things then struggle and fight and get frustrated.

Jleegriffith
Dec. 13, 2009, 06:37 PM
I've never understood the mentality of people who struggle and struggle and struggle with a horse who frightens them or very obviously just does not want to play the game. They get hurt and they get frustrated and year after year they see their goals and plans slip away. ESPECIALLY for people who have horses as a hobby, it SHOULD BE FUN. Unless you are a masochist, where is the fun in never getting where you want to go, getting seriously hurt multiple times (it's one thing to fall off a lot, but it is another to have several spectacular, bone breaking falls), or at the very least maybe not getting where you wanted but at least enjoying the journey??


Bingo! I love the ottb's and that is basically all I have ever ridden. I don't think this is an ottb issue as much of a horse with perhaps a little bit of a screw loose type of issue and those are horses of every breed so let's not play the Tb card.

I will say I have some horses that just do not tolerate mistakes at all. Most of them are tb's simply because that is all I really ride but one wrong move and they do go off. Now I can ride them and life is great. What is the difference? I would say years of doing it and knowing what to do before it happens and how to handle it when it does happen. Hands/seat/leg have to be in the right positon at almost all times.

Retread talks about her rider setting off her well schooled horse and I can't tell you how many times that has happened to me when advertising horses and people show up to ride and are grippy with their legs and seat and this horse who has never made a wrong move is suddenly a ball of tension ready to blow. Or you take a horse that likes a certain ride and give them a different ride and it pisses them off and the same thing happens.

These horses are not for everybody and sometimes I think even with retraining they still don't ever come around. You will always have to be sitting ready for that next move and that is NOT FUN! It is not worth getting hurt over when there are so many nice horses out there.

Via CANTER I have a steady stream of horses that come through the barn for their retraining and almost all of them are quiet. Some so quiet and easy they progress right up the levels with ammy riders. I can almost always tell within that first two months of retraining what the future will hold for a horse in terms of trainability, brain and talent.

Now in that bunch of horses that have come through there have been two that I would classify as truly horses for only pro's or talented ammy's and one horse that was unrideable and we are sure he had an issue. The horses that were pro/talented ammy horses were super good horses but very athletic, smart and required a correct ride. They don't tolerate mistakes, grippy legs, bad hands, loss of balance, inability to react. They need a rider who has a plan and knows how to execute the plan before the s**t hits the fan.

Learning how to ride hot horses who spook and bolt is something that I find only comes with practice. My practice was earned on the back of many racehorses and a lot of falls. A crash course in what not to do and what you should do but I am not sure if any instructor can really teach it. You begin to develop a feel for how to train these types of horses, what kind of ride they require, training plans, feeding plans and emergency plans:lol:

A bolting horse is a horse who has stopped thinking. They are very scary to ride. I am in the camp that staying in 2pt and trying the one rein lift works but the sitting back doesn't really work. I never want to get behind the motion on a horse who is doing the spin and bolt move. I don't take a cross on the reins but I sit still and use my knees to lock in and then slowly try to operate using one rein at a time. I don't think racehorse know anything about you sitting down on them they have to be taught how to stop that way. Sometimes with the really hot horses the more you sit the more they go creating a chain reaction.

I have owned a horse for a few years now that when he arrived had no brakes. I am talking nothing.nada..sitting up..sitting down..one rein stop..whatever it just didn't work. 16.2 h 1200lbs not bad but nobody taught him. I had no ring just an open field to ride in. I love snaffles but he quickly got upgraded to a pelham and I was able to get through to him when he would just lock on and go. He could take off with me at the trot it was pretty funny to watch but I couldn't do anything about it. Cantering..14ft canter stride with no brakes, not a lot of steering and a head in my face was scary. I teach all my horses how to stop with me being in my light seat closing my knee. It is something that works. Upper thigh knee closed is my half halt or stop without having to rely on the reins.

I suppose my thinking would be getting hurt so many times seriously would make me lose my confidence. I understand the emotional investment and of course financial investment in a horse. Sometimes you just don't think there are as talented horses out there that you can afford or you think how long it takes to bring them along. All I can say is that bringing along the types that want to work, enjoy the job and try each and every ride is a pure joy. I don't waste my time anymore on those who don't want to play the game no matter how talented they are. If the pro's want to ride them then so be it but otherwise you can have a lot more fun on something that is talented but has it's brain checked in and isn't out to hurt you.

Beam Me Up
Dec. 13, 2009, 07:31 PM
I love OTTBS, but my experience is a bit like the OP's in that I've found that TBs tend to be a bit less spooky about external things (traffic, dogs, mailboxes, etc.) than other breeds but more sensitive to the rider's balance and mistakes.

And as others have mentioned, once you're off-balance it can be really hard to salvage, as whatever hanging/gripping you might try to stay on will just panic the horse more.

It's hard to tell from your story if your horse is just a typical TB who freaked out about banging stirrups, grippy knees, and probably yanking on the reins, or if he's a serious nut. Do you have a trainer that can help you sort that out?

I've persevered with several horses that were really crazy, mostly because I feared losing what training/effort I had put into them, and in the end they did improve somewhat, but if I had it to do over, I probably would have gone further on something saner and more willing to play. Some horses are really black holes of time/money/emotion.

Gry2Yng
Dec. 13, 2009, 08:59 PM
"Hmm, I stepped sideways real fast and you dug your heels in, but then when I sped up you jerked on my mouth so I guess you didn't mean it, hah hah so I'll just stand here while you get yourself sorted out, idiot".

Jennifer

OMG. Perfectly described. Wish they came with a sign that says "Hi, I have a sense of humor!"

RunForIt
Dec. 13, 2009, 09:30 PM
agree with Jlgriffith - OTTBs do NOT have the corner on bolt and run - my old guy can still drop a shoulder and do a mach one 180 degree turn and I'M out of here maneuver that is amazing, PLUS, his back-cracking buck has not lost much of its fervor either....this from an appendix QH/DWB horse :lol: :cool:

HER
Dec. 13, 2009, 10:44 PM
My OTTB had no brakes when I got him- no walk, no halt. We spent a lot of time on the longe line and also careening around our indoor-stopping by aiming for walls. I needed a pulley rein on every xc course I rode. But...he has almost no spook and definitely has a sense of humor. When I think about it though, his main flaw is that he will pull and go faster when something is awry but I guess it must not have ever freaked me out. I always figure we will stop eventually. Perhaps if I was worried things could have gotten bad. He was for sale a while back and a less experienced adult amateur tried him out. He could not stop him in the indoor. And this is my first ever horse that has taken me through prelim with no professional help. He has never hurt me though.
I think a agree with everyone else- don't stuck with a horse that is not fun or that won't achieve your goals with you. I have watched countless friends stick with horses that just won't play at eventing when they could have gone so much further on a different mount. I understand being attached but I guess I get more attached as I achieve my riding and competition goals, so I don't know how attached I would be if I was scared and frustrated :)
Good luck with whatever you decide :)
Helen

lucky dog farm
Dec. 13, 2009, 11:13 PM
I am having the same problem with my Irish Draught gelding. He has been in training for 9 months now with professionals and still will bolt with them. On the other hand I have had some OTTBs that where as easy as pie to ride, while this guy, whom I have had since he was born, is pulling crap like this. Personally at this age I do not bounce so well and am deciding what to do with him since I really do love him. However, I really do not want to end up hurt or worse dead. I had a big Draft cross that had this same problem but he was very very talanted and while he never got me off once I was on him, the one time I was not paying full attention to him he bolted as I was getting on. It took forever to heal from that fall and the surgery following it. If your horse has hurt you this many times in the last 2 1/2 years then he sounds like he might not be the "one" for you. Ask yourself, as you are healing from your forth broken bone, " is this fun". Maybe then you will have your answer. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. It's very hard

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 13, 2009, 11:17 PM
I think the hardest part of this is excepting the fact that no matter how much heart and time I've put into him, he may not be right for me. Its heart breaking to have a talented horse that can accomplish all if your goals and more but that doesn't suit you. But I'm tired of getting hurt. Not sure how you go about selling a horse like this..hey I've gotten hurt three times, but he could easily be your prelim horse..want him? That sounds a bit nutty :(

Not really. My best event horse to date was like that. He was bought as a 4 year off the track for a 14 year girl as her move up horse. She wasn't a bad rider but not ready for a 4 year OTTB. He put her in the hospital..at least once...got labled as dangerous by the local pony club etc. I bought him in the late fall...they were calling him dog meat...I paid very little for him. I spent that fall and early winter restarting him (and did some undoing of some of the training he had gotten). Took consistent lessons with a top trainer (Jimmy W)----I knew from the first jump I sat on with this horse that he had a TON of jumping talent. We came out at novice that spring season and ended the season at Prelim (my first Prelim and his). Fantastic horse.....FOR ME. Wrong horse for the initial owners.

Honestly....From what you have described...it doesn't sound like anything is wrong with this horse...BUT he is too much horse for you (at this time). You should be able to drop your stirrups and NOT have it change your balance or riding...instead...this causes you to grip...which causes your sensitive green horse to panic. That is a normal reaction for a green horse. You may have had him for 2.5 years...but he is still green based on how inconsistent your training has been.

You have gotten hurt...and now have some bad baggage with this horse. Moving on isn't a bad idea...and in fact sounds like the best thing for you...but don't blame the horse.

It is just the wrong partnership at this time. In another couple of years....perhaps he would be the right horse for you. For now, find something more schooled, less sensitive...and improve your riding and get back your confidence.

Good luck!

Cheval Gris
Dec. 13, 2009, 11:28 PM
You guys have all had so much to offer me. This is almost harder than selling my first horse that I had for ten years. I guess the fact that I bought him as my forever horse, knowing he had the scope and the brain to take me where I wanted to go...for it to not be a right match. Its just hard. He has a good brain, but like so many have said here, he does not tolerate mistakes. No sense of humor (that was perfect, by the way).
Hearing what you all have to say has helped me realize that he may be perfect for someone else. He is an incredible xc horse. I didn't know they were made as bold as he..very catty. I haven't seen him in two weeks, hes been hanging at trainers house, and I know when I see him again I will melt (gettin teared up just typing it, gah) but I am really tired of casts, PTO, etc. My husband wants me to make a deal...one more broken bone, no matter what horse, we take a step back and evaluate priorities. He doesn't want me to end up a veg. Understandable. I have had to be honest with myself here reading these posts. I hate doing stadium with him because thats where our issues have been. I used to be fearless, but each break has taken some of that away. Now I am a different rider. Which sucks. I guess I know what I have to do. I hope I can find something else out there that thinks I am funny ;)

TBrescue
Dec. 13, 2009, 11:46 PM
and the horse you have now is not him. There's no shame in admitting you two are not a good match, and looking for a horse that will be a better partner for you.

My OTTB is the most willing horse I have ever ridden. He is patient and tolerant of my mistakes in dressage and when I get it right he is AMAZING!!! He carts my barn owner's 8 year old around and never puts a foot wrong when she's on his back. He is also very sensitive, and when my trainer rides him he moves like a very talented dressage horse!

However, when we get out XC all bets are off...he wants to GO!!! We've had some major disagreements in the field about speed and direction...but I wouldn't trade him for any other horse in the world. Even when he is expressing his "opinion"...I am never afraid I am going to get hurt.

Cheval Gris
Dec. 14, 2009, 12:23 AM
My OTTB is the most willing horse I have ever ridden. He is patient and tolerant of my mistakes in dressage and when I get it right he is AMAZING!!! He carts my barn owner's 8 year old around and never puts a foot wrong when she's on his back. He is also very sensitive, and when my trainer rides him he moves like a very talented dressage horse!


Ok, so who can find this for me

Gry2Yng
Dec. 14, 2009, 12:30 PM
This may be hard advice to take, but if you can DON'T go see the horse again (if you have made your decision). You have already started your emotional breakup. Since you have a trainer, leave him there. Start making arrangements by phone to find him a place. There is no point standing at the barn crying while they load him on a trailer. Keep the emotional distance you have created. You can still do right by the horse without turning yourself into a puddle.

Catalina
Dec. 14, 2009, 12:34 PM
I have three OTTBs and each one is quieter then the next with my 3 year old (off the track in June) being the most bombproof of the bunch. The spooky, afraid of his own shadow, scaredy cat award goes to my ISH who is only 1/4 Tb. He is so unpredictable that I don't even ride him anymore because I never know what will launch him into the next county (and it can be something as simple as mulch around a bush).

Tbs definitely do not have the market cornered on spookiness. I just remembered, I rode a Holsteiner in college that would spook at everything. He would do the drop the shoulder and spin move that sent me flying more then once. He used to spook at the sound of my finger nails scratching on my chaps as we walked around on a free rein :rolleyes:.

Jleegriffith
Dec. 14, 2009, 01:45 PM
This may be hard advice to take, but if you can DON'T go see the horse again (if you have made your decision). You have already started your emotional breakup. Since you have a trainer, leave him there. Start making arrangements by phone to find him a place. There is no point standing at the barn crying while they load him on a trailer. Keep the emotional distance you have created. You can still do right by the horse without turning yourself into a puddle.

I think that is excellent advice!

Painted Hill- there are so many nice Tb's with the talent and the mind. Feel free to drop me an email with what you are looking for. We have a lot of nice horses that come through the CANTER program that are already restarted and at very reasonable sales prices. I have been keeping a list of what everyone wants that way when I have something come in that might fit the bill I just sent out emails.

magnolia73
Dec. 14, 2009, 02:02 PM
Just wondering if I am wasting my time looking for track rejects as once they are runners, always runners. Thoughts?


I think when you go shopping next, look at OTTB's, particularly restarted ones. It seems like *in general* people who end up unhappy with their OTTB bought the wrong one. Catty, Bold, Athletic. Look of Eagles. Sharp. Those are nice features to have if you fit the profile of a certain rider. There are plenty of OTTB's that come in "quiet, sweet, lazy, slow, kind eye, laid back"- find one of those. Unless they have an unsoundness or some kind of horrid conformation that precludes them from jumping, you don't need the athletic, catty TB to enjoy most levels of most disciplines.

I have quiet, sweet, lazy and slow OTTB. She still will get tense if you get tense- but that is mileage, not her breed. But because she is neither athletic nor catty- her spook is slowed, and the laziness compels her to suck back vs dart forward. She has that sense of humor and forgiveness, plus some smarts. I bought her after she had a year of retraining - so I could tell where she was headed. The restarted OTTB's aren't that much more expensive and you get a better idea of their personality. I've ridden full drafts and 23 year old Holsteiners with more athletic spooks. And the draft would bolt.

Once they are runners- they are not always runners- again- my mare- in her first undersaddle, my trainer was pony kid kicking her- she was that un-compelled to run. She has had horses run up behind her on the trail- to be sure- she tensed, spooked, turned, but no running. Don't forget- some of them did not want to run, hence the being sold off the track. :)

That said- there is no 100% safe horse. My dear Niki is a love, but when I first got her, she nearly reared over on my trainer. There is no way to guarantee they will never buck, rear or bolt.... and that is regardless of breed or training.

caffeinated
Dec. 14, 2009, 02:13 PM
I think when you go shopping next, look at OTTB's, particularly restarted ones. It seems like *in general* people who end up unhappy with their OTTB bought the wrong one. Catty, Bold, Athletic. Look of Eagles. Sharp. Those are nice features to have if you fit the profile of a certain rider. There are plenty of OTTB's that come in "quiet, sweet, lazy, slow, kind eye, laid back"- find one of those.

ditto ditto ditto!

ThirdCharm
Dec. 14, 2009, 02:33 PM
Almost every OTTB I've ever bought has been the lazy, sweet variety. You just have to know what to look for. If it looks like it should be dashing around at Rolex RIGHT NOW, stay away! Unless you're capable of dashing around at Rolex RIGHT NOW :-)

Jennifer

Fancy That
Dec. 14, 2009, 02:37 PM
What a great thread!

Just wanted to add that trying a one-rein-stop on a galloping horse is a GREAT WAY TO FLIP IT OVER! That's how the stunt riders flipped their horses in the old western movies :(

Agree with the latest part of this thread. I think you know you need a different "type" of horse.

I switched from OTTBs to Morgans of all things, and haven't looked back. But then again, I never feel the need to go past Training and am happy being carted around on my fat little beast at BN. The Morgan mind and attitude is very different than a TB. They just aren't "wired" to run and go bonkers like my OTTBs did.

I think another breed that is generally known for not being hot could work for you, if you have a more casual approach to eventing and perhaps are okay with staying at the Lower Levels.

If you are really trying to move up the levels as a serious competitor and want to go Prelim or Higher....then you may need the athleticism and 'gallop' that TBs (or TB blood) are reknowned for.

magnolia73
Dec. 14, 2009, 02:54 PM
The Morgan mind and attitude is very different than a TB. They just aren't "wired" to run and go bonkers like my OTTBs did.

I think any breed offers up individuals with minds that are wired wrong. OTTB's get the worst rap because they come off the track very green to "normal" riding- and they are trained to go when most people are staying stop. So they get a little quick and a rider pulls so they oblige and go faster.

It's a bit of a falsehood to look at an entire breed and make a judgement. There are quick morgans that are unreliable. And somewhere there is a lazy arab. One of the biggest spooks I have ever ridden was a full percheron. I've seen zippy, nervous QH's and easy going saddlebreds. You need to look for a type.

I can think of 10 OTTB's I have ridden or been around that weren't wired to go bonkers, and 5 of those needed spurs. I can think of maybe 3 that really were a bit nutso, but they had some reason to be that way.

The smartest thing I did when horse shopping was to write out exactly what I wanted in a horse- and what kind of a ride I wanted, what I hated, what the personality was. And that is what you need to purchase- not a specific breed. Due to my price, I ended up looking at mostly OTTB's.

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 14, 2009, 03:10 PM
I disagree a bit with Fancy That....ALL horses are wired to run. They are a horse...a prey animal. Some just don't run very fast;) Worst bucker (he was almost evil about it) I've ever sat on was a Morgan....and I don't think all morgan's are bad buckers.

OP...forget about breed this and breed that....Look at the INDIVIDUAL horse. There are pleanty of OTTBs that will be suitable for you...and some that are not. Just as there will be some quarter horses, draft crosses, morgans, mutts etc that will suit you and some that will not.

Riding in general IS dangerous....your husband is right. But so is getting in your car. You can not wrap yourself in bubble wrap or promise that you will never get hurt or sick....life doesn't work that way.

What you can do is take your time to improve your skills and take your time to find the RIGHT horse for you.


Honestly...I LOVE riding green horses (backing them etc...). BUT I've been the most hurt riding them as well. ANY green horse is going to be more unpredictable (whether green green or fresh off the track)...and less generous of your errors than a more experienced horse. It is actually that unpredictable nature that I like...gives you a bit of a rush...and love feeling them grow up. But that is *Me*....that is not most riders.

My current OTTB...dead easy to restart....but that is because whom ever started this boy for the track did a VERY good job. He was already broke....and not really green green anymore. Most of the OTTBs that I've had in the past haven't been this well started and so were more work.

You might luck out and find one like mine....but not likely. I consider him a bit of an exception....and even though I consider him EASY...he is WILD at events right now. Like getting on a keg of TNT. I just smile and laugh becuase I enjoy that....and I know he will not always be this way...he is just still thinking he is going to a race. 30 minutes later...he is as easy and quiet as he is at home...and I need a dressage whip to get him going!

That is the nature of having something NOT yet trained to be an event horse.

Based on what you have described...do NOT buy another green green prospect. You need to save and take your time to find one already started, already evented (BN/Novice at least) or that has been out fox hunting and to some shows. Find a horse that you are comfortable on.....and then go practice some of your without stirrup work;) and have a good time! (Jlee get's some good ones...so do call her).

Catalina
Dec. 14, 2009, 03:17 PM
There are quick morgans that are unreliable.

The wost bolter I ever experienced was a Morgan owned by a Girl Scout camp I worked at one summer when I was 19. One day, I was riding him Western with split (?) reins. Somehow, I dropped the left one and he was off. I yanked and pulled on that right rein and got nothing. I finally bailed when I realized that he was headed straight for a group of fallen trees and there was no room for me. After that, I rode him in a long shanked bit and a hackamore. He was a cool, super athletic horse and I really liked him, but that bolting stuff is waaay too scary and not something I'd want any part of now.

Sdhaurmsmom
Dec. 14, 2009, 04:00 PM
Ok, so who can find this for me

Jleegriffith!!!:lol::lol::yes:

Jleegriffith
Dec. 14, 2009, 05:01 PM
Honestly...I LOVE riding green horses (backing them etc...). BUT I've been the most hurt riding them as well. ANY green horse is going to be more unpredictable (whether green green or fresh off the track)...and less generous of your errors than a more experienced horse. It is actually that unpredictable nature that I like...gives you a bit of a rush...and love feeling them grow up. But that is *Me*....that is not most riders.

My current OTTB...dead easy to restart....but that is because whom ever started this boy for the track did a VERY good job. He was already broke....and not really green green anymore. Most of the OTTBs that I've had in the past haven't been this well started and so were more work.

You might luck out and find one like mine....but not likely. I consider him a bit of an exception....and even though I consider him EASY...he is WILD at events right now. Like getting on a keg of TNT. I just smile and laugh becuase I enjoy that....and I know he will not always be this way...he is just still thinking he is going to a race. 30 minutes later...he is as easy and quiet as he is at home...and I need a dressage whip to get him going!

That is the nature of having something NOT yet trained to be an event horse.


BFEN- there are some days when I start to think I am the one with the screw loose;) I agree the process of starting these greenies is not for everybody but I love it. For me there is nothing more rewarding than the process of watching one go from racehorse to show horse. The transition is different for every single horse which is why I am always still learning. Just when I think I have got it all figured out I get a horse that needs me to learn something new just to ride it.

I will also say that you can take the quietest horse in the world on the farm and end up with something completely different at a horse show. It is very important to buy something that has mileage doing the job you expect it to do. I am okay with it having trail ridden or schooled a bit of x-c off the farm or even a few off the farm trips to prove to me it has a brain and can use it.

RunForIt
Dec. 14, 2009, 08:29 PM
I think that is excellent advice!

Painted Hill- there are so many nice Tb's with the talent and the mind. Feel free to drop me an email with what you are looking for. We have a lot of nice horses that come through the CANTER program that are already restarted and at very reasonable sales prices. I have been keeping a list of what everyone wants that way when I have something come in that might fit the bill I just sent out emails.

I'll jump in here just to add that there are few people whose evaluation of a horse as having a good brain, hacks out, etc. I trust - Jlgriffith is one of those people...get her email, get her phone number, and GO SEE THE CANTER HORSES THAT ARE WHAT SHE SAYS THEY ARE....and she will STILL wring her hands over "is this the right match?"...OTTBs are fantastic horses. :cool:

TBrescue
Dec. 14, 2009, 09:29 PM
Ok, so who can find this for me

I just have to tell you he is a starvation rescue. When I got him 2 years ago he was the skinniest horse I ever saw in person, so basically I just took him to give him an upgrade...I had no idea what he would be like with some calories, I never even sat on him til I had owned him for almost 2 months, he was that skinny.

He might be a completely different horse with another rider. I know he's grateful to me for saving him. He has shown me time and time again that he has an opinion, but he is willing to defer to mine as long as I express it! He gets excited at shows, usually when I'm tense. When I relax, he will too.

One day I was riding him bareback on the trails, just a light hack day with the hackamore (=poor brakes and limited steering) we startled a deer in the woods. He popped up and was ready to bolt, and all it took was for me to say whoa, and he stopped. If not, I'd probably still be walking home!

We have a great relationship, very trusting on both sides. I love his excited side...he can be a little quiet for my taste sometimes, so I like it when he gets a little fired up. He's usually kick along quiet. Not all TBs are "hot"...I know a very fire-y Morgan and a few hot WB's too!

Catalina
Dec. 15, 2009, 01:51 PM
I'll jump in here just to add that there are few people whose evaluation of a horse as having a good brain, hacks out, etc. I trust - Jlgriffith is one of those people...get her email, get her phone number, and GO SEE THE CANTER HORSES THAT ARE WHAT SHE SAYS THEY ARE....and she will STILL wring her hands over "is this the right match?"...OTTBs are fantastic horses. :cool:

I couldn't agree more with the above statement :D. My aforementioned OTTB that came off the track in June and couldn't be quieter or have a better brain was found for me by jleegriffith. I told her what I wanted and she found it (of course, I did say I didn't really want a grey :winkgrin:).

Jleegriffith
Dec. 15, 2009, 02:10 PM
Catalina- That one could have gone either way:lol: I don't normally recommend horses based seeing them for 2 minutes while taking pictures for CANTER but I figured if I wanted to go home and get my trailer for him then he was worth someone else taking a look at. His trainer was also someone who had a barn full of nice horses that were trained correctly. That counts for a lot when buying ottb's. If you know who broke the horse or what the trainer is like that can give you a good insight into whether or not it is a horse worth buying. I can not wait to see him out and about this spring!

subk
Dec. 15, 2009, 03:49 PM
Great thread. So many of you have said what I think already but I just want to add a little anecdote about my bolting TB.

My UL horse was the hottest quickest number you can imagine. But the key to managing him (and most TBs in my opinion) whether out for a hack or galloping XC was to stay out of his face. After our partnership grew into something solid I found that we could be walking along on a soft rein and out of the blue I'd be 6 feet to the right of where I was the nano second before. BUT if I was able to stay balanced over my feet (not my butt) and leave is mouth alone (grap mane instead of rein) I could have him back in control pretty quickly. If I grabbed his face (yes, the most instinctual thing ever) then he would bolt and be in the next county.

What I figured out was the shy was just him. The bolt was me confirming to him by grabbing him that indeed there are monsters, and since we are in agreement let's get the hell out of here!

Toward the end of our career it got to be a joke with my riding pals. We'd be buckle end, he'd jump I'd never touch the reins and he would land and stride out on landing into a walk. I looked like a party trick.

Now the drop the shoulder and spin thing eats my lunch and scares the crap out of me...

Jleegriffith
Dec. 15, 2009, 04:18 PM
Neck straps and breastplates with straps become you best friends! I need to put mine on a lot more than I do. My trainer always reminds me that she doesn't get on any horse without a neck strap and encourages me to use mine every ride not just when I think I will need it. I should take her advice more often;)

LauraKY
Dec. 15, 2009, 08:23 PM
Another suggestion. What about a short team lease on an older schoolmaster, just to get your confidence back. That way, you can take your time finding the perfect horse.

Gry2Yng
Dec. 16, 2009, 12:13 AM
Neck straps and breastplates with straps become you best friends! I need to put mine on a lot more than I do. My trainer always reminds me that she doesn't get on any horse without a neck strap and encourages me to use mine every ride not just when I think I will need it. I should take her advice more often;)

LOVE LOVE LOVE my neckstrap. Wouldn't jump a greenie without it. I show with them and am not one bit embarrassed about it. I believe WFP uses one on all his horses - even at a four star. I also like a hunting breastplate, but find the neck strap in a better position for grabbing with one hand while steering with the other.

Vesper Sparrow
Dec. 16, 2009, 10:21 AM
At our barn, usually the horses doing the spooking, bucking and bolting are the non-TBs. With the cold weather and the wind, crazy behaviour has increased. Last night in the arena, a 7 year Appendix gelding spooked and spun and unloaded his rider and a 9 year old Perch-Arab cross bucked like crazy. The two greenie TBs (one very OT) were the ones remaining calm and confident.

I'm a timid rider and give thanks every day to my steady-Eddy four-year old TB. We were walking about 10 feet away from the Appendix when he spooked and spun. I don't think my boy's seen a rider being unloaded before--at least in the year and a half I've had him. I said whoa and he stood there like a statue and turned his head to look at the horse and rider. Needless to say, he got lots of pats and good boys afterward.

So don't be afraid to get another TB, just get the right one.