View Full Version : OTTB Then and now/Success stories

Nov. 23, 2011, 04:43 AM
So as I'm gearing up to hopefully in the next year become a happy OTTB owner, I'd love to hear your success stories and see videoes/pictures of when you got them and what they're doing now(the good, the bad and the ugly please!;) )

Would you do it again if the opportunity presented itself? Did most of you get your horses directly from CANTER or Finger Lakes or some such place?

Did you strictly buy them off of the pictures they were advertised with/going to see them? Were you able to see them move/jump/sit on them? That's the one part that worries me, I'm more then happy to let the horse down over the winter, but I'd like to see them free jump before I take anything home.

Can't wait to hear your stories/see pictures and videos!

To the MAX
Nov. 23, 2011, 06:13 AM
Uh oh, you've started a thread asking people to brag about their OTTBs? :D

DO IT! Love love love my CANTER cutie! I don't know what made me call about him - he was listed without a picture and I usually pass those ones by. But it said he was on a farm within easy driving distance to my farm so I said "what the heck." Since he was already off of the track, I was able to see him move on the lunge line and then allowed to hop on and w/t/c/do a teeeeeny tiny crossrail. We didn't vet him. I would next time, but that being said, my guy has never been lame except for abscesses (knocking furiously on wood). I would also do a quick google on the trainer. The guy I bought my guy from was apparently a pretty well known scammer - although I had an honest dealing with him I only attribute that to luck.

I have done all of his retraining myself and made him into a decent 2'6" hunter with minimal effort. This was getting him freshman year in college and working with him very sporadically over the last 5 years. I have no doubt that if I had him in a serious training program he could go farther, but I really don't have the money to compete so I don't really care. He has gotten some compliments from a few NJ BNTs though, which makes me happy :)

This is him shortly after I got him:

May 2010:
http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/28847_1302450044637_1332030010_2023136_7402933_n.j pg

One of his first jumps ever:

Jumping still:
http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/38843_1368392013145_1332030010_2181440_1445663_n.j pg

Not the greatest jumping picture (tenth of a sec too late and I look like I'm trying to grab his ears) but my sister was there with her nice camera:
http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/68244_1531501090770_1332030010_2499590_6197025_n.j pg

And directly after, giving her a pony ride:
http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/72001_1531537731686_1332030010_2499627_7116336_n.j pg

Mark Leone clinic about a year ago:
http://www.youtube.com/user/kheit86#p/u/22/sdjluoxFrnE (he has his changes, just didn't feel like doing them :lol:)

Right now he gives walk/trot lessons to a TINY 8 yr old. I used him for the walk/trot divison at IHSA shows. I cannot say enough good things about this horse. I can count on my fingers the number of times he's refused a jump. He's smart, sensible, quiet, and CUTE! If I could have 20 of him I would not hesitate for 1 second. Can't wait to get my next OTTB or better yet, a whole barn full of them!

Nov. 23, 2011, 08:06 AM
Can I brag on one that's not actually mine?


The last CANTER pony I worked with was absolutely one of my favorite horses ever, of all time, and is the most magical, beautiful, wonderful horse on the planet. Here she is coming back into work after a few months off (she had lost some muscle, was growing like mad, looking kind of gawky, and generally rough around the edges):


A short while later doing her first baby dressage test thingy (never mind the hunchbacked gnome in the saddle) while a complete torrential downpour turned the ring into a terrifying echo chamber:


And here she is much more recently with her new owner:


I can tell you if I was going to buy I'd totally look with us first, through the retraining program most likely (since horses get restarted and can be test ridden, etc), but I'm definitely biased. :) Even though I have the perk of seeing them before they're restarted and getting to know them, I would still likely ask our director and trainers to make recommendations because they're better at making matches than I am *grin* If we didn't have anything inhouse there's a few trainers out at Charles Town I wouldn't hesitate to go shopping with and would buy horses from without trying them, with basic vettings.

Nov. 23, 2011, 08:16 AM
I got Forrest Gump in April 2009 very underweight and malnurished. We took a year to get the weight on him and get him cleared for work which was in March 2010. Since then we tried to make him be a hunter, however he decided the Jumper world was where he wanted to be. We started Jumpers in June of this year and he has come along phenominally! We just went to the Thoroughbred Celebration Show this past weekend and he was perfect for his first year in Jumpres! Below are pictures and videos through the years...

Forrest when I first got him...

Forrest with weight before cleared for riding...

Our First Hunter Show... Early Summer of 2010

TB Celebratoin Show as a hunter show March 2011

TB Celebration Show as a Jumper June 2011

Jumper Show September 2011

TB Celebration Show as a Jumper November 2011

Forrest has come a long long way and this was only our first year in the Jumpers. This is a horse I was told may NEVER be able to jump and we ended the year doing the 3ft classes! I love my OTTB and once you get one you will never go back! Good luck with yours when you get one!!! They are a one of a kind horse!

Nov. 23, 2011, 10:19 AM
Well, since you asked-LOL. This is Tucker. I bought him in 2007 as a 3 year old who was in race training, but had never really raced. I basically went to the shedrows, saw him and picked him up the next day. I used some of the wedding money that we had received (my husband still doesn't know about that). I took him over his first jump ever, and we haven't looked back since. I owe so much to my trainer, who has done wonders with both me and Tucker. If I was rich (don't we all wish), he would have done the young jumper series and would be competing with my trainer in the big jumpers. Alas, he packs my ammy butt around the A/A jumpers like it's nobody's business. he doesn't really start to "jump" until the fences are 3'6", and even then it's more of a step over.

Here is the "sales" pic of Tucker

Here he is right after I brought him to the farm

Here he is with me this past summer

and here

Coming in second in our first derby

Nov. 23, 2011, 10:40 AM
Keep an eye out for some of Beezie Maddens new horses. She has a few TB's that are in line to be her future GP horses.

Nov. 23, 2011, 11:37 AM
I replied to the other before/after thread with a bunch of photos, but here's the best photo:




Jumping 3'6" the other day for the first time:


She even looks awesome in Western tack:


Lots more photos/videos/stories on my blog :)

Nov. 23, 2011, 12:10 PM
My horse of a lifetime, who is now living out his days as my retired pet, is an OTTB. He was a Finger Lakes horse that made his way down to MD and eventually to me. When I first started riding him he had been to a few shows, but you could hardly steer him and he had no idea what a lead change was. Fast forward 4 years and we scored a 90 (the high score for ALL the adult amateur sections that year) and took home ribbons in the adults at Capital Challenge, Upperville, WIHS, you name it. He also had great success with my trainer in the Second Year Greens. He was absolutely the most incredible jumper. So, now you can see why I'm spoiling him rotten as my pet since he gave me so many wonderful years. We learned a whole lot together, and sometimes (ok, most of tthe time) he's way too smart for his own good :lol:

I love OTTBs and hope to get another project one as soon as I'm finished with grad school and have enough time again!

Nov. 23, 2011, 12:49 PM
Love all the ones I have and had!

Thursday's Hero - got him at 4. Did the A/As in the early 80's with him. Won all over NY and CT. He also won the hunter warm up prior to the Maclay Finals at MSG with a Jr rider

Coral Island - Got him at 3 - gave him 2 yrs off for a bowed tendon. He went on to get ribbons at WEF in the First Year's. I also won the CHJA Adult Medal Finals on him in 1991. Won many M&S Hunter Classics when those first started. He was Champion with me 2 years in a row in the A/As at Eastern States as well as Fairfield, Old Salem etc...

I have had others too that I've brought along, but the ones above were most successful in the show ring.

I have 2 now (both from CANTER New England) one in work that will show next year and I hope to begin with the other one this Spring. I have a couple others that will never be ridden as they came to me as rescues with soundness issues.

As all the other posters have stated both in words and pictures, the rewards are amazing bringing them along after their racing careers are over.

And the photos included in this post show clearly how wonderful these horses are.

Nov. 23, 2011, 12:49 PM
I didn't have Nikki when she was off the track, but I have some pictures of her as a 3-year-old that were sent to me by the woman who rehabbed her!

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/34338_1367986594385_1073288339_30805171_3919833_n. jpg

She's now showing in the open jumpers and national standard Grand Prix classes with me, and would probably do better if she had a better rider ;). We've gotten some nice ribbons in the opens though.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/285325_1574615729467_1357770419_31731184_8384490_n .jpg Over a 1.50m triple bar in Vermont :)
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/264378_1561779768576_1357770419_31706110_4999736_n .jpg Stereotypical TB excitement?

Nov. 23, 2011, 02:05 PM
I am at the beginning of the process right now, so I cannot say that I have any after pictures that are better than the before ones (well kind of...). I went out to look at her, and that was it. There wasn't really a place to ride her, so we got her to trot and canter in the pasture so I could see her move. It is weird because when she cantered by me, I listened to her hooves hit the ground and the rhythm told me that she was mine. I know that sounds pathetic, but that was when I knew I had to have her. (That and flashgordon, sarahandsam and amastrike had been asking me about her for over a year! haha)

What I can say is that my mare is the best thing that has ever happened to me. She does have chestnut mare syndrome sometimes, but she really is sweet, a hard worker, and always wants to please.

Things have not been easy so far, she came right off the track and her body has been having a hard time with the transition between body soreness/stiffness and dropping a lot of weight (which is normal).

As long as you know that it is going to be hard work and are willing to put the effort in you will LOVE it.

My mare is the love of my life and I wouldn't trade her for anything!


here is a video of us trotting around. you can see it if you log into facebook. It is her 3rd ride off the track. She has since been off for about 2 weeks with random hind end issues that she is working through. at first we thought stifle, then we thought abscess now we *THANKFULLY* are thinking that she just bruised her soles because I was stupid enough to ride her outside in an area where we encountered some big nasty rocks.

you can also click my small potatoes link in my signature, it has all her progress and cuteness since I got her in September.

Nov. 23, 2011, 06:53 PM
Gosh, all the progress and all your ponies look AMAZING! Please keep the stories/pictures coming. This one makes me want a OTTB of my own even more!

Nov. 23, 2011, 08:00 PM
Not really a success story yet but I'm still proud of my girl.

This is her last fall right after I brought her home. Late 2 yr old.


Here she is this past EARLY spring as an early 3 yr old.
Learning to lunge:
First ride at home:
This past little later spring - First Mini Trail Ride

I really need to get some recent pictures...but I just got married and we are working on our house...so she's gotten to hang out and grow some more.

Nov. 23, 2011, 08:43 PM
I didn't have Nikki when she was off the track, but I have some pictures of her as a 3-year-old that were sent to me by the woman who rehabbed her!

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/34338_1367986594385_1073288339_30805171_3919833_n. jpg

She's now showing in the open jumpers and national standard Grand Prix classes with me, and would probably do better if she had a better rider ;). We've gotten some nice ribbons in the opens though.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/285325_1574615729467_1357770419_31731184_8384490_n .jpg Over a 1.50m triple bar in Vermont :)
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/264378_1561779768576_1357770419_31706110_4999736_n .jpg Stereotypical TB excitement?

I am a big fan of you and your mare. Wish there were more TBs doing the Grand Prix.

Nov. 24, 2011, 11:57 AM
Please keep the stories/pictures and video coming!

Nov. 24, 2011, 09:41 PM
My favorite subject. We are on our 3rd OTTB and love working with them. They have a wonderful work ethic, forward mind and very brave.
Here is a video of our 5 year old Mare. I found her at CANTER sight unseen. The trainer was very upfront, she was running her last race November 5th 2009 came in 4th place. We bought her the following week.


Nov. 24, 2011, 10:35 PM
Well I have on OTTB.. and just bought my second :lol:. I got Harry (http://s170.photobucket.com/albums/u274/horse-loverz/?action=view&current=stokerjumpinghunter.jpg)as a 5 yo off the track and he has done up to the 3'6 jumpers and packed my daughter around since she was 14. Actually she could ride him just fine right when we got him. He is now however recovering from a DDFT tear and is sidelined for a bit. but has been handeling his stallrest and recovery like a champ

I just ( last week) bought Puck (http://s170.photobucket.com/albums/u274/horse-loverz/?action=view&current=310437_161582550605149_131406396956098_272 170_243534327_n.jpg) a 3 yo OTTB, drove down to Alabama to visit moonriverfarm from this very board after I had seen his pic on her TB rehoming FB page. He has Harry's sire 3 gens back, I got down there was able to walk, trot, canter him, he was the coolest fellow for 3 so now he is mine :D. I have been riding lots of Warmbloods while my horse has been laid up but I knew my next horse I purchased would be an OTTB for sure. I just like their brain/work ethic much much better.

I am looking forward to showing before/after of Puck when I get him going though :winkgrin:

Nov. 24, 2011, 10:54 PM
I dont have a "rescue" story on this guy - I bought him already going well undersaddle. However, Im proud that a cheap little auction thoroughbred became this.... http://i42.tinypic.com/2jbo0pf.jpg

He was my first ever 3'6 amateur owner hunter, never had a green year at that height, and he took me around like a pro. Love him to bits.

This is my other guy, his first year showing: http://i40.tinypic.com/avm1dd.jpg He is now the ultimate safety horse for the "barn moms".

Nov. 25, 2011, 12:51 AM
Would I do it again? Any day every day I'd rather have a thoroughbred. My little gelding is smart and willing and so athletic/forward to ride. Yeah, he might be a LITTLE nuttier than a horse that was never on the track but he's not the first OTTB I've ridden, so I knew how to deal with him.

I actually don't technically own him (yet) but I've been riding him for his owners since he was green off the track (actually, I did some retraining on him for them when he was green off the track, then didn't see him for a year and a half, and no one else rode him in that time either, so it was like starting all over again last february when I finally got him with me up at school), and they eventually gave him to me on a free lease and I'm going to buy him for the amount they paid for him when I graduate. I believe they bought him off the LOPE (Lonestar Outreach to Place Exracehorses) listings when I was 3 or 4.

Here's what he looked like back at 4 (almost 5):


Pretty ugly, right? I even told him he was ugly. I was determined not to get attached to that little horse.

But here's what he looked like after a year and a half of me being away at college:


Pretty good.

And after a year of on and off training (he'll get weeks and weeks and maybe even a month off here and there due to different stuff... I have exams, the weather is wild, he chips his hoof, etc etc...) here we are, jumping 3'6" the other night:


And I've done it all myself. I have never taken a lesson on him, or gotten any sort of professional help. He's a smart, willing jumper who really loves it and had never refused a jump until I tried to jump him through a bounce a couple weeks ago (that was dumb, I let my friend set them at 2ft, knowing he had never jumped a bounce before... It caught him off guard) and then he ran out the other night when we set it up to 3'9" - and I've already been informed by like, everybody who's ever met my horse that the only reason he didn't jump it is because I didn't want to :lol: You bet I didn't want to, I'd never even jumped higher than 3ft until that night.

I call him my project horse but he's the sort of project that will never be for sale if I can help it.

Nov. 25, 2011, 11:23 PM
I just got my first OTTB in August. He was thin, but healthy then and has been doing really well. He knew very little going in, but has great work ethic and is a quick study!

Picture overload!!

Before leaving the rescue: http://inlinethumb20.webshots.com/50131/2826049080103903089S600x600Q85.jpg
Pre-purchase exam: http://inlinethumb20.webshots.com/41171/2869710810103903089S600x600Q85.jpg
Waiting patiently in quarantine for turnout: http://inlinethumb58.webshots.com/48441/2393556100103903089S600x600Q85.jpg
Finally turned out, meeting his new buddies: http://inlinethumb61.webshots.com/48572/2785072470103903089S600x600Q85.jpg
First ride at his new home: http://inlinethumb58.webshots.com/49337/2908849570103903089S600x600Q85.jpg
First ride in the outdoor arena: http://inlinethumb62.webshots.com/49533/2715356580103903089S600x600Q85.jpg
Fancy new pajamas: http://inlinethumb62.webshots.com/48061/2309071780103903089S600x600Q85.jpg
Recent ride in the indoor (sorry picture is really blurry):

Nov. 26, 2011, 08:16 AM
I have been getting ottb's for the past 10 years and they have all been the most lovely,straight forward horses that I've ever had...I got most of mine from a woman whom I've become good friends with down in Conowingo, Md....she gets them from various tracks but then they go to het farm where she let's them down before re-selling them to their new homes...most of them I've just bought based on their pictures,and seeing them move/jump free schooling...they all have been exactly how described,correct, straight forward and easy to re-start into hunter careers for me and I've successfully re-sold many of them myself!! My most recent is by far the most special one that I've gotten...and he's for sure a keeper! He's now 5yrs old...a lovely hack winning mover/and a great jumper...dead quiet , great mind/brain and the perfect temperament for an amateur! He transitioned so easily...and is a winning AA show hunter already!!I believe he came from Penn National..as did my other lovely ottb hunter whom I've had for 4yrs now! I recently stumbled upon his half sister on canter and snatched her up too! She's being let down this winter...I will be starting her up this spring! If she's half as nice as her half brother I will have yet another lovely ottb!! My broodmare is an ottb that was awarded premium at her wb inspection too!!

I will post pictures/video later!!

Nov. 26, 2011, 01:55 PM
I am a big fan of you and your mare. Wish there were more TBs doing the Grand Prix.

Thank you so much!

Nov. 26, 2011, 04:20 PM
I have gotten alot of OTTBs. When buying off the track or from a race horse trainer, I have never been able to sit on them, and generally have only been able to see them jog for soundness. On occasion I have been able to see them go out and gallop. I have never been able to see one jump. Mostly if they are at the track, they will jog them quickly in hand for me; if they are on the farm I either see them jogged in-hand or sometimes turned out briefly to see them move. And that is it! I make a decision based on how they look to me conformationally, and how they jog. As a general rule, I have done well with them.

Nov. 26, 2011, 05:32 PM
I am a first-time OTTB owner. I just purchased my 3 year old from the track a few months ago. I have some horse-shopping horror stories which pretty much helped me make the decision to give up for awhile. A few months later, my lovely friend stumbled across this beautiful guy online, and the very next day my friend and trainer were out in the area taking a look at him. (I was working.) They loved him, and had the pre-purchase and x-rays taken that day, and he came home the following day. He is wonderful. Very sweet, quiet, level-headed, and aims to please. I'm absolutely in love. We gave him some time off and are just now working very lightly under saddle. He's learning very quickly. :)