For the last three years I have been struggling with an OTTB and I'm afraid I'm at the point where I just can't keep hitting my head against the wall. He is the absolute sweetest horse I have ever known, an amazing mover and sound, but, and this is a big but, he had his brain completely fried as a baby and just can't seem to get over it.
I have spent three years being extremely patient with him and trying to figure him out. We have done all sorts of veterinary work done on him to rule everything out, but I think it just comes down to him not wanting to be a riding horse. He is super quiet and sweet on the ground and also very quiet if being led with someone on his back, but as soon as the rider starts to think about doing any actual work, he completely shuts down. It is hard to explain as I have NEVER known or ridden any other horse who behaves the way he does. When he gets at nervous, he runs sideways- I don't mean he goes in a straight line but is crooked, I mean he goes from left to right full speed! And, what's tricky is he doesn't really care what is in his way once he is in this panic mode. He doesn't buck or rear, but just shuts down and runs and then stops and plants his feet refusing to move.
He is not at all spooky- you could flap a tarp at him and honk an 18 wheeler in his face and he wouldn't bat an eye, but think about asking him to do any real work under saddle and hold on!
I have put kids on him and walked and trotted them around on him and he was PERFECT. I had them doing round-the-worlds, touch the ears/toes/tail/top of head/hips, throw the ball into the hoop etc. and he didn't put a foot wrong.
So, I am posting here to see if there is anyone out there (preferably in New England) who needs a beautiful horse who is quiet and sweet as a lamb on the ground. He would be fine for pony rides and/or therapy work and *possibly* updown lessons. I absolutely love this horse and will only send him to the perfect situation. I do not want anyone to try to turn him into a competition horse because I know it isn't what he wants. As lovely as he is, he really needs to be a companion or therapy horse. He *MAY* be able to be a trail horse or possibly be taught to drive, but I couldn't stand to have him pass hands until he ended up in an abusive situation or worse. Anywhere he ends up going will have to agree that he will always come back to me if things do not work out. Please let me know if you think you may have the perfect situation for this lovely horse. Thanks for reading!
I guess the thing about OTTBs is you really cant aquire one knowing that you will train him into an event horse, or a dressage horse, or a jumper... the trick is to find out what it is your horse wants to be and help him be the best he can be at that...even if it is just a companion horse!! Wish I could take him, but Im trying to steer clear of the finances of horse ownership until Im done school and I dont think the therapy place I volunteer at is looking for another horse Have you attempted trails or anything outside of the ring with him? If so, is his reaction the same as ringwork?? What types of riding have you done with him?? I have some contacts in your area ... maybe I can bump him to a nice home!!!
Emstah, if you're interested in having a pro evaluate him for a possible driving horse, I'd get hold of Jeff Morse of Green Meads Farm. Jeff is a rarity in the carriage driving biz in that he REALLY understands the TB mind, and knows how to work *with* them rather than *against* them, if you get my drift. A seriously skilled and tactful trainer.
He has spent the last month at a friend of mine's place to see what she could learn about him. I got him back yesterday and took him for a ride this morning. He was absolutely lovely! Go figure! We went for a 45 min hack in the woods and he was as quiet and relaxed as could be. We mostly walked but had a little trot through the fields and woods. I am thinking that he would love a life as a trail/endurance horse.
He's also been barefoot for 2+ years and I don't see him needing shoes anytime soon...
There's a rainbow in the sky all the time, don't be blind." -Ziggy Marley