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  1. #1
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    Talking Looking a gift horse in the mouth? (update w/ happy dance page 2)

    A little late in my OTTB shopping (as in 2 days after I found and bought a 5 year old that I liked) a trainer emails me. They have a little guy, a steeplechaser with an excellent race record -- serious winnings, we are talking major league $$$$, major league tracks, probably a well known horse because they haven't yet released the name to me...

    I can have him for less than a song, probably free, the owner just wants him to go to a good home.

    He is 100% sound.

    BUT HE IS 12.

    My search for an OTTB was for jumpers. I have no idea if this is too old. I know I am annoying, I asked the same question for 8 a while back... BUT 12? Possible that I could still have some fun with him in the show ring or is that just insane?
    Last edited by 3eme; Jul. 1, 2010 at 05:22 AM.



  2. #2
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    In my junior years my family took in a couple of older racers and were very happy with both. One retired from the track at 13, the other at 9. Neither one ever took a wrong step with my brothers or myself, and we jumped / showed them pretty heavily for years. Really great horses.

    If you look back through some of the older jumper stories, you'll find that there are plenty of stories about older track horses becoming jumpers. Kathy Kusner mentions in her COTH article that Untouchable was 11 when he retired from the track - that turned out well. http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/...nged-tradition
    "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right." -Henry Ford



  3. #3
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    That's a great article, Tiramit -- thanks!



  4. #4
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    Well, if he steeplechased, he already knows how to run and jump. You just have to teach him to turn a little tighter!

    If he's stayed sound for years as a racehorse, you would think he could hold up for quite a while as a show horse.



  5. #5
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    Have to agree, if he stayed sound as a racehorse for that long, he's built out of some damn tough material!

    My only concern would be his mind and retraining him. Would a PPE be possible?



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sptraining View Post

    My only concern would be his mind and retraining him. Would a PPE be possible?
    Yup, the retraining part is the part that I am (or was?) skeptical about.

    As for a PPE, I won't bother with that (especially given his price!). We have lots of space here, so at worst he could just retire as a big fat carrot-eater.



  7. #7
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    My biggest concern would be the resale value/marketability of a 12 y/o off the track. That being said, if you're looking for a horse for yourself and not looking to re-sell it down the road, then I would probably go for it. 12 years on the track and retiring sound says a lot about that horse's structural integrity.
    Here today, gone tomorrow...



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFrytheEqHorse View Post
    My biggest concern would be the resale value/marketability of a 12 y/o off the track. That being said, if you're looking for a horse for yourself and not looking to re-sell it down the road, then I would probably go for it. 12 years on the track and retiring sound says a lot about that horse's structural integrity.
    He'd just be for me, for fun, no plans to re-sell. I probably should have stated that, because you are right it would be an important consideration



  9. #9
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    As indicated by the Kushner article, there have been a boat load of OTTB's that have had successful racing/chasing/country etc. careers that have gone on to have equally successful hunter/jumper careers, and more to your direct question twelve is NO where near TOO old.

    There are benefits to an older horse; proven ability, soundness, maturity, etc., which are questions you will have with younger horses.

    I remember a mare my father had when I was younger, she was a successful chaser as well, and 13 when she started her second career, she was doing the open hunter route in less than a year, and she was winning consistently, thats an understatement, she was almost impossible to beat, she was a natural hunter she hit a beat, found her own spots, and given the reduced pace and the freedom of her head and neck she did what mot chasers do jumped up into her self, which gave her impeccable form.

    Hell, even I won a championships in the open hunters with her at the age of 12 when my fathers back problems flared up at a show.

    I would not PPE the horse either, kind of an insult to the trainer and the owners under the circumstances.



  10. #10
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    This is all good news!

    And I agree with you about the PPE, Hauwse.



  11. #11
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    I only suggested a PPE because 1) if you wanted to resell him in a short period of time, it would be good to know what you're getting in to and 2) if you don't have pasture space, you want to know what you're in for. At any rate, without knowing the horse very well, you'd want to know what you were in for. It could be as simple as making sure his feet are shod a certain way or getting his hocks injected before you start really putting him to work doing something else, etc etc.

    I'm a big believer in periodic physicals from vets, especially if a horse is changing disciplines or moving up in levels. Having an educated eye checking the horse periodically can sometimes catch something before it becomes something much bigger.



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sptraining View Post
    I only suggested a PPE because 1) if you wanted to resell him in a short period of time, it would be good to know what you're getting in to and 2) if you don't have pasture space, you want to know what you're in for. At any rate, without knowing the horse very well, you'd want to know what you were in for. It could be as simple as making sure his feet are shod a certain way or getting his hocks injected before you start really putting him to work doing something else, etc etc.
    Point taken. I should have been more explicit in my 1st post about having lots o' pasture space in case it doesn't work out!



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3eme View Post
    Point taken. I should have been more explicit in my 1st post about having lots o' pasture space in case it doesn't work out!
    Go hitch up the trailer because you need to bring this guy home! He sounds like a great horse



  14. #14
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    I love these older horses. They usually have a fantastic worth ethic and a good mind. I'd snatch him up.
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!



  15. #15
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    Take him for a reason no one has mentioned quite yet:

    It sounds like you have the rare combination of skill, appreciation and ability to take risk that can serve a really deserving horse well.

    If he stays sound and works for you, that's a neat icing on the cake that argues for other people taking risks with older OTTB campaigners. If it does not, this hard-working horse doesn't get screwed and you got to be a part of that. You can feel good either way.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  16. #16
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    Please post pictures once you get this horse, because I see no reason NOT to take him! You've got plenty-o-space, want him for fun, not for resale. Go get 'em!



  17. #17
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    I forgot to mention another story.

    I know someone who imported a wb that hadn't had much of a career doing anything. Started training it for show jumping around the age of 11 or 12, I think. Now the horse is doing the 1.40m jumpers at 14 with no signs of stopping or slowing down...

    Another one...

    Appendix QH picked out of a field at 9. Campaigned for 10 years as an A/O, then A/A hunter. Won everything.

    You never know...



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    Take him for a reason no one has mentioned quite yet:

    It sounds like you have the rare combination of skill, appreciation and ability to take risk that can serve a really deserving horse well.

    If he stays sound and works for you, that's a neat icing on the cake that argues for other people taking risks with older OTTB campaigners. If it does not, this hard-working horse doesn't get screwed and you got to be a part of that. You can feel good either way.
    It's funny you say that (not to mention kind of you!)... I'm a big sucker for OTTBs, and think that they are entirely underrated, especially here in Europe. With all the space we have, I actually wanted to start some sort of association to promote them among amateur riders, get some sort of communication going between the racing world and the show jumping world, and recruit other ammie TB riders like me who have had success in the show ring with an OTTB to promote them (in the form of something visual like a logo). All of this is in the beginning of planning (pipe dream?) phase, but for now, as of 3 weeks ago I have vowed to ONLY buy off the track from now on. Perhaps something like I am talking about is already done in the States?



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sptraining View Post
    I forgot to mention another story.

    I know someone who imported a wb that hadn't had much of a career doing anything. Started training it for show jumping around the age of 11 or 12, I think. Now the horse is doing the 1.40m jumpers at 14 with no signs of stopping or slowing down...

    Another one...

    Appendix QH picked out of a field at 9. Campaigned for 10 years as an A/O, then A/A hunter. Won everything.

    You never know...
    me likey your stories!



  20. #20
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    fwiw, my ottb is 17 & going strong on his 4th career in the 1.20 jumper ring. there are lots of stories about horses doing the GPs in their late teens and even early 20s. of course he may require some "old horse" upkeep like adequan and legend injections, but, as they say, age is but a number



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