So I found out a TB that met 11yrs ago while working my first Keeneland Yearling Sale is available for adoption. I've kept up with him over the years hoping this day would come. However I wish it were about 5yrs earlier! I'm considering him for several reasons; he jumped out of his paddock at the farm right before the sale (hmm..jumper?), was super well behaved at the sales and very well put together, I know this horse's sire and he had a very cool personality, and I rode another very athletic, but much smaller gelding by the same sire. The TB raced 70+ times and won over $150k. I was told the trainer/owner retired him 3 years ago because of his age, some breathing issues, and possible arthritis (go figure, was told he is sound, but not been ridden since he came to their farm). I am NOT looking at him as a resale project, just my own personal horse to do whatever he is capable of. Oh yeah added bonus, the TB is still a stallion. He apparently is so well-mannered it was never necessary and is turned out with other geldings. If I get him, he will be gelded at the clinic ASAP. Please tell me some success stories of older racehorses becoming eventers!
Things happen for a reason...so when I reach over and smack you upside the head, just remember...you gave me a reason!
We sold a 10YO in February of this year. He came off the track last summer, 44 races under his belt. He is now eventing, among doing MANY OTHER THINGS, like going to the ocean. If you search under my posts, you'll find a thread about him. (Think it's called "Sending OTTB to first show.")
My old war horse came off the track at 9 yrs, after 63 starts and over $250K in earnings- he spent about 6 months with someone who obviously hated him enough to send him off to kill- he is my heart horse- we had a rocky start, bc he was pretty locked up and was also sure he knew more about what we should be doing than I did-but he is brave and loves competing and nothing scares him on xc- finally getting strong and supple enough in his back to relax and be competitive in dressage- he is now going Novice easily, as soon as I can get our lengthenings at least a little and can afford it, he can move up to Training...we are having lots of fun, he will never leave my barn ever.....his legs aren't pretty but he is sound and game.......he thinks everyone is there to watch him! Class really shows in these older campaigners.... Go for it!
Be a part of the solution~ Adopt a thoroughbred!
One that raced 52 times, came off the track at 10, went on to do the 4 foot jumpers for a few years without issue.
If you have the means to keep a horse that may or may not have debilitating arthritis now, or within a few years, you can give it a try. However, its always a risk, we never know for sure what we are going to get when we take on any horse. A basic vet check maybe? or a more extensive one he is to be your only horse? Its hard to do when they are cheap and/or free, but their upkeep and our potential heartbreak isn't free.
Most people feel that if they come off the track sound at 7-10 yo, its a really good sign that they are inherently sound. See if you can find out more about "the arthritis". Might not be that difficult to manage.
I'm wondering if you have already made your decision anyway, and just want some reassurance that it might work out. Yes, it might.
Oh, forgot to mention that I had a stallion off the track once, 11 years old. He was easy to manage, and actually had no interest in breeding mares. Had another that was so easy to handle it made no difference. You will probably need to have it done if you board him though, so figure in that cost.
If you scroll down in the post and see the pictures of the bright chestnut that is Auto Pilot. He is a now a gelding but arrived to me as a 10yr former breeding stallion that was found at the kill sale during Kentucky Derby weekend this year. A few dedicated people bought him and I helped to transition him back to riding. I can't say enough wonderful things about him. Lovely lovely animal who is smart, kind, athletic and just jumped anything I put in front of him. I had him less than 3 months and half of that time he was recovering from being gelded but he will be an awesome show horse.
He sold to my friend Alison and has become an outstanding hunt horse. I just saw him last week when we rode together and he looks amazing!
I suppose I love the older horses so much because I think they have seen it all and then some. Most of these guys who have had long race careers tend to just be so smart and professional. I find their work ethic to be amazing and while it takes them longer to relax their bodies after such long careers it is always worth the wait.
I have one that came off the track late in his 7 year old year, 64 starts, big boy at 16.3h. For the first few years we had many struggles with uveitis flares, went thru cyclosporine implant surgery, then went blind in one eye, so always in/out of work due to the flares. But legs - He has been sound as can be, he popped a splint one year and remained in work. He's 11yrs old now, and just this year we have been in consistent work and he's coming along so well. He's my heart horse and this is his forever home. He's a class act:-) If it weren't for his eye issues, and me being a chicken, he has the scope and bravery to do the upper levels.
ETA - This horse has had the best work ethic!
Last edited by Hollywood; Sep. 13, 2011 at 10:53 AM.
I have one and I wouldn't trade him for the world. 51 starts, won over $100 000, built like a tank (always mistaken for a warmblood....which annoys me actually ). Had a rough start before I bought him and was a bit of a mess mentally but the time and love has paid off in spades. He has been sound and is not on a joint supplement. I keep him in work as much as possible and LSD is the basis of my program because I want him to last forever! He is 14 now. He is smart, sensitive, brave, athletic and has the heart of a lion. I could go on forever about all the things I love about this horse but I will spare you all I have ridden and owned some fancy horses and I loved them all but this guy is special.
There has always been much discussion as to how much pedigree has to do with longevity and soundness.
I think it is a factor but I think nurture may play a larger roll and if he is sound and looks relatively good I wouldn't think twice. Also....I doubt you will find many horses over 10 that don't have some arthritis. I would get my vets opinion of course but that wouldn't be a deal breaker for me either.
The fact that you indicated you will keep him for life and that you will be happy doing whatever he is capable of makes me think you have the right idea and should get this horse!!
Keep us posted
"look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."
My guy raced until he was 7. He had about 40 starts and won like, $28,000! He had beautifully clean legs and joints when I vetted him, but he was underweight and lacking muscling after wasting away in his stall for the last few months of his racing career.
I got him in Sept. 2007 after being off the track about two or three months. I started competing him at unrecognized dressage shows and CT's the following spring, then did a half season of BN that fall.
He did novice and one training at the end of 2009, then for the last two seasons we've been doing training. He could easily do prelim and beyond, but it's me and the show jumping that's the problem. We're eying a prelim this fall. He's now 11.
The best part for me about having a green older horse is that he was already fairly mature physically and mentally. He knew about going places in the trailer and being a race horse, had a good work ethic. I never had to deal with bucking or baby horse antics. His biggest thing was tension, which he's gradually overcome with time. He was the perfect first project for me and has become a wonderful training packer and is like my other half. As I'm sure you know, TBs form bonds that are incomparable to other breeds.
I got my super horse as a 7 year old and he was the easiest horse ever only raced 8 times though - still going strong at 19. I also got a very nice gelding from Canada who had raced until 11 and became a lower level event horse and school horse for students. He was a great guy and very sound and easy at the lower levels.
At a clinic this spring with Jimmy Wofford, when I told him we had just bought a 17-year-old OTTB who had been eventing for quite a number of years now, he said that if he's sound now, he'll probably be sound forever! So far, this has been true for us!
I got a 9yr old (43 starts), 16.3h that was fabulous. Had him 30days and took him fox hunting (well, coyote hunting here!). A teenage guest at the hunt that day fell in love with him and talked her parents into buying him even though he had ankle chips! Their vet told them he'd probably be fine for low level eventing and he went on to do pony club for several years.
He's now 16 and is still rideable (and never had surgery), but has been living the "life of riley" since his owner went off to college.
"Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George
My first "real" event horse jumped her first jump at 14 and evented through Training/ready to do Prelim through her early 20's. She is now 28 and "semi-retired" (don't tell her that!) having a ball with my younger sister. Still loves the XC and tolerates the dressage and has mellowed quite a bit with age
She has always been a really sound horse and taught me so much about the sport. If the horse is sound coming off the track at that age, I say go for it!
I got mine off the track as a 9 year old, he had 75 starts. I've never had extra money to show regularly, but he takes in stride whatever I throw at him - the occasional h/j show, trail rides, hunter paces, you name it. He'll clock around at 3' with no problem, and on days that we school higher, he doesn't even blink. The only reason we don't do more is because of my limitations, not his - I often say I wish I'd had him when I was 20, he's super athletic, and with a great mind.
Not exactly an eventer (yet ), but my guy is 15. He came off the racetrack at age 4 or 5, but went on to chuckwagon racing, and stayed there until age 10 or 11. He was very tense, and fairly stubborn at first - don't blame him really, his job for 8 or 9 years was to go forward without much encouragement or interference from his rider, "what the heck is this lateral stuff??
Now he is starting to soften and loosen up, has discovered he loves long and low, and has such a nice rythym at all 3 gaits, his canter is like a metronome. We are schooling basic dressage and basic showjumping - next year I plan to do some cross country clinics and try out a starter level event.
One of the nicest things about the old campaigners off the track, especially if they have been taken care of, is that absolutely nothing phases them. My guy has no spook, self loads in the trailer, and almost behaves better away from home - even at unfamiliar venues. Very athletic and sound too, I just give him a Legend shot twice a year and that's it.