I have one showing in the jumpers that had 47 starts. Came off the track as a five year old and has been reschooled for the jumper ring... zero spook and lots of attitude. He's pretty tough. I love him
I like either a lot or a little. A couple starts, never showed any racing promise types (I have one now that is sound as a dollar and game over fences, just seemed to like galloping along in the back) or horses that kept on going for a long time.
I have had a few horses in the 30+ range and they were tough as nails. I'd give him a nice letdown to get the body soreness out, more than I would one with just a few starts. They also tend to be professionals under saddle which I like.
A friend of mine has one that had 105 starts in 9 years and retired sound.
He's currently not doing a whole lot right now, but it's not because he's lame. He had one of those horrid eye ulcers that wouldn't heal (not from the track), and had to have an eye removed, and it's been a big adjustment for him. So, he's been retired to trail horse/light dressage work. However, he's a very sound trail horse/light dressage horse.
I like the 10-20 range as well. In my experience, even though the ones with more starts may be "tough", the wear and tear adds up over time and there's a much higher chance of having to contend with significant arthritis type issues (I find with these horses you are less likely to see soft tissue injuries short of something catastrophic). I've also found that the ones who have been on the track long enough to accumulate a significant number of starts often have more transition issues when you try to bring them into a sporthorse life. Nothing more than anecdotal evidence, but I've seen too many horses who don't come off the track until they are older/more experienced be much harder on themselves in turnout, much more prone to skin issues/general bugs/etc., and often just harder to get going than the 4-5 year olds with fewer racetrack miles.
Doesn't mean I wouldn't look at one who was right in all other ways if it had 30+ starts, but I'd be xraying very carefully.
Good point about arthritis -- though another factor to consider with the old campaigners is how much arthritis affects them. One old campaigner I had looked like his hocks were gears on the Xrays but he was never affected by it. My old Appendix, on the other hand, Xrays pretty much clean but still needs injections for his imagined arthritis. He's just a wimp, the old guy was emphatically NOT and had a much longer career as a result.
I have a *98* model with 42 starts in 3 years (or so) that is still kicking ass, brought home a 71% and a blue ribbon just last weekend.
Similar to you... I have a '92 model with 34 starts in 2-3 years, still badass as ever. He evented to the 1-star level, did 4 foot AA jumpers for several years, and still jumps around 3'6"- 3;9" well... he gets mistaken for a young green horse once in a while
I have one currently running Intermediate that has never had an issue (knock on wood) that had 46 starts as a 5 year old.
My old guy retired from racing at 7 with 60+ starts and went on to event through prelim (could have gone higher, but I went to college) for years, then was a lesson horse for years and years, finally retired him at 23 from everything for good. Never had an issue.
I own one that retired in his 8th year with 75 starts. He was quiet enough for me (a beginner at the time) to ride pretty much right off the track, he's taken two of my daughters to numerous shows, recognized events, Pony Club meetings and rallies. He's 18 now and still going strong, though DD is now 5'10 and he's only 15'1 so he may be doing less next year. He does require a bit of maintenance, but with his mileage, that's to be expected. He's had hock injections twice in the last four years, and is on monthly Hytryl , and Pentosan during show season.. Other than a ligament injury the first year we got him, he's had no extended downtime. He has a heart of gold and an amazing work ethic, simply does not know the meaning of NO..I would clone him if I could.
"You can't blame other people. You can't always say what happened wasn't my fault. And you know what, even if you have an excuse, shut up."
Bruce Davidson, Sr.
Number of starts is relatively unimportant, if physical condition is OK. Hopper started 33 times but died running advanced 6 years later in spite of clearance by FEI vet. No way to tell; still heartbreaking and no way of knowing.
That's what makes me nervous. I wouldn't do that to a horse either. He's won 130k but done it the hard way. Mostly 8f races too. It is also one of the bad things with the claimers as well. He's changed hands a few times.
But for my purposes, I'm just considering if he will or will not likely hold up to a sport horse career. As to me his racing schedule is heavier than most i've seen. And was just curious how much others look at the "numbers."
My guess would be that he's a tough one and probably will hold up...vet the living day lights out of him though!
My OTTB, We All Love Aleyna, ran 47 times over 4 years and is as tough as nails. He retired with an 'issue' with his neck, but had a few months off and has been fine/sound. I do think that some that have had a serious racing career have a true work ethic. Once they learn what their new job is, they buckle down and do it.
What a fun horse to own! Remember him well. Glad he has a good home.
Doesn't Parklane Hawk have 144 starts before WFP evented him or am I remembering that incorrectly?
Mine has 26 over 3 years. He is 7 now. Sound and solid except for arthritic changes in his back (we match) which started to bother him and I'm willing to bet that's why he went from winning to 10th place. I gave him some back injections and he is good as new and ready to go Training very soon. I've had him a bit over a year now -- legs are clean and fantastic feet. Of course, I purposefully shop for good bone and I shop conformation that will last and a good mind, so, LOL, that's what I end up with.
My old BO has a TB from Canada who raced until he was 7 I believe. Approx. 15'3" I'd say. Some crazy high number of starts. He competed up through second level dressage with her and jumped around with lesson kids. He will turn 20 in January and is totally sound (or was when I went and rode him for fun this past summer). He gets no joint maitenance that I'm aware of. He also has crooked legs (toes in, etc.--you would never pick his conformation as one to stay sound forever) and still willingly jumps a low course, albeit like a stag deer (he's just not a cute jumper at all).
He was hotter than a pistol at horse shows when he was younger (he could canter backwards out of the ring). Still no dead head, but really fun to ride.