The bulk of my BO's business comes from boarding STBs from the local harness track for turnout and sometimes rehab. Much like TBs, the body types of the STBs can greatly vary from one individual to the next. Some of these horse are phenomenal movers! We get a few in that I think would make adorable hunter ponies and some that look as though they would very much at home in the dressage arena.
I am not sure why these horses aren't more popular and promoted like TBs. Perhaps because there is an outlet for them in that an unwanted STB can be "Amished" or that it seems that a lot of them that do go into riding horse homes go into more "western" riding homes, as opposed to homes that will ride them english.
My BO has a couple race horses herself and she rides hers on a day to day basis to keep them fit. Her trotter had won multiple races this past year, in addition to going to his first hunter show (w-t crosspoles), open shows including gaming classes, learning dressage, trail riding including judged trail rides, team sorting, and attending the big STB celebration show in NJ. He does have some trouble with the canter, but he is ten and has raced for a long time, so overcoming the desire to just trot faster has been a bit of work, but his attitude is great.
She also has a pacer, that is younger and hasn't been racing as long. He is much easier to canter and he has a really nice trot undersaddle. She hasn't yet tried him over fences, but I am sure that she will at some point this year.
We also have another full-time boarder that has an STB for a husband horse. The horse went straight from the track to his new job as husband horse. The horse can obviously take a joke and he does whatever is asked of him. He has also gone to some open shows and kicks butt in the w-t game classes with his rider. He came to his current people as a winner of hundreds of thousands of dollars that his former connections wanted to see placed in a good home. So that does happen.
I think a the end of the day, many people just think they are hard to teach to canter and don't want to be bothered with the retraining. If they knew how good minded so many of these horses are, and how people oriented they are, I think the general public would rethink owning one. Oh, and they also seem to be very hardy horses in general...
I believe that as a breed they have real sporthorse potential. The righht one can make a great project. STBs are more refined looking than they used to be (although I have a soft spot for the old fashioned big jugheads!) They are athletic with good bone, good feet and great minds, usually. The big trot is bred in, and I have seen STB babies do nice collected and extended trot.
Many Stbs - both pacing and trotting bred -canter nicely too. Of course any ex driving horse will need training in bending and balance undersaddle, etc.
In addition - altho of course not a "sporthorse" trait- many Stbs can do saddle gaits such as stepping pace and rack.
I use to ride an ex pacer
she was homely but she had a heart of gold, would go anywhere you put here and was a joy to ride and was very comfortable in all 4 gaits
however a word of advice, do not try to canter an ex pacer bareback, she would just do her race pace and I thought I was going to fly off the side and she had a full body roll before I got her to slow down
she is the only one I have really known but I think they are awesome
That 17 hand bay roan is cool! I didn't know they came in any colors but bay, brown, and black.
edit to add: I think I would really have to stick within MI for shipping reasons, plus being able to see the horse first.
They also come in chestnut and grey. Chestnuts range from bright copper to liver so dark the horse looks black and chestnut can only be seen in the right lighting when the golden hairs on the ankles show up.
Try the Ontario adoption people since a lot of Michegan horses race there with Ontario based trainers.
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They are awesome.
I am/was lucky enough to have a very knowledgeable horseman who drives for Brookledge [they do alot of standardbred transport] and live near Hanover Shoe farms, so they are always in the area. She would watch out for some of the really nice ones. Usually coming through H.O.R.S.E Human Organization for Retired Standardbred Equines, but a few direct from owners.
Never had a bad one & all of mine were very attractive. All of them made it into the Hunt field, some into the Hunter ring, 90% made fantastic Event horses through Prelim and 1 exceptional mare took me safely 1.40m Jumpers.
I don't think they have a bad rep. just not as highly publicized.
And having dealt w/ both Tb's and Stb's, giving everything equal I'd probably pick the Standard.
I love standardbreds, and secretly would love to breed one to a warmblood! I don't think that will ever happen, but I can dream.
I had a 16H bay mare I pulled out of the feedlot. She was the most gorgeous blood bay and the sweetest thing. She was super easy to break. She never raced but was race trained, and I was able to contact the previous owner through her brand. She never offered to buck or rear under saddle, she acted like she had been ridden for years, and she was only a 3 year old. She had a gorgeous trot, and her canter wasn't that bad once we got collected. My next eventer is going to be a standardbred for sure.
My next eventer is going to be a standardbred for sure.
I always thought that my next horse would be a stock horse that I would show on the stock horse circuit, but looking at standardbreds has rekindled my desire to one day event. I am starting to think that my next horse is going to be a snazzy standardbred, black, gelding, around 16 hands.
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I don't see any adoption options listed for Michigan on USTA, but if you go to http://standardbreds.ustrotting.com/ it should take you right to the Life After Racing section of the USTA website. The Standardbred Safety Net section has a lot of good information, including registering a Standie for pleasure only. Contact the USTA, I'm sure they could give you ideas on finding a horse in Michigan.
In general, I wouldn't count on trainers to know the different riding or non-racing activities, so being general about what you want the horse to do would likely be your best bet. I don't know if harness trainers are aware of people doing or wanting PPE's.
I hope you're able to make some contacts and find a great friend.
Standardbreds make good sporthorses, although overshadowed, of course, by the big fancy warmbloodbreeding.
Diana MacDonald at Camelot Stables bred her warmblood stallions to a few Standardbred mares very successfully.
In a Standardbred you will find a hotblooded horse that is not crazy and has a level mind. They have good flexibility in the joints and make good jumpers.
They are very sound of mind, leg and foot. They do not have jug-heads, usually (!). They are good for almost any discipline.
I had a little Standardbred quite well known around these parts. She was
in the top ten honour roll the two years I evented her. This was in the days when eventing started at Training level and she never had a single competitive jumping fault. My weakness was my dressage and she remained somewhat stiff.
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I do find that getting a decent canter out of them can be difficult.
I imagine it is like some lines of their cousin the Saddlebred. That trot is so strongly bred into them that the canter suffers. Plus you have the lateral genetics in there which can make both the walk and the canter a challenge to get right.
When I was at PSU a friend boarded at a barn where the BO routinely took OTSBs, made them up, and resold them as show/pleasure horses (mostly driven, some riding). Aside from one, they were all natural trotters and not pacers. All big, bay/black with big ole heads and sweet personalities. They had great temperments and made up very very quickly to be excellent riding or pleasure driving horses. I was impressed, actually, with how quickly they made the transition-- quicker than a lot of OTTBs. I also don't remember them needing as much "let down" as a lot of OTTBs. I was left with a very favorable impression of the breed after seeing those horses.
They had great temperments and made up very very quickly to be excellent riding or pleasure driving horses. I was impressed, actually, with how quickly they made the transition-- quicker than a lot of OTTBs. I also don't remember them needing as much "let down" as a lot of OTTBs. I was left with a very favorable impression of the breed after seeing those horses.
I would imagine a breed who routinely goes straight from the track to pulling a buggy in traffic would have to have, in general, an excellent temperment and level head. They are also happy to work. Big hearts there.