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  1. #1
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    Mar. 1, 2013
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    Default Anyone who has retrained off track TB?

    About 2 years ago I purchased a six year old "rescue" TB that was off the track. She was very thin and neglected. As I got her up to weight she was very energetic, but I turned her out and lunged her before riding as much as possible. But here we are almost 2 years later and she still can be an explosive ball of fire. I moved her to a new barn with turn out and large stalls hoping she would mellow with more room to move around. But she's been there almost two months and she has gotten worse rather than better. It's not feed-she's on bermuda hay free choice with a vitamin/mineral supplement. Now I will say this for her, once she goes crazy and runs like an insane horse she's usally fine to ride. But it's getting hard for me to go out, lunge for 20 minutes and then tack up and ride, or lunge before I do anything with her. I am afraid she will hurt herself some times she goes so insane. I even tried just turning her out in a big area before hand but many times I just have to saddle her or show her the lunge whip before she blows. If I don't let her blow I end up with a horse I can't ride.
    I ride dressage in the ring, just to soften and train really. And mostly putter around and do trail rides too. She is decent on trail, not a spooky bone in her body. Just energetic. She is an absolute sweetheart to other people and horses.
    I just feel like it may be time to give up and find her a home with someone who rides hard - or uses more energy from her than I do, she would be an awesome cross country or event horse for smaller type shows, or someone who has larger land space to let her run and play. I really hoped I could just saddle up and go most days by now. Has anyone dealt with something like this? Will she get over it or will this always be a reaction I may get to saddling/energy?



  2. #2
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    Sep. 26, 2011
    Location
    WNC
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    687

    Default

    It's a different discipline obviously but I see lots of OTTB-related threads on the Eventing forum. And I just read one where the poster said Quiessence (sp?) made all the difference for her mare. I'd probably go to Eventing and do a thread search... Good luck!
    It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.



  3. #3
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    Jun. 23, 2011
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    hunterdon, nj
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    Default

    A lot of TBs do better with 24/7 turnout. How much does she get daily? You said a new barn "with turnout", so she didn't get any at all before?

    My other suggestion is to get her out of the sandbox more. Hacks, nice long walks up and down terrain. As long as possible (1-2h).


    2 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2009
    Location
    North Carolina
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    Default

    I agree -- what does "with turnout" mean? And a "large stall" does not really make a difference, horses will hang out and nap in a stall pretty much whatever size they are.

    I do event my OTTB, but he, like many track horses is pretty mellow (the urban legends aren't true, ROFL). He is excellent on the trail as well -- that horse can trot all. day. long. But I bought him for his brain first and foremost. Do you have this mare's jockey club name? Bloodlines can give us clues sometimes, as can the amount and type of racing she did, or if she raced at all (is she tattoo'ed?).

    I do not stall my horses at all -- they stay sounder and healthier being out 24/7 but I realize that in some places, that is not always an option. Where are you located? She sounds to me like a great horse who just is not getting enough time to be a horse (i.e. turned out). I would encourage you to post, along with her JC name, on the eventing forum, we do have a ton of great OTTB experts. That said, a horse is a horse is a horse sometimes and if you cannot give them what they need, it is better to find someone who can.

    There is also a lot of detail missing from your OP -- do you take any lessons? If riding is her only energy outlet, do you give her a hard enough workout to use that energy? As I said, my 8 year old is mellow and kind, but if I don't ride him for 3-4 days, he still has young TB energy and I'm better off working him on the long lines and then riding the next day, he needs to be in consistent work.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 10, 2005
    Location
    Va
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    3,519

    Default

    I have my Tb mare on Moody Mare which keeps her more mellow. (she's 19 this year) She's not spooky, and she lives on 24/7 turnout. I use the Moody Mare to have "the same horse" every ride rather than wondering what mood I will have today. She will still move on if I ask her to, and occasionally be a little up which I can deal with. It's just lunacy that I don't want to deal with. The best thing I did with her though was to make the decision for full time turn out. She still occasionally gets a bug up her butt and gallops around like a loon in the pasture. I call it self lunging...hehe.



  6. #6
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    Oct. 14, 2010
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    Horse Heaven
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    Default

    So sorry you have struggled with your mare for so long. It could be many things - but since it has persisted, there is a chance that you two are not a good fit. It is not anyone's "fault." Lots of trainers run into a horse they don't jive with. If you look for another home for her -- you are by no means giving up. You are making sound decisions for both of you. If would also enable you to find a horse better suited to your riding interests.
    Good luck!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 29, 2006
    Location
    Maryland
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    1,215

    Default

    I have trained a 6 yr old right off the track who was one of those mellow types. In two weeks she was hacking cross country calmly. I didn't spend much time in an arena and just headed out. She was easy.

    Later I bought a big TB stallion off the ranch where he had been a herd stallion and was lightly started under saddle. He was a different story! Of course he was immediately gelded. I boarded him where he lived outdoors in a smallish paddock. I learned that he could not be fed a vit/min supplement. I could supplement minerals OK but he became explosive everytime I tried putting him on a vit supplement. He also didn't tolerate "fortified" feed mixes. I found he was best on free choice top quality hay and just enough plain crimped oats to add a fat supplement to.

    However, he still had too many explosions and temper tantrums. I also was trying to make a dressage horse out of him. My instructor finally witnessed one of his bad days and told me to get the hell out of the arena and let this horse do some real galloping and cross-country work. It was what he needed. If he got to do his lung openers 2-3 times a week I could do arena work 1-2 times a week with a calm, willing horse.

    I was a rider confident enough to do the hacking and galloping type of work. I was used to it and used to starting young horses. It seems to me that a lot of people who are sticking to arena work are often not confident out in the fields and woods. I'm not saying this is where you are at but most horses really need that outdoors kind of work. NOT just trail walking.

    Bonnie


    4 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 16, 2012
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Try watching the Clinton Anderson OTTB series. It may give you some ideas. I have one OTTB that is an angel and one that is slightly wack a doodle. I never felt like lunging him helped. I felt like it got him nervous and was keeping him really fit, which I did not want. My horses are just used for pleasure/light riding. I felt like supplementing him with Quiessence helped while we were at a large facility, but now that he is at home I don't use it. Maybe some of her problems are hormonal? Have you explored that route? I agree with the other recommendations of 24/7 turn out 100 %. luck to you.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 1, 2013
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    134

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wildlifer View Post
    I agree -- what does "with turnout" mean? And a "large stall" does not really make a difference, horses will hang out and nap in a stall pretty much whatever size they are.

    I do event my OTTB, but he, like many track horses is pretty mellow (the urban legends aren't true, ROFL). He is excellent on the trail as well -- that horse can trot all. day. long. But I bought him for his brain first and foremost. Do you have this mare's jockey club name? Bloodlines can give us clues sometimes, as can the amount and type of racing she did, or if she raced at all (is she tattoo'ed?).

    I do not stall my horses at all -- they stay sounder and healthier being out 24/7 but I realize that in some places, that is not always an option. Where are you located? She sounds to me like a great horse who just is not getting enough time to be a horse (i.e. turned out). I would encourage you to post, along with her JC name, on the eventing forum, we do have a ton of great OTTB experts. That said, a horse is a horse is a horse sometimes and if you cannot give them what they need, it is better to find someone who can.

    There is also a lot of detail missing from your OP -- do you take any lessons? If riding is her only energy outlet, do you give her a hard enough workout to use that energy? As I said, my 8 year old is mellow and kind, but if I don't ride him for 3-4 days, he still has young TB energy and I'm better off working him on the long lines and then riding the next day, he needs to be in consistent work.
    OK, my mare is a Storm Cat grandbaby if that helps. Her registered name is Miss Ina. I did take lessons, I am a very accomplished rider. My problem is fear of galloping or cantering on trail, I have had a few accidents that caused fear. She is good with daily work, it's the two days off that turn her into a nut. She has a large stall with a run outside, probably 30x30 run. Then she is turned out 3 times a week for half a day. It's the best I can do here in Arizona, we just don't have pastures. However my barn has large outdoor corrals that may be a better choice since it affords alot of run room. I will see what they have coming up for open space, it's worth a shot.
    NO, I don't gallop her or give her enough work. I know it. I have a very phsyical warehouse job now. Sometimes at my age I am just too exhausted too do anything other than hang out on the saddle. I don't know that it's fair to her.
    Last edited by Amym600; Apr. 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 1, 2013
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    134

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wildlifer View Post
    I agree -- what does "with turnout" mean? And a "large stall" does not really make a difference, horses will hang out and nap in a stall pretty much whatever size they are.

    I do event my OTTB, but he, like many track horses is pretty mellow (the urban legends aren't true, ROFL). He is excellent on the trail as well -- that horse can trot all. day. long. But I bought him for his brain first and foremost. Do you have this mare's jockey club name? Bloodlines can give us clues sometimes, as can the amount and type of racing she did, or if she raced at all (is she tattoo'ed?).

    I do not stall my horses at all -- they stay sounder and healthier being out 24/7 but I realize that in some places, that is not always an option. Where are you located? She sounds to me like a great horse who just is not getting enough time to be a horse (i.e. turned out). I would encourage you to post, along with her JC name, on the eventing forum, we do have a ton of great OTTB experts. That said, a horse is a horse is a horse sometimes and if you cannot give them what they need, it is better to find someone who can.

    There is also a lot of detail missing from your OP -- do you take any lessons? If riding is her only energy outlet, do you give her a hard enough workout to use that energy? As I said, my 8 year old is mellow and kind, but if I don't ride him for 3-4 days, he still has young TB energy and I'm better off working him on the long lines and then riding the next day, he needs to be in consistent work.
    OK, my mare is a Storm Cat grandbaby if that helps. Her registered name is Miss Ina. I did take lessons, I am a very accomplished rider. My problem is fear of galloping or cantering on trail, I have had a few accidents that caused fear. She is good with daily work, it's the two days off that turn her into a nut. She has a large stall with a run outside, probably 30x30 run. Then she is turned out 3 times a day when I can't make it there for half a day. It's the best I can do here in Arizona, we just don't have pastures. However my barn has large outdoor corrals that may be a better choice since it affords alot of run room. I will see what they have coming up for open space, it's worth a shot.
    NO, I don't gallop her or give her enough work. I know it. I have a very phsyical warehouse job now. Sometimes at my age I am just too exhausted too do anything other than hang out on the saddle. I don't know that it's fair to her.



  11. #11
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    Oct. 1, 2005
    Location
    Sandy, Utah
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    I would agree that 24/7 out with shelter is best (for all horses really!). And I did have one that after 'any' break of say 3 days or more was just going to give me a playful leap or two on that first ride- that was just his deal.

    That said- and not knowing your horse's racing history- I've known a number of OTTBs who were a bit goofy/energetic. Before starting arena work in earnest, I found that mimicking track work, e.g. trotting to the right, turning around and 'galloping' left handed just like a morning workout, got them over the silliness and ready to work on whatever I wanted to work on that day. And by 'gallop' in an arena I don't mean a race track gallop, really just a hand gallop in two point position for say 5 laps or so did the trick. You pull up, they say 'okay, workout's done' and settle right down. With my guy that became unnecessary after some months but worked for me in bridging the gaps between careers. It's also helpful to remember for arena work in general that 'habit' from the track of trot right, turn and gallop left- if folks keep that in mind then they know when innocently doing right to left changes 'why' an OTTB would tend to get on its toes in anticipation.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2012
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    282

    Default

    I have a chestnut ottb, sometimes we're mellow (last night he was a lazy butt head, I texted my trainer he wouldn't even canter!) and sometimes we come out fit breathing dragon.

    Trot. Lots, and lots and LOTS of trot. Canter gets them more breathing winded, but trot makes them use more muscles, and gets them more tired fast. At horse shows we are fire breathing dragon (he has to be stalled, last time he was on stall rest, he tried to kill me), and I trot lunge the snot out of him before I get on. Then I spray on sit tight, and then get on him and we "big trot" for a longgggg time. By then he's calm, and cool, and collected enough to work on other things. Canter had no effect on him, I used to let him explode too, then I tried trotting, works way better. We don't do this at home, as usually he just gets red headed anger over horses in the ring/mosquitoes/working next to the gate/what ever pisses his red head self off, but we don't get dragon like

    Also, Smart Calm Ultra is *amazing*, before my new workout routine, that was suggested to me by my trainers friend who had her fire breathing GP dragon mare. It helps take the edge off

    And I feel you on turnout and stuff, my gelding is in a much smaller area and t/o only when I do it, it's not offered. Grr, southern California!



  13. #13
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    Mar. 1, 2013
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    I think it's really what she wants, to go gallop for a starting ride to just get over it. But when I gallop I freeze, I turn into a fearful rider and it just doesn't work. I think someone else would LOVE her soft smooth gallop and just two point away on it.



  14. #14
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    Mar. 1, 2013
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chicamuxen1 View Post
    I have trained a 6 yr old right off the track who was one of those mellow types. In two weeks she was hacking cross country calmly. I didn't spend much time in an arena and just headed out. She was easy.

    Later I bought a big TB stallion off the ranch where he had been a herd stallion and was lightly started under saddle. He was a different story! Of course he was immediately gelded. I boarded him where he lived outdoors in a smallish paddock. I learned that he could not be fed a vit/min supplement. I could supplement minerals OK but he became explosive everytime I tried putting him on a vit supplement. He also didn't tolerate "fortified" feed mixes. I found he was best on free choice top quality hay and just enough plain crimped oats to add a fat supplement to.

    However, he still had too many explosions and temper tantrums. I also was trying to make a dressage horse out of him. My instructor finally witnessed one of his bad days and told me to get the hell out of the arena and let this horse do some real galloping and cross-country work. It was what he needed. If he got to do his lung openers 2-3 times a week I could do arena work 1-2 times a week with a calm, willing horse.

    I was a rider confident enough to do the hacking and galloping type of work. I was used to it and used to starting young horses. It seems to me that a lot of people who are sticking to arena work are often not confident out in the fields and woods. I'm not saying this is where you are at but most horses really need that outdoors kind of work. NOT just trail walking.

    Bonnie

    Agreed, going to try taking her off the supplement, maybe just use the fat supplement for a while. And I believe you are correct that she needs a good lung opening gallop/canter work outside the arena 1 or 2 times a week, and I am NOT confident enough to do this. I am going to put her up for sale. I believe changing her diet and moving her to a larger outdoor corral(still not big enough for her run!) really won't change the fact that I don't ride hard enough for her. She would love to do cross country since she is fearless and bold. She's not big but her stride more than makes up for that.



  15. #15
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    Jun. 7, 2006
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    Do you take regular lessons on this horse?

    It can make all the difference.


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  16. #16
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    Oct. 1, 2005
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    Sandy, Utah
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    I maybe wasn't clear enough in my post- my point is, you can do that 'gallop' IN the arena and achieve the same settling down result. It really does not have to be anywhere near race workout speed and in the confines of the arena, you might feel more secure. Maybe try that, a little more basic flat work in the arena, and then head on on the trail and see what you've got. Also- if you don't know how to 'bridge' the reins, get someone to show you- it's the easy way to achieve a secure two point position, you are basically pushing down on the neck with your hands on the reins on either side of neck, which helps you to balance more securely, and if the horse pulls at all, they are simply pulling against themselves.


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  17. #17
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    Apr. 2, 2009
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    North Carolina
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    I think you are probably making the right decision in finding a better match for your mare. There is no fault there -- it is very common and from what you have said, it sounds like this mare is just in need of some good galloping. A TB IS bred to run and they just neeeeeed to be able to run sometimes. In a pasture, they can take care of this at their whim, but, as you noted, in a place like AZ, those options can be limited. And if you are not comfortable galloping and can't give her workouts on a regular basis, there is no reason you should put yourself in a fearful position. She sounds like a nice, athletic mare that someone can really enjoy, just not a good fit for your situation.

    And I totally get the exhaustion factor! Long lines are my best friends, LOL. So is the hotwalker. But I still have to do a lot of riding and for a young, relatively confined horse, that often isn't going to be satisfied by some quiet hacks.

    There are OTTB's out there who are quite happy doing that -- your situation was further complicated by her being starving when you got her, but she has a much better chance at staying in a good home now that you have her healthy and doing at least some work.

    Their personalities really do change when they get up to a healthy weight and fitness level. I would send her on to a sport home and find a horse better suited to a quieter lifestyle for you.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov. 10, 2011
    Location
    Central Montana
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    I own your mare exactly....We have had other OTTBs as well....They love routine and she thinks her routine is to go crazy and then get ridden....Change her routine....Have someone else if you are uncomfortable get on her in her stall and walk off like she was at the track....give her the agenda you want and stick to it...She is just doing what is expected of her...Our mare is 6 and been here 2 yrs...Constant turn out and no grain....When lounged first she is demonic and kicks rails off corrals and bucks so hard she falls down....When riding she is calm and needs spurs....She thought lounging was for nuttiness....I would put her in side reins and not allow anything and she would sulk and try to lay down....Once I just started sadding and instilling a new routine ,she was fine with it...She often plays so hard in turn out she falls or gets a sprain for a few days...
    Good luck, but I would try giving her some new pre riding exercies etc. and forget the lounging...an old trainer once told me I was wasting my time trying to wear something down physically that was TB ...They get fitter and better at bucking until taught that is not what is wanted...

    Jeanne


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  19. #19
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    Apr. 28, 2004
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    Saratoga Springs, NY
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    While selling this mare sounds like it is probably the best option for everyone, I would encourage you to find a trainer to work with, to help you regain your confidence. Even the best of riders benefit from a set of eyes on the ground, and a lack of confidence is just going to follow you to the next horse, regardless of how quiet it is. Better off dealing with it than carrying that sort of baggage around. Good luck!
    Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch
    www.DifferentTimesEquestrianVentures.com


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  20. #20
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    Aug. 20, 2006
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    Pa-eternally laboring in the infinite creative and sustentative work of the universe
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    The Storm Cat line has produced very difficult horses to handle -- on the ground, in the saddle. I personally have had several to manage and have had to use extreme caution at all times. In our area, there is a gal showing an older SC now, but thats after gelding, extreme training and a huge investment of effort on her part.

    *I*, and I retrain tb's, would be hesitant to ever take a SC into my program and I could never recommend one for a re-rider such as yourself. You are not alone in working hard, and just wanting a horse to simply tack and go -- tb's can fill this need, so dont let this one bloodline be the basis of opinion. SC's are unique, high octane and very talented, however, the downside is all that takes immense energy to manage.

    My suggestion, which you've already come to in your heart, is to pass on this mare, and find something more suited to your personal needs. Where to market? Talk to your trainer about connecting with sport horse trainers, any discipline can apply -- eventing, endurance/ctr, show jumping, even a strong lesson program.

    Dont give up on tbs though -- the stories here are true, most come right from the track to quietly trail ride the next day. (and the next day too
    IN GOD WE TRUST
    OTTB's ready to show/event/jumpers. Track ponies for perfect trail partners.
    http://www.horseville.com/php/search...=1&ssid=057680


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