Looking for info on New Zealand bred and/or Hong Kong JC Thoroughbreds
Hello all, it's been a while since I've been on COTH, I had health issues that took me away from riding for a few years...
So, I found myself at a sale barn at the end of January, tried a few horses and nothing suited my fancy. I am VERY picky with horses and would honestly rather have one undertrained than fully trained. I just feel a better connection I guess when I am the main training influence, even though I am a Novice when it comes to training. But, I've been successful on the lower Hunt Seat level.
Anyhoo, I got finished trying all of these horses (per one of the workers recommendations) and when the owner of the barn showed up I told him exactly what I was looking for. He pondered, and then he said to me "I have this imported OTTB sitting in a field that would suit you". I used to deal with his father YEARS ago and they were always pretty good with recommendations for people so I gave it a shot.
Here comes this skinny (not terrible but definitely had to fight for his food in the herd) covered with rain rot, still had his racing shoes on (he had been there for 6 months) and he was neighing for his herd buddies. Not a good first impression. Hadn't been touched since he got there but was ridden for a solid week upon arrival. Well, one of the riders tacked him up Western and brought him to the indoor. No lunge, no warm up, just got on and rode him through his paces... He was a little uppity but man this guy was a lovely mover and just brightened up after a while... I wanted to ride him.
Right away I felt at home on this horse. Comfy gaits, responsive, pleasant, and not one bit of resistance. I like him ALOT.
So, I bought him for $800, knowing I wouldn't really start working with him for a few months. Funny, out of all of these horses, this is what I brought home, all excited, for hubby to see.
Now those few months are now up and we are in full swing. He looks good, feels good, and his behavior is "oh so good". He is quite the looker (as I knew he would be). We started line work exclusively for a couple of weeks and have started light under saddle work not even a week ago. Just the basics, he has a lot of conditioning to do and I am out of shape as well Lot's of hill work and trotting...
EVERYTHING I've done with this horse goes smoothly. I am taking it rather slow because I'm not the rider I once was before my three knee surgeries. Packed on some pounds and lost a lot of my nerve in addition. But it's like none of that matters with this guy, he breaks all of the "typical" OTTB rules!
I'm wondering if this is just a trait of NZ bred horses? Or perhaps with Hong Kong race horses? I was told by the person who imported him that all of these guys are pretty much the same, but then again I don't know if that statement really holds any merit. He also has a more "trained" feel to him than other OTTB's that I've worked with.
I'm hoping to find someone who has experience with these guys because I am HOOKED!!! He was originally bought as a project-resale, but I'm having a hard time even thinking about parting with him at this point!!! I just hope he trail rides as well as he works at home!
It really depends on his bloodlines. A lot of NZ/AUS TBs (and the 2 countries have very close ties in TB breeding) are rangy, good movers and reasonably quiet. Certainly not everyone's cup of tea but most of our alternatives have been "stationbreds" (shepherd's hacks) or ClydeyX in the past so you went either way.
Dont be surprised if, with more work and more fitness, that he gets a little "warmer" - it is not nasty just fitness.
A lot of these TBs also go to Hong Kong - and, if it has lived in a high-rise stable apartment block, they are pretty unflappable .... or they have been "returned to sender".
Any idea of his bloodlines? There are a number of Kiwis and Aussies on this board that will be able to help.
I've known a LOT of OTTBs where "everything goes smoothly" and they don't fall into any of the stereotypical OTTB assumptions.
I don't think it's a NZ/Hong Kong thing. I think it's a horse thing. Some horses (both on and off the track) are crazy, nutty, and difficult. There are also a lot that are willing, easy and sweet--especially if they've been allowed to have some time off between racing and moving into another career.
Funny, I never looked! About as American as you can get
Oh I agree about the whole fitness thing. I've got good weight on him and he's "okay" in the realm of fitness. Not bad, but certainly not ready for serious training yet. I hope he does pick up! He's almost like a sack of potatoes currently!
He really is pretty unflappable. Plastic bags, tarps placed on poles on a windy day, pool noodles set up on a tree, spooky little pony as a pasture mate. NOTHING fazes this guy. He had a little tendency to flip his head with sudden movements directly to his face, but he's overcoming it. Maybe it's the whole Hong Kong circuit. Sort of desensitizes them? Their retirement programs are super cool. If I was still actively training I'd take a barn full of these guys ANYDAY.
Simkie, I agree. I too have had some docile American Soil Bred TB's and I've had some nutsy one's as well. This guy is hands down the nicest I've had though and though perhaps it was a cultural difference. But since his lines are American, I can discount that. Maybe the training, maybe the experiences. Maybe I just got a great TB!
Timex, yup! I've known this family ever since I was a kid and used to deal with the Father. I've been out of the area for almost 15 years so once I got settled where did I go, lol - The place I bought my first pony.
From what I gather, he gets ALOT of these guys in (one of the top importers I believe) and I'm trying to learn as much as I can about their background. It's so hard given that a lot of the "owners" don't have control over their horses retirement and of course you have the language barrier :/ However the online records are SO detailed!
Okay... I think I solved it, lol. He has a lot of Northern Dancer in his pedigree. I'm not terribly familiar with TB bloodlines but I know that's a good one to have when considering Hunt Seat
Pretty much EVERY Thoroughbred these days has "a lot of Northern Dancer" in the pedigree. NOT finding ND is far more rare (and, frankly, quite a lot more desirable for a lot of people.)
It sounds like you have a nice horse. I'd just accept that he's a nice horse and stop looking for some magic reason he's like that, other than that he's just a nice horse If you want something to point at, I believe there are fans of Brahms as a sire of sport horses.
Brahms did shuttle to AUS from Kentucky for at least a few years. The mare sold several times at auction. As far as I can tell she never produced anything of note on the track, but one went to Japan and yours to HK, so not sure if I might be missing results. Oh, nope. She is half to a gr 2 stakes winner, though, which is perhaps why people were high on her. Here's a catalog page for another one of her foals: http://www.inglis.com.au/sales/horse/293-189/
Interesting Simkie, thanks! I knew a few Sport Horse people that were big on the Dancer line for some reason. I don't know either way. If he were a mare though he'd make the Oldenburg books for sure though with that behind of his
Yeah, I'm writing this off as I got a good one! Looking forward to seeing what he'll finish out like. At least I'll have a nice horse to show off on occasion and since my daughter had to retire her OTTB (AWESOME HORSE) a few years ago this guy has peaked a new interest for her as well. It's so nice to see her riding again.
Maybe I'll get back into the Hunters someday but for now I think I'll go take a ride in the back field
All of my TBs are good eggs. I think training/racing in general gets then that way. They see so much.
I think this is true. I have two who raced for years and they are unflappable. The other two, one of which never raced and the other which raced only six times, are spooky and reactive to new things. I really think a lot of it has to do with all the things that race horses are exposed to. Think of it; screaming fans, other horses, waving programs, umbrellas, odd animals used as stall buddies, a lot of activity; talking, music, and other noise around the barn, not to mention track noises; frequent trailering and transport, auctions, being claimed and moved to another barn... the list goes on.
I was steeling myself for a blowup when I led my new mare by the alpacas and they came galloping up to the fence. She didn't even bat an eye. Must have seen them at her farm or at a race track -- you never know. The other mare who was raced extensively is also immune to the presence of those Little Freaks.
I call them Little Freaks because of the reaction of my other two scaredy cat mares, as in "Oh My God!! What Are Those LITTLE FREAKS!!!!!!
Their opinion is not shared by me; I think alpacas are beyond cute.
I've certainly noticed that. The more they raced the better they are with new experiences for sure. I'll never forget how excited I was to get a mare that didn't race (was only in light training). Well, that was fun. It took a year just to get her desensitized enough to take her anywhere :/
What I love most, is how willing these guys are. How eager to please they REALLY are. I've worked with more of the good one's than not. However this guy is just plain fabulous. I mean really FABULOUS. Haven't introduced him to any Alpacas yet though! Haha...