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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 30, 2002
    Location
    Haslett, MI, USA
    Posts
    155

    Default Purchase of OTTB for dressage

    I'm looking at an OTTB as a potential dressage prospect, but there is one issue that is bothering me about her. She has a very hard mouth. She is 5 and was never actually raced, but was trained as a race horse. She has had 5 months w/a dressage trainer and is starting to give a tiny little bit w/the trainer, but when I rode her I could get almost no give at all. Is this typical for OTTBs? Do most of them come around w/further training? This is a lovely horse otherwise, but I don't really want to be fighting with her over contact, unless it is something that is likely to be fairly quickly resolved. Thanks for any input you may have.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2001
    Location
    Ft Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    3,900

    Default

    No, a "hard" mouth isn't typical of a thoroughbred, anymore than a sensitive mouth. They're individuals, just like any breed. If you want to blame it on someone, it would be just as easy to blame the dressage trainer as it would her race training. I'd be more likely to think that's "just her". Either you like her enough to work with her, or not

    The last OTTB (he did race) I got, and still have, tends to go behind the bit. I've tried at least a dozen different bits on him in 3 years. It's sometimes frustrating, but not anymore so than any other trait, or quirk I've dealt with.
    "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George

    What's the status on Tuco?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2001
    Location
    Ft Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    3,900

    Default

    Oh, and I'm just assuming you've ruled out any physical issue that might be a cause.
    "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George

    What's the status on Tuco?



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 5, 2009
    Location
    Southern Colorado
    Posts
    293

    Default

    I have had my OTTB 9 mos now. We are just beginning to get suppleness and some correct contact. Through no fault of his. He raced and was used to a different lifestyle. I am coming into it as a middle aged rider trying to learn more about dressage. But I love his personality and I have infinite patience since we just "click" (aside from falling off once from a spook)

    I believe most people think they are hard mouthed when in fact they are not used to the the job. If you "click" with the horse try it but if not, pass her up. There are tons of great Tb's looking to please their new owners. This one I have has the best work ethic and "try" of any horse I've owned.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 5, 2009
    Location
    Southern Colorado
    Posts
    293

    Default

    And did I mention Patience? Quickly resolved does not usually work with a Tb.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2005
    Location
    Unionville, PA
    Posts
    3,507

    Default

    My OTTB is super-soft and is more likely to get behind the bit. But my other tb (unraced) has the opposite problem and wants to lean/pull on the bit. I would be concerned that she is giving so little after 5 months with a dressage trainer. Maybe look into some bodywork?
    Delaware Park Canter Volunteer
    http://www.canterusa.org/



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 30, 2002
    Location
    Haslett, MI, USA
    Posts
    155

    Default

    Not trying to blame it on anything--I simply don't know much about former racehorses, which is why I'm in this forum. I've only known dressage horses, and the ones I've known have been quite soft in the contact. Since I'm looking to purchase, I'm not in a position to rule out physical issues. Thanks Wylde Sage for your advice. Guess I'll have to make this decision based on other factors.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2005
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    10,349

    Default

    Be assured there are some WB that started out slow to learn to carry themselves which is the reason for a hard mouth.

    Some horses are born "in the bridle" and some we have to work to get there. I don't know that it is a breed problem.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 3, 2008
    Posts
    1,079

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by horsephotolady View Post
    I'm looking at an OTTB as a potential dressage prospect, but there is one issue that is bothering me about her. She has a very hard mouth. She is 5 and was never actually raced, but was trained as a race horse. She has had 5 months w/a dressage trainer and is starting to give a tiny little bit w/the trainer, but when I rode her I could get almost no give at all. Is this typical for OTTBs? Do most of them come around w/further training? This is a lovely horse otherwise, but I don't really want to be fighting with her over contact, unless it is something that is likely to be fairly quickly resolved. Thanks for any input you may have.
    I'd post this on the eventing forum. There are a lot of OTTB resellers who post there and they'll be able to give you a good idea of whether one who comes of the track with a hard mouth can be turned around and how hard it is. It's not a breed thing but it could be a function of the exercise rider.



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