I'm late to the post (getting over a stomach virus courtesy of a wee grandchild) but I think there are positive points made for both buying a youngster and raising it:
1. You have a blank slate and not much baggage
2. Youngster bred to be an eventing type
3. Opportunity to train horse oneself OR send it out to a pro
1. Long wait for baby to grow up
2. Possible physical or mental problems that mean all those years of waiting are for naught
3. No space or extra $$ for boarding and training
That said - most posters are concentrating on TBs (be off the track or homebred) and that is ok for those who can handle the temperment and sensitivity of the TB.
How about those of us who are older, now have some $$ due to children out of nest or settled in our career and are making decent wages but are at the point that we cannot handle the TB "moments" but still want a competitive horse (even at the lower levels)? While I understand that everyone would like to breed or buy and sell a 4 star horse..there just aren't that many four star riders out there realistically.
Who is the market primarily? Young riders without a lot of cash or older people with cash but not the desire or physical ability to ride a four star horse? Would the market be better served to produce level headed, calmer, mounts that a novice could handle?
I am not knocking off trackers - I've had three in the last year. All were nice horses but none could do the upper levels in eventing due to either soundness issues or mental issues. All have new careers with good people. Two were way too much horse for me, one was not enough horse for anyone except a beginner (meaning at her age, she was content to just trail ride).
My point is that it is not just TBs that should be considered as some of us older people just cannot handle their "moments" - they are quick, sensitive and agile while alas, we are slower, break easier, and not so responsive as we were in our 20 and 30's.
What sort of breeds are being developed for the over 40, coming into a few dollars and can finally afford a trainer market? Personally I like the fire of the Arab and TB but have come to realize that while I can ride one, I don't enjoy it like I used to and would rather have a calmer mount that perhaps isn't as much fire, but more about "getting mamma around the course so she'll drop carrots in my bucket" type.
Guess not all of us need a Porsche or Jag, some of us need a nice dependable Honda instead.
Anyway, I guess form to function is the way to go, but only if one is sure that everyone wants the same type of functioning form. And that is the problem I see with breeding a certain "type" of eventer - sure I'd love to own a horse that was bred by a BNT that could do four star events, but in reality, my trainer would end up riding said beastie as it would like have way too much oomph for me to enjoy.
PS- as an aside - I absolutely believe that if one is a novice, one should have as good a trainer as one can possibly afford especially if one is totally new to the sport - it saves much $$ and mistakes and if one is older, one doesn't really have time to make a lot of mistakes and then relearn the correct way..just from my "old" perspective.
I am definitely not qualified to get a youngster, whether event-bred or OTTB. I think sometimes both need a lot of time, patience, and milage to get there. When he first came off the track, people kept telling his trainer (who I sometimes work with) that she should give up on him. He reared, and was otherwise extremely difficult. After a couple of years, he settled down, and my current main trainer brought him up to Training Level eventing, 2nd Level dressage, and 3'3" Hunter and Jumper showing successfully. Now, in his teens, he's a pretty solid BN/N packer. He's been wonderful at showing me the ropes of eventing, and a little kid is learning how to jump on him. Sure, he still has his TB moments, but they're usually of the "freeze and look" or "scoot off for a few steps" variety.
Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.
As an ammie that loves the OTTBs, I am really enjoying this thread and all of the great input. I am one of those ladies that grew up on crazy horses, worked at the local barn, did the hunters/foxhunters and I am now a mom (enjoying my 40s) with a career. I fall into the "enjoy the process more than competing" niche. I think that whether I bought a young horse bred for the sport horse or a freebie OTTB (on my 4th freebie) I would spend the same amount of lesson/clinic dollars. So I figure that a freebie works better considering there is no guarantee for either. I could go out and spend 10 grand on a 3 year old home bred or pick up a free OTTB (I previously galloped on the track and still have friends in the business). At this point I would rather be ahead the 10 grand. At the barn that my trainer owns/runs I am in the minority. Everyone there has a made horse and they compete from BN to Training.
Now having said that, I have not broken the novice ceiling (I started eventing in 2002). I have schooled up to training and want to compete at Prelim at some point. So, if my freebie OTTBs are not suitable at that level than I may have to change my ways and ante up the money for a homebred. At this point I am not ready to give up on my beloved OTTBs, who knows if I am wrong???
PS – keep up the great work Janet, I REALLY love your posts.
When i mean bred for the sport - it doesn't automatically mean a pro ride. I think there is an assumption that we breeders all intend to breed 4* pro rides. I don't - most of mine go to adult ammies - such as myself - an almost 50ish person who does not aspire to ever do advanced. I think you can breed ammie event horses as well - I hope my guys have temperaments for most peole to deal with - b/c the market for difficult horses is slim indeed.
A nice young horse hs to be ridable first and talented later b/c if he is a pro ride, I'm ging to have a hard time selling it.
so I hope people will realize "bred for the sport" doesn't make it an incredibly difficult ride.
I'm close to 50 and have an OTTB mare and her "TB mind" is what I like best about her. She is smart, willing, focussed and incredibly honest. I'd take that over a horse that needs a ton of leg any day. I retrained her with the help of a wonderful advanced eventer/trainer and it has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I'm too old and not brave enough to try eventing, but I love dressage. Don't write off TBs for older re-riders - there are plenty of great ones out there and if you are not aspiring to 4* level, don't write off smallish OTTB mares either.
Much has been made of the TB temperament that I believe is just not true. I have 5 OTTBs and they ALL have great temperaments. You find difficult horses in every breed. I do agree that the track experience can be both positive and negative, but a TB bred and raised to be a sporthorse would in most cases, make a wonderful eventer. All that "will to win" could be directed towards excelling at dressage, cross country and stadium from the beginning rather than having to teach a horse that there are other ways to please humans and that they no longer have to gallop till it hurts!