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OTTB Conformation Help

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  • #21
    Bornfreenowexpensive, I love your taste in horses!!
    OP, drag BFNE along with you to go horsehunting!
    Originally posted by Nickelodian
    We jump horses. Over sticks. For fun.
    Never take life too seriously. Nobody makes it out alive anyway.
    Regulus RDL

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    • Original Poster

      #22
      Haha I wish I could! Man that chestnut is gorgeous! I wish I lived in the states, there are so many more OTTB re-homing organizations. I'm in AB, Canada and there is absolutely nothing! Thanks everyone for their help, especially BFNE, much appreciated. I may look at another one soon and post a pic because you guys are very helpful!

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #23
        By the way, what do you usually include in your PPE of an OTTB? There's so much a vet can do but it gets pricey fast- what do you consider essential?

        Comment


        • #24
          The track vet I talked to said xrays of ankles and knees are essential. Hock xrays after that.

          Originally posted by horsenic View Post
          By the way, what do you usually include in your PPE of an OTTB? There's so much a vet can do but it gets pricey fast- what do you consider essential?

          Comment


          • #25
            Originally posted by Levade View Post
            The track vet I talked to said xrays of ankles and knees are essential. Hock xrays after that.
            That's what I've done with OTTBs. If you want an UL prospect, I'd do all three because you want a baseline.

            As for the horse the OP posted? I honestly can't tell from the photos because the angle used has a lot of distortion and some of the images are quite small.

            I will say that there's usually a lot of difference between the photos and the horses so if a horse is close enough, I'd go see them in person.

            How old is the horse? How long did it run? And did it sustain any injuries? Those are all factors that will impact its future career. I don't have a problem with horses that have raced a lot (I once bought a mare who had absolutely clean films and looked so good that the vet speculated she hadn't run much. When I pulled her racing record it turned out she'd run 55 times!). Depending on the injury and how the horses was rehabbed, it may not be a problem either but you need to have a better picture of the horse's overall health.

            My current OTTB raced 28 times and was retired with apical sesamoid fracture but was properly rehabbed. I've had him 5 years and he's never had any problems with it. I foxhunt him so he gallops and jumps on all kind of terrain. His racing owners were very forthcoming with his injury and rehab protocol.

            I'm fostering a horse right now for CANTER that had 65+ starts and raced until he was 9. Clean legs and moves sound (a lovely, floaty mover) but I don't know what you would find if you took films. When it comes time for him to find a home I think a set of baseline x-rays would be very helpful.

            Both of these horses are exceptional movers and well-balanced. I think that horses that got through their racing careers relatively unscathed generally move well and have conformation that allows them to stay sound.
            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
            EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by horsenic View Post
              By the way, what do you usually include in your PPE of an OTTB? There's so much a vet can do but it gets pricey fast- what do you consider essential?

              I do pretty extensive PPE. I've had some rough luck in the past and like to just rule a few things out...before I get attached to the horse. I'm very very lucky and can find a lot of very nice OTTBs that are local to me so I can use my normal sport vets. I prefer to buy from re-sellers and have a preference for horses already let down (but not restarted)...although I will look at ones who have not been let down yet. I think you can evaluate them better when they are not still at the track...and I prefer to be able to sit on them (usually I just sit on them once). They watch them go, listen to the heart etc. They know me and so are willing to do fewer views on their xrays (unless we see something)--so that helps keep the costs down. I shoot front feet, ankles hocks and back xrays...sometimes stifles or knees (ok, often knees) depending on if there is anything in the physical exam. I will also scope them (it is very cheap to do). I'm NOT looking for perfect or totally risk free...but I want to make an informed decision.

              So yes, sometimes my PPE costs as much (or more) than the purchase price horse but the expense of horses is rarely the purchase price. A PPE is no guarantee they will stay sound but I also like to do the xrays as it gives me a nice base line to have going forward.

              Most of them do pass...I think I've had maybe 3 who because of the finding on the PPE I passed. One, I would have taken if his purchase price was lower.
              Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Dec. 14, 2012, 09:39 AM.
              ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

              Comment


              • #27
                I drove through an upper level barn yesterday and looked at all the horses in the field. Most of them had done a 2* at a minimum, many had done a 4* or several, and they couldn't have been more different. Some were downhill, some were crooked, some were "light of bone", many had jugheads, some were small, some were giant. Some were steep in the croup, some flat. Most were cribbers.
                There is one thing they all had though-- a trainable, forward brain and they wanted to do the job with a body who could withstand the rigors of training.
                Conformation analysis is a great tool to figure out tendencies toward soundness issues, but it can only tell you how well the horse looks in a picture for the most part. Like others have said, most important is the brain, the movement, and the soundness. Go see the horse, see how he feels about something new in his life (umbrella? plastic bag?), see if he travels without interfering and not too much like a cart horse (though my cart-horse mover is the best jumper ever), and see if it's a horse you'd like to spend time with.

                Comment


                • #28
                  At the very least, have the basic PPE done with very careful palpation and flexions. Anything positive should be radiographed. Any thickened tendon area or filling in a tendon sheath should have an ultrasound done. Make sure to have the back and hips palpated carefully, a lot of people forget this.

                  Ideally, you would radiograph ankles and knees at a bare minimum. These are the common areas of injury in a OTTB.

                  If money is no object, you would radiograph everything. I've seen some young OTTB's recently with navicular changes. Weird, but it happens.

                  I will add ... scope your OTTB. Reason being - since they are at the track, you don't get to see them go or ride them at a good solid canter, so you can't listen for airway noise. Especially for UL prospects. Airway problems are common in these cheap claimers, and may cause exercise intolerance in an event prospect.

                  Now, if the horse is on a farm and you are able to ride them or at least lunge them at a good hard canter for several minutes then listen for noise - you may be able to forgo this.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    +1

                    Originally posted by FairWeather View Post
                    Go see the horse, see how he feels about something new in his life (umbrella? plastic bag?)...
                    Agree with this 100%. Not a magic litmus test by any means, but I do think it provides useful information about the horse's overall temperament and world view. I don't go out of my way to spook prospects, of course, and always explain what I'm doing and why to the handler. I do think it takes experience to know what is normal TB exuberance/reactivity and what is a real sign of an uncooperative streak. If I can, I like to try new prospects on a lunge line for the same reason - I take pains to explain that I KNOW the horse doesn't have a clue about lungeing, and that the point of the exercise is to assess their psychological response to being asked something new. This is not setting the bar particularly high, since most horses are happy to try to figure out something that must seem quite daft to them at first. But if a horse pitches a snit about it, it rarely gets a second chance with me. I don't mind hot and/or spooky horses - but I do hate ridiculous and unreasonable horses that fight first and think later. The one time I ignored such reactions and bought the horse anyway (beautiful young mare with lovely gaits that I could not resist), I lived to regret it - the promise of her build and gaits could never be realized because her brain was upside down and inside out.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Levade View Post
                      The track vet I talked to said xrays of ankles and knees are essential. Hock xrays after that.
                      this is what I do.
                      a general PPE costs me 1K. That's flexions and the radiographs listed. also, I ALWAYS do front feet.

                      I just bought this guy. This is him 2 weeks post his last race.
                      http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p...om/jackson.jpg

                      He is nothing special. He is very average--maybe even below average on conformation.
                      I bought him for his brain.

                      I brought him home. Lunged him 5 times over the course of 2 weeks and this was his 1st ride.
                      http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p...boom/okie6.jpg

                      His back is shorter than the original pic suggests--and his butt is really getting big. His front legs aren't as straight and with time off the track his neck is developing better natural carriage. He's also growing and growing. That changes things as well. Now with an extra 100lbs he looks really swell.

                      So sometimes it can be hard to tell exactly what you are looking at.

                      this was a 2 y/o that I went and looked at (I like the more show hunter type)
                      I passed due to his attitude.
                      http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/Cricket1.jpg

                      my very first race bred TB looked like this at age 3 when I bought him.
                      OMG
                      http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p...boomconfo2.jpg
                      but he turned into this:
                      http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p...ensnewpics.jpg

                      he had the body and brain to walk around an Advanced course.

                      so it seems as though most of the prospects that folks post are quite short coupled and seem to have shorter backs.

                      For the OP's horse:
                      I see a Novice or Training level horse (if he stays sound and wants to play) at the most.
                      The horse in question has kind of a long back and he is behind at the knee. That tends to put more pressure on the soft tissues of the front legs and can lead to lameness issues once the horses are really put the the grind for UL stuffs.
                      http://kaboomeventing.com/
                      http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
                      Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by FairWeather View Post
                        There is one thing they all had though-- a trainable, forward brain and they wanted to do the job with a body who could withstand the rigors of training.
                        this.
                        this is my motto.

                        doesn't matter how great the horse looks, if it doesn't have a brain that can handle the pressure, or a heart that wants to win--then you mind'as'well be sitting on a broomstick.
                        http://kaboomeventing.com/
                        http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
                        Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Ah, I always say, watch the jog at Rolex if you want to see the relationship of form to function.
                          Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                          Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by FairWeather View Post
                            There is one thing they all had though-- a trainable, forward brain and they wanted to do the job with a body who could withstand the rigors of training.
                            Serious question--what are the best ways to spot the good brain at the track?

                            I feel like all the OTTBs I've bought were more than athletic enough for their jobs--all were good (enough) movers, great jumpers. But I'm still not sure how to identify the good brains. Especially the good eventing brains (vs the good in-the-ring brains). I have a hard time seeing the relationship between the horse I meet at the track and the one I have 6 months later. I've lucked out and not lucked out but I don't know the formula.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by Beam Me Up View Post
                              Serious question--what are the best ways to spot the good brain at the track?

                              I feel like all the OTTBs I've bought were more than athletic enough for their jobs--all were good (enough) movers, great jumpers. But I'm still not sure how to identify the good brains. Especially the good eventing brains (vs the good in-the-ring brains). I have a hard time seeing the relationship between the horse I meet at the track and the one I have 6 months later. I've lucked out and not lucked out but I don't know the formula.
                              I think that is extremely hard to do when they are at the track. This is why I prefer to pay a little more and buy them from a re-seller or off the farm where you can evaluate them more.
                              ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                                I'd care far more how he moved and how to work with.

                                He looks like he's been let down in field. They will not look impressive.

                                He generally looks fine. He has a cute face and nice eye that I could see. Decent hind end that makes be think he might have some power. I like his lower hocks and stiffle placement...that suggests he may have a good jump. He has a nice shoulder so may have a nice reach in his stride. His neck is tied on a touch on the low side so he may want to go more like a hunter--not always a bad thing, especially at the lower levels (Prelim and lower) in eventing.

                                I'd want to see him move but if he has a good brain and is sound, I don't see why he wouldn't be a fun project to make up into a nice eventer or show horse.


                                You have to look behind things...too many people get wowed by the slick package. This is a nice horse...and this is what nice horses can look like when they have been let down out in a field for a few months.
                                I totally agree with this assessment.

                                Lots of great advice later on in the thread, too. One thing I have learned to look at in photos (and in person) is for a seemingly changing hip and shoulder angle. His hip is steeper than I like, but the important thing is that there is movement and the angle can open and close - you want the SI joint to work like a hinge so a horse can step under himself and extend the back legs out, basically adjusting as needed.

                                The short coupling/short back point is a good one, and I definitely prefer a shorter back on a horse, but the top horses out there certainly aren't all short backed.


                                My horse is an example of looks the part/physically can do it, but when it came down to it he didn't want to be an upper level eventer. An international rider looked at him and schooled him over advanced - but while he could do it, he made it clear he didn't *want to*. He's now my dressage horse, and he absolutely loves it. But off the track you could tell he had a willing attitude, and couldn't have told that when schooling x-country he would give you one try per jump, and if you messed it up you better be ready for him to buck, hard, on landing. One trainer who looked at him told me she loved him as my dressage horse and she hadn't had her upper level student buy him because he "lacked initiative" x-country. He just wasn't mentally right, and that was well into his training.

                                This picture surprises me to look back on and see how different he looks - he was recovering from a major fall in which he had messed up his SI area, and it took careful work to rebuild the topline and keep him aligned. Because of that, he wasn't properly using topline and you see the dip in front of the withers:
                                http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...05886017_n.jpg

                                That's not really a big deal, though, and especially for an eventer not something I'd ever worry about.

                                Goofy image because he's falling asleep and trying to keep himself standing, but you can see how his topline smoothed, including of his haunches.
                                http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...00478314_n.jpg
                                This photo is also good for looking at angles. His shoulder seems to be pretty straight because of how he's standing, but check out where his withers are in relation to his front legs - well behind them. His shoulders look different in most pictures I have simply because they move freely.

                                That freedom then becomes apparent when he's moving:
                                http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...64637000_n.jpg

                                His hip angle changes depending what he's doing, too:
                                http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...07060142_n.jpg

                                And in motion, he can really get it under him:
                                http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...43652613_n.jpg
                                Originally posted by Silverbridge
                                If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by Beam Me Up View Post
                                  Serious question--what are the best ways to spot the good brain at the track?

                                  I feel like all the OTTBs I've bought were more than athletic enough for their jobs--all were good (enough) movers, great jumpers. But I'm still not sure how to identify the good brains. Especially the good eventing brains (vs the good in-the-ring brains). I have a hard time seeing the relationship between the horse I meet at the track and the one I have 6 months later. I've lucked out and not lucked out but I don't know the formula.

                                  Not sure how to pin point good eventing brain when you see them on the backside, but I have found a correlation between the "kick ass and take names" attitude and good on XC. That attitude I've come across more in fillys/ mares, and they have all been tough on the flat. "kick ass and take names" is observable at the track.

                                  Otherwise, I just look for horses that seem like they like and are interested in people. I stay away from horses that have unkind eyes, and those that seem like they have too soft of a temperament.
                                  Unrepentant carb eater

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    I think it can be hard to judge a horse at the track but you can do some simple things like put some straw bales together and see if they will walk over or maybe lay a feed bag on the ground and see how they interact with it. Take them for a walk away from the barn and see how the feel about leaving their buddies.

                                    I am experienced with ottb's in all stages but I still prefer to buy one off the track even if it has been off for a few days. I can at least see how they use their body and how they interact.

                                    For example, I went to see a horse at Mid Atlantic Horse Rescue. Lovely 3yr with a pedigree that I loved on paper so I had to go look. He had just arrived from the track. I pulled him out of the field and took him away from his buddies to small ring. He didn't holler or seem worried about leaving friends. I lunged him both directions and although he didn't have a clue he immediately tried to figure it out. I then walked him over a few jumps in hand and he didn't even blink. Then I turned him loose and he very calmly toured the ring not spooking at anything in there but instead trotted around with confidence. Then he came right back up to us and wanted to snuggle. I never rode him but I had seen all that I needed in that 5 min evaluation. He was a super easy restart and is just a lovely horse in every way.
                                    http://www.benchmarksporthorses.com/

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #38
                                      Hi again, I don't know if this thread is too old to be adding to again but I'll try anyways! Someone came to me and offered me this guy because she can no longer afford the board. Hoping you can see this link, but he looks like he could be a nice guy. I'll try to go out in the next week and look at him/ get a video, but it would be great if I could get some input on his conformation (from what you can see). Thanks everyone!

                                      file:///Users/WB/Library/Mail Downloads/zippysale.pdf
                                      Last edited by horsenic; Dec. 21, 2012, 01:37 PM.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #39
                                        If you can't see the link please let me know and I'll try to save the pictures elsewhere!

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          That is not an internet link, so no it won't work for any of us.
                                          Originally posted by Silverbridge
                                          If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

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