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OTTB Let down protocol

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  • OTTB Let down protocol

    I've tried to search but maybe I'm not using the right keywords, so kindly direct me as needed.

    48 Hours ago my new girl stepped off the trailer, straight off race training. 5 yr old with only 4 starts but passed around the race barns quite a bit last 2 years. She's super level headed and brave, no feisty in hand, great manners to lead and not spooky or hot in new environments. She does seem to have either body soreness or sourness manners. She will make mare faces when touched around the girth or if she doesn't want you to be too overly affectionate, but doesn't snake or show teeth. She does loves her head scratched and stands great for grooming and feet. She's been picky about her grain(and has no idea what a treat is) but I think she just is enthralled with being out on grass. She's aloof to my presence in general, unless rubbing the head (that's her fav) and a bit stoic in general. I've started her on Ulcer treatment, and Tumeric supplements for body soreness. She's turned out 24/7, blanketed as needed, pulling shoes and giving her a few weeks to detox. She's on Tribute Kalm N EZ and Ultabloom plus free choice coastal. Am I missing anything glaring to ease her let down and maybe bring out the snuggly side I really do think she Has?
    Fourth N' Goal Training LLC.
    ~Specializing in Mom and Kid Approved Equitation and Jumper Horses

    *Horse Collector Status = Six Pack*

  • #2
    It's been two days. It can take weeks, months, some even years for their personalities to level out, or become "snuggly" as you say. Some just aren't snuggly. My mare is not. You're doing everything right, just give her time.
    Hopefully the grain pickiness will subside after a time of ulcer meds. What are you using?
    You could have the Chiro and/or a massage therapist out in a few weeks.
    Have her teeth checked/done.
    Custom tack racks!
    www.mmeqcenter.com/tacklove.html

    Comment


    • #3
      It sounds like you are on a good path. With pulling her shoes I'd keep a close eye on her feet. Some TBs have great feet off the track and some can be quite long in the toe with thin soles. Since this time of year can make the ground particularly hard, a sole bruise is both unpleasant and can contribute to general body soreness. Boots or a product like hoof armour may be good to keep in mind if needed.

      In terms of demeanor change, I think treating ulcers is the best first start. From there, consistent handling with no expectations of "snuggly" personality. My mare took a solid 18 months to really show her personality. Until then, I was very consistent and fair. She thrived with having clear boundaries and it allowed her to relax and become more engaged. Prior to then, she was pretty shut down, likely from being ignored and then over-corrected.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
        It sounds like you are on a good path. With pulling her shoes I'd keep a close eye on her feet. Some TBs have great feet off the track and some can be quite long in the toe with thin soles. Since this time of year can make the ground particularly hard, a sole bruise is both unpleasant and can contribute to general body soreness. Boots or a product like hoof armour may be good to keep in mind if needed.

        In terms of demeanor change, I think treating ulcers is the best first start. From there, consistent handling with no expectations of "snuggly" personality. My mare took a solid 18 months to really show her personality. Until then, I was very consistent and fair. She thrived with having clear boundaries and it allowed her to relax and become more engaged. Prior to then, she was pretty shut down, likely from being ignored and then over-corrected.
        She actually pulled one front shoe yesterday kicking up her heels, no damage and she seems to have real good feet, no chips and not tender. We are having a very wet and warm winter thus far so battling thrush with my crew has been our biggest trouble with my barefoot guys. I do have boots on hand though. I get my hands on everyone 3-4 days a week, I have 4 boarded, so everyone gets hands on often with no expectations of anything but stand still while I check overm brush, and pick usually. I'm hoping I can find her sweet tooth so at least I can be the treat lady and she looks forward for seeing me with brushes. I've had non-snuggly, but the way she is in moments of ear scratches I think it's in her. I think like GLR pony, she's a bit shut down.
        Fourth N' Goal Training LLC.
        ~Specializing in Mom and Kid Approved Equitation and Jumper Horses

        *Horse Collector Status = Six Pack*

        Comment


        • #5
          Instead of turmeric, which may do nothing, or at least in addition to it, I would consider getting hands-on body work done. Track life is hard on the body, especially the hind end, and good massage and chiro work can do a lot more than any supplement.

          since she seems to be a nice tempered girl, I would just let her tell you what she's ready to do. Giving her something to do, even if just 20 minutes a day, will be good for her, so she has something to focus on and be directed to do, instead of spending 24x7 totally out of a routine and trying to figure out "what do I do now?"
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by City Ponies View Post
            I've tried to search but maybe I'm not using the right keywords, so kindly direct me as needed.

            48 Hours ago my new girl stepped off the trailer, straight off race training. 5 yr old with only 4 starts but passed around the race barns quite a bit last 2 years. She's super level headed and brave, no feisty in hand, great manners to lead and not spooky or hot in new environments. She does seem to have either body soreness or sourness manners. She will make mare faces when touched around the girth or if she doesn't want you to be too overly affectionate, but doesn't snake or show teeth. She does loves her head scratched and stands great for grooming and feet. She's been picky about her grain(and has no idea what a treat is) but I think she just is enthralled with being out on grass. She's aloof to my presence in general, unless rubbing the head (that's her fav) and a bit stoic in general. I've started her on Ulcer treatment, and Tumeric supplements for body soreness. She's turned out 24/7, blanketed as needed, pulling shoes and giving her a few weeks to detox. She's on Tribute Kalm N EZ and Ultabloom plus free choice coastal. Am I missing anything glaring to ease her let down and maybe bring out the snuggly side I really do think she Has?
            Why does she need to "detox?" I've never head of an ottb being "toxic." Hopefully you don't buy into that ridiculous stereotype of track horses. Race horses being on daily drugs is not true. No one can afford it and the testing protocols have become much more stringent over the past few years to include out of competition testing in some jurisdictions.

            But thanks for taking one off the track. You should try to get her into a work program and ride her as soon as possible - she is used to being ridden every day and you can start working on getting her more supple. Horses don't need to be "let down," they need to be trained up, and interacting with her on a daily basis from a training perspective will help establish a relationship much faster than the lick and promise you are currently providing.

            Comment


            • #7
              Sounds like you've got most of your bases covered. The only thing I would add is an early bodywork evaluation. I use a chiro/acupuncturist who has a DVM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post

                But thanks for taking one off the track. You should try to get her into a work program and ride her as soon as possible - she is used to being ridden every day and you can start working on getting her more supple. Horses don't need to be "let down," they need to be trained up, and interacting with her on a daily basis from a training perspective will help establish a relationship much faster than the lick and promise you are currently providing.
                Agreed 100% even if that job is learning ground work, lunging and other skills you want her to have before you start riding. Before I put him into hard work we worked on stall manners (WIP), lunging, long lining, natural horsemanship skills, trailer loading, grooming manners, and introduced him to poles on the ground. I also was riding him at the walk within 2 weeks. He wasn't affectionate and didn't know what treats were but a year later he is both. Starting him on work right away was a great way to keep his work ethic and build our relationship.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Highly recommend this book, if you don't have it already! https://www.amazon.ca/Beyond-Track-R.../dp/1570764026

                  Also agree with the recommendations to have teeth checked and getting her on a program with a bodyworker.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sounds like she is in good hands so far..

                    My general protocol is to treat them like any other horse new to my program. The first thing I do when I get them is get them looked at by a chiropractor and/or masseuse as needed, plus dental work. The bodyworkers can give me a baseline of their body condition, and help me decide if I want to keep them in work through the winter (I get them in the fall) or give them a few months off. Every single horse that has been in race training will have some sort of physical baggage. Sometimes they just need a few days to rest those sore muscles, and sometimes, you might find there are small complaints here and there that take time to resolve.

                    Once quarantine is over they are chucked into the herd, 24/7 - with a roundbale and friends.

                    Some things, to keep an eye on for OTTBs fresh off of the track:
                    get their feet back into good shape ASAP - they almost always have too long toe/underrun heel, and almost always have thin soles as a result of race-track trimming
                    keep in mind their backs are usually sore
                    get them into a regular program - can be lunging, can be in hand work, ring work, hacking, whatever, just to keep them focused and busy
                    keep them moving and outside as much as possible
                    as much forage as they can eat - 24/7 is ideal
                    alfalfa pellets and low NSC grain
                    ulcer treatment (such as nexium) as most racing/in race training will have ulcers

                    Most OTTBs come off the track with the basics (barn manners, trailering, clipping, washing, w/t/c etc) installed.. They're not untrained - they're just not trained the way you might expect them to be. I usually keep them in light work the first month, hacking with a buddy and such, and then graduate to teaching them to lunge W/T/C with side-reins, before I do any real work in the arena. During that time I usually work on installing my own preferred ground manners/voice commands, walking/trotting over poles, and transitions. Helps me get a feel of the horse's temperament and physical limitations or ability before ever putting them into hard work.

                    Good luck, and congratulations on your new girl! I have found that some take a long time to come out of their shell, others don't. One thing to keep in mind is for some horses, especially ones that swap hands a lot, tend to get a bit "shut down" in terms of coming out of their shell. It can take a while! I have one OTTB who has been with me for 5 years and has only recently started to get sweet on me.
                    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post

                      Why does she need to "detox?" I've never head of an ottb being "toxic." Hopefully you don't buy into that ridiculous stereotype of track horses. Race horses being on daily drugs is not true. No one can afford it and the testing protocols have become much more stringent over the past few years to include out of competition testing in some jurisdictions.

                      But thanks for taking one off the track. You should try to get her into a work program and ride her as soon as possible - she is used to being ridden every day and you can start working on getting her more supple. Horses don't need to be "let down," they need to be trained up, and interacting with her on a daily basis from a training perspective will help establish a relationship much faster than the lick and promise you are currently providing.
                      I guess I meant more decompress. Nshe was supposed to race last Saturday but the track ended up not offering her class, so she's been fitted up recently. Maybe more like hey, you get to be horse, with no stress, I will likely brush you and make you walk on the hacking trail 99% of our time together LOL. I plan on riding her this weekend - life and weather. What does everyone think of PMEF??
                      Fourth N' Goal Training LLC.
                      ~Specializing in Mom and Kid Approved Equitation and Jumper Horses

                      *Horse Collector Status = Six Pack*

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Jeeze I didn't even notice the "detox", my brain automatically read it as "decompress." That's good that you don't buy into the stereotype PB described. I hope you don't say you rescued her, either! Track life is a tough environment, to be sure, but there's many excellent owners and trainers, and buying an OTTB does not mean it was "rescued" from anything.

                        I too prefer to give them a few weeks, or months depending on the animal, of decompression. There's nothing wrong with putting them right to work, either; different methods for different people. If there's one that just simply won't chillax on turnout 24/7, then I'll put them right to work, but the majority adjust to pasture life quickly, and time off usually really helps (all horses, not just OTTB) physically and mentally.

                        PEMF, I assume you mean? Pulsed Electromagnetic Field therapy. I've never tried it, but have a friend and know of others who swear by it. My mare basically hates everything, so the most I do is Chiro for her after trying a few other things over the years. No, she never relaxes into bodywork, everyone's always shocked, she hates it all, if you're not scratching her face or rubbing her ears, leave her be, please.
                        Custom tack racks!
                        www.mmeqcenter.com/tacklove.html

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by mmeqcenter View Post
                          Jeeze I didn't even notice the "detox", my brain automatically read it as "decompress." That's good that you don't buy into the stereotype PB described. I hope you don't say you rescued her, either! Track life is a tough environment, to be sure, but there's many excellent owners and trainers, and buying an OTTB does not mean it was "rescued" from anything.

                          PEMF, I assume you mean? Pulsed Electromagnetic Field therapy. I've never tried it, but have a friend and know of others who swear by it. My mare basically hates everything, so the most I do is Chiro for her after trying a few other things over the years. No, she never relaxes into bodywork, everyone's always shocked, she hates it all, if you're not scratching her face or rubbing her ears, leave her be, please.

                          I "upgraded" her, she isn't a bag of bones but she wasn't treated like AP either 😉 My gelding hates body work too, gets pissy every time I've tried. I gave up, if he's sore he gets a few weeks turnout and have a nice vacay bud. I might give PEMF (did i i get it right this time?) a whirl. I know people that swear by it too but have not actually seen said horses in person afterwards. Of course vet workup is coming too, I didn't do a PPE, she is sound and if she needs to be a pasture pet she can. I was just drawn to her listing and after weeks of checking back she still hadn't be homed, so I pulled the trigger. Going the relaxed, chill, route. I'll ride her but just walking and trails for a while.
                          Fourth N' Goal Training LLC.
                          ~Specializing in Mom and Kid Approved Equitation and Jumper Horses

                          *Horse Collector Status = Six Pack*

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            :::flame suit::: I've never done a PPE. I've been vry lucky ;-) Pics??
                            Custom tack racks!
                            www.mmeqcenter.com/tacklove.html

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by beowulf View Post
                              Sounds like she is in good hands so far..

                              My general protocol is to treat them like any other horse new to my program. The first thing I do when I get them is get them looked at by a chiropractor and/or masseuse as needed, plus dental work. The bodyworkers can give me a baseline of their body condition, and help me decide if I want to keep them in work through the winter (I get them in the fall) or give them a few months off. Every single horse that has been in race training will have some sort of physical baggage. Sometimes they just need a few days to rest those sore muscles, and sometimes, you might find there are small complaints here and there that take time to resolve.

                              ,
                              Pretty much ignore this entire post, including the stuff I am not quoting. This is just goofy. A masseuse and Chiro? Just a silly waste of money and an admission that a trainer doesn’t know what he or she is doing. The program you put the horse in gets them supple and working correctly. Physical baggage? Good grief.

                              A race horse in training jogs and/or gallops one to two miles a day. Wanna know how long that takes? 5-7 minutes. Plus walking to the track, walking back to the barn, and 20 minutes of walking when they are done. They do fast work once or twice a week, and sometimes not at all if they are racing regularly. A work takes an average of 50 seconds. A race usually less than a minute and a half. They don’t lift weights, they don’t do wind sprints. Your 8 year old soccer star works 100x harder.

                              So a logical progression of physical conditioning starting with a horse that is conditioned to sprint is where you are at. You just want him to go slower and longer, which he is already perfectly capable of doing. He is in good enough physical condition jump around several courses at a show, he just doesn’t know how to jump. But feel free to trail ride or hack for a good long time.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                She's 5 years old, she has been "turned out" before, usually during the off season of racing. She has likely not been at the track and "in training" every day of her life since she was 2. I like to leave one like this alone for a while, a month or so, or as weather dictates. Just feed her, look after her, greet her, give her a pat and a carrot, and let her chill out and relax. She has not had a big race career, therefore there was a reason for that, illness and/or soundness issues. Hopefully short term soundness issues, and she simply did not show enough talent to continue with her pursuit of her race career. Economics rule, with race horses. When a horse becomes "uneconomic" to continue racing, they are sold. Doesn't mean that they will not be good at something else, or that they have long term soundness issues. Giving her time off now will give her time to heal up any issues that have been effecting her success at the races, muscle soreness, tender feet, etc. Moving around a paddock, getting some rest, a course of ulcer treatment, and give her a break. No horses "need" to be in "full training" ALL the time. Let her take this time to become accustomed to the changes that have occurred in her life with your purchase of her, let her meet some new equine friends (cautiously and carefully), and watch her, get to know her.

                                Good luck with her. What's her registered name? (So all us TB people can wax poetic over her pedigree).
                                www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I agree with the body work. Especially Chiro. I had a few that I wished I had done chiro with right off the track, but instead waited until about 6 months into training.

                                  Each horse is different. Some can get turned out, others will stress at being turned out all day. Best thing to do is monitor and observe and learn your horse. The number one thing I suggest is ROUTINE. Regardless of everything else, race horses thrive on routine.

                                  There is an excellent Podcast Jessica Redman from Benchmark sport horses did with Major League eventing about OTTBs and involves about let down time etc. I highly recommend a listen. https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/maj...ast/e/60495172

                                  Boss Mare Eventing Blog

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by NancyM View Post

                                    Good luck with her. What's her registered name? (So all us TB people can wax poetic over her pedigree).
                                    She's adapted to turnout well, doesn't act a fool, on private turnout with fencemates but will join my other two mares soon. She's definitely adjusting well and needed some just quiet time. Brought her in the barn alone last night, no hollering or foolishness. Just took her grooming gracefully, enjoyed the pets from barn kids, and no more nasty mare face even with all the hands on I did. I still can't convince her to eat a treat, though she's eating meals better. Gonna put her in work but not heavy work until she has some more chill time, I need to get Chiro out for my gelding who's in full work anyway. Can't hurt. Feet are solid and thick, completely unbothered by the rocks and brick on the way to the barn with her missing shoe. So thats a plus, just need to fix those angles and take the damn toe grabs off.

                                    Her name is Vyborg.... yuck! I call her Tris (character from Divergent series).
                                    Fourth N' Goal Training LLC.
                                    ~Specializing in Mom and Kid Approved Equitation and Jumper Horses

                                    *Horse Collector Status = Six Pack*

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Well, Vy or Viv is a nice barn name...

                                      Looked at Equibase, kind of unusual, all 4 of her lifetime starts were between 11/4/19 and 12/3/19 at different tracks, bringing up the rear in all.. Bet she was a bit body sore after that. Hopefully she just got started late as a 4 year old for non health or soundness related reasons, which can happen. She probably hasn’t spent years in the track regime like many others.

                                      She’ll tell you what she wants and needs. As you get to know her better, it will get easier. Right now just do what you are doing. Seems to be working for both of you.
                                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        For treats I find a lot of them like Starbright mints or the puffy soft peppermints.
                                        Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

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