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Diamond in the rough?

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  • Diamond in the rough?

    Have you heard of or have you brought an OTTB to be a superstar at 3' or 3'6". It might be a dumb question but I thought I would ask those who have more experience with OTTB's. Is it unheard of? Would it be the wrong avenue, meaning that spending more money is the best bet? What would you look for in a horse to take you to 3' potentially 3'6"? Breed, gelding vs. mare, age? Is there really such thing as a diamond in the rough?

  • #2
    Absolutely!!! My trainer's horse is a $600 OTTB jumping 3'11'' on a regular basis. He is a STAR!


    • #3
      I definitely believe there are 'diamonds in the rough' to be found / developed!!! The problem is finding one, putting the time and training in and keeping the horse sound!!!

      Sure wish I could find one. (but I do love my mare and think she's a diamond in her own right and will shine even more soon...)


      • #4
        Diamonds in the rough are not a myth.

        If being an OTTB qualifies a horse as a diamond in the rough, then I have seen a ton of them.

        My most recent diamond in the rough was an 8 year old TB mare who sitting in a field in Florida. She had been purchased as a yearling, did the hunter jumper thing a young mare but ended up being too much for the owner so she sat until the owner decided to sell her for wedding income.

        She is a very head strong mare, extremely "marish", but that all goes away as soon as you get on her back.

        She was doing the hunter division after about 6 months and worked her way to the GP ring in about 3 years. She was not winning everything, but she was really just getting her feet wet, and in my opinion just getting to that level and getting around some of those big courses made her a super star.

        She unfortunately blew a rear tendon being "marish" and kicking at another horse loading on the trailer, and hit her rear tendon dead on a cross member. She may come back, but for now she is going to be a mommy.

        The bottom line on developing a super star cost the same at the end of the day whether you get them young, inexperienced, or seasoned and experienced, the choice is a personal one.

        As far as what to look for in a prospect, you have the basics; soundness, conformation as it relates to movement, attitude or train-ability, and if you have access it helps to see the aforementioned in practice, and extended to their ability over fences.

        The best bet though is to get the help of someone who evaluates prospects for a living, and let them help you find the horse for you.


        • #5
          My OTTB is doing GPs...

          I wasn't the one to start her when she was off the track, but the woman who did that does post on here and could probably post all about baby Nikki!
          Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


          • #6
            Well once upon a time, hunters and jumpers were all TBs! That is why they had to start the "non thoroughbred" classes!!!

            If you are talking about scope... the ability to jump the height in good form, yes, there are MANY OTTBs that fit the bill.

            Look at eventing, olympic level cross country jumps are HUGE, many top eventers are OTTBs.

            HORSE OF THE YEAR for eventing, named Neville Bardos, an OTTB!

            Gem Twist (if you are a youngin' look him up ) wasn't raced, but he is an american TB.

            Gem Twist (1979 - November 18, 2006) was a world champion American Thoroughbred show jumping horse registered under the name Icey Twist.Bred by equestrian Frank Chapot, Gem Twist had an incredible career at the Grand Prix level. The gelding is the only horse to have won the "American Grand Prix Association Horse of the Year" title three times, and is regarded as one of the best show-jumpers in history.
            APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


            • #7
              I have a very successful 3'6 amateur owner hunter - he came from the auction lot. He raced, but only a handful of times.



              • #8
                I used to think I was the exception (and in my area I still pretty much am), but I have seen many an inspirational OTTB "diamond in the rough" story on this forum

                I think some of the old threads were called "High level thoroughbred jumpers" and the like Or maybe some included "Inexpensive" or maybe even "cheap"

                Mine was $200 + $600 shipping and we just moved up (or are in the process of) to the 1.30m. He is 19 this year and I pray that I strike gold twice with another "diamond in the rough" when he finally retires. Though, like other people have said, TBs used to be the *it* horses. They did everything and they still can

                Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                I have a very successful 3'6 amateur owner hunter - he came from the auction lot. He raced, but only a handful of times.



                • #9
                  Dont forget Touch of Class, Joe Fargis' olympic gold medal horse! A failure at the track, this 15.2 TB mare could jump the moon!
                  "To my Gub... Godspeed my friend, till we meet again." 1996-2007.
                  Runway (Sasha) 2009 Zweibrucker filly by Redwine.

                  "Silence is golden...and duct tape is silver."


                  • #10
                    I think there are tons of great TBs out there. I love mine. Although certainly not a TB, snowman was surely a diamond in the rough! I love the cinderella stories!


                    • #11
                      This is a mare that I pulled from the kill pen at an auction last July. This photo was of her first horse show only 4 months after I bought her. She was very green and had a nasty buck when I got her. She is awesome now and has won blue ribbons in classes out of 20+ horses. Granted the fence in the photo is little, but she had zero jumping experience when I got her and it was her first time at a show and jumping full lines/course. She has obviously moved up in heights since then

                      Last edited by Buglet; Jan. 25, 2012, 10:54 AM.
                      Happy Hour-TB
                      Cowboy Casanova - Brandenburg


                      • Original Poster


                        That is awesome! I loved seeing the photos and reading all the stories very inspirational. Thanks everyone!


                        • #13
                          Adding a few pictures...

                          3-year-old Nikki: https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net..._3919833_n.jpg
                          Nikki now: https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net..._5780498_n.jpg
                          Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
                            Thank you for sharing lovely horse!


                            • #15
                              Yup! My coach's OTTB was the only horse ridden by a non-pro to pin at a hunter derby this summer!


                              • #16
                                There are tons of diamond in the rough OTTBs! I own one Moose finished 2011 as the 2nd highest scoring New Event Horse in the country, and I'm now aiming him towards a career in the jumpers. I've hopped him over 4'3 in grids a few times just for fun and it was like nothing to him. My trainer thinks he'll be a 4' horse no problems and we're aiming for the Junior jumpers next year.

                                If you're looking for a fun, athletic prospect, totally try a TB. They're awesome if you find the right one.
                                Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.


                                • #17

                                  $700 OTTB, 15.3hh, 2006, gelding

                                  Back over from Eventing land... My coach found my boy as an upper level event prospect. Started riding him in Feb. 2011 (SUPER green) and here he is a few weeks ago:


                                  Competing Training eventing, level 4 jumpers, jumping 3'10"-4' courses at home. Not at the top yet, but it's a work in progress. He was definitely nothing spectacular to look at when I first met him, but a little love and he's come a LONG way!!
                                  Please visit the Donate page!



                                  • #18
                                    I don't think this horse is a "superstar" as to me that implies WEF or Capital Challenge, but this horse is good enough to go in and get a piece out of 30+ at shows like Four Seasons in NJ or Spring Gathering in TX.

                                    The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                                    Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                                    The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
                                      My OTTB is doing GPs...

                                      I wasn't the one to start her when she was off the track, but the woman who did that does post on here and could probably post all about baby Nikki!
                                      At the tme I started working with Nikki, she was owned by Mary Meilenz (Kohn) and was late 3 maybe just turned 4. I believe it was Marys friend Charlotte ... who's last name escapes me at the moment... who initially bought her from the track so she had been introduced to hunter riding for a couple months before I started working her. She was (and still is) an absolutely wonderful horse to look at. Conformation just perfect for the hunter arena, and that is the direction we took. The first time I rode her I fell in love. She was a very sensible mare, but still had a bit of hotness to her, which is what I love in a horse. She was typical green that had her temper tantrum days, but overall learned her job and performed it well. I was under the guidance of a great trainer at the time, so I can't take all the credit. About 2 or maybe 3 months we took Nikki to her first show and competed in the 3' hunters, and she pinned top 4 in all of her classes. Since then, she was sold to Emily, who had a successful career in the junior hunters, before moving her into the jumpers, and now grand prixs.

                                      There were several horses out of Marys barn that were successful hunters and jumpers that came off the track. It is very possible to do if you know what you're looking for, and looking at when you are buying. Having an experienced trainer to work with you and your horse (and this goes for any green horse) is key. OTTBs are like any other green horse in the sense that they have different personalities. Some learn quickly and are very calm and


                                      • #20
                                        And willing. There are others that are hot, and much more difficult to work with. If you are smart in your plan, and put your horses needs first, success is sure to follow.