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How long to make a hunter out of an OTTB

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  • How long to make a hunter out of an OTTB

    I did a search and didn't find that anyone had asked this question before. The post about a nice OTTB for sale on my local craigslist got me wondering tho, how long and how many training rides does it typically take to make a hunter out of an OTTB. My trainer requires 5 rides per week at $25/ride and I'm just wondering how much money I'd be spending to convert a $1000 horse into a hunter.
    Yes, I know how to spell. I'm using freespeling!


  • #2
    My OTTB who just turned 5 has been with his trainer since June 2011. He is coming along but it is a process. He is jumping and will show this a year a bit. Young horses are expensive, he also is getting chiro since he is still growing and learning how to move. The price of the horse is easy, the training is expensive.


    • #3
      There are way too many variables to even attempt to answer that question.

      Too much depends on the particular horse, its history, its soundness and its brain.

      Then throw in your own personal variables... what kind of rider are you, how much training experience do you have, how much time do you have, etc.

      And what kind of hunter are you talking? Local shows? Rated shows?

      I don't think there is any hard and fast formula here.
      We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


      • #4
        Exactly 17.

        Or see FlashGordan's answer re: waaaayyy too many variables here. Perfect brain, fabulous trainer, no set-backs? Months. Cray-cray-crazy horse, mediocre trainer, some inconsistency? Stop counting the money you're shelling out.


        • #5
          Originally posted by FlashGordon View Post
          There are way too many variables to even attempt to answer that question.

          Too much depends on the particular horse, its history, its soundness and its brain.

          Then throw in your own personal variables... what kind of rider are you, how much training experience do you have, how much time do you have, etc.

          And what kind of hunter are you talking? Local shows? Rated shows?

          I don't think there is any hard and fast formula here.

          The answer: it depends. Be prepared to spend a lot of money to bring a young horse along correctly.
          ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
          ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.


          • #6
            The answer is 42.
            "Aye God, Woodrow..."


            • #7
              Can you post some video of your horse jumping? Or pictures that show conformation?

              I have owned horses that flunked hunters because of their physical limitations (a straight shoulder, an inability to get a flying change because of a dropped hip). Whether a horse can do a certain job or not can't be measured on a calculator.
              2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

              A helmet saved my life.


              • #8
                I have a newly bought OTTB who I hope to make into a 3ft ch/adult hunter. You can read some of his progress here: http://roherynsretraining.tumblr.com/

                There is no answer to your question. Your horse could be perfect and then go lame the day before its first show. Or it could never have the brain to go quietly around a hunter ring.

                I can tell you I've had my horse for about a month. He's walk/trotting quietly on a long rein. His canter is getting there. His changes are pretty good, and he's got a great jump. But he's still green. The parts are coming along, but he won't be able to string them together for a while. I'm thinking he'll be ready to do some 2ft shows this summer if all goes according to plan. Key words: if all goes according to plan.

                Little hint: it never does.


                • #9
                  If you are trying to figure out an equation for OTTB hunter development you are setting yourself up for failure right out of the gate.

                  Proper development of any horse, for any discipline takes as long as it takes.

                  Given that all successful Hunter qualities exist in a prospect; ability, physical and mental soundness, if a successful Hunter is your goal, not resale, time and money parameters are in general, development killers. Development is a evolving process, that has to be evaluated each time you lay hands on the horse.

                  I have seen plenty go from the track to the ring in as little as a month, and I have seen plenty that were best left in a field for a year, only to spend another solid year just developing the basics.

                  Only the horse can answer this question completely.


                  • #10
                    Impossible to estimate, but as a general rule I would say:

                    It will generally cost more to pay someone to make it than to buy it. This applies to most other things I do as well, cars, motorcycles, houses, its cheaper to buy it done than pay someone to fix it. It costs you labor, parts and its a process, which wont always (or ever) go smoothly. The main reason people restore cars themselves is for the love of spending 3 years in a garage. They often sell them marked, "Spent $15k in receipts, yours for $5k" etc. Plus, horses eat while being restored. Ugh.

                    Again, there are always exceptions, especially if you can do the parts/labor yourself, but I would use the above as the rule. If you appreciate the process of bringing along a horse, have the time and want to learn how your trainer does it (since you have one to help) then this could be a fine opportunity! It's quite rewarding, and full of wonderful lessons in horsemanship. If you are just looking to save, then I'd be very hesitant.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Long Spot View Post
                      The answer is 42.
                      This. And don't forget the towel.


                      • #12
                        Rel it was nice reading your blog about roh, he seems like hes coming along sk well!
                        Igot my mare a little after Rel got hers, they came off the track together. I agree with FlashGordon, it depends on your horse. One day my mare Penny (Just Plan Partners) will be very very good...the next she will show her OTTB side, spooking at everything and just being "hot". I am finding riding her almost everyday is making it better, but shes also not like thr typical thoroughbred off the track. She was too slow to race, she is realllyyyy slow and i really have to push her to get going! I even have to keep using the crop just to keep a steady trot(which isnt as forward as i would like).
                        So like FlashGordon had said it all depends, which i know isnt exactly what u were looking for as an answer but its very true, and it all depends on the day.
                        Nothing better than an OTTB.... Just Plan Partners,Penny, you have stolen my heart<3



                        • #13
                          It all depends

                          I bought an ottb last Feb ....I let him chill and didn't start doing anything with him until June....he competed at his first AA show with just 60days under saddle (and was Champion!!!beat out many fancy imported wb's)....and I did him myself -he lives at home with me...and I'm an amateur ....but he's got a great brain, and already had natural talent!

                          I have another ottb mare that I got back in oct...shes finally turned the corner and looks like a gorgeous hunter now....I gave her 5months of let down time...pulled her shoes and turned her out for the winter....just started working with her for the first time this week....she's coming right along and should also be very easy...(she's also half sister to my other one who is winning on the AA circuit)

                          So really it all depends....but I'd say the majority of all the ottbs that I've turned into hunters...took to it very easily....I must say ample let down time is very important....I always give at least 60-90 days...and wouldn't give less than 30 days ...it just givesbthem a chance to ease into their new lifestyles, and refreshes their mind,body, and spirit!


                          • #14
                            42. Aye that's it, with some variables
                            "The Desire to Win is worthless without the Desire to Prepare"

                            It's a "KILT". If I wore something underneath, it would be a "SKIRT".


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Long Spot View Post
                              The answer is 42.
                              Originally posted by SummerRose View Post
                              This. And don't forget the towel.

                              Back on topic now... entirely depends on the horse and a myriad of other variables (how the horse/trainer click, if the horse sustains an injury and needs some time off, if he/she needs to be let down... the list is nearly infinite).

                              With an OTTB, you really have to ask yourself how much you're willing to invest to turn this cheap horse into something nice, and if the wait will be worth it. For me, the journey itself has been incredibly fun and I'm very excited to see what lies ahead for Moose and I, no matter how long it takes. I also train him by myself (with lessons from a trainer but no training rides) so that's one cost I haven't had that it sounds like you'd be considering.

                              Either way, good luck! OTTBs can be a blast
                              Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.


                              • #16
                                If the horse naturally goes like a hunter, and wants to be that "type" it probably wont take long.

                                If its a pretty mover, but the horse is a little up, or hot, or strong etc. it will take longer.

                                I have had 3 TB's who have been showing in the rated hunters within a few months being off the track. I didnt look for the fanciest mover, but the horse who wants to go around like a hunter. So far, its seemed to work.


                                • #17
                                  Turning it into a hunter also begs the question to me...what kind of a hunter? Local? AA? 3'6"? Ammy-friendly?

                                  How much experience do you have and will you be riding it while trainer is riding it?

                                  How well made do you want it to be?

                                  I think making an OTTB is not about the end result, it's about the journey. I LOVE mine. I've loved ALL of mine. But if I were looking at him as a means to an end, I'd be frustrated, because like ANY green horse or retraining project...you never know. Too many variables!

                                  Instead I'm looking at what he will teach me, how our partnership will evolve and whether we ever show again or not, where we will go together.


                                  • #18
                                    this entire thread begs the question? would it take any longer or cost any more to bring along any other breed that had previous experience which would have to be unlearned? what a behind the bit swedish warmblood who has been frustrated in the dressage ring? a quarter horse who has been roping?

                                    my first suggestion to anyone who wants to bring along a OTTB (or any TB) would be to choose a trainer who knows how to ride them. it wan't so long ago that judges were using the DBWR designation.


                                    • #19
                                      True dat, fair judy, true dat.


                                      • #20
                                        What's a DBWR?

                                        I also think it depends on the horse. My OTTB sucks as a hunter. I tried and tried and tried and turns out he's just a jumper. Oh well.
                                        “Thoroughbreds are the best. They’re lighter, quicker, and more intelligent.” -George Morris