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For anyone who has retrained an OTTB..

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  • For anyone who has retrained an OTTB..

    Just curious..how long has it taken you?

  • #2
    My guy is jumping around 2'6" hunter courses with his changes..I have had him 2 1/2 years, but have really probably only put a year's worth of riding on him, and probably only a good 8 months of actual *consistent* work (poor college student here!)
    He's never had a pro on him, I've done everything myself.
    Here's a video of him from the other night...this is just a single, but it's enough to show his laid back attitude and general awesomeness
    My CANTER cutie Chip and IHSA shows!


    • #3
      Originally posted by livelaughride View Post
      Just curious..how long has it taken you?
      think before you start if hes truely an off the track race horse then you got to start from stratch
      as one they dont school horses they just get them to go fast haha
      2 jockeys a re a lot lighter than the average person riding a horse
      the racing saddles are lighter and lay differently on the horse back
      the new displine that the horse is betriand for is using different mussles

      so treat the horse as a baby and start att begining and allowing the horse to lots of long reining this way he builds up hsi mussles and becomes more balanced and focused and can understand simple commands can also lung with tack on him on the long reins
      so this will help him adjust to the new weight of the saddle and also the area that the saddle covers along his back

      then move up o mounting and starting him off as you would a bay keeping your seesons short and introducing the half halt stride in wlak then using it all paces from walk to canter and in all triansitions
      then move on as you progress and work towards a nice partnership with your horse that is un rushed and has be won via patience time and understanding of where the horse was to wher hes going to be in the future
      a tb can and is a versitle athlete can do all disiplines jsut if raced then it alike going back to school to be re educated


      • #4
        I challenge anyone to come to my training center and pick out any one of my horses, even the two year old that I just got three days ago, climb on and tell me you would need to start them from scratch. What a bunch of BS! Do you think we just point them at the track and hang on? My own personal two year old has had three months of dressage training and miles and miles of trail riding in addition to her race training. I have probably put more training into her already than many people do with their horses in a lifetime.
        To the OP, every time you ride a horse you are training them so how long it takes depends upon how many times you ride.
        McDowell Racing Stables

        Home Away From Home


        • #5
          I agree with Laurie....

          Most of these horses are started really well - they may not know the specifics of what you are asking, but these horses are used to being ridden to and from the training track, through all the activity of the backstretch, many have been started just like riding horses, may have been longed, etc. The nicer barns will do more as far as basics (like Laurie's dressage).

          Having said that, time for retraining does depend a little on how "used' the horse was and what you are rehabbing them from....some need time off mentally, some physically before they are ready to begin retraining. I have an OTTB that is mentally and physically great - except for his feet. While we grow them out and improve them - we are taking it slowly (literally! walking/and a little trotting) so we are not as far along in our retraining at almost a year off the track as a horse that didn't have that particular issue would be.


          • #6
            agree Laurierace.

            I had one (8yr old) whom raced on Tuesday, came to me on Thursday, and went to his first horse trial on saturday (other horse was lame so substituted with this guy). He did a beautiful dressage test, clear SJ, and clear XC though did have a look at the water then went in. Was our intro level which is your beginner novice I think (2ft 3" approx)

            Another did a SJ clinic with a well known trainer only 2 weeks off the track, and was absolutely amazing - in with horses who had been jumping 3-4 years. Has just placed at his first horse trial (your novice level) at about 8 weeks post racing. He is the horse in my profile pic. 17hh rising 8yr old.

            Ive had about 80+ off the tracks in the past 2 years, all bar one, have been able to wtc in a frame, and jump a small course from trot/canter, well within 4 weeks. The one that wasnt, took 2 months to get him to go in a circle, as he was so stiff and sore. I pretty much gave him away to a home where they were prepared to spend $$$$$$ on rehabbing his body further than I could.

            I love TB's....they are just like peanut M&M's...you cant stop once you've started.
            Last edited by IfWishesWereHorses; Aug. 4, 2010, 08:59 PM.


            • #7
              I've had Lucky since December and he's going w/t/c pretty consistently now. Jumping, we're working on cavaletti-height stuff and he's getting the idea, slowly but surely. I started with some time off, a month or so of just some grooming and turnout. Then walking and tacking up (BIG time slowdown because of deep snow) and after a couple months I started getting on him and just walking (mostly because of the two feet of snow.) He was a bit fuzzy about things like leg, and some commands are wired a little differently (asking for a canter is backwards to my brain but it works for him) but mostly it was just a matter of plugging away at it. I haven't bothered teaching him to longe as honestly it never did anything for my old horse, and he's never been a problem as far as energy goes.

              For reference, he's eight, with 64 starts, the last one in November '09.

              Oh, and cross-tying took maybe a week, and I probably could have just done it to start with. And so far he bathes, clips, leads, stands for the farrier, vet, and dentist, ignores golf carts, lawn mowers, weed whackers, walks on trails in the woods alone, and gives pony rides.
              Author Page
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              Steampunk Sweethearts


              • #8
                It depends on what you're retraining him for. I wouldn't necessarily say we "retrained" my guy. He came with great manners and solid basics. He was technically still 2 when we got him, and had only raced twice. We gave him a week to settle in his new home, then hopped on and rode. He has a soft mouth, steered, stopped and moved off into each gait with a kiss. We started ground poles within a week, entered our first show within 3 months, did our first hunter pace within the first 6 months, began jumping crossrails/ low cavaletti within 9 months and moved him up to 2' courses after 14 months. He's naturally laid back and slow, and while maybe not entirely bombproof yet, he's pretty darn close. He leads trail rides, goes in creeks, stands for the farrier without supervision, etc etc. We have to keep telling ourselves he's only 4...no hurry.


                • #9
                  There are definitely too many factors to give a precise range or expectation.

                  My boy ran his last race in October of 2006 and I moved him up to the 1.40m jumpers this year. 6 months post-race career we were jumping around at 2'6" with not terribly sophisticated steering aids, at 18 months we were jumping around at 3'6"' with much better steering aids and lots of basic lateral work under his belt. At 2 1/2 years we were starting to play around at 4' - 4'6" and his flatwork was certainly not "finished," but not what I would consider "green" any longer either. I would consider him a pretty average horse, all things considered. With the big exception that he was physically pretty trashed and needed a fairly slow build-up to the bigger jumps so that he had time to build the proper muscles and "retrain" his body parts to go in the right places.

                  You also have to factor in the horse's brain type (my guy was a pretty roll-with-the-punches horse who wasn't fazed in the slightest by jumping), the horse's athleticism, the rider's ability level and consistency within the training program. My guy was ridden 3-5 times a week for the first couple of years and I probably could have cut a year or more out of our schedule if I hadn't had to take it so slow in the beginning. Same goes with if I'd been able to take him to more than 1 show a month.

                  With all of that said, my general rule of thumb (for MY horses) is that we go 1' per year in regards to jumps, and 1 level a year in dressage work. I start them in the 2'6" jumpers and move up at each show until we're at 3'3" or 3'6". The next year we start at 3' or 3'3" and finish out at 4'. The following year I expect to be ready to move up to 4'6" sometime by the middle of the year.

                  Sorry I can't give a "my horse is 'trained' at 'x' point" answer, but all of my horses are still works in progress!
                  Flying F Sport Horses
                  Horses in the NW


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                    I challenge anyone to come to my training center and pick out any one of my horses, even the two year old that I just got three days ago, climb on and tell me you would need to start them from scratch. What a bunch of BS! Do you think we just point them at the track and hang on? My own personal two year old has had three months of dressage training and miles and miles of trail riding in addition to her race training. I have probably put more training into her already than many people do with their horses in a lifetime.
                    To the OP, every time you ride a horse you are training them so how long it takes depends upon how many times you ride.
                    You are so right Laurie, I bougth a 7yr old who has lived the race track life since 2.
                    Gee whiz he W/T/C with proper connection with the bit, was forward off the leg, has a whoa, keeps his shoulders up around turns, body follows the head, picks up both canter leads with just a flick of riders hips. Jumps a little crooked to start with but in 3 weeks straight and confident, jumps naturally in stride and will be school baby XC in a week. Hmmm re-start say what


                    • #11
                      We had a stallion that we started here, worked cattle a little bit as we were legging him up in our training track, then he spent a year at the track, had his last race a Sunday afternoon, hauled here Monday and we were working cattle on him Tuesday, with a little rope nose hackamore and he worked just as if he had never left.

                      Now, if a horse has been running hard and may be a little bit sore or needing some time off, we call that letting them down and a few weeks turned out helps those horses.
                      You just have to take each horse as the individual it is, with it's own story and go from that.

                      Hard to answer your question, as you will have realized by now, every horse is a little bit different.


                      • #12
                        Have to agree with Laurie. I usually have mine going to shows within 30 days. Some learn faster then others, and some need more work before they start jumping, but other then that if you are an experienced rider/trainer you should be able to be jumping pretty soon.


                        • #13
                          It really depends on the individual horse and therefore all of the above. Just take the time it takes


                          • #14
                            I picked up my boy off the track Aug 24, 2008. Since that time, he has made HUGE progress! He can do consistent courses at 3', we've jumped 3'6 (I'm SURE he could go higher, but I'm still a wimp!). He has lovely lateral work, clean changes, trail rides alone and with buddies, has been to a few jumper shows at the 2'6 level, has been an IEA team horse at 2'6, and has been xc schooling twice. Planning our first hunter pace at Chattahoochee Hills in 2 weeks, and will do our first HT there at CH over Halloween weekend.

                            I too have never had a pro sit on him; I've only had about 6 lessons total in the 2 years I've had him. He is so amazing; his brain is just incredible. LOVE my boy! Can't wait to win the lottery so I can have a barn full of them.


                            • #15
                              Dakotawyatt- Really like your guy! I'll take him off your hands : )


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Couture TB View Post
                                Dakotawyatt- Really like your guy! I'll take him off your hands : )
                                Thank You! It's funny; I know he's a dime a dozen, and not the fanciest beast on the planet, but I love this horse like a pig loves mud! He will be mine until the day he is so old he can barely walk. I've been riding and teaching for a LONG time ... Tiki has brought the butterflies back for me.


                                • #17
                                  I'm with Laurie. And, for what its worth, I'd rather go ride our racehorses (from 2 year old stud colts and fillies to the 4,5,6 year old veterans) than a lot of my clients' 11,12,13 year old pleasure or show horses. The racehorses we have are more broke and better trained! For the OP, the answer to your question is, it depends. On the horse, his mental and physical state, athleticism, trainability, etc, and your ability as a rider, your confidence, etc. Some take more time than others, just like anything else.
                                  Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch


                                  • #18
                                    After almost five years together, its still a work in progress

                                    This is no fault of his, but rather my very relaxed and casual approach to riding. Some days we ride in the arena and others we trail ride. We have no indoor arena so in the winter we often just trail ride (due to poor footing in arena that freezes over). I am quite sure that if my horse was in a proper program, he would be doing quite well in the dressage arena and/ or jumping.

                                    Both the OTTBs that I have owned were pretty quick learners and they both seemed to want to please, which goes a long way in retraining. I will say, I was quite surprised at how easily my current horse took to dressage. I even wondered if at some point before I got him if someone began training him for it.

                                    Just went back and actually read everyone else's comments. I see that some of the race trainers say that they do teach some dressage to their race horses. This could be a really good explanation for my comment just above! Those of you that do, thank you! It can only help the horse in the long run when it is time to stop racing and move into a new home and career!
                                    Last edited by ex-racer owner; Aug. 4, 2010, 10:02 PM. Reason: read the other comments and now want to comment on that


                                    • #19
                                      Katy's last race (of a total of 7) was in the fall of 2006, when she was almost 5. In May 2007, she won her first horse trial, at Elementary. She is very sensible, very trainable, and very quiet, but not completely off the charts. I know there are similar stories all over this board.

                                      Racehorses come with a variety of training and handling backgrounds, as well as the complete range of temperaments and ability to adapt to a different job and routine.

                                      The answer is, it depends, but having help choosing your off track partner and helping them make the switch from someone who has done it before can only improve your odds of a successful and not protracted experience.
                                      I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                                      I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                                      • #20
                                        contrary to gls' opinion, racehorses are just like horses with any other trainer. Some get a really good foundation and some do not, but if they raced with any degree of success (not necessarily speed, but they could do the job), they had plenty of useful training. I've only had one that was not well trained. He was very trainable and it probably only took another 45 days to put the basics on him that he was lacking (he lacked ... steering... 6 starts and no steering, but he was good at following other horses which is pretty much what he did in his 6 starts! ).

                                        After that I generally find training for the hunters goes along fairly rapidly once they find their balance at a canter about 2 clicks below a nice hunter pace. I think mine were all starting 3'0 within a year of when I started them, but literally on day one, I'm walking them over poles and building up to trot poles, X's, gymnastics. They may not have the strength and training to even canter a 2'6 line, but they can trot through small gymnastics and start to learn about that part of the job at the same time.

                                        That said, one horse came off the track beautifully started (yay for Bridlewood!) and so naturally balanced that he did his first course ever at WEF in the pre-greens less than a year off the track. Another was very well trained but always a bit tough,so he was a work in progress to finesse the hunter ride all his showing life. The third lacked a proper foundation, but he would have been ready to show 2'6 in a year if it hadn't been for a lack of finances on my part and the fact that as willing as he was, he just sort of lacked real talent in the hunters.

                                        This time I took a new tactic and bought a TB yearling before he went through the sales about 2 years ago today. Right now he has not quite 5 months under saddle and I'm having a blast with him.
                                        Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.