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How much would you pay for a warhorse OTTB still on the track?

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  • Original Poster

    I'm going to try to see him again today and get more information/thoughts on him. There is a lot to like but some concerns or things that I need more information on. Thanks guys.


    • #22
      Prices for non-racing use tend to be higher if the trainer has an established connection to show/competition buyers.
      No matter where you go, there you are


      • Original Poster

        Beck they tend to work with Canter. But our track is very low qaulity and the market hasn't been good this summer for other OTTBs around. Granted he's a higher qaulity and gorgeous animal though. I just need to see if he is sound for my goals.


        • #24
          Good luck seeing him today. I hope he works out for you. I would be willing to bet you could offer a slightly lower price and you both would feel fine about that. Tell them your concerns. I bet they will work with you. Once you make a decision, maybe post a pic. I would love to see him.


          • #25
            Originally posted by Ajierene View Post
            My personal experience with race horses is that the ones that race a bit and come off the track are more likely to come off the track with physical issues than the ones that race longer. Those that never make it to the track are generally the most sound. My trainer has about 40 race horses and ex-race horses at a time.
            As with all things it depends.

            My experience has been that the horses with more than 30 starts under their belt are sounder long-term than the horses with less than 15. This is long-term - as in 10 years down the line.

            That being said, the one horse I had unraced (but race-trained - which means he had published workouts, and was under the same amount of conditioning training/stress another young horse of racing age would be) was one of the soundest horses I ever had. I do not believe it was because he didn't race. I believe it was because of his genetics; his father topped the chart several times as a sire with a high percentage of starters, and his distaff was very strong.

            In the ten years I was privileged to own him before I lost him unexpectedly, he had only been out of work from an injury twice; one was a paddock injury and he strained his knee from living on a huge hill, the other was caused by a bad saddle fit I was not aware of.

            However... his predecessor, my first OTTB, had 75 starts and was just as sound. That horse really spoiled me with how sound he was his entire life. I never missed a show, clinic, lesson, or rally with that horse.

            Be careful of "unraced". It is a buzzword and it is misleading when it comes to sellers using it as a positive term. It should not be a positive term.

            These horses have been bred for generations to race -- if a horse can't even make it to the bare minimum he was bred to do (that one start) what do you make of that?

            Sometimes it's not a reflection of the horse's inherent soundness. Bad conditions during training. Really awful trimming. Being in a stall 23/7. Worked hard when they're not skeletally mature. These things will break a sound horse - but the horse that races in spite of that, well, that's a very strong horse fundamentally.

            In my experience a horse that is unraced is a horse you want to vet carefully.

            Unraced does not mean the horse is a clean slate. Unless the horse was unstarted in racing, that horse still has the same physiological stresses on his body that his racing barnmate has; he still breezed, worked out, was conditioned, started, etc -- so in likelyhood, still has the same physical and emotional baggage associated with a horse that made his first start.

            Up until that point, the horse was very expensive to produce. Most trainers/owners don't just throw in the towel right away - and many TBs have a lackluster first few starts. There's always that hope once the horse gets a few starts under his belt, and gets the experience, that he will become more competitive. An unraced horse is not always a good thing, particularly if he was bred very well.... you have to wonder what would make the connections of a horse whose sire had a $50,000 stud fee call it quits. The race entry fees and stabling/training costs are pennies compared to how much it cost to breed, raise, and start that horse.

            AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


            • #26
              Originally posted by ParadoxFarm View Post
              Good luck seeing him today. I hope he works out for you. I would be willing to bet you could offer a slightly lower price and you both would feel fine about that. Tell them your concerns. I bet they will work with you. Once you make a decision, maybe post a pic. I would love to see him.
              Good point. The ones I have bought, they accepted my offer. And yes, we'd love to see him.
              No matter where you go, there you are


              • #27
                Just adding my experience.

                When I was 14, I got my first OTTB to be my next event horse. At this time they werent called OTTBs, and I had no idea what a war horse was, but he had 72 starts and was 9 when he retired. He was 17 when I got him, had a few second careers and never evented. He took me from BN to Prelim in 2 years, and evented until he was 21. He was the most amazing horse, ever. Life changing.

                My second war horse I got in 2016. He retired at 7, then needed about 6-8 months to recover from the track, abcesses etc. He had 77 starts. I broke my leg after that so he had more time off, then we started eventing the following year. This horse, was just the best horse ever. He took everything in stride. Tried his heart out. Was a dream to handle, was top three in almost all his events he entered, always finished on his dressage score. He was the kind of horse you could ride with your broken leg in a cast. Never have to worry, just heppy to be around and has been there/seen everything. I lost him last year which was devastating but he forever ingrained in me how special these war horses are.

                I agree with others who say if they have raced a lot and survived they are usually very sound, from my experience this is true.
                Boss Mare Eventing Blog


                • #28
                  ^^^ Sorry for your loss. Sounds like he was a great horse.


                  • #29
                    I’ve had a couple “war horse” types (over 50 starts). I vet carefully, but IME, if they’re sound and clean legged after being in hard work year after year, they have a good shot at holding up as sport horses. No horse is guaranteed soundness, but a demonstrated pattern is always a plus for me.

                    I did resales so I was conscious that the older a horse is, the more stock people place in temperament. I liked to watch them work, if possible. Generally, a horse that’s quiet at the track will be quiet on the farm. Sure, their job may be more ingrained than it would be for a 3yo, but they have also been around the block and been exposed to a lot of stuff. I find them to generally be good shippers, level headed, and adjustable to the horse show atmosphere (might take a couple of outings to get the idea). They are used to some chaos, and most even ride out well in groups, because they do it all the time and they’ve had a long time to learn their manners. I know you said you like them lightly restarted, but consider that he has a lot more life experience under his belt than a restarted baby.

                    I’m not a really big believer in “letdown” as most people apply it- the immediate pull shoes, turn out, and don’t touch them for a few months. These horses are used to having a job and so I tend to get right on and go hacking, do some flat work, hop over some logs. I think it helps the transition and then you’re not doing your first rides on a fresh, out-of-work horse. That said, I will often give them some time (a couple of weeks or more) off after we’ve established the basics, and I find the older ones tend to benefit from a longer period of downtime after the initial restart. 30-60 day restart, two months off, and they come back much better for it.


                    • #30
                      Sounds like a nice horse. Price... well... they aren't giving him away. He's worth more than that as a chuckwagon prospect, probably, even if he is a bit small. Chucks love older geldings who are proven successful racehorses with good race records and still sound, and pay well for them. The sellers will know this, and it has to come into it when deciding on his price, even though it sounds like they would rather see him go to a riding horse home. He's also worth that much as a "bush horse", that is, continuing his race career at lower class tracks until he develops soundness issues, or death. It sounds like this horse's connections are trying to avoid this end for this horse. That's nice. He's not been over raced, with 40 starts as an 8 yr old, doesn't sound like he has been abused or over raced. If he's as pleasant and easy as they say, and has some good riding and training on him already, he should be pretty easy to make the switch to a riding horse. How easy it is to make the switch is dependent on the nature of the horse, AND exactly WHO has done the riding and training on him already. Some exercise riders and trainers have great experience in disciplines other than racing, and can give a horse a good start in a secondary career just by the quality of the riding and training they have done at the track already, with much of the same basics that riding horses get. Other riders have NO experience in classical riding and training, and manhandle horses, create iron jawed bolters with poor carriage, etc. It really depends. IMO, those horses who have been well ridden, and well trained, creating correct carriage and use of the hind end, tend to stay sounder longer, have a better chance of finishing their race career as sound horses. Good luck with him! Yes, we need pictures if you decide to go ahead with the purchase.


                      • #31
                        If you think you can't afford the price then offer less. Make a point to talk up future quality of life for this horse and dicker with the seller. I don't remember ever paying asking price.
                        ... _. ._ .._. .._


                        • #32
                          Lunabear, I'd take him sight unseen based on what you've said about him. I bought an OTTB mare many years ago for $300. The owner liked her, but realized she was not a racehorse. In fact, she had excellent jumping pedigree -- and that's what she ended up doing. She'd only started 9 times -- the best she ever did was third place -- and that was at the racetrack in Holly, Colorado. So for sure she was no runner!

                          She'd been started by a cowboy at a feedlot. She'd work cattle, you could open gates from the saddle on her. She was nicely broke. I sent her for the winter to my cousin's ranch for her let down. Cousin wanted to know if I could find more of these $300 dollar horses!

                          The riding instructor I knew as a teenager bought a few warhorses off the track as schoolhorses. They did fine. By that age, they seemed well settled. If they can last 6 or 7 seasons at the track with no soundness issues and a sound mind, they're probably a good bet.


                          • #33
                            My experience has been much like the majority mentioned here. If they remain sound and sane on the track for that many years, they are probably going to be sound and sane off the track. And they seem to take to their next career very quickly.

                            We listed a mare was sold off the track at 10, starved and re-sold 2 months later, and the next year winning a high point 2'9" jumper while being ridden by a junior.
                            All of that (the good and the bad) happened to that mare in one year. Incredible how far she has come, and terrifying how close she came to not being here anymore.

                            We've got another 10 year old listed right now, and he seems like a really, really neat horse. The kind you want your best friend to purchase.

                            This is the starved mare a year later:
                  [0]=68.ARCr4ep0qltjlSFuHDl-2-bj7vHwdwS4xtkSA5qS4n5j3OzHnOvO2epY5iyDCbsUJI9w3M1N oADbgrsQuz9Md6TMC59fRMQP0zO72drkRMtUpUUQBUiC4M9Z9e PXkxn3XioADNmFpP5rq6Z4YTIr-m9TxXJM10oGVK3TOGoYfuvCr3-obeKQ5DZwgl-4lg396OI4-LBrbR9SNUSKpi09l8z6p3UsGHRY-Nz4iv3YxrTZQtmJ8c7MBgbCPdnDzTdK7VSoT_Qkfx83FCk-Nt208c4fVtVgqWTxEwG_vs2c45YuwnibBpXFuFtqmslJP071Cm V-4YFovB3KLuQiVqtj6CYvHNZ-CPnHVuo&__tn__=-R


                            • Original Poster

                              Well thank you guys! I've decided to pass on the horse. I wasn't originally wanting to buy from the track, was just tempted by this guy. There was a few things about him that if they didn't go away once off the track, he wouldn't have been the right fit. And at the end of the day, no matter what the price, I couldn't feel comfortable with the risk. He is one hell of a horse, one of the nicest I've seen. He'll be going to Canter and will later be available for adoption after time off and a restart. I'll keep my eyes on him.

                              I definitely wouldn't mind another warhorse (I've owned one.) And I'm even okay with just a lightly restarted one. But after losing my young horse last year, I do feel the need to be extra safe about what I buy. I commend those that do buy off the track! I just don't think it's for me at this time. I'd rather pay $5k to $7k for something already going a bit off the track.


                              • #35
                                I, too, have recently looked at Warhorses and have learned a bit along the way. What I've heard (not seen from personal experience, but at least my sources are good) is that warhorses mentally can go one of two ways. Some are old soldiers who transition easily into their new role. They've seen it all, so they're basically unflappable. However, there's the other sort who just struggle with leaving the "go fast" mentality behind. For that reason, I passed on the warhorse I looked at, even though he was gorgeous. But then again, I'm completely risk-averse and a bit of a chicken!

                                What I'll say is this: I don't think $3000 is outrageous at all for what you're describing. Most of the ones I've seen go for close to that price if they have good confirmation, clean legs, and are sound.

                                Also, what difference would it make if he was $2000 or $2500? We're not talking about a huge amount of monetary difference. This is really more a question of if he's the right horse for your abilities and resources. Do you have a good trainer who can help you along?


                                • Original Poster

                                  gertie06 I think because I was already taking a risk and wasn't sure if I would need to resell him, I didn't want to overpay. He was $3500. Not saying he worth that. But it just wasn't my place to buy. They donated him to canter instead.

                                  He was really nice but very reactive even though he had a few weeks off. He was also very reactive (cow kicking) when has back was touched at all. So ultimately, I decided too much risk for what I'm looking for.

                                  Yes I have a few great horses trainers that are experienced with OTTBs but my budget is $6k or $7k so I'd rather keep looking at something restarted in hopes of finding the perfect match.


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by Lunabear1988 View Post
                                    gertie06 I think because I was already taking a risk and wasn't sure if I would need to resell him, I didn't want to overpay. He was $3500. Not saying he worth that. But it just wasn't my place to buy. They donated him to canter instead.

                                    He was really nice but very reactive even though he had a few weeks off. He was also very reactive (cow kicking) when has back was touched at all. So ultimately, I decided too much risk for what I'm looking for.

                                    Yes I have a few great horses trainers that are experienced with OTTBs but my budget is $6k or $7k so I'd rather keep looking at something restarted in hopes of finding the perfect match.
                                    I'm with you. My personal opinion is that I won't buy until I'm over the moon about one. If I'm lukewarm or nervous about one I'm looking at, I pass.


                                    • #38
                                      Oh hey! I know of a gorgeous one in VA if that's close to you. Another warhorse, already well restarted. He's $8500, but everything is negotiable! Seller is selling because she's pregnant. I would've gone to see this one myself, but I'm looking for a resale and that price point doesn't leave much margin.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        gertie06 That's my thought too, need to feel pretty good about the buy. I know he'll make a great horse for someone though!

                                        Unfortunately I'm on the other side of the country from VA. I'm willing to look out of state but have to budget for shipping and right now we are having that horrible VS outbreak. So I'm only looking in state for now, hoping it dies down soon though.


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by Lunabear1988 View Post
                                          gertie06 That's my thought too, need to feel pretty good about the buy. I know he'll make a great horse for someone though!

                                          Unfortunately I'm on the other side of the country from VA. I'm willing to look out of state but have to budget for shipping and right now we are having that horrible VS outbreak. So I'm only looking in state for now, hoping it dies down soon though.
                                 must be in Colorado, huh? That's where I lived until a year ago. Man, that VS outbreak is just so sad.

                                          Best of luck in your search, Lunabear!