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Opinion on an OTTB?

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  • Opinion on an OTTB?

    I guess this is where I should put this!

    I'm looking for an opinion on an OTTB, but all I have is a couple pictures. From what I can see her legs look pretty good, and despite the second picture, I think her back looks decent (the bar in the second throws it off, at least for me). I've been reading up and have heard mixed opinions about the thoroughbred that's been trained to race but never started. She's six, so I'm confused as to why she's just now being sold if she never raced. I almost think it's a bad thing?

    She'd be my first OTTB, and the first horse I've actually owned. I'm headed to college in Kentucky this coming fall, and keeping her boarded at the university I'm attending for nine months of the year would make it a lot more financially acceptable than boarding out here (it's about two hundred dollars cheaper a month). I'm not sure about shoes, if she'd wear them or just need trimmed, but I think (hope) that'd still be cheaper out there than here in Colorado.

    Anyways, here's her ad:

    Is six too old to "retrain"?
    Is the fact that she never started a good thing or a bad thing?
    Would her conformation be good for eventing/jumping?

    I've ridden for nearly 15 years (mostly just flat work) and have been thrown on a lot of different horses. I feel like this would be challenging for me, but I have an amazing trainer who I know would be willing to help.

    Any opinions on her are very very welcome, or any thoughts on how to convince my parents that this would, in fact, be a good idea for me.

    Thank you so much for reading this and taking the time to respond!

  • #2
    There are a lot of OTTB's on the market so make sure both you and your trainer feel really good before proceeding. Although I don't think 6 is too old to start training a horse, I too wonder why she has sat around that long without doing anything. What do the owners have to say about this?

    I would continue to look around if only because there are so many choices. You won't have to settle if there are too many questions about any one particular horse. What is your budget? If you would like to stack the deck in your favor a little bit, you may want to consider buying a horse that CANTER has already but into a retraining program rather than buying directly from the trainer.


    • #3
      Hello, to answer your questions directly, yes it is probably a good thing that she never started ar ace, as that puts a lot of wear and tear on the legs, and secondly, no, six years old is not too late to restart a horse.

      However most important is soundness of mind and limb. many people just love retraining OTTB's and do ver well with them. I am not one of them, as I usually steer clear, but a good friend of mind does it fairly regularly.

      On this mare, she is a little long, as are most ott, but her legs are a little shorter , meaning collection would be difficult, she really has a very nice large hind quarter which bodes well for jumping, and her forearms are long and her cannon bones shorter which also is a good thing. Her front feet are rather small for the size and heft of her, imho. Follow the guidance of your trainer, and get a vet check, even if the horse is inexpensive, is my advice.


      • #4
        This mare is very sweet and kind. From what I understand, she just fell through the cracks, so to speak, which is why she never started. She is clean legged and I think she would be a great retraining project. She was very easy to work around. If you'd like to see better pics, PM me your email address and I will send--I know that there were some issues with the CANTER website, which is why there are some problems with some of the older listings. The resolution on that top pic is terrible!


        • #5
          Six is not too old! It is weird that she just sat for six years (more like three or four actually), but the dapples had me at hello.


          • Original Poster

            I love the dapples on her!!

            I don't have too much room with a budget; I'd hope to get the price she's listed for even lower.


            That was another horse I found interesting, but I have a lack of conformation experience and can't tell what's going on with his back. Is it alright and just lacking muscle?

            At least in Colorado I can't find any horses that CANTER actually owns, they're all trainer listed.


            • #7
              If your parents aren't on board (which, I'm assuming that some of the checks are going to be coming from that direction) you need to get them on board first before seriously shopping and taking up people's time. I don't mean this to be snarky at all. I promise, but I'm guessing that since you're just going to be going off to school next fall that means you're young (17-18?). There is nothing wrong with that, but just know that you may have a harder time getting owners to take you seriously. Don't get discouraged, but it will help you if you have your parents support.

              In no way is 6 too old to retrain. I've worked with a few, of various ages, and have been successful. I would ask why they've kept her around for so long if she hasn't been started. I also second a PPE. It will be money well spent.

              I agree with the above poster about her front feet being a bit small for her size. Something, to me, seems NQR with her hind leg conformation. I can't quite figure out if its the way that she's standing or something else. It looks like she's a bit camped under or sickle hocked. The first picture won't show up for me, so I can't really compare it. I'm not a pro though, so maybe I'm off base. Either way, it's not a huge, hairy deal. All in all, I think that she's priced right and could have a lot of potential for what you want to do.

              Once you get to KY, you'll have LOTS of options if this one doesn't work out for you. OTTBs are a dime a dozen, which is why they seem to be so popular. They are GREAT horses, for the most part.


              • Original Poster

                I won't contact the owner or approach my trainer without first having my parents backing me. I fully understand that the people involved with this horse are busy, and don't have time to waste. I may end up doing all of this for nothing, but I feel that the more opinions I can get the more I'll be able to understand and make a better argument for. If it was the right horse for the right price, it may take some time but my parents would come around. I'd also be sure to do a PPE, and I'll keep what you said about her legs in mind. Thank you!


                • #9
                  I like the second horse better, personally. I can't put a finger exactly on why; I do like the proportion of his feet better. I don't think there's a back issue; he's got typical TB withers and not much topline. However, there is a big difference between 15.2 hands and 17 hands-are you more comfortable on a bigger horse, or a smaller one?

                  The grey mare is cute, but I don't care for her long bottom line (looks longer then her topline in the photo) and she also looks sickle hocked, though it's hard to tell either way from photos.

                  I kind if like http://www.canterusa.org/index.php?o...ngs&Itemid=397

                  The second one is a race-bred QH, but he has size and substance, and is put together pretty well IMO. His head is a little plain, but overall I like him.


                  • Original Poster

                    I really like the chestnut mare, as well. I've looked at her ad a couple different times (though I think I've looked at all the ads a decent distance from here), and only had doubts on her age. The youngest horse I've ever worked with was five, and I don't want to take on something that I'd end up struggling with, for her sake as well as mine. But I guess depending on how mature she was, that may not be a problem. Her price also turned me away a little bit, but I suppose buying a horse cheaper and then having to spend a lot of money to fix something that comes up later would be a pain, and it'd be worth it to spend some extra money on a good horse.


                    • #11
                      There can be a lot of reasons horses don't make it to the races...sometimes a breeder or owner runs into financial difficulty, which delays the horse's going for breaking or getting to the track...and then it takes a while to see that maybe the horse's talents lie elsewhere.
                      Founder of the I LOFF my worrywart TB clique!
                      Official member of the "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique


                      • #12
                        Also, keep in mind these are OTTB's. They can sometimes be a little tricky because a lot are VERY sensative! Not saying you are incapeable or anything. I think it is great, but just be prepared to have a mental meltdown or two and taking things slow.

                        I have loved every OTTB I have owned, but they can be very tricky.

                        Other than that, even though I am a sucker for dapples.. That bay is my pick out of the three. He is big, big boned, and just looks like my personal kind of OTTB. Your kind of horse is up to you though! IMHO, I like the bay.


                        • #13
                          OOps, for some reason the second link I posted is wrong. Here's the other one I really like. Remember that race-bred QH have quite a lot of TB blood!



                          • #14
                            I worked for years on a racing QH breeding farm, and I'll attest to the fact that they are awesome. Athletic, but really good minds, not as hot as some OTTBs.


                            • #15
                              Flynn, you sound like you have your head screwed on correctly and I think that you'll do well with any of these. My fingers are crossed that your parents will come through for you!

                              I kind of like the chestnut mare. Don't let age get you worried. A horse like that I would take home and chuck out for 6-8 months or so to let decompress and grow. All those horses benefit from serious ' be a horse' time. I prefer them younger, because they *seem* to develop less bad habits. Or at least are easier convinced out of them.

                              I also look at it in terms of re-sale value (not saying that you will, but you never know). IMO a 15.3 hand horse is going to be a lot easier to place than a 17 hander. It is a much different feeling. My mare is 17.1 and holy the first time I sat up there, batman!

                              I think that you'll make the right choice, there are hundreds out there to choose from. Something I like about all of these horses is that they have a very kind eye. That is the #1 most important thing for me. If they have a good brain, you're all set, IMO.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by FlynnRider View Post
                                Is six too old to "retrain"?
                                Nope I actually prefer the "older" ones myself, they're a bit more mature and tend towards having a good work ethic, in my (limited) experience. Personally I don't believe horses ever get too old for re-education, at least to a point (like if you have a 15 year old horse that has been ridden wrong since he was 2, it's going to be hard. Or a teenage horse that was only a broodmare. But those are more physical issues, IMO, than mental ones.)

                                Is the fact that she never started a good thing or a bad thing?
                                It depends on why she wasn't started. You'd have to find this out. Sometimes it's soundness issues (bad). Sometimes it's trouble with training (definitely bad). Sometimes it's that the trainer wanted to give the horse more time to mature (OK). Sometimes the owner ran out of money so the horse sat in a field for a couple years (can be good).

                                Would her conformation be good for eventing/jumping?
                                I think she looks fine. Maybe a little long backed, and I'd like to see her standing better to discern if her back legs are sickle hocked or if she's just standing under herself funny. But she looks solid with nothing glaring, and most horses can get around to a certain point even with weird conformation. There's a lot of folks on here who will probably find 234785634 faults with her and tell you to run away screaming. More important to me would be the horse's mind, and the prepurchase exam/x ray results, unless I was looking for a horse to be an upper level prospect where I might get a whole lot more picky.
                                "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                                My CANTER blog.


                                • #17
                                  You can really only use the photos as guidelines. Most of the horses look quite different in person and personality -- for me -- is a big part of the decision.

                                  A bit of a red flag for me is your concern over cost:

                                  She'd be my first OTTB, and the first horse I've actually owned. I'm headed to college in Kentucky this coming fall, and keeping her boarded at the university I'm attending for nine months of the year would make it a lot more financially acceptable than boarding out here (it's about two hundred dollars cheaper a month). I'm not sure about shoes, if she'd wear them or just need trimmed, but I think (hope) that'd still be cheaper out there than here in Colorado.
                                  If you have never retrained an OTTB, then you are going to need help from a trainer. The first time I had one, I had a trainer work with us twice a week. If training costs are not in your budget, you need to think twice about purchasing a horse that has only race training.

                                  If you are already worrying about the cost of shoes vs. barefoot, and i would think that most OTTBs will need shoes at least for awhile, maybe you should look for a horse that's a bit more along in its training and maybe one that will hold up barefoot.
                                  Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                  EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                                  • #18
                                    I'd wait until you get to Kentucky! Much larger pool of horses to choose from.
                                    "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by BEARCAT View Post
                                      I'd wait until you get to Kentucky! Much larger pool of horses to choose from.
                                      You also wouldn't have to pay several hundred dollars in shipping!
                                      Visit my Spoonflower shop


                                      • #20
                                        I'd vote none of the above, and urge you to wait until you have a year or two of college under your belt before diving into horse ownership (and training a young horse from scratch, to boot). I bet you could find great lease opportunities in KY, especially if you are a good rider who has the skills to ride greenies and training projects. College can be overwhelming--classes may be harder than you're used to and you're going to want to get involved in clubs and the social scene, etc. You're only there a few years, it's very expensive, and it's important, so try to wring every last benefit and experience out of the school that you can.

                                        If you lease or just catch-ride for the first year or two, and actually demonstrate that you can balance the demands of school and training horses, and I bet it will be easy to convince your parents to buy you a horse.