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OTTB's ..... When does it stop?

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  • OTTB's ..... When does it stop?

    American and Australian forums often have posters talking about their OTTB's.

    That just isn't really a terminology used in Europe .

    It seems that even when the horse has been owned for a long time and is doing something entirely different that it's still known as an OTTB. Why is that?

    I don't see why its relevent or of interest at all.

    It seems to me that the term is almost used as some sort of badge of office or as an explanation for why the horse has problems or issues or to indicate the owner might have done some sort of noble thing taking on a retired/ex race horse.

    I wonder when an OTTB just becomes "my horse" or "a thoroughbred"????

    Or must I start describing my thoroughbreds either as CRAPOTTB (Currently Racing And Presently to be OTTB) or my driving horse as a OADWB (Out of the Arena Dressage Warmblood).

    (If the weather was better and we weren't iced over I wonder have time to think about such silly things!)

  • #2
    I know I call my guy an OTTB not to excuse anything he does (because he's perfect ) but because I like to show people that OTTB's are NOT fire-breathing dragons. If I turn even one person on to them I'll be happy.
    My CANTER cutie Chip and IHSA shows!


    • #3
      I can't speak for others.

      My OTTB's aren't often referred to that way. I think most of us use that term more often here, on the BB, when we describe (for whatever reason) horses who have spent time at the track. Perhaps that's why you're getting that impression? In the 'real world' it's not something that I mention very often - (though I don't think I mention it here very often unless there's some reason on that particular thread).

      I've got four TB's who raced or trained at the track. For the two who have been off for years, it just isn't relevant to their life now. I don't even think our trainer knows that kid #2's new horse raced. Now, that fact is a bit more relevant to the two who were at the track until a few months and a few weeks ago....
      Y'all ain't right!


      • #4
        When I'm talking to people in person about my horse, an OTTB, I usually don't mention that it's an OTTB unless they start asking more questions. But when I'm on these boards I use the term alot. Maybe I should just start telling the people I talk to in person that my horse is an OTTB. Why? Because I'm pretty darn proud of what she's turned out to be. Yes, she used to race, and she was very good at it, which makes it even better that she's the horse she is today. This horse is probably the smartest horse I have ever met. I want people to know that ex race horses can do so many other things after their racing careers are over. There are so many homes needed for these horses and I know people think they're all a bunch of high strung, worthless...well...ex race horses that don't know how to do anything but race and that simply is not true. That's why I use the term OTTB when talking about my horse.


        • #5
          For me I have always just considered my horse a Thoroughbred...but he did race. I think I am in the minority on that.

          But there are awards and grants out there that I have found for OTTB's that I will apply for this year because he does qualify.

          I think saying that that a TB is OTTB gives a certain ideas.

          1) That the person has "saved" the horse from whatever, and has been given a chance at a certain career.

          2) That the person riding the horse has a "certain skill set," and the horse is now suitable for another career.

          In both cases I think if says more about the rider or owner, then it does about the horse.

          Flame away if you want to, but that is how I feel about the term. Horse training, is just that regardless of the origins of the horse. It is not something that everyone can do..although there are people out there that think they can. Some people should leave the training to people that can actually do it.

          I also know breeders of TB's that want people to know that they are not just for racing. In some case they will put "Sport Horse" or "never raced" in their ads, because it gives a certain idea...that racing career was a bad thing or that the horse isn't a "bargin". Not that breeders have perpetuated that feeling but they want people to know they have quality and have bred for a certain sport. The sad part is that there are quality TB's that race...bred for their sport. The two are intertwined. A good horse is a good horse.

          You see it here, all the time. There is actually a thread right now that is asking what is the most you would pay for an Thoroughbred that was on the track. The numbers are stunning. You can't breed a horse for the cost of what people are saying.


          • #6
            I always took it to be a mark of distinction. Like if someone served in the military, they are forever a veteran after that. The passage of time does not diminish the term in any way. *shrug* That's how I equate the distinction of being an OTTB. They earned it.
            This it be all wot we want in life, wenn peoples dey loff us. ~ Willem


            • #7
              Funny, Thomas, hadn't thought about it.

              Probably has to do with the American obsession with child-rearing, and how everything that's weird, unusual, annoying, destructive, or out of the ordinary in any adult human is blamed on how they were brought up. We've passed it on to our horses. Dobbin is that way because, you know, he's an OTTB, raised in a gambling parlor by an alcoholic mother and promiscuous father.

              Oh, and our acronym diagnostic obsession, too-- OCD, ADD, ADHD, LMNOP...

              I guess my old red menace would be an ORSB-- off-road Saddlebred-- now that she's retired to working with me.


              • #8
                I always saw it as either good advertising (depending on context) or shorthand for a group of common issues that these horses tend to share.

                I don't find the term offensive, because I do tend to refer to my own horse as a TB (he is NOT off the track) just because there are some issues common to THAT group. So when I'm talking about a particular problem, ie. reactivity, sensitivity, etc. it helps to know that I'm talking about this particular breed and not, say, a Quarter Horse. I suppose I just see it as an interesting snippet of the horse's background.


                • #9
                  When I've looked for horses for sale in the past I have wanted to know whether they were an OTTB or not. Simply because I would want to keep an eye out for injuries common to off the track thoroughbreds.

                  I also see it as kind of a way of dispelling the myth that off the track thoroughbreds can do nothing else good to the general public - because racing is an endangered sport. I think in this current day and age, horse sports are under attack, and the majority of people in the US do not understand them. The "What happens to racehorses when you are done with them" is a valid question asked by concerned animal right's advocates (and crazy ones too, but there are some valid ones) - because sports like grayhound racing didn't have a "next step" for the animals.


                  • #10
                    I'm the proud owner of four OTTB's.

                    It's a frame of reference for me. I never use it off the boards, nor do I use it to infer that I have a "certain skill set" or have rescued all of them from an uncertain fate. I think those that think that are reading way too much into it & it's kind of ridiculous. It's just part of who they are, race training instills certain tendencies & behaviors, which can & do manifest themselves on occasion, sometimes for the better...sometimes, not so much. To me, they're TB's first, off track racers second.
                    "We're still right, they're still wrong" James Carville


                    • #11
                      I use it to describe my 28 year old because it saves me a lot of explaining when he does something incredibly stupid.
                      "I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you..."


                      • #12
                        My mare's being an OTTB had some relevance to me because she came to me having pretty much seen/ done it all and survived. She retired sound and went on to be my riding horse (mostly eventing and trail riding) for several years. She had quite the turn of foot too! She was never stakes placed but paid her way when she raced.

                        Plus it was kind of cool that her grandfather won the Kentucky Derby and her father won the Santa Anita Derby (just a KD prep race, but still).


                        • #13
                          When I use a reference to her being off the track in "real life", it's more because it helps people connect. They ask what kind of horse I have. I say she's a Thoroughbred. Some people think "purebred", so when they get the confused look, I add that she was a race horse when she was young. That helps them place what kind of horse she is.

                          I also like that some of her ancestors were famous. It's no different that any other horse person being proud of their horse's lineage. An acquaintance of mine is proud that her mare's sire is Wall Street Kid.



                          • #14
                            Mine's been off the track for 27 years so I guess it isn't relavant in her case!

                            Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare


                            • #15
                              Hmm my mare is off the track , a long time ago-but is an Arab-there are quite a few off the tracks Arabs-I guess we don't have a name for them. Or for off the track QH and Standadbreds either?


                              • #16
                                You've gotten a lot of good and well-thought-out answers, here, Thomas, which I don't think you necessarily deserved, so I hope you learned something!

                                You were also incorrect. The term "OTTB" doesn't exist in the U.K. ONLY because they are called Ex-Racers over there, and there are many many people and many many organisations over there which DO recognize the common issues OTTBs/Ex-Racers and their new owners have, and are there to help the horses and humans alike.
                                "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by chism View Post
                                  It's a frame of reference for me. I never use it off the boards, nor do I use it to infer that I have a "certain skill set" or have rescued all of them from an uncertain fate. I think those that think that are reading way too much into it & it's kind of ridiculous. It's just part of who they are, race training instills certain tendencies & behaviors, which can & do manifest themselves on occasion, sometimes for the better...sometimes, not so much. To me, they're TB's first, off track racers second.
                                  This is pretty much exactly the way I see it too. With many TBs now being bred for sport, color, crossing on other breeds, etc, the OTTB term just gives me a frame of reference for their likely past experiance, training and handling. Plus I know I can probably dig up a bit about that history with a few google searches or buying a couple of reports. I don't generally refer to my mare as an OTTB because, well, she's still the same mare I've always had, be it my racing horse or my riding horse, and hey, my husband keeps threatening to send her back to racing She and I have other plans for this year though


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by tkhawk View Post
                                    Hmm my mare is off the track , a long time ago-but is an Arab-there are quite a few off the tracks Arabs-I guess we don't have a name for them. Or for off the track QH and Standardbreds either?
                                    My gelding is off the track also, but he's an OTQH, although I don't refer to him as that unless it's relevant to the conversation. It's also been awhile since he's been on it, too. Bought him at 6 and he's now 23. I got him privately from the owner. The track got closed to live racing and he had to move, but didn't have room for him at the new place. I consider myself lucky for getting him.
                                    A Merrick N Dream Farm
                                    Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique


                                    • #19
                                      I usually refer to my horses just as TBs, but I must admit that I get a lot of "did she race?" questions, especially when someone see's how nicely she is going. Then I often get: "She is very well behaved for a horse off the track". Sigh.


                                      • #20
                                        I've rarely referred to my horse as an OTTB. In fact, I think the only time I have is when non-horse folks ask what kind of horse I own, and I say a Thoroughbred, which I usually have to follow up with "He used to be a racehorse" because they want to know what a TB is.

                                        But seriously, I think racehorse is a stretch. He raced thee times, and did absolutely pitiful in each one. I've owned him since he was 5 (he is now 14), and I have never once felt like I was riding the typical OTTB.

                                        I think the term is used a lot on BBs because it can be very pertinent to a discussion. A lot of horses that came off the track have specific training issues/quirks/problems/challenges that crop up in their new career, and stating they used to race helps the discussion along, and can help with offering advice.