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Tell me about steeplechasers

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  • Tell me about steeplechasers

    Venturing over from h/j land. I love TBs, I love the idea of taking them from the career on the track to a show career, and I'd love my next horse to be an ex-steeplechaser for use as a jumper. Amateur here, not planning on Grand Prixs or anything.

    So tell me, are these horses brave? Are they generally sound and tough? What's the average age they retire from the track? How broke are they? As in, are they basically trained for track racing, and then fences added? Do they build them up slowly? How big are the steeplechase fences? what age do they start steeplechasing, so they start with flat racing first? And lastly, where do you find steeplechasers off the track, not with some extra training and priced up, and how much do they cost on average?

    For example, I know flat racers ending a career and being sold as potential pleasure/show horses are generally 1k-3k.

    Sorry for all the questions! Just doing my research.

  • #2
    Most steeplechasers in the states are rare to come buy to be purchased after their career is over, most of them have built in homes as hunt horses.
    Blog: My journey with two OTTB's

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Crown Royal View Post
      So tell me, are these horses brave?
      I couldn't ride these Maryland Hunt Cup fences even if I fit the build (I'm 6'1") but this video gives you an idea of what timber racing requires: if a horse isn't brave facing these I'd say skip the entry box

      Timber 'chasers require a whole different level of horse. Not that brush is simple but NSA fences you see at Saratoga are child's play by comparison.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mintano View Post
        Most steeplechasers in the states are rare to come buy to be purchased after their career is over, most of them have built in homes as hunt horses.
        This, we have several steeplechase trainers in our hunt. Their horses in training always hunt with us to keep fit and people scramble for them when they are retired. Also, a good, sound chaser has a good chance of racing into their early teens. They are built to last.

        This is just my opinion, but I would think it would be very difficult to take a chaser and make it a show ring horse. I actually don't know a single trainer that even does any ring work with their horses. All of their work is done on turf tracks cut through our hunt country that allow them to work on their fitness and jumping. And they don't balance up to fences, they just go.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Glimmerglass View Post
          I couldn't ride these Maryland Hunt Cup fences even if I fit the build (I'm 6'1") but this video gives you an idea of what timber racing requires: if a horse isn't brave facing these I'd say skip the entry box

          Timber 'chasers require a whole different level of horse. Not that brush is simple but NSA fences you see at Saratoga are child's play by comparison.
          WOW, that was something. Not sure I liked it. What the heck was with the withers on that bay horse around 8:53? Looked more like a dinosaur than a horse to me. Would that sort of confirmation make it a better jumper?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ellebeaux View Post
            WOW, that was something. Not sure I liked it.
            As I indicated timber racing is not for the faint of heart - be it spectator or rider

            Worth a peek is the 3-part video series - and the book too - of Racing My Father (Patrick Smithwick in reference to his father) on youtube. From it anyone should gain a better appreciation as to how tight knit (yes cliche but true) that community is.

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            • #7
              There was a thread about a month ago about two ex-steeplechasers who needed a home--I think they had done some jumpers. You can occasionally find them--I was offered one for free last year but his personality sounded a little to intense for me.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by TrakJumper View Post
                This is just my opinion, but I would think it would be very difficult to take a chaser and make it a show ring horse. I actually don't know a single trainer that even does any ring work with their horses. All of their work is done on turf tracks cut through our hunt country that allow them to work on their fitness and jumping. And they don't balance up to fences, they just go.
                The above statement is just not true for several trainers I know. I can name at least 4 trainers off the top of my head that use gymnastics and flatwork in their horses training. I also wouldn't stereotype and say they don't balance up to a fence. A good horse will, but you also don't WANT them to when you're going at such a speed. But if you talk to some of the better jockeys, they will tell you they do look for spots into a fence, just like you will in the show ring. I know one horse that was a successful event horse after her left the barn I worked for when I was in high school. We would take all the young horses to horse shows in the off season, and most every horse in the barn also hunted.

                However, it is hard to find them. And if you want something cheap to retrain, go to the flat track. 'Chasers are not usually cheap, and if you do get them cheap it's because of connections to owners and trainers of the horse.

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                • #9
                  ..... or if you find one cheap it's because, well, the horse was avoided by the insider routes because of some very good reason. ; o )
                  What SteeleRider said is absolutely true. I had 2 champion chasers one year (one hurdle, one former-hurdle-turned-timber) that both evented to the prelim level within 2 years of that. Limited by other things, but definintely not their jumping ability.
                  A good hurdle horse learns to fly his fences, but they can be reminded or reschooled to sit back (most, anyway) and timber horses sure better be rocking back on the hocks or they aren't going to make it over those big solid jumps.
                  Being steered to the flat track for the right 'type' of horse is solid advice. The 'chase crowd is pretty inbred, with few of the really good horses shaking out of there.
                  * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.

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