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Demystifying My TB's Past

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  • Demystifying My TB's Past

    I'm hoping some of you with knowledge of the racing industry can help me understand my TB's past. He has some strange habits and issues that I think may be related to something I'm not aware of.

    He is a 5 year old gelding. Here is his pedigree: http://www.pedigreequery.com/striking+pose3

    As far as I can discover, Newman (his barn name) was bred at Hermitage Farm in KY by David Miller, a pedrigree specialist, and a Louisville podiatrist. As a yearling (about a year and a half old), he was put up for auction with a $40,000 reserve which was not met. I bought him from my stable owner, who, from what I understand, bought him from a man who purchased him from the track. Newman has a lip tattoo but has no races on record.

    He has a few strange habits, like making the most RIDICULOUS faces I have ever seen. They are hilarious. He also becomes very tense and anxious when tacking up and it takes about 20 minutes for him to relax despite being an overall energetic but low key, manageable guy. He is very sweet, willing, and responsive, but is pretty green and does not respect people, including me and our trainer, consistently.

    Also, for any pedigree gurus out there, I'd be interested in hearing about any typical characteristics or notable pros/cons that are common within particular geneology lines.

    Thanks in advance for any help! I love my Newman and am trying to understand him better.

  • #2
    As far as the faces--that sounds just like a personality quirk. I've had two OTTBs and known more, and I can't think of any odd faces any of them liked to make. Likewise, as he's unraced, it's possible the tenseness under tack is that he associates it with going to work on the track, but there's no reason to think he wouldn't be like that without any track training-he's young, he's green, he may just be anxious about being put to work with a rider until he sorts out what's going on. What you describe mostly sounds like baby behavior from a more 'up' horse. My old TB was hot and usually needed to work out of it when he was younger.

    Pedigree: Can't speak to any temperament. The older names (RaN, Mr P, Nashua, etc) aren't that uncommon. He has Shenanigans, dam of Ruffian, and closer in his damsire is Smart Strike, big-name son of Mr. P and sire of Curlin.
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    • #3
      I knew lots of TB's on the track who enjoyed making funny faces. I think they get bored easily in their stalls all day. They also have a lot of personality!

      If he was tattooed, it's highly likely he was in race training and probably very close to running, so the tension when saddling could be linked to his anticipation of galloping. Racehorses are always saddled in their stall, you might try that and see if it calms him down. Or try saddling and unsaddling him without riding.

      Racehorses also don't often have to have respect for their handlers, they aren't very disciplined and are often allowed to walk all over people. I never really understood that aspect of the track, it sure seems to make things more difficult and dangerous for everybody involved. From what I understand though, their idea is that they want the horse brave and bold, and if they are corrected (ie taught manners and made to behave), it will diminish their fighting spirit on the racetrack. Also at times, with a highly explosive racing fit animal, it's not always safe to "school" a horse, sometimes easier to just let them have their way. Like if the horse wants to go forward and you don't want them too, if you correct them and force them to stand still, they could explode or flip over. It's best to just let them move forward.

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      • #4
        Well, Equibase knows about him, even though he's not had any races. That may mean that he did have published works. You can purchase workout history through brisnet for 75 cents, IIRC. That make give you a little more info about him.

        Storm Cats are often known for their difficult and temperamental nature, which may play a part in his handling issues, although everything that BansheeBreeze says is certainly right on.

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        • #5
          Even if he did not race, if he is a more sensitive type, he may have some stomach issues from his time on the backside. This can make them tense for getting tacked up and have a lack of ability to focus. It may be quite a worthwhile investment to have his stomach checked out and appropriate treatment applied.

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          • #6
            Just for fun, you can see a picture of his half brother Major Score here

            http://nikkishermanphotography.com/g...g2_itemId=9009

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            • #7
              Lack of respect in a horse is a direct reflection in the people handling him, not the horse. Some horses will take advantage of an opportunity more than others but the opportunity has to be there. I would treat for ulcers for a week and see what happens.
              McDowell Racing Stables

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              • #8
                Originally posted by BansheeBreeze View Post
                Racehorses also don't often have to have respect for their handlers, they aren't very disciplined and are often allowed to walk all over people. I never really understood that aspect of the track, it sure seems to make things more difficult and dangerous for everybody involved. From what I understand though, their idea is that they want the horse brave and bold, and if they are corrected (ie taught manners and made to behave), it will diminish their fighting spirit on the racetrack. Also at times, with a highly explosive racing fit animal, it's not always safe to "school" a horse, sometimes easier to just let them have their way. Like if the horse wants to go forward and you don't want them too, if you correct them and force them to stand still, they could explode or flip over. It's best to just let them move forward.
                People are always saving racehorses are treated abusively or let to get away with everything. They need to pick one

                Racehorse trainers are just like any other kind of trainer, they do things differently.

                Some racehorses have impeccible ground manners, some don't. Coming out of the racing world 5 years ago I was mortified by the behavior of some of the horses at boarding stables.

                I joked that when selling horses off the track buyers always wanted them to be sound and sane but this was because their barns were already full of crazy, lame horses. (Mostly joking)

                My OTTB is one of those impeccible types, well until I ruined him with cuddles and cookies, then he got pretty spoiled Thankfully his current rider is a very old-school correct hunter/jumper person and she has fixed him and he's not so annoying.

                But seriously, the hotwalkers are the entry level people and so the horses definately have a certain level of expected behavior. Most thoroughbreds are very good about being themselves while keeping within limits. The best racehorses though tend to be bullies, it's part of what they bring to the table at the track. And some of the good ones are SAINTS because that level of sheer obedience is what they bring to the track, those are my favorite types, they give far beyond their ability)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by abrant View Post
                  The best racehorses though tend to be bullies, it's part of what they bring to the table at the track. And some of the good ones are SAINTS because that level of sheer obedience is what they bring to the track, those are my favorite types, they give far beyond their ability)
                  Absolutely. You're not going to have the best trainers demand obedience of those who are extremely competitive. And if yours has any issues with not listening to you, it may just take time. Mine was fine on the ground, but another story under saddle.

                  I found a huge difference with my horse's finally listening to me, instead of being tuned into his expectations from the track, when we finally moved to a boarding situation with unlimited turnout. The whole system of becoming part of a small herd, even if just in the next paddock over, and being able to walk/run around when he wants, has totally changed the training experience. That, and a few CTJ lessons with a trainer who really knows Thoroughbreds in total, not just someone who teaches lessons and has had one or two quieter Thoroughbreds in their barn, if yours is one who does have some attitude.

                  Another source you might be interested in perusing is the RRTP site, where individuals have listed horses they are working with. They maintain a pedigree base and ask owners to describe their experiences. Yesterday I noted an owner with a very competitive horse also found him best transitioning to his new career with unlimited turnout. http://www.retiredracehorsetraining.org/

                  And the final word is time. May be a piece of cake for some to transition, and a lonnng time for others. Just don't give up, and don't be dismayed if it takes longer than you thought. I truly believe almost all Thoroughbreds exceptionally bright, outstanding athletes, and willing to lay down their lives for you when you've worked it out together with them.
                  But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thank you so much for all the wonderful, helpful responses!

                    We had a huge discovery today; it turns out it has been quite a while since his teeth were floated, and sure enough, we felt something sharp. I rode him with just my leg and seat for a few minutes and he was an angel. Time to call the vet!

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by keepthelegend View Post
                      Just for fun, you can see a picture of his half brother Major Score here

                      http://nikkishermanphotography.com/g...g2_itemId=9009
                      Paint this horse chestnut and add a big white blaze, and that face is SO Newman. Thanks for the neat photo!

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