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what i need to know about OTTBs?

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  • what i need to know about OTTBs?

    ok, so i now have 3 OTTBs. i didn't mean to collect so many - but there you have it.

    first i need to say - i don't know squat about racing.

    today my gelding told me that race horses pick up their right front first, *then* the left front, etc. i had been trying to get him to pick up the left first - and he just was having such a hard time with the concept.... so i thought about it and tried the right first... ah ha! success!

    soooo.... this leads me to believe they know an awful lot of stuff i don't know and that they keep waiting for me to do (fill in the blank) but i dont cause i don't know i am supposed to be doing it!

    so anyway.... anyone have any *things* that i should know now that i am the proud owner of so many lovely OTTBs?

  • #2
    Your gelding lied to you then because race horses have all four feet picked out from the left hand side starting with the left front. Forget about the race track, horses are horses. You will do fine.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home

    Comment


    • #3
      Laurie has it right - horses are horses and different people break and train horses differently, so it's impossible to say exactly what to expect. And, not everyone does the picking the feet up from the left either - it's all personal preference and training - just like with any other discipline.

      Have fun with your new guys!

      Comment


      • #4
        As Laurie said, the trainer/track/race history will affect horse's training history. This book (Beyond the Track: Retraining the Thoroughbred from Racecourse to Riding Horse) is a good start for learning the similarities and differences between racehorses and riding horses. It's pretty basic and it's a quick read.

        If you're unfamiliar with racing, another option is to go to the track for a day. If you can, watch the horses work in the morning, as well as how they are handled before and after races.
        Sarah K. Andrew | Twitter | Blog | Horses & Hope calendar | Flickr | Instagram

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
          Your gelding lied to you.
          figures

          Comment


          • #6
            Laurie et al. are exactly right about OTTBs just being horses, but it helps some to understand what their lives have been like, if you are unfamiliar with that history. One of the joys of having an OTTB is all that transparency, along with the extraordinary databases that come with the horse.

            In the Reference section of COTH, there's a thread on OTTBs that also has some good information. Enjoy!

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              grits - thanks great link!

              Comment


              • #8
                great links here too, pick a chapter you like

                http://www.leightonfarm.com/retrainingIntro.htm

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                  Your gelding lied to you then because race horses have all four feet picked out from the left hand side starting with the left front. Forget about the race track, horses are horses. You will do fine.
                  I always get a kick out of this one. My husband, the traditionalist, picks feet from the left side in the standard racehorse pattern. I pick only the one that's on the side I'm on, front then back. I get flack from hubby occassionally, and I just say hon, how does what I'm doing differ from what our farrier does? He then does the smart thing and zips it. If the horses we have truly didn't like the way I did it, I'd stop but so far, no complaints

                  Enjoy your TBs. Many are a sensible, yet sensitive horses who wear their emotions on the outside and great for those who are intuitive to horses. If you listen to what they try to express, you'll be just fine.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                    Your gelding lied to you ...
                    But of course! What does he have to lose?
                    **********
                    Starts with an 'S,' ends with a 'T.' You figure it out.

                    **********
                    "Houston, Tranquility Base here, picking up where we left off ..."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Had an OTTB, and ALWAYS picked left front-right front-right rear-left rear. This had less to do with him as he didn't care than my OCD.

                      Only thing I'll add to what everyone is said is all the OTTBs I've known have been cleverer than your average horse!
                      Author Page
                      Like Omens In the Night on Facebook
                      Steampunk Sweethearts

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Let your gelding tell you what his personal preference is, then keep him happy by maintaining the routine. Racehorses are very much creatures of habit - they want to know what to expect, when to expect, and most importantly what is expected of them. One of the cruelest things (IMO) that someone can do is toss an OTTB out in a field first thing in the morning and say "See ya" til the dinner bell rings. Then the horse is lost with no clue what it is expected to do with itself for the rest of the day - many pace the fenceline, some stand there waiting to be brought back in, some don't care and inhale as much grass/forage as possible - they are individuals. However, the majority are much comforted by a well established routine. They often need to be introduced to turnout slowly - 30-45 minutes to start with, lengthening that time as they are comfortable.

                        When riding, remember the harder you pull, the faster they will go. If you find yourself in a spot of trouble and need to slow your horse down without resorting to yanking it's face off (never a good idea anyway but especially not on an OTTB), stand up in your irons (indicating to horse a change is coming up), loosen your reins (meaning "come back to me now"), relax and THINK stop. Scary as all get out the first time - it goes against one's every instinct to chuck the reins at them when you want to stop like, 5 minutes ago. But it works. And remember, if you ride an ottb anticipating all the things that could, should and might scare him, then everything will scare the heck out of him. Expect them to behave, instead of finding everything that could scare them and riding like you are about to be left behind any second, and they will usually accomodate you. Not saying something so simplistic as "if i Loooooovvvveee my horsie and expect him to do whatever I tell him just by thinking it" but give your ottb a good idea of what you expect (we are going to trot along this fenceline and IGNORE these cows" then expect them to do it, you will be a lot better off than, for example: "These killer cows right ahead wont hurt you or eat you, i promise, just please please be good I am beggggging you..." as you clamp down with your legs like a vice and start to panic inside and anticipate the worst (ask me how I know this).

                        I probably could have made a couple more paragraphs above to make it more easily understood/read but it's been one of those days where I just cant bother lol.
                        Jessi Pizzurro ~~ Pennyroyal Stables
                        Racehorses, OTTBs ~~ 330 383 1281
                        Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. -- John Wayne

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I wanted to add - they expect to have something to do, after breakfast they will wait to see what the day's plans are - are we going out to play in the round pen, lunging, riding, whatever. But they will wait and wait - often til they begin to worry themselves sick. If you can get something done with them in the morning it will keep their minds happier than if they have to wait all day. Not sure your personal boarding situation, but if you board, something like 20-30 mins turnout in an indoor arena or a small paddock will usually give them what they need to keep them from fretting the rest of the day til you get out in the evening to ride or whatever. They will expect to at least have their legs hosed before being put back in their stall.

                          Also, if you have 3 together, they will deal with turnout better as they are indeed herd animals. Just make sure they are able to get along a few times before leaving them on their own together for an extended, unsupervised time.

                          All the best - where did your ottbs come from? What are their names?
                          Jessi Pizzurro ~~ Pennyroyal Stables
                          Racehorses, OTTBs ~~ 330 383 1281
                          Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. -- John Wayne

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Jessi P View Post
                            All the best - where did your ottbs come from? What are their names?
                            JessiP - thanks for the great info!

                            check my blog (below) to see info on all my horses (4 now)...

                            as for where they came from: newest mare (call me princess) came up from Santa Anita on Thursday with a low bow.

                            Floyd (aka Gin Player) the gelding (who lied) i got from a woman going thru a divorce - he has been off the track for a while - he is a super horse

                            and Sassy (aka Five Coynes) the grey mare is from i dont know where - and she came with horrible food allergies and scabs all over her body

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Alibhai's Alibar View Post
                              As Laurie said, the trainer/track/race history will affect horse's training history. This book (Beyond the Track: Retraining the Thoroughbred from Racecourse to Riding Horse) is a good start for learning the similarities and differences between racehorses and riding horses. It's pretty basic and it's a quick read.

                              If you're unfamiliar with racing, another option is to go to the track for a day. If you can, watch the horses work in the morning, as well as how they are handled before and after races.
                              I got this book for Christmas and it's great... I've been riding for 28 years and previously owned a middle-aged OTTB, but my new horse is a young OTTB, only 5-- so he's the most "track" that I've ever been exposed to. I know quite a bit about riding after 28 years but that book taught me a lot, too.
                              *friend of bar.ka

                              "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Jessi P View Post
                                If you find yourself in a spot of trouble and need to slow your horse down without resorting to yanking it's face off (never a good idea anyway but especially not on an OTTB), stand up in your irons (indicating to horse a change is coming up), loosen your reins (meaning "come back to me now"), relax and THINK stop. Scary as all get out the first time - it goes against one's every instinct to chuck the reins at them when you want to stop like, 5 minutes ago. But it works. And remember, if you ride an ottb anticipating all the things that could, should and might scare him, then everything will scare the heck out of him. Expect them to behave, instead of finding everything that could scare them and riding like you are about to be left behind any second, and they will usually accomodate you. Not saying something so simplistic as "if i Loooooovvvveee my horsie and expect him to do whatever I tell him just by thinking it" but give your ottb a good idea of what you expect (we are going to trot along this fenceline and IGNORE these cows" then expect them to do it, you will be a lot better off than, for example: "These killer cows right ahead wont hurt you or eat you, i promise, just please please be good I am beggggging you..." as you clamp down with your legs like a vice and start to panic inside and anticipate the worst (ask me how I know this).
                                Exactly.

                                As for stopping them when they get going, or just settling them if they get a little jiggy, I find bridging the reins and putting some pressure on the top of the neck also works for some of them

                                But the biggest thing is being relaxed and having good expectations. TBs (raced or not) are excellent at reading your mood and like to key in on you (actually all horses do that, really). If you have floppy reins and are nice and relaxed, they're more likely to be chill. If you have a tight rein and are looking around for things that might set them off... that's when they get worried. Self-fulfilling prophecy a lot of the time.
                                "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                                My CANTER blog.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  thanks folks! super info

                                  luckily I am not a timid (or new) rider and i really work on trust before getting on any of them... i spend a lot of timing lunging and ground work instilling good voice commands and good work ethic and that "look to me" attitude.. i find it transfers to under saddle very well

                                  I (heart) my OTTBs and wont go back to WBs anytime soon

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    YOU KNOW

                                    Anytime you have questions about OTTB's You should always ask " Jessie P" .. she is a very nice person. very knowledgable. and I have talked to her several times and can not say enough good things about her . YOU GO GIRL..
                                    we love OTTB's..
                                    "YOU create your own stage. The audience is waiting."

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Awwwww shucks, thanks! I appreciate the kind words. Sometimes I get frustrated, it's nice to feel appreciated.
                                      Jessi Pizzurro ~~ Pennyroyal Stables
                                      Racehorses, OTTBs ~~ 330 383 1281
                                      Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. -- John Wayne

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I'll pile on and say how cool Jessie P is!!

                                        Good luck with the OTTB's!!
                                        F O.B
                                        Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                                        Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

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