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Im adopting a retired thoroughbred and i need help

Discussion in 'Horses - all breeds / types' started by Rachel B., Dec 1, 2004.

  1. Rachel B.

    Rachel B. New Member

    Hello,
    I am fairly new to the horse world, I will be adopting a retired racehorse soon and I am a little overwhelmed by how much work will be involved in his "Transitional Training" . The adoption Application itself is pretty scary, Im worried that I dont have enough experiance to be approved for him . Is there anyone out there that can explain to me the difficulty I will be facing and perhaps some advice for myself


    Thank you all so much,

    Rachel B.
     
  2. Sara

    Sara New Member

    Racers run in one direction on groomed tracks and are often physically overextended... You'll get a lean horse that is probably going to have energy coming out of his ears ESPECIALLY fresh off the track... They're stressed out and a little nutty... I've always wanted to adopt a racer and I had a plan all set out for him... FIRST I'd pasture him with a nice quiet mate or two and he'd be on the pasture with little to no handling for a year...one reason is to let him get his head right and another reason is to let him get his mouth back...

    When a racehorse runs he LEANS on the bit for balance so you've got a horse that knows and will take the bit in his teeth and LEAN...so you need to either get him out of a bit or teach him slowly to accept the different use of it for pleasure riding.

    Once off of the horse and letting him be a HORSE again I planned to start from square one and take it all step by step... Likely you'll get a horse with stable issues...cribbing, pacing etc... Have you ever seen a race horse??? They egotistical as well...MANY are pretty snooty and KNOW they are in the elite class...

    If you FEEL overwhelmed you likely are biting off more than you can chew... With a good trainer and help you can likely make this work but if you are on your own, no help or resources you may need to look into a different breed alltogether... If you're new to horses and the "horse world" I would urge you to pick a different horse better suited for your needs... Find a trainer, take a lesson or two and have that person help you find a horse that fits your needs...

    I don't mean to scare you but I've had horses since I was six and don't plan on taking on a retired race horse for quite some time...I do not have the "re-starting" experience I need. I'd take on a mustang before trying to tackle a retired racehorse fresh off the track etc...

    That's just me... How much training with this horse have? Will he be FRESH off the track and have ANY background training for pleasure riding at all??? If not look at some other options.
     
  3. Rachel B.

    Rachel B. New Member

    This is the decriprition of the horse . I have had many years in western riding lessons but could not advance since I, at the time did not own a horse . I am going to buy him, And I will just have to put in alot of work
    do you mind if i take your "plan" and kinda roll with it, If all else fails he will be a great companion .I would eventually like him to be a great show horse for my daughter .

    Dr. John is a flashy 10 yr old 16h gelding. John just retired from racing due to having 10 starts this year and only winning $629. He is an old class horse who has raced 99 times and won $176,860. John is in great health and is looking for a new career. He has limited flexion in his left ankle due to years of racing, however it does not bother him. John is a very kind but confident gelding. He should make a wonderful pleasure mount. We do not recommend any jumping but he will be fine for most flat work.


    Also wondering what breed of horse do you think would be suitable ?
     
  4. Sara

    Sara New Member

    He's not the soundest and I bet time off would help that Ankle of his. He'll have a really tough mouth and since he's older I wouldn't stay AWAY from him for a whole year...maybe a season and perhaps do soem ground work with him once he's had a chance to clear his head. If he's got problems they'll likely not be easily overcome due to his age...but it's possible...

    I don't mind you using my plan at all...it's not copywrited but has never been worked out on either... I'd do groundwork with him and stuff like that in the meantime... Sams might have good info too... I'll see if she's seen the thread or not... She's had experience with lots of different breeds and I'd no doubt he's dealt with retired racers as well... He sounds like he's not too much of a handfull but may have issues like cribbing etc...
     
  5. someday

    someday New Member

    I would have reservations purchasing this horse for what you want unless you have an experienced trainer who is willing to work with you. I'm not saying all horses off the track are crazy and unmangeable, but they do require a certain amount of understanding. TB's are quirky..that can be a lot of fun, and can be really dangerous. I purchased my horse off the track when he was three and I was 14, they raced him once and decided he was not race horse material. The first year scared my mother to death..he was a baby..he bucked, he couldn't canter a circle to save his life and he was very entergetic...he was also very kind though. He's now about to be 11 and he's a trooper, he packs my mom along to dressage shows while I'm off at school. It took him years to be able to calmly walk on a track..We first found out when we went to a dressage show that was held on a racetrack...he bucked and bolted through the entire test...Hilda Gurney was the judge too(pretty embarrassing)
    I had an advantage though that he was only 3...he was willing to change his mind about work..he'd only been doing it a year..yours will be ten, and had many racing miles on him...that's all he's known and will be very difficult to get him to come back to a relaxed lifestyle..I would also be very careful with a horse that's been racing until he's 10..especially if you would like him to show...he may be sound enough for some pleasure riding, but his years of work may quickly catch up with his joints with the training it takes for showing.
    Of course, if you're set on getting this horse...I do highly reccommend giving racehorses a second chance after they can no longer race...they certainly deserve it..I just think having a trainer to help you along is almost always necessary..sometimes a fresh set of eyes is all it takes to figure out what's making them tick..
     
  6. Sara

    Sara New Member

    Well Stated Anne... If you're ready for the possibility that he won't work out for what you want and that you're fine with a companion go for it... But at 10 he'll likely have a LOT of issues that will likely NOT go away...

    My Arab wasn't off the track but he was trained late and had issues and they have similar temperments to TB's... Even at 10 this won't be a bomb proof calm fellow by any means... It can get REALLY scary with a hot horse with issues... if you are afraid in any way as a handler of these guys you'll get run over by them... Make sure you don't have reservations about it and that you can resolve to be IT...

    Good luck and I'd love to see some pics... Let us know if the paperwork goes through and if you have a trainer to help you through the transition part of it all.
     
  7. Samsintentions

    Samsintentions New Member

    HI! and welcome. Just wanted to jump in here and give my 2 cents.. Ok. i've raced horses and my family has for over 20 some odd years.
    One thing your going to have to remember about Off the track horses is that they are NOT totally broken to ride. They are gentled enought to "Tolorate" and I use that term to its fullest, a rider. THey are left simi wild to allow their '' spirit" to guide them and make them run more freely.

    Ok. First off. Letting him have little to no contact for a season is not such a good idea. One, he'll get it in his head that he doesn't ahve to do anything. For the first few months you'll want to feed him and have him gain a few lbs. Though not to quickly and not on to high a protien/energy sweet feed (that will only fuel his energy to run). You need to work on groundmanners and get them perfected. 9 times out of 10 he's learned ever bad habbit in the racing world. Handlers let the horses get out of line and do not correct bad manners....sooo you have to correct that.

    Then basically you need to start from scratch. Train hm like he's a yearling and this is his first go round.

    I HIGHLY suggest working with a certified proffessional trainer. Mnay people have been severly hurt.

    I have a special mare Passum UP Majic, who is now 12 years off the track. Still to this day she has a hard time reigning right, and every time she hears a metal "CLANG" she bolts.

    A horse that has been raced that long will take some extensive training. NOt only riding, but mental training as well. He needs to learn to be a horse. All he knows is the track.

    Good luck and we're here every step of the way. Please post photos...
     
  8. Sara

    Sara New Member

    BTW my plan always consisted of ground work while the horse was learning how to be a horse and getting head cleared...I don't think I made that clear...sorry...LOL... GREAT info. Sam.
     
  9. Samsintentions

    Samsintentions New Member

    Thanks.

    One more thing that I forgot to meantion.

    Many times with Retired Race horses....You can't just make them Stop racing cold turkey....

    You still need to exersize him. Don't let him just sit around. You'll end up with a very grumpy, and barn sour horse. Don't do full out race training. But loungeing everyday for an hour, or round pen work. walks, things like that. Also, They aren't used to an abundance of grass. Many people buy off the track horses, and they throw them in a pasture. Problem with that is that more times than not they aren't allowed to graze during training.

    What you might think of being ok to let him graze on, may end up foundering him. Many horses founder like this.
    So limit his grazing, and gradually build up to letting him have free pasture roam.
     
  10. horse_child

    horse_child New Member

    A good feed to use that will put weight on and won't make him hot is Equine Senior. I use it with my 5 year-old when he is doing heavy work for me he gets that to keep weight on him, but not makes him hot. i have to agree with sams, start him from scratch. do lots of bending and flexing so he learns to "give" to your pressure. my trainer trains them to give and when you ask them it feels like pulling a tissue out of its box. recognize that this will take a long time due to he is older and all he knows is the track.
     
  11. Samsintentions

    Samsintentions New Member

    Equine senior is a good feed for older horses. Given a horse off the track, you don't want to depleat the protien as fast as that would. You want to do it gradually or you'll end up loosing muscle tone ot fat.

    I would put him on a 18% pelet with steamed crimped oats, then gradually work your way down to 12%.
     
  12. CockatielCrazy87

    CockatielCrazy87 New Member

    We have a rescue ex racing Thoroughbred mare named Dharma on our ranch. A constant adoptable and alot of work. When Dharma came ot us we did exactly what was mentioned before we gave her a month of full on break time with our retired heavy draft horses kowing them being the mellowest would do nothing but improve her behavor being big and kind but also tough if the little mare went for them. when Dharma came to us she was all of the following a biter, a chewer, a kicker, a charger, and an all around flightly little horse (small for a race horse kinda like Sea Bisquit lol). It took us a full year to work most of her kinks out. Three years later we stand with a finally remade Dharma chilling in our pasture. She's a great trail horse and no longer tries to take off with me still on her on them lol. She has learned that she is not the coolest chick in the pasture if you get what i mean. She is one of our normal barral racers and enjoys it even though it took her forever to learn. The only reason Dharma hasent been adopted out is really no one is interested in her. She's fast but not fast enough for some one to truly want her and in many peoples words who have looked at her she is ugly and has bad conformation.

    Tell you what if you have any doubts in your mind don't do it. Assuming this is your first horse all your own I don't think an exracer is the way to go. But this is your descision.
     
  13. Berriano

    Berriano New Member

    Hey! I remember seeing Dr John when i was looking around at TB's...he didn't look like anything I was interested in, though...keep in mind what they said...if you ever decide down the road you want to do harder riding, or jumping, youll be stuck with a horse you cant use...
     
  14. Samsintentions

    Samsintentions New Member

    NOt true at all. Your not Stuck with something you love. There is always the option to adopt another horse.

    Horse_child. I know what you mean. I know soooo many great and wonderful horses like Gidgett, that are just perfect for a child, or competition. but no one wants them becuase of their history of abuse. The scars show through and thier not the prettiest flower on the bush. Sad people made them that way. Sadder no one wants them this way.....
     
  15. Chicksgirl

    Chicksgirl New Member

    I have a off-track Tb that's a wonderful horse. It took a lot of work to get him where he is today but if you're willing to put in the time they can be great.

    Here's Shadow:

    [​IMG]

    I don't think you're ever stuck with a horse. When we took in Whiskey he had a bad hip and they said he wouldn't be redable but now he's my show horse.
     
  16. Samsintentions

    Samsintentions New Member

    Each and every horse has its perpose on this earth. Wether its a show horse, pleasure horse, eventing horse, race horse, or a just plain pasture ornament, or pasture pal.
     
  17. Kevin

    Kevin New Member

    Most of the pony horses ot the racetracks are exracehorses,If it was me and I wanted the horse for a useing horse the first thing I would do if he just came of the track would be turn him out to the pasture for about 60days just to lit him fully unwind .and when you get him back up start from scratch, rember this horse will run if ask to so do your ground work first,This horse does not have a whoa on him because they always bring them down slow after the finish line, to help get a good handle on him to where you can stop him if needed turn him into the arena fence every time you want to stop eventualy every time you gather up the reins he will gather himself up and be prepared to stop. Good luck
     
  18. seaecho

    seaecho New Member

    Really, really think this over well before you commit yourself! This is a word of warning. Ex racehorses are for experienced people only! As the others stated, you could easily get badly hurt or killed in an instant. If you have plenty of experience, I'd still think about it for a long time before I went ahead with it.

    That said, you should do loads and loads of groundwork with him before ever even DREAMING of letting anyone get on him. (Unless its a trainer). Get him completely understanding and obeying Walk, Trot, Canter and Whoa. Drill it into him until he respects and obeys all these commands. Before you do this, he will not be safe to ride. You could easily find yourself with a runaway, and believe me, you don't want that! He'd be running wide open at about 40mph, with no brakes! So the whoa command is more important than I could ever stress to you. After that, start driving him so he'll learn that rein pressure doesn't mean to lean on the bit and take off as if from a starting gate. Don't even leave the arena until you trust him to obey instantly. Drive him all over the neighborhood. You'll be on the ground, and can always let go of the reins in an emergency. If you were riding him, you'd be a sitting duck. This whole process could take many, many months, if not over a year. You want him as rock solid as possible when you finally step up on him. Teach him to give to the bit with lots of bending exercises. If he braces against you, you'll have no control whatsoever.

    Hot horses are dangerous animals - don't give him straight alfalfa. Give him three way, Timothy or other grass hay in the morning, and alfalfa only at night, after you've done your work with him for the day. Don't feed any grain or sweet feed, etc. It will only hyp him up - and you DON'T need that. Just extra hay if he needs weight will put it on him. Practice extreme caution at all times, and NEVER, EVER take your eyes off him - even if you are only leading him around. If he spooks badly, he could land right on top of you. And as the others said, he won't have the best of manners, to say the least. He may not even tie. You'll have to start from raw scratch, so make absolutely certain you want to take on this huge challenge, and understand also that the risk of injury is very high.
     

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