Off-the-track thoroughbreds (OTTBs) are growing in popularity. They are athletic, intelligent, and well-suited for various disciplines. OTTBs can be an excellent option for your next horse, but they’re not for every rider.
Things to Consider with OTTBs
There’s a lot to love about OTTBs. And there’s something special about giving a retired racehorse an opportunity for a new career. The following are some benefits and potential concerns of purchasing an OTTB.
What Kind of Rider Are You?
It’s essential to consider your experience level. OTTBs are generally not a great match for a beginner or inexperienced rider. Do you feel confident enough to teach an OTTB the basics all over again? You’ll have to teach the horse to move off the leg and what contact in the reins means. After all, all the horses are trained to do is run on the track!
Just as important as your experience is your level of patience. With an OTTB, you must take the time to help them unlearn everything they got from the track. Ask yourself how much time and work you are willing to put into an OTTB.
Realistically, you’ll be doing a lot of groundwork at the beginning with a horse fresh off the track. Once the horse understands what you’re asking on the ground, you can begin under saddle. But remember-this takes time!
Do Your Research
Most importantly, you need to know what you’re getting into with an OTTB. Thoroughbreds have been selectively bred for years for their speed, stamina, and athleticism. Because of this, they aren’t well suited for beginner riders.
If you decide you have the experience and patience to take on an OTTB, you should consider what you plan to do with them. Remember, most racehorses know the basics of how to gallop around a counter-clockwise track. So, it’s up to you what you want to discipline you to want to pursue with your new horse. OTTBs excel at various disciplines, including: show jumping, dressage, hunters, eventing, and even trail riding. The opportunities can be endless!
But before you purchase your next horse, you always want to have a thorough vet check performed. This is especially important when it comes to buying OTTBs. Racing is notoriously hard on horses. Galloping takes a beating on their feet, legs, and joints. Performing a vet check will ensure you are aware of any injuries or red flags that could be affecting the horse or affect them in the future.
A strong and healthy topline is crucial for a horse's overall health and performance. The top line, which encompasses the muscles that run along the horse's spine from the withers to the croup, plays a vital role in supporting the rider's weight and maintaining proper balance.