The OTT horse

Discussion in 'Problem Horses' started by EVP, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. EVP

    EVP Gold Member

    No I misunderstood slightly what you were trying to convey. Of course you could include anything you like on your website, and success stories give people the opportunity to see what can be achieved if thing are approached correctly and carefully. The consumer likes to see success stories tempered with the odds and everyone likes a rags to riches story.

    I thought the information that I did supply including those posted by AnnaE ect WERE
    Maybe you could personally contact people such as John O'Leary who obviously has seen his fair share of OTT horses, perhaps he could offer some suggestions about obtaining more data, ect and from where you can access it.

    There are literally thousands of studies, articles, papers, presentations stats that are directly related to the issue of soundness in the TB race horse (not so many that are STB specific). They discuss things like track conditions affect on soundness, training regimes both here and overseas, feed, growth of young horses, drug therapies being used and trialed to increase longevity, plus the welfare issues surrounding the wastage of horses bred and post-racing.

    The entire thread was designed with just this in mind..........least in was in my mind, maybe it didn't get transposed into forum-speak.

    Just as cigarette companies place warnings on their products, and authorities continue to get the message out there, ultimately the consumer will chose what path to still does not negate the need for information because if one person stops smoking its considered a win, if one person stays alive from not smoking then all the information was validated.
  2. PPH

    PPH Guest

    Out of interest, just found a few more old pics of our ottb.

    my sister and Dad on Daisy and Nigger at a drag hunt down with the PEEL Hunt club on a farm down Cuballing/Dryandra.



    Buddy(ottb) and Maverick(cleveland Bay X)

    3 of the six pictured are ottb. Buddy, daisy and Charlie.

    The Budster.

    Not ottb but the qh mare I'm riding, Beauty, my dad used to use for clerk of course at the Narrogin trots for many years. She was awesome at doing catches and had a fair turn of speed on her and wow could she jump.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 9, 2010
  3. EVP

    EVP Gold Member

    Lots of people have had many happy years with their OTT horse. Some are still enjoying that relationship. It's what any horse owner aims for. The importance of being able to join the dots and get a horse who can do that, should be the only driving force behind a purchase.

    Knowing what is available to you after you get your horse is a good thing to know and something that should be on your list. So is learning about general horse-husbandry or looking after an OTT horse.

    ALL these things are vitally important for a new owner. But you can only enjoy those things and become involved if you have a horse that is capable of, tomorrow and next year.

    If you buy a crock, you'll love it, you'll regret it........and you'll still love it.
    But its just as easy and more enjoyable to love a long-term sound one that will not cost you more money than you could afford to pay for a horse!

    The literature is there, the advise is just have to weed through it all and make decisions based on FACTS.
  4. PPH

    PPH Guest

    Well I was actually hoping some of my previous questions on the studies might of been answered to help clarify some of the facts and figures but no luck there as yet :) :)

    Another good read on re-training the OTTB taken from Lorien Stable - Do Off-Track Thoroughbreds (OTTB's) make good riding/competition horses?

    The site also has alot of other good information, interesting reading.

    Do Off-Track Thoroughbreds (OTTB's) make good riding/competition horses?

    By: Galadriel Billington

    10:29AM Apr 8, 2004

    Many Thoroughbreds are quite talented, but acquiring one off the track has more complications than starting a green horse. Off-track Thoroughbreds (OTTB's) have had a very different lifestyle and training experiences from most other disciplines. It's also important, if you're looking for an ex-racer, to be sure that the horse is sound for your discipline; some may be sound for any discipline, some sound only for flatwork, or sound only for light riding--or pasture-sound only. If you are looking for an OTTB, it's important to have a knowledgeable professional help you evaluate his soundness; often X-rays of various joints are a good idea, too. (See link at bottom of article for more on soundness.)

    I love OTTB's. They have rather a bad reputation, often considered "hot" or crazy. Some of them are indeed hot--but then, some horses in EVERY breed will be hot. Most of the OTTB's I have worked with were pretty steady. They're a lot of work at first, but after retraining are, in feed, handling and keeping, just like other horses: judge by their needs. One of mine eats half what the other does, and they now both live in full time turnout.

    Getting an OTTB re-trained can be very interesting. Their lives on the track are very different from a pleasure riding horse's life, and the riding style they are used to is also vastly different. Their feeding regimen is designed to make them over-the-top hot, and their training designed to get them to do one thing: go from 0 to gallop as fast as they can, and keep up the gallop. It is best to assume they know less than nothing, and begin re-training them as if you are starting a green horse from scratch; after all, for your purposes, you are. There are a few track concepts you'll need him to unlearn before he can learn, though.

    When you get an OTTB the first thing you do is cut his feed and turn him out for a while. Let him wind down and get used to the concept of turnout. The world will be very strange to him (turnout? what's that?), so he'll likely be a little jumpy at first, particularly until he gets off the grain high. Do handle him, but don't expect him to be able to work, or focus, for a while.

    While you're waiting for him to calm down, you can occasionally put your saddle on him. The racing saddles he's used to wearing are very light; an English or Western saddle will come as a shock, particularly when followed immediately by a more-than-jockey-weight person hopping on! So let him get used to the saddle before you go to ride him.

    Remember that, to him, being ridden means: You get on, you go to the track, you gallop gallop gallop, then he's done. He's never been taught to walk, trot, or canter calmly; convincing him that it's okay to do so will be a tough job, requiring lots of patience :) (You'll probably also need to put work into getting him to strike off on a right-lead canter, even before you ask for it in the saddle.) Your best bet may be to first teach him the voice commands in-hand or on the lunge, then eventually transfer the idea to under saddle. He'll probably need to know whoa, walk, trot, canter, gallop, back, and over (move sideways). Getting him used to having you touch him on his side to accentuate the command will come in handy later; for instance, when you want him to move over to the left, touch him on his barrel on the right side (where your leg would be) and say, "Over" (or whatever word you want to use).

    I have an additional page on teaching voice commands; it may be helpful.

    You'll want very clear, very distinct commands. I use a clipped, clear "walk," a two syllable "ter-rot," and a "can-TER"--and a deep "HOA!" Accentuating the syllables of the words differently helps him to learn the sounds of the words much more easily. You will probably want to make a distinction between a gallop and a canter--this will help when you want to canter under saddle, and you want a CANTER, not a flat-out run. I usually use "GO-GO-GO!" to ask for a gallop ;)

    When you go to ride, you may wish to use very, very different tack from what he wore on the track--he probably had a light bridle, no noseband, and D snaffle; a heavier bridle, different bit, may be the ticket. This can help him to understand that what you want is different from what he already knows. I rode my Kat bareback in a halter and lead rope for the first few months, because any time I got out any saddle or bridle she got too excited. Riding her without *any* recognizable tack helped her to realize that she wasn't going to run just because she was going to work. (She's still much calmer bareback than with a saddle, even 3 years later.)

    Because jockeys sit above the horse, not around the horse, he won't be at all used to leg aids. Be prepared for him to be jumpy when they are applied and give him time to just get used to the legs being there, before you use them. DO NOT just pull your legs off his sides--you'll end up accidentally knocking him occasionally, and it'll be a real shock when you do go to use your legs--he could spook. Let your legs lie softly along his sides, and just let him get used to them being there. You will eventually teach him to associate leg aids with the verbal commands he already knows.

    The jockey also braces against the horse's mouth as he rides. When using your reins, if you pull back solidly, the OTTB will simply speed up. The harder you pull, the faster he'll go. Therefore, it's very important to use a pull-release-pull-release when using rein aids.

    Recall that his job was to gallop in a left circle. The first few times you ask him to canter left you may be in for a surprise, as he tries to give you what he's been taught riders want. Be careful, be prepared, but ask him for *canter* as he was taught on the ground; try to be very clear.

    Oh yes--ex-racers can be interesting to take to shows, also. Even if you've gotten them calm and steady at home, the first time they go somewhere with an announcer/intercom you may be in for a jumpy ride. It's helpful to take your OTTB to several shows just to walk around (lead him first, then ride if he's calm enough) before planning to compete. This will help them get used to the idea that busy, loud places with announcement systems are not necessarily racetracks.

    All in all, re-training a racer is not a job for a novice or a timid rider; there are too many places where hesitance will lead to the horse reverting to his previous training, and just taking off. He's been taught that's what his rider wants; in the absence of other commands, it's usually his first impulse.

    Evaluating Soundness of a Racehorse, an article by Steuart Pittman, Jr of Dodon Farm. He events at Advanced level (CCI***) with his ex-racehorse TB stallion, Salute the Truth.

    CANTER: Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses, Inc. Source of more information on ex-racers, and has several regional (US) sites where racetrack trainers can list TB's that they wish to sell. "Our purpose is to promote awareness of retraining Exracers into new careers after their racing days are over." Articles and forums; ex-racers discussed are Thoroughbred, Standardbred, and also greyhound dogs, as well as "other."
  5. PPH

    PPH Guest

    oh and just found this one.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2010
  6. EVP

    EVP Gold Member

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  7. eventingchild

    eventingchild Well-known Member

    I can TO make my WORDS BOLD


    I can't believe this is still going
  8. PPH

    PPH Guest

    Your right EC, time to put this one to sleep.
  9. EVP

    EVP Gold Member

    Why would such a great informative thread NOT be going on.....????....';'...
    The only reason for my reply was because BM had obvious difficulty in locating the stats and facts she was looking for.

    Sorry........but I'm hoping these types of informative threads continue to stay open and popular.....
  10. PPH

    PPH Guest

    Never actually found the answers I was looking for despite re-reading the whole thread and then some, though i do note that Khonke and O'leary don't actually agree on the the amount of unsound horses.

    O'Leary quotes those figures and I believe Kohnke believes they are higher.

    Thanks for your help ;);)
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2010
  11. EVP

    EVP Gold Member

    Really? You read the WHOLE thread?

    Try page 13, then page 18....

    I can post some more if you really want me to....I guess I could sift through
    it all again....;) I have plenty of time tonight!
  12. PPH

    PPH Guest

    Making this my last post on this thread. i don't think it would matter what I said, you will argue.:) And sorry i didn't have plenty of time last night, I have kids lol

    Nowhere, even on pages 13 and 18 did I find the answers to the following questions. Maybe I'm blind freddy but damned if I can find them. You might have to cut and paste for me EVP :)

    Of the 7 out of 10, how many make it to a new career and how many are dogged outright?

    Assuming these figures are horses retiring of the track, how many that find a new career path and alternate life overcome their soundness problems ?

    As the issue of unsoundness seems to be all lumped together in these studies, it would be interesting to see what the percentage level of each individual unsoundness issue is. Ie of the 7 ot of 10 how many are leg problems, how many are mental problems etc etc etc.

    As I said in earlier posts, I agree that there are soundness issues with the OTTB, just not the levels stated.

    Racing places the most stress on a horse, and those stresses are almost never replicated in other disciplines. Though some injuries (suspensories, in particular) can be difficult to heal and may re-occur more frequently, lots of other track-related injuries (from bows to fractures) often never bother a horse again if given proper care and healing time immediately following the insult.

    *Especially* when you're talking about recreational riding, the horse recovered from injury is unlikely to reach a level of stress that will re-injure him. BUT... if the recreational rider is not educated in good management/conditioning, it's certainly possible that sub-standard care could escalate the chance of recurring unsoundness.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2010
  13. It is like a merry go round and round and round and round...;)
  14. PPH

    PPH Guest

    weeeee!!!! ;) ;)
  15. EVP

    EVP Gold Member

    Beeman, G.M. 1973. Correlation of defects and conformation to pathology in the horse. In: Proc. Amer. Assoc. Equine Pract. 19:177-198.
    Chaney, J.A., C.K. Shen, and J.D. Wheat. 1973. Relationship of racetrack surface to lameness in the Thoroughbred racehorse. Am. J. Vet. Res. 34:1285-1289.
    Dolvik, N.I., and Q. Klemetsdale. 1996. The effect of arthritis in the carpal joint on performance in Norwegian cold-blooded trotters. Vet. Res. Comm.
    Goodman, N.L., and B.K. Baker. 1990. Lameness diagnosis and treatment in the Quarter Horse racehorse. In: Vet. Clinics North Am. Equine Pract. 6:85-
    Green, B.K. 1969. Horse Conformation as to Soundness and Performance.
    Northland Press.
    Hill T., D. Carmichael, Q. Maylin, and L. Krook. 1986. Track condition and
    racing injuries in Thoroughbred horses. Cornell Vet. 76:361-369.
    Jeffcott, L.B., P.D. Rossdale, J. Freestone, C.J. Frank, and P.F. Towers-Clark.
    1982. An assessment of wastage in Thoroughbred racing from conception
    to 4 years of age. Equine Vet. J. 14:185-198.
    Johnson, B.J., S.M. Stover, B.M. Daft, H. Kinde, D.H. Read, B.C. Barr, M.
    Anderson, J. Moore, L. Woods, J. Stoltz, et al. 1994. Causes of death in
    racehorses over a 2-year period. Equine Vet. J. 26:327-330.
    Kobluck, C.N., R.A. Robinson, B.J. Gordon, et al. 1990. The effect of
    conformation and shoeing: A cohort study of 95 Thoroughbred racehorses.
    In: Proc. Amer. Assoc. Equine Pract. 35:259-274.
    C.W. McIlwraith 331
    Magnusson, L.E. 1985. Studies on the conformation and related traits of
    Standardbred trotters in Sweden. Skara, Swedish University of Agricultural
    Sciences 194.
    McIlwraith, C.W. (Ed.) American Quarter Horse Association Developmental
    Orthopedic Disease Symposium. 1986.
    Mohammed, H.O., T. Hill, and J. Lowe. 1991. Risk factors associated with injuries in Thoroughbred horses. Equine Vet. J.23:445-448.
    Peloso, J.G., G.D. Mundy, and N.D. Cohen. 1994. Prevalence of, and factors
    associated with, musculoskeletal racing injuries of Thoroughbreds. J. Am.
    Vet. Med. Assoc. 204:620-626.
    Rossdale, P.D., R. Hopes, N.J. Wingfield-Digby, and K. Offord. 1985.
    Epidemiological study of wastage among racehorses: 1982 and 1983. Vet.
    Rec. 116:66-69.
    Stashak, T.S. (Ed.) 1985. Lameness in Horses (4th Ed.) Lea & Febriger.

    These articles are just a few of hundreds that relate to EVERY soundness issue of the retired race horse....I imagine that it is ALL these articles that were used to form the opinions of people like Kohnke and in turn O'Leary.
    Kohnke would have access to journals and articles from all over the world and probably has attended more symposiums than I've had baked dinners.

    However, it doesnt take a rocket scientist to realise that a few things contribute to the loss of short and long term soundness for the race horses (of both breeds)........
    1: TB horses are loosing soundness at conception through ill chosen breeding choices.
    2: Race horses enter training at a young age when they are still growing....
    factors that contribute to the success of this are governed by the smarts of the people concerned (trainers & owners financials)
    3: Track surface
    4: Drugs used

    BM if you had trouble accessing referrences provided by a few posters in the thread, I think you might find researching through all the links and the thousands of others available - just to somehow "prove" me wrong....just a bit more time consuming!....lolol

    Of course, please feel free to examine any of those links or information, and if you can find any stats or data or figures that contradict those I posted from other sources, then please put them up.

    Information on the retraining and successes of the some of the retired race horses or the TB breed in general, are not addressing the thread issue of "long-term & short-term overall soundness of the retired race horse (of both breeds)".

    Though the pics are nice!
  16. EVP

    EVP Gold Member

    "Physical stresses encountered by 2 year old Thoroughbred race horses whilst undergoing internsive training" By Michelle Reed

    Williams RB, Harkins LS, Hammond CJ and Wood JL (2001). "Racehorse injuries, clinical problems and fatalities recorded on British racecourses from flat racing and National hunt racing during 1996, 1997 and 1998". Equine Vet. J. 33: 478-486.

    Mohammed HO, Hill T and Lowe J (1991). "Risk factors associated with injuries in Thoroughbred horses". Equine Vet. J. 23: 445-448.
  17. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    While I have tried to stay out of this thread because as far as I am concerned EVP is right. however I would like to have my last say. EVP thanks for all the research that you have put into this thread. I have been a 'bad' person over the years always sending my failed, unsound OTTB's to the doggers rather than flogging them off to someone else. At one stage when we had our horse property, myself and a freind were 'agents' for a showjumper and a riding school in Perth, to find OTTB's with some talent. Trainers and other people(usually gutless wonders who did not have the guts to dog the horses themselves) would give us freebies which we would work up and if suitable sell on to Perth.

    I sent a lot to the doggers because they did not come up sound and was bagged for it(did not stop the same people dropping them off at my door I might add). It actually burnt me out to the point where we sold the property and left town for 7 years. EVP your research has consolidated all that I found taking on OTTB's in a large number over a period of time. Now if I take on an OTTB (as I have recently) it is always with the expectation that if it is unsound it only has one option. Thank you EVP for your research and statistics it has been very useful to me.
  18. Teah

    Teah New Member

    Must have very unlucky owners! Just talking from personal experience but I have had one who I can confirm one hundred percent without a doubt retired sound from racing. I got him from a close friend who owned him throughout his racing career and he was trained by her best friend. He was incredibly slow. Had no interest in galloping. Yet his half sister was a Melbourne Cup winner (I think from memory haha).

    I also have only known one horse to retire unsound from racing. Little Boston is now in a paddock for 18 months with a bowed tendon. Little cutie that one is. He'll be vet checked after this time and if he passes sound he'll either come to me to see if I like him I'll give him a go, if not he'll either be tried to race again or if he doesn't pass unfortunately he'll be PTS.

    But I've had a fair number of horses OTT who have retired sound from racing and that I've kept or sold on and the only problems I've had have been from genetic and conformation issues (Jumbo has perfect conformation but one of his legs looks like it's been stuck on wrong - Alas he's now retired from arthritis at 17).

    I am both a fan and not a fan of the racing industry. I love that they try and breed better horses all the time and I feel that the standard out there at the moment in Australia is second to no country. And most trainers are lovely people with horse welfare in mind as well as profit - But we all try and make and save money some way. There are just a select few who mistreat horses on occasion but EVERY industry has this. Same as greyhounds, pacing, even bird shows.
  19. EVP

    EVP Gold Member

    GTD, thank you for being so kind in your reply. It is much appreciated.
    I totally get that some information is unpalatable for some people.........but if information *even a little bit* can help someone either choose more carefully, or sell more wisely, then I believe that is a good thing.
  20. EVP, you hit the record with your thread!!! 7400 hits!!!:)*
    What does that tell you?:D

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