OTTBs, or off-the-track-thoroughbreds, can make excellent sports horses after their racing careers are over. Many Thoroughbreds are retired from racing early, often due to not doing well in their races at a young age. Many owners prefer to sell their horses and get them out of racing rather than sink more money into an unpromising race horse. This is a great thing for many who are looking to buy an OTTB, but they do come with a lot of work and often require an experienced rider.
OTTBs are trained for racing, so when they go to a new home, they have to undergo a completely new training system. This is not usually something a beginner rider, or even a timid rider, can do, and many riders use the help of trainers to get their Thoroughbred on the right track.
When selecting an off-the-track-Thoroughbred, there are some important things to look out for to insure that you make the best investment with your time and your money.
OTTBs Make Great Eventers & Jumpers
Many off the track Thoroughbreds make great eventers and jumpers. If you are looking for an eventer or jumper, there are certain characteristics you can look for to help determine whether a horse would be good at these disciplines or not.
The prospect should have an uphill build with high shoulders. If you are looking for a jumper, you want to look for even higher shoulders, and a very strong butt. They should have a medium bone structure, and not too delicate like how some Thoroughbreds are built, so that they will be able to withstand jumping. They should have a short to a medium sized back, not too long. Any size is good, but heavier set and bigger horses have more pressure put on their legs, which may potentially cause problems.
Watch Out for These Injuries
If a prospect has any of the following injuries, your best bet would be to move on to the next one. These injuries may come back to haunt you in the future, leaving you with a lame horse that is unable to compete. As always, get a vet to check over the horse and inquire about any previous injuries when looking at a horse. Look at the number of races a horse has done. If the number is high, there is high probability that they are going to have some kind of injury, or that they had an injury in the past.
- Issues with breathing
- Suspensory injuries that were severe
- Fractures or chips in the horse’s joints
- Tendon injuries that were severe
Even if a prospect has had an injury in the past, if it was not severe, they may still make great competition horses.
Always look at a prospects personality. Many off the track Thoroughbreds are very laid back and have a good brain, but there are some crazy ones out there. Avoid the ones who seem crazy, and go for the ones who are brave and have some spunk, but will still listen to you. Some are very silly and playful, but they will try to please you with everything they know when under saddle.
If you are looking at a horse that is able to go over a low jump a few times, this can be a great gauge for determining if this is a good competition horse for you. It does not matter how they do the jump the first time, whether they hit it or not. What you should look for is how they jump it the second and third times, and times after that. You want a horse that will try harder after hitting or knocking down a rail, one that shows a desire to try to do better.
Off-The-Track-Thoroughbreds- Great Horses
Great show horses can be made from off the track Thoroughbreds with some training and TLC. They make great riding horses and can be used in a variety of disciplines, not just jumping and eventing. You can find all kinds of personalities in these horses, whether you are looking for a laid-back, lazy Thoroughbred, or one who loves speed and excitement. Many do come with a lot of care and upkeep, but it is worth it when you see how much these horses try their best for you.