View Full Version : Overhorsed?
11th Feb 2002, 12:42 AM
"Has to be seen to be believed, truly amazing horse"
a good friend has acquired a beautiful tb for next to nothing because some "friend of a friend" decided to have a racing horse. livery was costing a fortune and the horse showed little aptitude so he sold it quickly.
this gorgeous horse needs fittening and fattening etc and is very shy when out of the yard. he is 16hh and has he presence and carriage of an 18hh horse (or so it seems to me). on a one-to-one basis he is docile and cuddly in the stable as if he were a dog and not a horse.
i don't think she has any professional help available (and those that might claim to be so are more than likely not). it's clear that she loves the horse dearly but i don't think she has the experience or indeed the strength to handle him. i would really like to offer her advice, even of a non-horsey, but common sense type.
is there anyone here who has managed such a situation themselves in a "remote" situation? (basically using brains and a good book and TIME?). i'd love to help her because the bond they have is so special and i'd hate to see it damaged by his physical stength and inexperience and her novice ability (she admitted to me that she is a novice rider despite having already owned several horses).
I've never set eyes on a horse with such a physical presence, i am green with envy but at the same time with relief that he's not mine!
I think that this site could definately help her so much, as it has helped me so perhaps i'll point her in this direction but in the meantime, any thoughts at all would be so appreciated.
11th Feb 2002, 01:01 AM
A fellow rider at my boarding stable is going through the EXACT same thing. She went to the races, started talking to a racing stables owner and he told her about a "wonderful Hunter/Jumper prospect" that had just been retired from the track. She bought the 16.2hh Bay TB mare. The mare, Sassy (rightfully named) has what could become a sweet personlity and she defenitely has the spunk when it comes to freejumping the 3-footer she did 2 days ago. However, Sassy is just too much for her. I'm afraid to say I and many other boarders agree that she needs to sell Sassy and find a more experienced mount because she is not quite experienced to handle a hot-headed TB right off the track and if you're friend is in the same boat, I'd have to say the same thing. (sorry took so long to read, I have the tendency to get a lil carried away when typing) :)
11th Feb 2002, 09:22 AM
ex-racehorses take lots of time, patience and kindness to retrain, but once you have put in the work and effort, you can end up with a super riding horse.
If the horse is young and your friend is sensible enough to take things slowly and take good advice (from knowledgeable people!) then she shouldn't give up. I think the fact that she has such a good bond already with this horse is a very good starting point. The horse will trust her and hopefully she will not find it too difficult to retrain the horse.
12th Feb 2002, 12:24 AM
My friend bought an ex-race horse late last year, he is a 10 yr old, and spent his whole life in a race yard. When she brought him home, he was like a hat wrack, weaved like there was no tomorrow, had absolutely no topline and has white hairs on his withers caused by an ill fitting saddle.
Because of F&M and the appaulling weather he had quite a few months to adjust to his new surroundings, then after that she couldn't find a saddle to fit him. But in the mean time she did loads of inhand work with.
Anyway she eventually got a saddle and started to ride him, at first he had absolutely no idea what a riders legs were, but because of the inhand work he picked things up quite quickly, he was also quite nappy, would back up a bit - but nothing horrendous and would eventually go forward. She found she had to sit ultra relaxed with a very soft rien contact, giving loads of verbal praise and encouragement and sometimes when he napped giving a really good growl, give him the rein and a good push with her legs. Personally I think she has worked wonders with him, I walked up from the field with them both tonight, 6 months ago he was dancing round like an idiot, he now walks up with his nose at knee hieght completely relaxed, he's a different horse.
The best advice I can offer (from what I've seen) is lots of inhand work, be totally relaxed, consistant and firm. When riding, again being totally relaxed, give clear, confident, consistant aids, use your voice and give lots of praise. Also have someone to ride out with on a quiet horse, race horses are used to going out with others. And one last thing is, keep the pace slow - walk and trot, avoid big open fields and don't use a strong contact on the riens.
Oh one last thing is be very careful what you feed her, lots of hay, bucket feed plenty of succullents, a non heating mix, and add oil for no fizz calories.
Hope this helps
12th Feb 2002, 10:22 AM
I took on an ex-racehorse for a while last year. She was very nervous of people and had quite a character. She used to throw me off for fun and wouldn't jump, she was terrified of hacking out alone. Basically I started from scratch.
I did lots of loose schooling with her and some join-up techniques. I am not an excellent rider, although I have been riding for 15 years. I do get nervous if I don't trust the horse. I taught myself join up from a book and it made a big difference to this horse. Before she wouldn't let me put a bit in her mouth, after 5 minutes of join-up she followed me around and accepted it no problem.
I also did lots of lunging with her and within a couple of months she was hacking out alone (albeit a few bad days when she would go nuts, but it was good progress for a few months).
THese horses need to feel they can trust you, you have to put your trust in them, patience is also the key. I find believing in the horse when you are riding can make up for lack of technique/experience.
I think she should persevere with this horse. It may take time, but it is well worth it.
Good Luck to her!!
6th Mar 2002, 02:55 AM
Its like as though you were talking about me in your message. I also have a gorgeous offtrack thoroughbred but my husband went to the track and bought him to surprise me. A "friend of a friend" showed him some horses for sale at in s.e. Florida. and he liked one that was laid up with a knee injury and needed good care. They wanted him to have a good home etc etc. and dropped their price considerably. I could write a book about all the thrills and things we went through. I couldn't afford a trainer, but was lucky to be in boarding stables where others gave me moral support when they could. I've always been a horse book worm, I wish I had read some of John Lyons books when I first got my horse. We really "bonded" in the 3 month lay up period. But there was NO way that I was qualified for the challenge of a hotblood. They had a round pen on the farm and I really feel like that was the saving grace. That was where I finally took off his lead for the first time and I exited the ring and stood there. He realized he was free of the line for the first time in 6 months and jumped and rolled like a crazed nut. Could you blame him??? I hope your friend has a "nice" horse......I'd probly be dead if mine were "rank."
I could go on and on.......I've been v-e-r-y lucky. Theres alittle book titled "Reschooling the Thoroughbred" by Peggy Jett Pittenger that I found helpful.
7th Mar 2002, 03:10 AM
I've always worked with TB's off the track. Some of them are great--the ones that didn't make it as a racehorse 'cause they were too lazy and sane.
Some of them are _wonderful_. My Katherine is a gorgeous 17hh blood bay with oh! movement you wouldn't believe--and as far as she is concerned, she will _never_ be off the track. She tenses up and starts to look for the starting gate every time I put her saddle on.
Since her trigger was the saddle, I rode her bareback, wth a halter/lead rope, for 2-3 months--at a walk!--before I started to work her at all. It's been almost a year, and she is just now starting to accept the bit. After a year's worth of patient work, she is still not safe for a novice to ride. Some of these crazies will never be.
If your friend wants a sane, rideable horse, you may be out of luck. I'd probably have a professional assess the horse just to see if there _is_ any hope for a green rider. If so, patience and trust are the way to go...
And as a PS, any time I don't work Katherine for more than a week, she goes ballistic again. Even when I can't ride, I make sure at least to longe her so that she feels like she's worked. I hate backsliding! :)
7th Mar 2002, 07:07 PM
I'm training an ex-racer right now and I showed one all summer. I really love them becasue once they get going then they are very trusting because you have "saved" them.
Classy is a little grey roan filly and she is the sweetest thing ever! She has been very badly treated in the past but she trusts me now and she really listens! And she is very quiet surprisingly.
Molly on the other hand is 10 y/o and hasn't raced since she was 4 y/o. She has been completely retrained and rebooted and she was the provincial hunt champion 4 years ago. But still if you get in a jockey seat then she is go as soon as you touch her neck! She loved racing!
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