This is my first blog on OfHorse, so I'd just like to thank you all in advance for reading.
Firstly, I intend to vent my spleen a little...
I am dismayed to find that lately, everywhere I look there are prejudices and propaganda trickling in to social media sites regarding horses. This is especially true of our four legged friends straight off the track.
I hear so often stories from people who seem to have little to no experience of a racehorse, telling me that all race horses are badly looked after or outright mistreated. And it seems to be the widely held belief cold hearted trainers/owners make no provision for the horses' retirement and just kill them. I can vouch for the fact that is extensively untrue and portrays the racing industry in a unfair light.
I know that the previous trainers and owners of both of my own personal OTTB's cared very very much about where my guys ended up. Thankfully, they agreed to allowing them to come home with me. Yes, my horses were injured- but both had extensive and expensive veterinary treatment at the owner's cost BEFORE they were allowed to come home with me. Does this sound like people that do not care about 'racing cast offs'?
I run an OTTB support group on Facebook, with over 8,000 members from all walks of life, some UK based but I do have members from all over the World.
Like me, my members were nearly all without exception so tired of the prejudice surrounding someone 'crazy enough' to chose an of the track thoroughbred as their 'leisure' horse. Well, you know what? I would pick one of these beautifully bred, sweet natured guys over any Warmblood offered to me.
We care what happens to racehorses, and I resent it when uneducated and uninformed people say otherwise on social media.
The myths surrounding the noble racehorse are rife and some of the more dangerous myths are the ones that are started by so called 'welfare organisations'.
My favourites include:
"All thoroughbreds have awful feet and high withers"
"Trainers with hold forage from race horses because it makes them fat!"
"Ex Racehorses are always difficult to handle, they are hard to ride because they don't understand riding 'off the leg aids'".....
"They all have stable vices and behave like they are mental"
"Thoroughbreds are dangerous- they are difficult to retrain and they are stressy and unpredictable"
And my personal A1 pet peeve?? " Why did you buy an EX RACER? why didn't you just get a nice dependable cob instead- Do you have a Deathwish?"
After years of feeling like I didn't have a single horsey friend that understood my love for these wonderful, trainable, and sometimes accident prone ex racers, I set the group up.
Hey Presto! I now have many internet friends who have thanked me for starting a group that supports you when you are looking for your dream horse. We are there to hold your hand with a wealth of experience from members. Best of all, unlike real life, (when sometimes you might be the only Ex-racehorse owner at the barn) we have our own community filled with other people who 'get it'.
I understand that Thoroughbred's aren't every one's cup of tea. But, it makes me cross when I see advertisements for horses wanted that say "Absolutely NO Thoroughbreds or Ex Racehorses!" - Why?! They are athletic, clever, loving and trainable.
The way I see it, if it wasn't for the Thoroughbred industry being kind enough to re-home these amazing horses after their career has finished, then I would never have been able to afford a horse of the same calibre and breeding otherwise.
They may be racing's cast offs, but they go on to do all manner of things, from hacking out, dressage, hunting, eventing, showing and even driving in some cases, often to a very high level. In my book doesn't make them 'crazy or useless'....
On our group we share the good times and bad, and no matter what, we all champion these wonderful animals. I have OTTB's of my own and I would not swap them for all of the money in the World.
So next time you're looking for a horse, consider a thoroughbred. Go on, you might just like it.....
You can become a member the group here!