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OTTB- Off the Track Thoroughbred
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OTTB- Off the Track Thoroughbred

Contrary to what many may believe, an OTTB or Off the Track Thoroughbred is a very versatile horse which can be used for much more than winning races.

While you can't expect to bring one home and be loping casually around your backyard on the first day, given a little time, patience, and the correct re-training, a Thoroughbred from the track can make a suitable riding partner for most any riding discipline.

Yes, some do come with injuries as is possible for any athlete and may only be usable as a beautiful addition to a pasture. But even with a bowed tendon (a tear of the tendon fibers), with plenty of time to recover and a veterinarians approval, these once injured horses can make exceptional trail horses or even be suitable for most flat work. And for those Thoroughbreds who are lucky enough to come away from racing as sound (without any lameness or injuries), they can go on to have very successful second careers in the show ring. Many riders, including Boyd Martin (horse- Neville Bardos) and Becky Holder (horse- Courageous Comet) have even chosen an OTTB to be their partner in the Olympics! While a lot of OTTB's excell in English disciplines such as show jumping and dressage, it's not a rarity at all to see them competing in speed events like barrel racing and pole bending as well.

Choosing a Thoroughbred from the track can be rewarding in other aspects as well. In many instances when obtaining an ex-racehorse, you may ultimately be saving its life. Although these horses can be treated like royalty at the racetrack, once their days of racing glory have passed, a lot of times these beautiful animals can end up on the auctioning block where so called "killer buyers" are ready to purchase them for meat. Even the previously mentioned Neville Bardos, horse of Olympic rider Boyd Martin nearly saw his fates end at one of theses sales. Of course this is not to say that all ex-racehorses are dealt this hand. Some have fantastic owners who don't mind losing some money in order to see that they go on to a good, loving home. But unfortunately, many are met with this horrible destination. Thankfully though, through rescue organizations such as CANTER (Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses) and New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, mindful racehorse owners are given adoption as another option in where their horses go after they are done racing.

An OTTB will not be everyone's first choice. They require a lot of extra time, patience, and care that most horses do not need to make them usable outside of the realm of racing. Additionally, it is highly advised to thoroughly educate yourself and even hire a trainer to help with the process of re-training an ex-racehorse. A long process and perhaps a little of an investment? Yes. But also an extremely rewarding and truly worthwhile transformation of horse, and even sometimes the rider.

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Leave a Comment

  1. Chestnut Mare
    Chestnut Mare
    Voted. Great blog. Yes, it is terrible, the fate of certain horses, isn't it? Especially racehorses. I have already written a blog about that for this site, so has one of my friends. You might be interested in my latest blog, A Gallop Through The English Countryside; check it out and please vote if you like it! :-)
    Log in to reply.
    1. SlewperSonic
      Thank you for the support! I will definitely check out yours as well!
      Log in to reply.
  2. Rene Wright
    Rene Wright
    Great blog. It would be great if more folks would give OTTB's a fair second chance. They really can be wonderful outside of racing. Voted. Please check out Toning & Improving Muscles. Vote & comment if you liked it. Thank you.
    Log in to reply.
    1. SlewperSonic
      Thank you very much! I will check yours out!
      Log in to reply.
  3. naturegirl
    I am glad someone is bringing up this theme again in a whole new light (I and Chestnut Mare both spoke about it!). Voted! You can come read my new post, Unnecessary Pain, and vote, too, if you like it!
    Log in to reply.
    1. SlewperSonic
      Thanks a lot! I will definitely read yours as well!
      Log in to reply.
  4. PonyGirl
    PonyGirl
    I thought this was an excellent, well balanced post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
    Log in to reply.
    1. SlewperSonic
      Thank you very much, PonyGirl! :)
      Log in to reply.

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