Track to Trail Thoroughbreds

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Yearly Archives: 2021

Put in the effort to have a safe, healthy, well trained horse

Effort is often overlooked. You get out what you put in!
We expect things to go well, as horse owners, and when they don’t, we are often flummoxed!

-Why did that happen?
-He has never done the before!
-When I got him he was well behaved! Now not so much!
-The horse I used to have didn’t act that way!

I remember early on hearing a Pat Parelli Quote that went something like this
I can take your Level 1 horse and make it a Level 4 horse in 30 days.
You can take my Level 4 horse ad make it a Level 1 horse in 30 minutes.
(yes, he said minutes)

What is experience anyway? If you rode as a kid 20 years ago, or took a few lessons (or a lot of riding lessons) you are generally not equipped w enough knowledge to own and care for a horse. You have a good start, but perhaps not the complete picture. This might make some people angry to hear, but as soon as the horse develops thrush, is not doing well weight wise, starts developing some behavioral issues, won’t load on the trailer, doesn’t have a great whoa, starts to nip or kick at you, runs off, has issues w feet an the trim and you are not able to evaluate your farrier and the work done, it gets complicated quickly! But don’t despair, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but it takes some effort. Knowledge is power!

-Find a good mentor locally that can help
-Find a trainer that is not a riding instructor(get a riding instructor for riding lessons) but a horse trainer, that can help you work on issues w you and your horse so you can grow as a team, suggest a feed plan, a stabling management plan, and some horsemanship training for both of you!
-Read books
-Watch videos
-Sign up for an online course in horsemanship
-Attend a clinic
-Attend a show – see how others are doing with their horses
Any one of these or a combination is sure to get you started!

Getting horses off property is a great way to keep it interesting for them and work on confidence issues! Find a quiet place to start and have a friend w a quiet horse go with you!

We get many calls from people who have bought or adopted horses and they are in bad shape. Physically, emotionally and usually both. Generally not new to horses and so really wanting to help, but didn’t have the experience perhaps to understand the issues the horse has come with, so all the other things fell apart.

Stable management – your horse needs time in turn out, time w other horse friends and access to hay or forage of some kind basically all the time. Restricting forage, keeping them in a stall, or keeping them alone starts many, many other behaviors which are considered undesirable. A happy horse is a breeze to work with. One that has anxiety, and emotional distress – not only does it lead often to serious medical issues, but safety issues as well. Then the horse is blamed. This is a “bad” horse.

You have always loved horses, now have the time and property to have one for your own, but seeing what pitfalls that are out there, and how to avoid them is so much better than having things crop up and not knowing how to manage them.

Its like getting a puppy and winging it, or maybe taking them to a puppy class. Getting out, socializing them, making and effort, seeing what you can do to avoid those big problems down the road,
Now of course this doesn’t mean every horse while have issues if you don’t do everything perfect, none of us is perfect, we do the best we can. But the average horse with the average owner will see such improvements, or no decline in already good behavior if they make and effort and work with their horse. We do see it all the time!

Another idea – you are always training the horse, either training them the right way or the wrong way, but they are always learning from you. Again, an effort has to be made if you want your well trained horse to stay well trained. If they are green broke, being straightforward and consistent is even more crucial. You are giving them life lessons. One of the most common things we see when picking up a horse is that they are hard to catch. It’s often a joke in the equestrian community, but imagine you came home and your dog RAN from you. That horse is saying something, why on earth would a horse run from you – it’s avoiding what they believe will be a negative experience. Real or perceived, that is what is happening. It’s often hard to look inwards, but when we do, we have the opportunity to learn and change the scenario. Then you and the horse are happy instead of at odds. One horse we picked up, the horse and owner were both very unhappy for almost two years. Two years! When a few simple changes early on would have solved the problem. All the time, money, and angst that they both suffered, over something easily fixed.

The more you surround yourself with other competent horse owners, the more good horsemanship you see and experience, the better you can be for your horse. Make the effort, pick up a book, check out a video, find something fun for both you and your horse and enjoy your time together. Training can be hard work, but it can be fun . We have a great short Introduction to Horse Ownership coming up Jan 15th at 11 am – just $10- what a great place to start learning more about creating a happy and healthy environment for both of you!

Introduction to Horse Ownership Jan 15th at 11am

Enough hay, appropriate amount of the right feed, plenty of turn out, those are kind of a given, but what else do you need to know about owning a horse. The real costs – lets break it down What kind of fencing is best for horses? What about stalls vs run in? Vet care – what’s is needed and when Farrier work Training What basic equipment should you have Riding – not just riding, but riding well A lot of this is pretty basic but we guarantee there is so much to learn, you will leave pretty amazed!


All things are difficult before they are easy – Thomas Fuller

If you have problems with your horse – reach out to us and we can schedule an evaluation

Working in the horse industry – 2 day clinic Jan 2022

Unveiled in August 0f 2021, we are offering once again the best two days you will ever spend learning about working in the horse industry.

We are a rehab center and see our share of neglect and injuries. This is a great class to take if you want a job as a barn manager, vet tech, or want to start a horse rescue.

Learn about the care, handling and the daily issues that come with handling a large number of horses, managing their feed and care, neglect and injury issues, and learning to recognize potentially life saving conditions. There is just so much to learn!

Jan 15-16th
Cost $248


Handling OTTB’s, is it different?

He’s The One giving a lesson at age 4 to a young student

I had someone write us, looking for a working student position and one thing she said that struck me, is that a she knew about horses, but wanted to learn specifically how to handle Thoroughbreds. She had not had experience with them yet.

And that is an interesting talking point – are they different?

What I personally find, assuming they are working w horses off the track, that generally they are working with a young horse. Most people see a big Thoroughbred and assume they have matured, they don’t see them as babies. And I have found most people have not had experience handling young horses (in general), much less big ones.

Young horses can be not only energetic, but very playful. Curious. Wanting to explore. Knowing there are “rules” but quickly start to test boundaries if they are not kept relatively firm. And by firm, I don’t mean that you are rough with the horse, just really consistent.

I find on average, the horses that one to us right from the track, are young and have great manners. They have been handled by professionals all of their lives. But when they go to an amateur owner (which most of us are) they can go downhill really quick. Just like any other horses but w young horses especially, it can happen faster than you might expect! They are still learning how the world works.

So it just makes one puzzle, are they really “different” to handle than any other horse, or are people dealing w a young horse but somehow not factoring that into the equation? We all recognize a puppy or a young dog as to how it compares to a middle age dog, but how many recognize the traits of a young horse? Maybe attributing some behavior as breed specific, not age.

While there are plenty of older OTTB’ out there, most of the stories I hear are actually about the. young ones. But they don’t say its because the horse was young, its because its a Thoroughbred or because its a race horse or because it just came from the track. I don’t doubt that they have some pent up energy from the track, but much of that is about being stalled w limited to no turn out unless they are given time off on a farm.

We have had so many fantastic young horses here, but really they have seen so much at the track, and been handled correctly their whole lives, we find them to be so good natured and east to hand, but consistency, consistency, consistency.

Most people who know Thoroughbreds often describe them as having huge hearts, tons of try, and smart.

No two horses we have had are the same, they are all individuals. So its not fair to paint them w the same brush, but it makes for a great discussion topic!

What are your thoughts?

Help needed- Emergency Surgery for SunnyNSeventyFive

A horse we adopted out was seriously injured, we are taking him in for emergency Surgery to Brandon Equine a few hours north of us. His surgery is estimated to be between $6,000 and $8K. We simply don’t have the funding for this. We are reaching out for help, to those who know Teddy from being here w us, or knew Teddy in his racing days. They gave him the nickname at the track of Teddy because he was like a sweet Teddy Bear loving his hugs.

If you would like to help, please PLEASE call the vet office directly to put money directly to him

If you are not able to call, PayPal email address is

We will post as we get updates and more information, our vet which is the same vet that the adopter uses, literally just called us. Per our contract if an adopter can’t afford life saving medical care, we will step in. It’s part of our SAFE FOR LIFE mission for these amazing horses. I’ll do a update as soon as we have more info.

Again, please call the vet 813-643-7177 or send money below if you can help him!

Picture of Teddy when he was with us, he came w a bowed tendon which required a year of rehab. He was adopted a little over a year ago…

Emergency Surgery Fund for SunnyNSeventyFive (Teddy)

Teddy, who adopted out last year needs emergency surgery, our vet saw him this evening (Monday). He called us, and we need to take him in the morning to Brandon Equine where he will have surgery and remain in the clinic for 3-4 days.


WE ARE NEARING $6K of our $8K goal!
After surgery he will require medical care, follow ups, medication, feed and hay, and plenty of shavings. This is so amazing that the community is coming together for him! We are putting together the list of those helping Teddy, below is a list of names that called in directly to the vet, or send us $ to the horses bank account on his behalf. If you have sent $ and don’t see your name please reach out! The list is changing constantly!
So far
Dan G – $50
Tracey F $1000
Sue F $3000
Elisa K $50
Kim D $35
Linda M $500
Caroline S50
Patty R $100
Noreen R $200
Patti B $50
Kathleen S $50
Sharon R $100
Dawn T $100
Sybil M $100
Melanie $20
Mary M $23
Jaqueline $50
Susan B $100
Joyce W $100

Holiday Horse Camp Naples Dec 27-31st

2021! v Spend the week here at the rescue during your Holiday break!

Kids will learn all about horses, have fun and games, crafts and contests along w solid skill horsemanship building exercises. Lots of horse time and activity!

Monday-Friday 9-2pm. $300. Want them to stay until 5? add $150 for the extra 15 hours!


Track to Trail Lecture Series

Our mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home ex racehorses. This education series is designed to help people considering adoption, or who already have OTTBs!

Join us for a series of educational events here at the rescue. All events start at 1pm unless otherwise indicated. Each lecture/demonstration is $10 per person or $50 for the 6 part series

Sept 25 2021 – Adopting an exracehorse – pros and cons, what do you need, how much do they cost, what experience should you have?

Oct 23 2021-
Retraining your ex racehorse. What do they know, what do they need to learn? What do you need to learn?

Nov 20 2021 Non ridable horses. There are so many things you can do w a horse that isn’t able to carry a rider. Showmanship, Liberty, Tricks, Therapy, Come learn and see a demonstration.

Jan 20 2022 Feeding your exracehorse – Nutritional needs of your house in SWFL -what do they eat, how much does it cost and where to get it

Feb 26th 2022 On the track injuries – what are the most common injuries sustained in racing – rehab strategies and what capabilities might they have after healing?

March 19 2022 Trailering your ex racehorse. What kind of trailer do you need for them to fit comfortably and safely? Slant load, straight load, do you get a ramp or a step up? Steel or aluminum? What about your tow vehicle, what do you need to be safe!

Lecture Series $10 each

Join us for an hour of discussion and possible demonstration learning about ex racehorses. Buy one or more! Once we get your payment, we will email you to confirm which date/lecture you are looking to join and send further info along w directions!


Lecture Series – all sessions

Purchase all 6 sessions for the price of 5!


Behind the scenes w kids camp and ex racehorses

Welcome everyone! Exracehorses and kids are such a great match! Thank you for taking the time to learn more about what we do here! We love our horses and love the kids that come here to our program. This program is a fantastic way to build confidence in a child while promoting teamwork, healthy boundaries, self evaluation, and of course getting out and moving our bodies!

The key component is appropriate supervision. We show the kids how to care for, help retrain, and work with both sanctuary and adoptable horses. It’s a key component of what we do!

It starts w planning, what ages are best suited for which activity? Can we create classes for different age ranges so they get the most out of it? Planning the curriculum takes much more time than you think! The kids, the ages and how many really affect the quality of class, so preplanning is key. The sign up begins with listing it on Facebook and our website, fielding questions from parents, getting the kids signed up, confirming w the parents on everything they need to know, getting waivers signed and that is all before we start teaching. We spend at least an equal amount of time doing these behind the scenes activities, as we do teaching, which I think folks don’t realize. They see the end product of the class.

As the girls continue to come, we spend a lot of time seeing how they progress and making adjustments to each lesson in order to best support them. Teaching someone a skill takes a bit of effort and planning, looking at what they have done in the past, what they currently know, where do they excel , what might be the next goal, and what do they need to work on to become better riders and horseman/women. Making a plan that is encouraging and fun for them, trying to keep them goal oriented but also teaching self evaluation. Theres so much to it!

Ex racehorses go from racing, to riding in a sprinkler, playing broomstick polo, going to showmanship competitions, riding outings to the park, and a whole host of activities that are just so good for them.

The longer a horse is here and exposed to kids camp, the more suitable he or she may be for a local family.

The camps also bring in income to help fund the rescue, the horses hay and vet bills alone are astronomical. It doesn’t pay for everything, but it sure does help!

THE TAKEAWAY. Kids camp is really beneficial, in so many ways, but its a lot of work! If you have a background w ex racehorses and teaching and would like to become involved in a regular basis, please reach out,

Have a child that is horse crazy and up for a challenge? Check out our class offerings and educational opportunities

Jackson in the park w student Rylie working w the flag

Student Maddie working w Salty Celebration – he is rehabbing from a torn tendon and can do short rides for now
Giada and Wiley practicing in hand obstacles

Transitioning a horse from Track to Trail to their new home

Why is this even important? I have had horses before, I know what to do!

Welcome everyone! First of all, how cool is it to adopt a horse from a rescue? Looking to rescues when you want to own a horse is such a tremendous gift to that horse, and the next horse that can come in because there is a spot open! Theres a lot more to it then you might think though! Through the adoption process we do talk extensively about the horses and their backgrounds and what would suit them – both physically and mentally. It’s really good not to just listen to this, but HEAR this.

Horses coming into our facility from private owners, or coming back from adopters are often with people who consider themselves experienced. But time and time again, we see people who have had horses for years, trained and competed, and cared for or worked in professional barns, struggling with their new horse. On the horses part could it have something to do with change of place, change of feed and hay, change in turn out, change of horse friends (or no horse friends) change in handling, change in stabling – or maybe all of the above? Well then YES!

And what about the new owner, could it have something to do with them? YES! This too! It’s a package deal, for both you and the horse. But the owner is the only one that can make decisions, make choices, the horse has no option other than to react to a situation. How they react, shows you if you have made the right choices, or maybe need to reconsider a few things.

So if it’s hard for those that have had some formal training, how about those who have not? Those that had horses as kids and remember fondly galloping thru fields, maybe bareback, long days spent w the horse and that special bond. But being a kid and riding a horse, is really different than bringing up a young horse. Knowing how to formulate a diet that is appropriate for the horses breed, age, and work load. Knowing how to spot and treat an abscess, knowing how to have boundaries w your horse, ensuring they have good manners that maybe were not so important as a kid. Understanding you don’t bounce like you used to. The fact that we did something, 10, 15, or 20 years ago doesn’t mean we can do it now, at least not well. But if you have an OPEN MIND and are willing to learn and see that is part of the horsemanship experience it’s really a pleasure.

What exactly does that mean?
Quote from Milestone Equestrian FB page
“Horses are very much an “exotic” type pet, not like a dog or a cat, and require a lot of experience to properly manage and care for, or at least a lot of monetary output to pay someone with experience to do this for you. I’ve been around horses 20+ years and still don’t know everything, and the amount of education the general public lacks on horses is huge. There are so many common misconceptions about horse care that don’t happen to the same extent with more popular pets such as dogs or cats. I wish it was more mainstream for proper care of horses to be discussed along with their behaviours and how to read them. Anyone whose experience with horses stems from mostly watching movies or seeing them in passing is missing out on so much about them.”

We offer all kinds of support to adopters, but what if they never ask? Being able to ask for help is really important for life in general. When you are responsible for a horse, and you notice a behavior change, a loss of weight, change under saddle, its important to figure out what is going on quick. The most common issue we see is folks waiting too long, letting a behavior or medical issue fester, and something small becomes a major problem. Then the horse is turned into a rescue, or if adopted, returned to the rescue w a host of problems.


DIET– Keep your new horse on a diet as close as possible to what they had here. Changes in feed or hay along w stress of a new environment can lead to colic. Especially a change in water, they may not. like the taste, its important to monitor water intake, make sure he is eating and pooping and peeing properly. Keep an eye especially that first week. That doesn’t mean you can’t make changes to their diet , but keep him consistent for a while, make changes gradually, if you change something up and you are seeing it’s not working, change it back.

STABLING – often our horses are out 24/7 w a few hours of stall time a day for vet, farrier, or just to be under a fan. Horses do better when they are turned out, w a group and have free choice access to quality hay. If you keep your horse primarily stalled, you will end up a a horse different than the one you adopted. We require that all adopters keep horses out at least 12 hours or more a day unless there is a medical reason that precludes this.

Ground work
– start going for walks, doing some groundwork, simple lunging sessions, work on bending, backing, going over poles, its important to start to work on your partnership and keep their mind busy with activity! Desensitize them using tarps, flags, wands, anything that helps them learn that its ok to see new objects, but they are absolutely safe with you! This often sparks their curiosity, and helps them gain confidence. Boundaries are so important, we can’t emphasize this enough.

RIDING– Start slow. Your first ride should not be out on trail galloping thru the forest. Get to know them at home. Be sure that they stand for mounting, that they walk off only once you have asked for that, that they have a great whoa. Be subtle with your cues, have light hands, be a balanced rider, give praise. Be kind.

ISSUES – Behavior or medical, please reach out so we can help! Most of the horses, because they come w injuries are with us a long time. We know them well and know their past histories, we can help or find you someone that can!

Getting your horse off property, desensitization exercises and healthy boundaries!

Working in the Horse Industry

Whether you are looking for a part time job or a life long career, applying as a volunteer or maybe considering your own horse, we have a new program that meets your needs

Safety, consistency, time management and best practices are keys to horses

As an employee, volunteer, horse owner – you want to understand how to correctly do a few things to start. As an employer, you want someone with a solid set of basic skills, horse related but also a good work ethic, time management, critical thinking, and solid communication skills. This can be lacking across the industry.

Our First Course is Sat-Sunday March 13-14th 2021

  1. Horse handling – how to catch, halter, lead, go thru gates and turn out procedures
  2. Mucking- types of shavings, how to muck quickly but efficiently. Bedding for injuries and stall rest
  3. Nutrition and feeding protocols
  4. Wound treatment
  5. Tie, groom and bath a horse (learn quick release knots, cross ties, ground tie)
  6. Tack – the basics
  7. Colic – how to spot it and what to do
  8. Lameness- spot the first signs of lameness
  9. Hoof Abcesses- how to spot and treatTime Management – learn how to accomplish your tasks
  10. Getting a job How to find one, and what questions should you ask of your potential employer? Are you looking for full or part time? This course will help you bring much needed knowledge!

    Class goes 10-3pm March 13th-14thCost $150 for the two days, bring a packed lunch and a refillable water
    bottle. REGISTER

Long hours, in all weather conditions, with horses that are not always cooperative. Working with horses might be tougher than you think!

COMING IN JUNE (7th-11th)
A week long immersion course with well known professionals here each day to cover specific careers in addition to delving into the above topics in depth! This will be a fairly fast paced week!
Body Worker

Feb 2021 -whats coming up?

January saw the adoption of two horses and the intake of one. As we move into February we are preparing one of our horses, Wonder What’s Next for spinal surgery. He has been diagnosed with Kissing Spine Disease. We and we will transport him to Brandon Equine where Dr. Richtor will perform the surgery. He will remain in the clinic for a few days then we can bring him home. There will be 3 weeks of stall rest, then an additional three w some specific exercises, and then a reassessment.

Salty Celebration, aka MAC will be getting a reassessment for a torn tendon. He was injured back in Nov/Dec and came to us mid January. He’s expected to need a few more months of rest then be suitable for flat work, lower level dressage, trail riding. Dr Richtor is the vet who saw him initially with his previous owners, so she will continue with him here.

Feb 14th We will be at the Nawty Hogg for Valentines Day.
Feb 22nd We will be at the Ritz Carlton Beach Resort for a a benefit for the Gulfshore Playhouse


The Girls POWER UP Program sees the addition of Weds 4:30-6:30. This class is limited to 4 students