Track to Trail Thoroughbreds

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Monthly Archives: November 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