Track to Trail Thoroughbreds

Home » Uncategorized » Handling OTTB’s, is it different?

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?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: