Track to Trail Thoroughbreds

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So how different are Thoroughbreds anyway?

I had someone write us, looking for a working student position and one thing she said was that she knew about horses, but wanted to learn about handling Thoroughbreds, she had not had experience with that yet.   

And that is an interesting talking point – are they different?   What I personally find, assuming they are working w horses off the track, they are generally young.  But they are big.  Most people that see them, assume they are older, and not really babies.  And I have found most people are not used to handling young horses. Much less big ones. 

They can be not only energetic, but also 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 w the horse, just really consistent.  

I find on average, the horses that come from the track, the young have really good 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, like any other horse, but w their age, that can happen even faster.  They are still in learning mode.  

So it just makes one puzzle, are they really “different” to handle than any other horse, or do you just end up w less experienced people handling a big young horse and expecting it to act like the older horse they have owned or leased or ridden.  

We all recognize a puppy or a young dog vs a middle age dog, but how many people really recognize instantly the traits of a young horse. Starting to attribute their behavior to breed instead of age?

A young girl riding young Stevie (Wonder What’s Next) bareback and in a halter

While there are plenty of older OTTB’s out there, most commonly I hear stories and when I ask what age the horse is, they were fairly young, so I think maybe people are meeting young horses most often as their first “Thoroughbred” experience   

We have had so many fantastic young horses here, but really they have seen so much at the track, and had professionals their entire lives, we find them to be so good natured and easy to handle, but consistency, consistency, consistency… 

What are your thoughts? 

Young “HE’S THE ONE” giving a riding lesson to a student.  He was just 4! She was brand new to riding and he was such a good boy. Thoroughbreds have huge hearts and are full of try. Mismanagement can and does happen. Check out Put in the Effort to learn how often, with no intention at all, things can start to go sideways.

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