Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What I've learned about taking in a racehorse and giving him a new life.

I learning more and more about what it means to take a horse straight from the race track.  I have always loved the athletisicim of thoroughbreds and they are such beautiful creatures.  I love horses in general but thoroughbreds definitely hold a special place in my heart.  But I really had no idea what I was getting into taking one of these animals and give them a new purpose in life.  I first of all am thankful for the trainer that finally decided that Steady deserved to retire.  He spent 8 of his 10 years of life on a track.  He started racing as a 2 year old and his career did not end until January of this year.  His last race he won was September last year.  He was a come from behind kinda guy and that race was an exciting one to say the least.  He came from the back of the pack around the last turn to pulling ahead and winning by a nose at the line.  I tell you what for an old man that is pretty awesome.

His sire is Repletion
His Dam A Song and a Smile

He had 75 starts 8 wins, 9 place, 10 shows.  He raced mostly in Canada and then later came to the US.  Over his entire career he earned $335,801!!!  This man deserves to retire and enjoy the easy life. 

Well that is easier said than done.  See when horses race they are in amazing physical condition.  They have never been turned out in a field, EVER.  They don't even know what it means to graze.  They are in their stalls for the entirety of the day except when taken out to work.  They are handled quite a bit by many different people and don't always know how to create a bond with any one person.  They usually develop nervous habits that are created through bordom of a highly energetic animal being stalled.

Then when it comes to what they know.  Well what have they ever had to do?  RUN, and run fast.  Always in a straight line and as fast as they can.  Now I will pause for a moment to answer one of my biggest pet peaves about what most people say when they find out about his former career.  "Aren't you tempted to take him and run him and see how fast he can go".  I know this is asked out of pure ignorance and so I try not to let it bother me all that much but here is the answer to that question, NO!!!  NEVER!!  Is that simple enough for you?  There are many reasons why this is but I will not get into that now.  Just know it is not in anyones best interest to do such an ignorant thing.  Understand these animals are strong powerful and unpredictable those are a few reasons to start.  Ok back to what I was saying, they were never taught anything but run.  They don't understand leads, gaits,  or really other terrain.  Steady has the hardest time when he sees a hill.  This may seem dumb but trust me there is nothing dumb about this horse, he is incredibly smart.  He has never seen a hill let alone try and walk up one.  So the simplest thing may just set these OTTB's off their rocker and if you are not on your game at all times you will end up on your a__!  And from the top of a 17 hh horse it will not be a good ending.

So here is the first post about life after the track for a retired racer.  This is not even scratching the surface on this amazing and challanging journey I have been on with this new found friend of mine.


  1. This is awesome!! I too have had a Thoroughbred from off the track and they are definitely a lot of work. It's really sad how little they know about the real world. I still think it's cruel how racehorses have to live and how they are treated, but we won't go into that lol. I think it's so great that you've given this guy a chance at a real life. I finally decided ex-racehorses aren't for me because of some insecurity issues I have with unpredictable behavior, but I loved them and appreciate everything they taught me. I can't wait to hear more about your journey together! It's almost like getting to do it again myself. :)

  2. Amy! It's so true..there is so much to discover with these amazing OTTB's. Enjoy the journey. It can be overwhelming at times and so rewarding too. Owning my boy, almost 2 yrs now, I've JUST established that bond with him where he trusts me and knows that I'm his. Whew! :)


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