OTTB does not spell crazy horse! Or does it?

And so the age old myth goes.. off the track Thoroughbreds are crazy! And oh boy I’ve had those crazy moments with my ex-racehorse.

Now, there were 2 things I told myself when I was searching for my first horse (well first horse in 15 years!), and the first was I am not buying a chestnut. It’s not that I had anything against chestnuts, but I had grown very fond of the pretty bays and flashy greys. The second was I’m not going to buy an out of work horse, because well, who wants to spend weeks on end bringing their new horse back into work! So you can see, no where in my 2 ‘rules’ did I exclude buying an off the track Thoroughbred. They can’t all be crazy, right?

Anyway to cut a long story short, call me a bit of a rebel but I bought an out of work, 7 year old ex-racehorse called Naughty Baby. And oh yeah, he’s a chestnut. Funnily enough, I wasn’t put off by the fact his race name is Naughty Baby. How naughty can a horse who has had 42 race starts really be! Plus he had been affectionately renamed Nigel, and let’s be honest, the name Nigel really reminds you of the sweet old man next door reading his newspaper.

Fast forward through the next 10 weeks of retraining my newly purchased, green OTTB and what’s the verdict you ask? Well it depends what day you ask me! Today I was riding Naughty Baby, but 2 days ago I was riding Nigel. That moment you realise YOU have the crazy horse in warm up, that’s Naughty Baby. He is nervous, spooky and powerful. He can buck like a bronc and bunny hop like a rabbit. My god he has made me question my decision to buy an OTTB, but it’s Nigel who shows me that every bad day is an opportunity to do better the next.

Would I go back 10 weeks and still buy an OTTB? Hell yeah! This horse has changed my life. Thoroughbreds have heart, and for me that’s a quality I can not give up.

This blog is the personal opinion and experience of the author. You should always seek the advice of a professional horse riding instructor or trainer for your own specific situation or circumstance.

7 thoughts on “OTTB does not spell crazy horse! Or does it?

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  1. People think I’m crazy because I say I would own another ottb (I have a 9 year old) but the truth is that they are athletic, smart, and have crazy heart. Many get into trouble due to lack of training and lack of a job but it’s so possible to get them there. I’ve been barebacking bitless up to a busy road and he’s been amazing and calm…a year ago he spun and ran if another horse in the arena tapped it’s hoof on the pole when jumping a crossrail.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll have to post the “scary grocery bag on a stick” for you soon. Blade made the funniest face! It’s an ongoing struggle trying to desensitize him but the more groundwork I do the better he becomes on all fronts

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more. I have almost exclusively only ridden ex racehorses for the past 8+ years. So when it came to buying my first horse thoroughbred and ex racehorse was at the top of my list!
    My ex racer is the most chilled out horse you will ever meet. Not because he is brave, he is the biggest baby in the world. But because he puts his trust in the people and horses around him and if they are calm, he is calm. Despite how hard and scary life can be, he has never not done what I have asked of him, even if it has taken him a long time to work out how to get over a ditch, down a step or past a scary monster.
    He always wants to do what you are asking him to do and you just need to give him the time to work it out for himself whilst giving clear aids of where you want him to go.


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