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Help - Off the Track Quarter Horse (On, Ca)

I’m going to be purchasing a horse in the next few months and have been looking into getting an ottb but recently I’ve met a few ottqh and I’ve done some digging, but I can’t seem to find anyway to purchase one. Does anyone have ideas? An organization, website something? Specially for Ontario or even Quebec. I live really close to the border, a couple hours away from Fort Erie, but really will take any help I can get.

The “classic” way to buy any off the track horse is to go to a race meet that is nearing it’s end, talk your way past the gate guard into the stabling area ( usually the guard will call a trainer to sign you in), and approach the trainers there, and ask if they have anything they would like to sell. Early in a race meet, owners and trainers still have hope that horses are going to do well in their race career, later in the meet, reality has set in. You must know what type of horse you are looking for (conformation) and what racing injuries you can handle, accept and rehabilitate. The “good” ones are not for sale. Take your horse trailer, and cash. Walk between the trainer’s barns, look at as many as you can. This method avoids the use of a “middle man” organization. The bonus of doing this is that you can talk directly to those who have been involved in the horse’s training, riding and care during it’s race career, who have known and worked with the horse closely for the last several years. There is no guarantee that these people will be truthful in what they tell you, but they might be. These are people who “know” the truth of their opinions, whether they are right or not, or choose to tell you this is unknown. You must read these people, to know what their level of knowledge and trustworthiness might be.

If you do this, do NOT approach or touch ANY of the horses. To do so in a racing barn is considered “rude” and “ignorant”. If a trainer has a horse that he/she wishes to sell, you will be taken to that horse, shown the horse, and at that point, you may examine the horse, and interact with the horse. Do not bring treats. Do not feed someone else’s horse anything, or attempt to do this. Many things test positive in drug tests, and the trainers do not know you, you may have cocaine residue in your pocket or on your hands. You may ask to watch the horse be ridden, you may have to come back during training hours for that. It is unlikely that you may ride the horse yourself, you must be licensed to ride a horse at a racetrack. It is unlikely that you will be able to take the horse on trial, or off the grounds without paying for it- you must make your decision on the spot. Vets on the racetrack grounds have worked for the trainers, and may have done work on a horse you are interested in. But most are not interested in doing a PPE for you, though, with the owner/trainer’s agreement, they may give you their opinion on the horse for the purpose you are looking for. Or they may not. They are not “riding or show horse vets”, and often do not work for non racing owners or trainers. They do not pretend to predict the future for you and the horse.

Good luck, and happy shopping!

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It’s really no different then buying a TB off the track but there don’t seem to be as many involved in buying, letting down, restarting and then selling. Probably more in the US southwest where there are more tracks.

Any knowledgeable person with experience evaluating TBs at the track or right off it will be able to help advise you. And you do need an advisor plucking one right off the track. As with TBs, attitude and willingness need to be there.

Good Luck.

I didn’t even realize there was quarter horse racing in Canada. I did find a link to the Ontario QH racing association.

Perhaps you can find some contact with breeders through this.


Edited to add: I just went back to the link and scroll down, there is a “post-racing bonus program” on the site helping race owners place their horses in after track careers. There are links for the various partner groups depending on discipline. One of them is the Trillium Hunter Jumper association in Ontario, if you are after a hunter/jumper horse. And there’s one for the Windsor CADORA which would be for dressage.

I would start there, they could give you advice as to how to proceed. My guess is that since it’s a much smaller industry than TB racing, there are fewer horses around.