Is it possble for an OTTB who last raced in June to be calm, and quiet and not pitch me off?

My instructor seems to have enough confdence in me to put me on the back of this mare she rescued a week ago from an adopton organizaton that only adopts out to programs, not individuals. Says the mare is a sweetheart, super calm and not spooky, and was one of the few they had suitable for training into a lesson program. So first time I got on we did some walking, over poles, did circles even did a brief trot. Instructor has been on the horse twice! then I’m watching YouTube videos of her running her heart out at Tampa Bay Downs (came in last though) less than 3 months ago and now I’m thinking this is crazy! Is it?


Not crazy at all! Some horses are just sensible all their lives.

I purchased my OTTB gelding straight off the track at Arlington Park 5 days after his last race as a 3 year old. I rode him the next day, alone, outside in a hay field. We trotted and then got as soft slow canter back to the large boarding barn. I still own him 15 years later :slight_smile:


wow, love it. He sounds amazing!


Race horses are trained to walk, trot, canter, etc under saddle just like any other horse. This one has also apparently had several weeks at a transition facility to relax into life away from the track.

Why in the world would this horse ‘pitch you off’?

You should think of OTTBs as very well-trained horses that just need to learn some different cues.


That sounds a lot like what happened when I brought Beau home years ago! I ponied him once, swapped tack, and took him out hacking down the road. Two weeks later we hauled him out to the annual campout/trail ride and he stood on a high line and packed me around the Shawnee forest for a week without batting an eye.
He went on to hunt 2 seasons with me before I sold him to a close family friend who evented him through Prelim, and is now a fat sassy retiree at 24.
Every now and then you find one who’s just kind of zen by nature, lol.


I was telling someone about it and she said that OTTB’s just explode on you because they are hot and trained for the track and need years of retraining before they are dependable.

They don’t particularly want explosive horses on the track! I’ve had plenty come off the track as calm, push rides.

They are very, very fit coming off the track, so be aware of that.


exactly the info I am looking for, thank you! This mare definitely needs leg to go.

No, that’s just poppycock.

Alex was three when I got him - had last raced about 6 weeks before I picked him up. He was totally chill. I’ve ridden more explosive Quarter Horses. We started him slowly, with me in the saddle while my instructor lunged him, but honestly, he was fine.

Especially if this mare has had some down time and has presumably been worked with some by the adoption agency, you should be fine. Just relax, and she should relax with you.


So along this line, is a let down necessary?

My second ride relearning as an adult (and I’m honestly not a great rider), I was put on an OTTB who had very few rides after coming off the track. The barn was also kind of sketchy, TBH, so it was like, “this is the horse that’s free for lessons today, get on him.”

However, with ALL of that against us, the horse was fine. Truthfully, very uncomfortable with an up-and-down trot from not being reschooled in how to be a saddle horse and I don’t think I learned very much that lesson because he was so green. He did spend a lot of time looking and snorting. But he wasn’t dangerous, even though I certainly did not have the skills to do anything but stay on (which I did).

It is a big lifestyle switch for them, however, regarding feed, turnout, and even when they are worked in terms of time of day.


People have lots of odd ideas about OTTBs and, often, no idea what they actually do or do not learn at the track. As with all horses, some are quieter than others, some are more high energy than others.


It depends on the horse. If the horse is sore after their last race or has an injury, yes, downtime is probably a good idea. If not, they often enjoy staying in a routine.


Alrighty then. Not my experience with OTTBs, but… :woman_shrugging:

Sure, all horses are individuals, but it sounds like this mare didn’t really want to be an exploding race horse. She may well be an easy peasy mare to transition from one job to another. Use your common (horse) sense, rely on input from your instructor, and enjoy her!


Some also have non-race training and riding, also. Mine was straight off the track but had bunches of trail experience and some show jumping. When I looked her up, had been a broodmare, too. They’re more than just racers.


That’s certainly different.I’ve never heard of any racehorses being shown as jumpers while they’re racing.

friend had a ottb that the kids were trail riding bareback in a halter and shank 4 days after his last race - interestingly his name was Take it Easy haha. Quite a few of the ottbs coming off our track here belong to small trainers who take them home for the winter and they do “normal” horse stuff with them - pasture turn out, farm equipment and cows, ride them in regular saddles, trail ride etc


Is your avatar a photo of him? If so, beautiful guy! :heart_eyes:

Recommend not going into two-point at the canter during a lesson with other horses for a while. Ask me how I know. :grin:


I think a lot depends on your riding ability, and of course the horse.
My friend trained race horses, and between race weeks, we took her 7 year old and three year old on trail rides through the county park.

There are no absolutes.