Possible to find ottb prospect under 10k?

Been looking for a year. Had to retire my last due to kissing spine. Hoping to do the 3ft hunters. Fresh off the track fine but has to have potential. Last time I was looking this was totally doable! But now the market seems to be weeding people like me out. What are your experiences? Is this possible to find?

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Of course! Someone I know just had a very nice gelding listed for 10k. Probably sold now. Where are you looking?

Totally. The market has strengthened considerably (good for resellers like me), but I look to sell mine in the $10-15k range. That’s for a sound, good-minded horse well-started on the flat and typically jumping around small courses and has been on a few “field trips.”

My caveat here: I move my horses quickly. A lot of the time my buyers elect not to vet or at the very least, put a deposit down committing them to buy the horse should it pass PPE. So, when you find something you like, you need to be ready to move. I buy off the track with nothing other than a jog video and an in-depth review of race videos, records, etc. If I were shopping for a 3’ horse to keep, I don’t know that I would go fresh off the track. It’s very hard to assess talent in this way.


Yes, i just sold a very nice talented one for 5k and she was listed at 8500 asking.

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Depending on where you are you can get 2 or 3 for under 10k.
I saw a couple of really nice ones, around 8k. Most trainer owned.


It’s definitely still doable - where are you located?

East Coast, I would reach out to Benchmark Sporthorses or Jade Favre if you want something basically fresh off the track but evaluated by someone with an eye for sport. West Coast is harder but I know people happy with horses from Sarah Parlier / EquineRacers as well as Fresh Start Sport Horses. I’ve ridden the Fresh Start horses and they’re restarted impeccably by a GP dressage rider who I have found to be honest.

No one can guarantee you’ll get one appropriate for the 3 ft hunter job, so you have to be open to a bit of risk, but the above programs give you a head start. I can also personally vouch for @Tha_Ridge’s eye for a horse, if I was OTTB shopping I’d just have her send me one.


Aw, thank you! I’ve been super lucky in my unscientific combo of trusting my gut and my intrinsic journalistic ability to ask a million questions and be incredibly nosy. :joy: @clburnham11 While my current project is nowhere near ready to sell, I’m happy to donate my research skills to your hunt.

I also second the recs of Jade Favre and Jessica Redman, if you want to go basically fresh off the track. We bought one from Jess last summer as a 3-year-old, put a few rides on him, but mostly gave him summer and fall to hang out before restarting him this winner and now he’s bopping around the 2’6" with a lead change like he’s done it his whole life.


Thanks for the reply! I am in New York. I’ve been looking at Jessica Redmans but just noticed the other day most are now listed at 15k! They used to be between 6 and 8 mostly. So that’s not really doable for me unfortunately

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I had a fabulous experience at Secretariat Center at Kentucky Horse Park. Highly recommend and they are in budget! You also can actually ride them!!! Unreal in this market. And they work them and give you all the notes of what they’ve done with the horse. And since it’s a non-profit, part of the adoption fee is tax deductible! If I had room for more, I’d be shopping again, lol - it was fun! I know of someone that got a horse from Jessica Redman and wonderfully pleased, too, so nothing bad to say about other recommendations.


I’m in New York too! (Well, my horses are in NJ.) The higher-priced horses of Jess’s seem to be the ones she believes could be upper-level event prospects—not necessarily the ones that I would choose to be my hunter prospect. I really like the City Guy horse she has right now ($3,500) and Maruf ($6,500). I had a mare last summer with the same sire as City Guy (Temple City) and he throws a beautiful, hunter-y type.


Ask your vet for a recommendation. Ours also works with some trainers at a nearby training facility and has helped horses find new careers. The bonus there is you’ll know the history of the horse and any injuries.

Get to know the racetracks and racetrackers in your area. The trainers, the breeders, the workers on the backstretch. The exercise riders. Horses need to move on from racing all the time. If you are using a dealer or middle man service to provide horses for you to look at, the prices will be higher than buying direct, obviously. Know your conformation and local bloodlines. Know your racing injuries, what you can and can not accept. Find out what is the lowest claiming price in your area… all those horses are for sale for that price. Those who are not competitive at their claiming price are usually available for private purchase. This is how it WAS done decades before, when the OTTB was king in the show ring. It still works, just takes a bit of effort on your part. Lower level tracks have lower claiming prices. Horses who can’t compete at the higher level tracks often end up at the lower end tracks, at lower claiming prices. If you are frightened of buying from a race owner or trainer, unsure of the severity of injuries or have trust issues about buying directly from the race career, you may go and shop at the yearling sales, and purchase an unbroke horse from there. There are cheap ones with unpopular pedigrees for racing offered at the yearling sales. Again, know your TB families so that you don’t waste your time looking at the $100,000 + yearlings. Just don’t tell the breeders/sellers that you are NOT looking for a racing prospect (they won’t want to sell to a non- racing owner).


MidAtlantic Horse Rescue and After the Races often have nice ones.


This is all good advice, but tracks are a lot more insular than they used to be. You can’t really just go hang around the backside.


Replying to Tha_ridge, sorry

If you persevere you can. Chat up lots of people. It takes time and effort, though, which a lot of people don’t want to spend.

As Nancy M said, you can shop at the track for the claiming price. But if you want someone who has already determined a horse has ‘potential’, whatever that means, then you’ll pay for that expertise and the middle man and then you’re looking at more than 10k.

Yes, you are right - just not sure I’d recommend all that time and effort for an average amateur looking for a long-term partner.


I would also check out some of the more eventing oriented groups on FB-- USEA Area 2 for example. I see nice horses that have been lightly restarted in the mid to high 4s pretty frequently.

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$15k isn’t the typical price. She just happens to have a few right now that she has invested quite a bit of time, money, and training into at this point, so their price is higher. Also a couple steeplechasers that arrived with above average training in them.

If you look through all of them she has listed, most of the ones right off the track are still in the $3500-6500 range.


ReRun has some very attractive horses go through. Of course, hard to know if they will have the skill set you are looking for. I had a wonderful OTTB that I got from Canter for $300 but it did take me 2 years to get him ready to foxhunt.

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Second vote for the Secretariat Center in KY - I flew up to see one horse, they ended up putting me on 5 different ones they had available and I found my gelding (who wasn’t the one I flew out to see). They’re really great about letting you try multiple and find the right fit. The “adoption” process was incredibly easy, as was arranging the PPE. I was back home in TX during the PPE and Shelley actually facetimed me so I could participate/ask questions/etc. I was really impressed with them. Their horses are under $10k