Training Thoroughbreds takes patience and sensitivity. We are developing a resource of training notes for the owners of off-the-track Thoroughbreds. There are several pages under this page and many older Training Notes From Elizabeth which can be accessed from the side menu labeled Training.
Do you want to know how we start our Thoroughbreds when we bring them to Bits & Bytes Farm? Read Reign Day’s Training Diary. It is a detailed diary of the first five weeks off-the-track. We brought Reign Day to our farm one week after his last race and five weeks later he competed and won a ribbon in a hunter pace. Follow his story day-by-day and you will see that it is not difficult to train ex-race horses.
We even have a whole site dedicated to the topic of Training OTTBs. Learn from the owners of off-the-track Thoroughbreds by reading their OTTB Success Stories. You will learn how easy and willing they are to be trained.
Do you wonder how hard is it to take a horse right off-the-track and begin training?
We disagree with the myth that the horse should be “let down” and turned out for a few months. Race horses are used to having a job and being ridden every day. Throwing them out in a pasture with other horses or alone is something they are not used to. They have not been out with other horses and they are apt to get hurt if not introduced carefully. It would be like being fired. What do you do now?
If the horse has come off-the-track with soreness issues from overworked muscles, he will favor the bad muscles and put more stress on the other muscles and tendons. This can lead to more problems. It is better to put the horse into work and see what kind of adjustment they need and then get a good chiropractor to adjust the horse. Without exception, all race horses are sore when they come off-the-track. They are worked extremely hard and they need to let down, but not by being put out-to-pasture and forgotten. They need some stretching and chiropractic adjustments and then they need to be worked to strengthen the sore muscles.
We like to start training by free lunging in the arena and then teaching them to be lunged. We do lots of ground work but we also start riding them as soon as they tell us they are ready. With some horses this is a day or two off-the-track. With others it may take a week of lunging and ground training to get them to relax before jumping on. These horse have been cooped up in a 10 x 10 foot stall and fed a high protein, high vitamin diet. Letting them work off-the-steam in a controlled environment gets them ready for riding within a week of leaving the track.
We start riding them in the arena on a lunge line. We walk and trot usually on the first ride. Sometimes we even canter if the horse seems relaxed. The horse guides us as to how fast to move along the training. As soon as we are safely and quietly cantering in the arena we get the horse out on the trails. The best thing for an off-the-track Thoroughbred is to get out and walk up and down hills to strengthen the back end. This is usually the weakest part of the horse.
Follow along as we begin Training Thoroughbreds after racing. There are diary’s of horses we have trained showing the process. These horses are highly intelligent and need a teacher who understands the sensitivity of a Thoroughbred. Too many Thoroughbreds are ruined AFTER leaving the track because they are so athletic they are pushed along too quickly with their training or they end up in the hands of someone who is too timid to be a good leader. We work hard to match our Thoroughbreds to the right person.
See more videos on the BitsandBytesFarm YouTube channel. Read the pages under Training Thoroughbreds menu at the top of the page and see if you have what it takes to retrain and ex-race horse. If you find this content useful, please click on our Like button at the bottom to share this information with your Facebook friends.