Our training notes often show schooling at the farm but may also
include cross country schoolings and trail rides away from the
farm. Go back through our notes to see how we train our off-the-track
Thoroughbreds and prepare them for new careers as sport horses. Be sure to see the list on the right side of this page for more notes on training off-the-track Thoroughbreds.
PART ONE in Training-off-the-track Thoroughbreds: Choose Your Horse Carefully
We are selling more and more horses directly from the race track to new owners. We offer support and advice to make sure the Thoroughbreds we sell get a good foundation as they are retrained for their new careers. In the interest of educating people about Thoroughbreds, we are writing a multi part story about the process of buying and starting an off-the-track Thoroughbred.
Background, Background, Background
Successfully finding and training an off-the-track Thoroughbred is easy if you have the right connections. You want to know as much as possible about the horse BEFORE you buy him. Knowing his personality at the track can help you identify possible good candidates for retraining. We do a lot of background checking and look to find kind, safe and sane horses. We talk with the owners, trainers, grooms and exercise riders to get a well rounded view of the horses we are considering. We want to know his ground manners and how easy he is to gallop. If the horse is not safe to handle on the ground, we are not interested. We also speak with the veterinarian who knows the horse so that we can place the horse into a home that will train him for the appropriate career based on his physical capabilities and mental well being.
Political Pull being lead to the paddock by his exercise rider/trainer Becky.
We develop on-going relationships with race track trainers and identify horses well ahead of them being ready to retire from racing. We watch their racing forms and know when the trainer might be ready to let the horse go. We have waited over a year for many of our horses. Elizabeth spends much of her time on the phone staying in touch with the trainers we buy from. She visits them at the tracks. She brings photos of the horses she has sold for them. She shares the Success Stories from the horse's new owners with their previous trainers/owners so they feel good about calling Bits & Bytes Farm when they have another horse needing a good home. And, Elizabeth takes LOTS of photos of our possible Prospect Horses for Sale during her track visits.
Political Pull being saddled at River Downs for his race.
The trainers we buy from want to know that their horses have gone to good homes and not back to racing or worse - to auction. The network that Elizabeth has developed over the years is growing. The original trainers are referring other good trainers to Bits & Bytes Farm. Our Success Stories are being read by unknown trainers who want to find good homes for their Thoroughbreds. They are calling Bits & Bytes Farm asking for help to place their Thoroughbreds. Because of our sources and "track record", we are able to offer very good sound and sane horses at reasonable pricing - but only to good homes with people who have the skills to retrain them properly.
Political Pull walking to the track.
Knowing the background and history of the horse holds the secret to how easy he will be to retrain.
Knowing the background and history of the horse holds the secret to how easy he will be to retrain. There are many Thoroughbreds at the track - not all of them are well cared for. There are also horses that have been mistreated and do not trust humans because of the poor handling. These horses usually end up at an auction, or if they are lucky, at a rescue group. These horses will require even more time and patience to move into their new careers. If they were not well cared for they may have other health issues such as poor feet or ulcers. These will need to be "fixed" before the horse is ready for training.
Political Pull being ponied to the gate at River Downs.
The training process is very simple and takes only one thing - patience. You must never rush any young horse and cause them to be scared. Let the horse guide you as to how fast you can take the training. Some horses are ready to go out on the trails on their second ride and some take weeks or even months to be relaxed enough to be ridden outside of the arena.
Elizabeth was heard to shout after the race, "Political Pull is in seventh place. YES! We might get him soon if he keeps running like this."
The bottom line to finding a good horse is to know what the horse is like at the track. If they are well behaved and quiet at the track, it only gets better when they get home. Choose your horse wisely and you will be rewarded with a willing partner who is safe and sane and who wants to please you!
Elizabeth's first ride on Political Pull back at Bits & Bytes Farm. - July 12, 2006
Coming soon . . .
Part Two - How to Start the Training of an Off-the-Track Thoroughbred.
Barry and Ryan enjoy a cup of coffee track side while looking for Prospect Horses.