Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted Feb 07, 2019
I've been lucky enough to ride quite a few thoroughbreds over the years and have gotten to lease a few as well.
They are all a little bit different. I've met ones that are slowpokes right off the track and others that have their brains in the sky. Some are riddled with lameness issues and need chiropractor, acupuncture, special shoes, supplements; etc while others go barefoot all the time with nary a limp.
One thing is that they are extremely athletic. I've seen them do all ranges of English disciplines and are increasing in western sport popularity. I've had some that are incredibly flighty and others who can have a tractor practically roll over their hooves without a glance.
If you've gotten a thoroughbred off the track (OTTB), there can be a learning period. Contrary to popular belief, they know how to walk, trot, canter, and do lead changes. They've lived on the backside and been exposed to commotion and noises. They're constantly groomed and handled. None of this is new for them. Turnout can be a new experience for them, depending on where they've come from and if they ever got time off the track. One thing I've seen people have difficulty with is learning how to ride them. If they get to speedy; sitting and pulling back won't do much because they're used to running against the bit. Half halts are your best friend. They know how to do the basics; the trick is teaching them the cues to how you want them to do those basics. They need to learn how to use different muscles. It can all happen, but there is a learning curve.
Certainly, you always want to get a PPE (pre purchase exam) on these guys. They can have a lot of leg issues from the stress placed on them at a young age. If you can find an evenly tempered, clean legged OTTB then you have a friend for life! Some of my favorite OTTBs have been the oldies in their 20s.