Thoughts on Getting another ex-racer - stupidity?

wench

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Just a totally random stupid musing whilst enjoying my lay in. My favourite breed of horse has to be a tb, I've had three so far, two totally unmitigated disasters

Horse 1 was my first horse. Think he'd done a p2p or two, opininated and stubborn, but totally perfect horse for me.

Horse 2 was after horse 1 died. Walking vets bill. I did all the reschooling work on her, and would like to think I did a pretty good job. Had to have PTS in the end due to a number of vet issues.

Horse 3 - another walking vets bill - nothing fundamentally wrong like horse 2, just needed loads of physio. Ended up being too much for me so was sold.

I'm exceptionally busy with my current job, and will probably be selling my current horse over the next few months, which has got me thinking about what to do horse wise. I certainly want some time off owning one. My current job will last about another year before I will be looking for another one.

And it's this that's got me thinking this morning, about another ex-racer. It would possibly be a good opportunity to get one, then basically have it living out a the livery yard in a herd for a number of months to totally unwind.

I know where I would get an ex racer from, and the criteria that it would need to meet to avoid horse 3 problems above. I would also ensure that the vet comes out and X-rats said horse so no surprise problems down the line. I would like to think that I am not a total numputy, and I did a good job with horse 2z

Or am I merely being increasingly stupid?
 

TarrSteps

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My experience is you can't generalise ex-race horses into a homogeneous group. If anything, because the only criteria for success is speed, you can see a wider variation than in other breeds with more rigid criteria. That said, they will have worked hard young and been managed in a very particular way and so CAN require greater care and management, especially through the transition. What if you get one that doesn't settle turned away straight out of racing?

You didn't ask advice but I'll tell you what I always tell people who have limited time and other commitments - get a horse that's already doing the job you want or one very similar. Young horses and retraining projects need the time they need, not just the time you have for them and that can be tricky if you're busy. There is also no guarantee the horse will end up doing the job you want. Then there is the amount of experimenting and repetition you need to allow for. And there is no way of knowing if the horse will even stand up to the work.

I know a lot of people are attracted to the process - I'm about as far down that spectrum as it's possible to be - but if you have limited time there is a lot to be said for a horse you can get on and go..
 

wench

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Don't worry I've already convinced myself it's a daft idea!

However I am intending to ensure that my next job is horse friendly, and hence the reasoning by thinking that I got an ex racer before this point, it will have had plenty of time in the field to unwind, and be ready to go!
 

Cazzah

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I don't think you can generalise - there are so many variables at play in relation to an individual horse. When it was broken/started work, how hard, temperament, handling, physical issues etc. I have known lots of ex-racers - some have been walking vet bills, some are so brain-fried that they struggle to settle to 'normal' life. Some are super sharp - others kick along. All will need time and work to a varying extent.

I dropped really lucky with mine - not raced until he was 4 and then had 3 fairly light but regular seasons until he was turning 7. Very well put together and tough as old boots. Fantastic and honest jump and decent flatwork/nice paces. I can leave him for a couple of weeks and hop back on with zero issues (in fact, left him for 4 months whilst I was pregnant and he was fine). However, the compromise I made to get him was that he had just been gelded (at 7) so was a little 'opinionated' (fine now) and had a tie back/hobday - but with no issues.

I think your plan of a few months turned out sounds good and if you know that you can work around the horse then go out and try to get a good one ;-)
 

criso

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I am sort of in that position as work involving travel has now come up after i bought ex racer number 2.
However there are 2 reasons why it still works for me.

1 I deliberately bought one with a laid back temperament who doesn't particularly mind a few days off

2 I'm not especially ambitious. I don't feel the need to get to a certain point in x months. We will go out and do stuff eventually but I accept that progress will be much slower.

He is making progress and goes better whenever I get a chance to work with him and I'm enjoying the process rather than worrying about where we are.
 

wench

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Well if I was to get another one, I would go straight to my contacts in the racing industry, describe the horse that I want, and wait for him or her to come along. (This is what I did with horse 2, and she was perfect, and would have been the most amazing horse, had she not have had vet issues. She was hacking down the road on her own at three, totally amazing little horse!)

I think what ever horse I get next, time will be spent getting to know the horse, and just enjoying hacking and schooling at home. I have some very fancy ideas of going BE, but realistically I think I need to put all competitive ambitions on a back burner.

Incidentally TS I did once by a "ready made" horse, and it was a total disaster! I couldn't ride the horse properly, and wished I'd never bought it - has put me off buying another one like that big style!

But back to random musings... At the minute I'm thinking all sorts off odd things, after started new job; waiting for current horse to move yards, and then having to sell. I just really want to get myself back into a routine, but have to wait to sort it out and it's annoying!
 

TarrSteps

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But if you bought an established horse you couldn't ride then it was not the horse for you. If your choice is to have a green horse or one that needs retraining then great, that's what will suit you. Out of curiosity, how would you know a horse straight out of racing would suit if you can't test it?

But I stand by my original comment. In a way your second example proves my point - the horse was not doing the job when you got it as did not, in fact, stand up to doing the job you wanted.
 

wench

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Sorry TS, possibly being mega thick, which second example do you mean?

As for if a horse is suitable for what you want, to be honest I don't think you ever really know until you get him home, get to know him really well!
 

noname

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Sorry to put a spanner in the works, I had a superstar xracer that I retrained straight out of racing. Never had a horse with such a great brain however an injury ended his career (eventing injury not racing related). Even with the injury the X-rays were clear.

I think you just have to accept that every horse has the potential to be a walking vets bill! We've just both been very unlucky. I lost another horse to blindness. If your scared of losing them then there's no point in doing it at all.

My current one is a pain in the arse too. It's life I'm afraid. Good luck with your horse search!!!

Also can highly recommend turning them out 3-6 months when out if racing. Mine had 3 months but took a year for his digestive system to adjust to being a 'normal' horse.
 

TarrSteps

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Yes, exactly. There are no guarantees, of course, bI thinkut my point was if a.horse hasn't been doing the job it's intended for then you don't know if it's going to stay sound doing it. It's not even as simple as ranking jobs in terms of severity, as horses can do fine in one situation and struggle in another even if we think it should 'prefer' the easier job.

I always scratch my head a bit when people say they want a young horse so they know it will be/stay sound. I think they would be surprised how many horses, even in very good programs, don't stand up to even moderate work. WFP said recently he likes to get horses at 5/6 and ask quite a bit of them as his experience is if they don't stand up to it then, they won't later. This is a common feeling and certainly has been what I've observed. It's a bit like people being reluctant to buy older horses - generally, if they've lasted that long with no obvious problems, they are naturally study.
 

loobylu

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I think TS's point might be that a horse of say 8 yo plus who is doing the job you want to do, and has done for at least a couple of seasons has perhaps shown itself to be free of inherent physical/ mental issues.
I bought a beautiful 3yo TB unraced who has done the equivalent of 9 months of full competition work out of the 3 1/2 years I've had him. I love him to bits and he looks like he should be up to doing everything I want but my is it a long expensive struggle to keep him on the road.
I've also had the loan of a ready to go horse who I did some BE100s on last summer when TB broke again. He was MUCH harder to ride than my own as he'd been Nov/int with a pro but actually he was worth it. So I completely get where you are coming from but thought you and TS were missing each other's point!
 

TarrSteps

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Btw, OP, I didn't say an older established horse is the right one for YOUjustt that I meet a lot of people who have taken on green or retraining projects without really having the resources going in and they often end up frustrated. I also see a lot of people who get a horse out of racing because their perception is it will be cheap . . .;) So my PERSONAL advice when people with busy lives ask about buying a horse is to look at ones they know will fit into the reality of their life. That said, as many people have made the point, that depends a great deal on the individual horse. I don't see why getting a horse out of racing would necessarily be a BAD idea but I can't see why it would be different than getting any other sport type horse.

If you WANT an ex racehorse, knowing the specific risks gained from your experience, then there is no reason not to go down that route.
 

maccachic

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To be honest what I want is an almost carbon copy of horse 1 in my first post.


Get out and ride heaps you don't have to buy the first one, you will eventually find something awesome if you are patient.

I have had many horses and plenty of TBs amongst them including quite a few straight off the track. None have been nutters and none have had huge vet bills. I think most the nutty TBs are with unsuitable riders they are really a thinking riders horse and not everyone can ride them. Some are sharper than others.
 

anna22

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I love ex-racers/tbs… but similarly I have a very old (29yo), now decrepit one who i wish I'd had as a youngster, real old-type, p2p, hard as nails sort. And I've had 4 since, 2 on loan (one rig and one with serious lameness problems), and 2 I've owned. One with serious lameness problems but a heart of gold and a real trier, and my current baby, very similar but physically incompetent it seems :(
I am toying with the idea of another tbh, or do I go out and spend a small fortune for something a little less tb??? I don't know what to do!!! I thought I had a nice 3/4tb lined up to view but all seems a bit good to be true and I worried about spending the money and ending up with a similar situation?!
Argh bl****Y horses!!!!!!
 

wench

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Yes when you think about it sensibly I would wait, save up a healthy budget then purchase the right horse!
 
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