It all starts with rehoming. Bringing home a new OTTB is an exhilarating and wonderful experience, but this event can come with some anxiety and possibly apprehension, even for the most seasoned owner. Often times off-the-track Thoroughbreds are adopted site unseen and this in of itself can be an overwhelming decision. There are numerous adoption organizations and searching through each of these can be time consuming and difficult to navigate on your quest for your perfect match. What works for one person may not work for another and it can be important to keep an open mind. Beyond adoption agencies, many OTTB owners acquire their horses through local rescue organizations. Additionally, some may find themselves caring for an OTTB they didn’t really search for but as fate would have it they came into their life. Either way, each path to OTTB ownership is often filled with many questions and we hope you find our rehome resource page helpful in answering those questions.
Making a smooth transition from the track to a second career requires unique rehabilitation that starts from day one. As is choosing your OTTB, your rehab program is not a one size fits all process. Each horse comes from a slightly different background, even those from the same track or racing stable. Some have raced only a few times, if at all, and others (called war horses) have had many years on track and will have been raced greater than 50 times. These backgrounds alone can influence a horse’s rehab program. Many adoption organizations already start the rehab process and in these cases you may not have to do as much rehabilitation after bringing home your new bestie. Unfortunately, some horses have suffered injuries, ranging from mild to career ending, and these horses will have special needs that must be considered during their rehabilitation time. Beyond exercise, rehabilitation includes feeding programs, turnout options, stable management and more. Each of these areas require a customized approach in order to maximize your OTTBs rehabilitation and success.
With restarting an OTTB, it makes me think “where to start?”, as that is the bigger question. Again, this phase is personal and unique to each partnership, but there are a few similarities regardless of your goals. It begins with creating a bond. A bond so special and so sacred we affectionately call them “heart horses”, because in the end they will steal your heart. If you have had a heart horse of your own you know all too well what this means. If you are just beginning your journey with a potential heart horse, hang on, it is going to be an amazing ride! Your bond is the foundation for all things to come. It will take you places you could have never imagined. It will make or break any training efforts. It will give you the basic tools to reach your goals. It will save your life in the end, it always does! Once a bond is created the real training can begin and restarting an OTTB can be very different for each partnership. There are many different training approaches and which one you choose to use can depend on your background, your horse and your goals. We strive to cover a variety of restarting topics in hopes to provide something you and your horse can benefit from.