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OTTB (Off the Track Thoroughbred)

Published 02-06-2012 6:56 PM | Fernanda Camargo

In November 2011, I became the proud owner of an Off the Track Thoroughbred (OTTB). This name indicates a Thoroughbred horse that was not successful as a racehorse, for one reason or another, and is, therefore, fresh off the track into a loving home.

I know what you are thinking... how on earth did I end up with an OTTB? Well, first of all I live in Kentucky, and everyone owns one of these horses. Second, I had recently purchased a farm and was moving my reining quarter horse home with me. Since it is not so good for a horse to live by itself, I decided to adopt a TB for her. I checked out the Maker's Mark Secretariat Center's horses and fell in love with Champagne Prayer, whose barn name was Zorro, due to his being black. I filled out an application, was accepted and 2 days later I hauled 2 horses to my new farm, a 4 y.o. QH, and a 3 y.o. TB.

Mattie (the QH) and Tony (short for Antonio Banderas, the best Zorro out there) became instant friends. My decision was to give Tony the winter off so he could get accustomed to his new life. Plus he came with some lameness issues and needed time to heal completely.

Shortly after they became residents of my backyard, I realized that 1 horse by itself is not a good idea.... but 2 horses is even a worse idea. I tried to ride Mattie, but Tony threw gigantic fits that for his sake I quit riding her. He ran up and down the fence line and he may have hurt himself, had I not come back in time. Horses are like that. They become so attached to each other that they hurt themselves if they are not together 100% of the time. I am starting to think that 3 is better number when it comes to horse ownership. I haven't told my husband that yet.

I couldn't ride Mattie and I couldn't ride Tony because he was still lame.... so both of them got the winter off.... and so did I.... begrudgingly.

Well, Tony is not lame anymore and so last week I called the farrier and put shoes on both horses, as I plan to start riding soon.

Today I put Mattie in her stall and took Tony to the arena just to lunge. Since he hasn't been ridden since October, I want to start his fitness program slowly. But I did put the surcingle on, so he can get re-accustomed to the cinch.

Well...... the walk from the barn to the arena took about 10 minutes, with Tony rearing, looking back, throwing his head in every direction possible, and so forth. We got to the arena and my neighbor decided to start talking to me, although I said repeatedly that I was really not paying attention to her. She did not let that faze her and kept talking for another 20 minutes. In the meantime, I was keeping my eyes on Tony, who was bucking, striking, rearing, running, etc. Now that I think of it, it was actually good that she was there because she could help me in case something went terribly wrong. Which it didn't, but just in case.

I lunged this horse, for, I don't know, an eternity (20-30 minutes).... and he never seemed to get tired. So I decided it was enough for the first day, and headed back to the barn.... it took us another 10-15 minutes. Rearing, looking back, eating grass, trotting.... don't they teach these horses to walk a straight line? or was 3 months off enough for him to forget how to behave?

We survived our first "training" session after the winter break, but I will keep you all updated on his progress. I think it will be a bumpy road, but it will be worth it!!

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Page last updated: 8/1/2013 9:14:49 AM