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Unlocking the Potential of Off-The-Track Thoroughbreds

Introduction to OTTBs

If you’re in the market for a new equine partner, you’ve probably come across the term “OTTB” or “Off-The-Track Thoroughbred.” These horses are becoming increasingly popular for their athleticism, heart, and class. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about OTTBs, from their training and cost to where to find them and what to look for when selecting one.

Training and Cost of OTTBs

OTTBs are horses that have previously raced on the track, but are now retired from racing and have been retrained for other disciplines. These horses go through extensive training on the track, so they tend to be more athletic and have excellent stamina.

When you purchase an OTTB, you’ll need to factor in the cost of retraining, which varies based on your geographic location and the amount of retraining required. The cost of an OTTB can also vary depending on their level of training and experience.

Some horses may have only had a few starts, while others may have dozens of races under their belt. Additionally, horses with a strong racing record tend to have a higher asking price.

Advantages of OTTBs

The athleticism and heart of an OTTB make them excellent partners for a variety of disciplines, including jumping, dressage, and eventing. These horses are also known for their class, which refers to their overall demeanor and trainability.

Because OTTBs have gone through extensive training on the track, they’re typically more sensitive and responsive to their rider’s cues. OTTBs also tend to have excellent physical characteristics.

They’re often tall and lean, with long legs that make them well-suited for jumping and other athletic disciplines. Additionally, many OTTBs also have impressive bloodlines, which can add value to them as breeding prospects.

Finding an OTTB

If you’re interested in adopting an OTTB, there are several places to look. Social media platforms like Facebook are a great place to start, as there are several groups dedicated to promoting the adoption of OTTBs. Additionally, several adoption agencies specialize in placing retired racehorses in new homes.

Working with a trainer who specializes in retraining OTTBs is also an excellent option. These trainers often have connections at racetracks and can help you find horses that are a good fit for your discipline and skill level.

When you work with a trainer, they’ll also have the luxury of evaluating the horse’s temperament and training before you purchase them.

Characteristics to Look for in an OTTB

When selecting an OTTB, there are several characteristics to consider. First and foremost, you’ll want to evaluate their temperament.

While many OTTBs are incredibly trainable, some may have more significant issues with anxiety or spookiness. Additionally, you’ll want to factor in the horse’s height, as taller horses may not be a good fit for those who are shorter in stature.

Another important factor to consider is the horse’s bloodline. While this may not be as crucial for some owners, those interested in breeding their OTTBs should do thorough research on their horse’s pedigree.

Strong bloodlines can increase the horse’s value as a breeding prospect.

Pedigree Research

Researching your OTTB’s pedigree can provide valuable insight into their potential as a breeding prospect or competitive partner. When looking at a horse’s pedigree, you’ll want to evaluate the success of their parents and grandparents on the race track.

Additionally, you’ll want to look for horses that have excelled in your desired discipline.


Whether you’re an experienced equestrian or a newcomer to the horse world, OTTBs offer a unique opportunity for a talented and trainable partner. When searching for an OTTB, it’s essential to factor in the cost of training and be mindful of their temperaments and physical characteristics.

By doing your research and knowing what to look for, you’re sure to find an excellent equine partner in an OTTB.

3) OTTBs as Show Horses

When it comes to show horses, many people might not immediately think of OTTBs. However, these former racehorses can surprise many with their tremendous athleticism, heart, and determination in the ring. In this section, we’ll discuss the success of OTTBs in competition, provide examples of successful OTTBs, and introduce shows and programs developed specifically for these fantastic horses.

Success of OTTBs in Competition

Many successful sport horses were once racehorses. OTTBs have dominated various disciplines, ranging from show jumping to eventing to barrel racing.

These horses may have originally been bred for racing, but when given the opportunity to retrain, they often excel in other areas. Thanks to their background in racing, some OTTBs exhibit remarkable agility and jumping ability.

These horses’ success is a testament to the thoroughbred’s talents as athletes, and they have been celebrated by professionals across many disciplines. Great amount of OTTBs have gone on to make a name for themselves in the world of show jumping, eventing, and barrel racing, and many of them have even won their respective competitions.

Examples of Successful OTTBs

There have been several tremendously successful OTTBs throughout history, and their achievements have helped to break down stereotypes surrounding the breed. One of the most notable examples of an OTTB’s success in show jumping is the legendary Gem Twist.

Gem Twist was a former racehorse turned Olympic show jumper, and he won numerous competitions and was inducted into the United States Show Jumping Hall of Fame. Another remarkable OTTB was Touch of Class, who won two Olympic medals and became the first American mare to win Olympic show jumping gold.

She came from a line of pricey racehorse stock, but found her true calling as a show horse. When it comes to eventing, there’s arguably no more notable equestrian than Boyd Martin, who earned both an Olympic eventing team bronze medal and a Pan American Games team gold medal, riding a former racehorse named Neville Bardos.

Lastly, Fallon Taylor’s OTTB mare Babyflo was the first to clock under 14 seconds at the National Finals Rodeo’s barrel racing competition. This broke the previously unattainable 14-second barrier, and she became a viral sensation and a symbol of the potential for OTTBs in non-traditional equestrian pursuits.

Shows and Programs for OTTBs

There are several programs created explicitly for OTTBs to encourage their career path after their racing period ends. The Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP) is one such program that recognizes the talents of OTTBs and encourages owners, breeders, trainers, and riders to participate in all kinds of equine disciplines.

The program rewards horses and their riders for their achievements in competitions and is open to every discipline, and everyone is welcome to participate. Retired Racehorse Project is another program that seeks to promote the versatility of the Thoroughbred breed.

The program aims to facilitate the placement of retired racehorses in programs that will give them a chance to begin their second career.

4) Benefits and Qualities of OTTBs

There are several benefits to owning an OTTB that go beyond their success as show horses. When selecting an OTTB, it’s crucial to evaluate their temperament and personality as much as their physical abilities.

Here are some of the qualities that make OTTBs exceptional partners.

Trustworthiness as Riding Partners

OTTBs are known for their trustworthiness as riding partners and their willingness to please. Their challenging past in the racing industry often fosters a unique bond between rider and horse.

OTTBs are an excellent choice for riders due to their great work ethic and their intuition and exceptional trainability. They can adapt to any discipline, making them versatile options for their owners.

Characteristics of OTTBs

In addition to their trustworthiness, OTTBs possess several qualities that make them exceptional riding partners, including athleticism, heart, and determination. Their lean frames and long legs enable them to exhibit impressive speed in a variety of disciplines.

Their natural athleticism also makes them agile and quick in the jumping ring. OTTBs’ great heart and spirit are also remarkable.

They often try hard to please their riders and are willing to do whatever it takes to prove them wrong. OTTBs are also known to have a high level of determination, making them a reliable and steadfast partner during training.


Overall, OTTBs are an exceptional breed and versatile equine partners. Their athleticism, heart, and class make them great competitors in a variety of disciplines.

When given the opportunity to retrain and perform in new roles, their true potential shines. With a heightened level of trustworthiness, combined with their exceptional physical qualities, OTTBs have captured the hearts of equestrians across the world.

In conclusion, Off-The-Track Thoroughbreds (OTTBs) are talented and versatile equine partners that exhibit excellent athleticism, heart, and class. Their trustworthiness and innate characteristics make them an excellent choice for riders interested in a competitive or leisurely partnership.

Prospective buyers should evaluate characteristics such as temperament, height, and bloodlines to ensure a good match. Additionally, there are several programs created explicitly for OTTBs, such as the Thoroughbred Incentive Program and the Retired Racehorse Project.

Overall, OTTBs have a lot to offer, and anyone interested in owning one should consider their potential when retrained and appreciated in various disciplines. FAQs:

– Are OTTBs expensive?

The cost of an OTTB varies based on their level of training and experience. Factor in the cost of retraining, which varies depending on geographic location and the amount of retraining necessary.

– Do OTTBs require specific care? Like any horse, OTTBs require proper nutrition, exercise, and veterinary care.

They can benefit from retraining with a skilled and experienced trainer who can help ease any anxiety or stress they may feel during their career transition from racing to a new discipline. – Can OTTBs succeed in a variety of disciplines?

Yes, OTTBs can excel in many different disciplines, including show jumping, dressage, eventing, and barrel racing. Their athleticism and agility make them ideal sport horses.

– Where can I find OTTBs? You can find OTTBs at Facebook groups, adoption agencies, and through trainers.

You can also consider attending events such as the Thoroughbred Makeover to view and purchase horses directly from breeders.

– Do OTTBs make good riding partners for beginners?

With proper training and a willingness to learn about a horse’s individual temperament, many OTTBs can make great partners for beginner riders. However, they tend to be more sensitive and responsive to their rider’s cues, so it may be necessary to work with a professional trainer during the transition period.

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