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Old 11-04-2009, 10:12 PM   #1
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PICS ADDED : Off the Track Standardbreds...what to expect?

Before I begin don't throw tomatoes at me. I decided to give this guy a home BEFORE the thought of euth for my other gelding (which BTW we've decided to go ahead with the last procedure, it's out last option, if this doesn't work there IS nothing else I can do besides euth. The procedure will be done Nov.6th)

Alright. So you ever get that feeling when you first lay eyes on a certain horse and you have that instant connection? You know nothing about said horse but you feel a pull to this horse. You KNOW this horse belongs with you.
I know that feeling. I got it for Mya my mare and for my gelding Max. They chose me...i didn't choose them.

I got that feeling again. His name is Vance. He belongs to the BO where I currently board at. As soon as I walked in the barn...BAM! there he was. Then again NO ONE could miss seeing this guy. He's a monster.

He's a 5yr old Standardbred who is currently racing (and doing well). He's a trotter not a pacer. He stands 17hh. Black but not a "true" black. He has a white anklette. He's got a huge ugly head with a roman nose that doesn't look right on his thin neck. He greets me by pinning his ears and thrusting his nose at me. Anyone who doesn't know him would jump back 10ft to get away from him...but he doesn't bite. Thats just how he greets. He is bossy and rude and needs manners. He's hot headed.

I spoke with the BO's and they agreed that when he retires I would get him. I don't expect him to retire for a few years right? Well today it was mentioned that his back leg is off and he may retire sooner then they thought.

I don't have experience with STB's or even ones off the track. How much "time off" would he need before being trained for his new job as a pleasure/trail horse? Would he ever come down off his "high"
Do they make good pleasure horses? I would send him off for training with a proffesional.

So what have been your experiences with off the track STB's? How should I prepare myself? What should I expect?
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Last edited by GodsGifts; 11-06-2009 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:46 AM   #2
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I've dealt with a few but not too many, they are usually a lot quieter/laid back dispositions as compared to TB's, especially OTTB's, although they can be a bit pushy/bold, their biggest thing is they do not know anything at all about bending/collection/transitions/leg aids/etc., and their pretty hard mouthed, just like TB's , they need lots of time/patience, although not as much as if they are just going to be a pleasure mount.
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:06 AM   #3
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I currently own an OTTB. In some ways he's spooky and pushy and can get real hot, then in other ways he's a big puppy. Would a STB be like that?

Also...from experience I've never owned an OTTB that was an easy keeper. There was always some health issue to deal with, would an off the track STB be like that, or are they a hardier breed like my QH mare?

Are they hard to train? Will they always be "hot"? How would I get him to calm down and become a nice pleasure horse?
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:29 AM   #4
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I owned an OTT Standardbred for several years, but she was 30 when I bought her! The person selling her said that she was 19 . She was the horse that my husband learned to ride on! SHe was a calm, wonderful trail horse, but did like to trot often. Not spooky, no bad habits. I owned several OTT TB's too, and they were very hard-keepers. Kate (the Standardbred) was a bit on the thin side but not as bad as the TB's. I didn't have to re-train her or anything, since it had been awhile since she had been raced. I would probably start with basic groundwork and see how much he knows. My mare died almost two years ago at the age of 34. My husband and I still miss her. Good luck if you decide to take this gelding!
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:47 AM   #5
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i bought an stb for some kids i tought lessons to. this was their first horse and he was a dream, very easy to work with, did any thing you asked, we gave him 4 months of no work but regular handleing and went from there. he took about 6 months to bend and get leg ques, but had so much heart and was so willing to please. they had him for years and even showed him once in a while. he wasnt an easy keeper, but not as hard as an will love him..
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:29 AM   #6
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You will have some of the same training issues. They are trained for one thing and one thing only, so you will have to start from scratch in most areas. Also, they are trained not to "break," so getting a canter or a lope will be difficult.

I know a gentleman with OTT Stb's and they are awesome for him! Take him everywhere and do everything.

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Old 11-05-2009, 08:25 AM   #7
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New Vocations Racehorse Adoption ( has many excellent articles about retraining Standardbreds. Go to the SB page. There are articles on feeding, re-training and correcting bad habits. They rehab a lot of SB's and know what they need.
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:21 AM   #8
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Once you get him off the high protien feed, he will settle down.

Standarbreds are not as hard to get the weight back on as Thoroughbreds and they settle in very quickly. They are like those "been there, done that" horses. They normally have rock hard, good hooves and legs of iron. They've been fiddled with, hauled everywhere, had just about everything done to them.

They make great remounts once you retrain them. They already know about bridles and harness all over their body. Saddles are not much different. Take it slow with him and he should be fine. Standarbreds gallop all over the field all by themselves, so they do know how to go over a trot You just have to get them used to a person on their back, and to get used to being allowed to go over the trot.

I rode one in lesson classes when I was younger and he was the favourite among us girls. He was just so laid back and willing to try anything.

Have fun with him!
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:46 AM   #9
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Hi, I second most of the above posts. You can start ground work (and should, for manners) right away. Formal groundwork really should be very brief. He will be transitioning in several ways, so don't expect early sessions to be long or to be wonderful.

My OT SB mare was 16.1 hh and IMO a very good keeper. It took her several months to canter while ridden and she was quite worried - I praised her to no end. She ended up with a lovely canter. Because she was 11 years (retired at age 8) at that point, I sold her to a lovely girl locally who wanted a nice trail horse to ride in company with other family members. She got a winner! Good luck, and keep us posted.
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:35 PM   #10
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We've had one and before we got one I did a lot of checking into them. There's a rescue for them near us called Peformance Standardbreds and there's a website that's quite helpful. They sometimes put on a get together where people get to see what they can do and they take a racing STB and bring it in pulling a sulky and then take the harness off and put a saddle on and let people see it ridden for the first time.
They get a lot of handling so they're generally very laid back. They shouldn't be as hot as an OTTB. You won't see a hot walker when the standardbreds are being raced- they don't need it.
At Spruce Meadows in Calgary the STBs always enter the Battle of the Breeds and do respectably against usually 11 other breeds. They make lovely english horses and many are trained to jump. My husband used ours to gather our neighbour's cattle where we used to live.
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:39 PM   #11
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Sounds like a project You will have to start from scratch. Just act like hes a two year alot of gound work...and work your way up from there...oh and of course...we EXPECT pics
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:49 PM   #12
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When I was a teenager a friend of mine received a retired Standardbred as her first horse. He was an absolute sweetheart! A wonderful horse for a beginning 4h girl. Unfortunately they only had him about a year due to lameness issues but I also have heard from many who say they are a lot easier to retrain than TB's, calmer, more been there done that.

My other friend had a family member who raced Standardbreds and I remember them as being very easy to handle even when being raced, they just seemed calmer to me as a young girl than TB's, less excitable. We could help groom them and wash them after races etc, and we were just young teenagers with very little horse experience, they would settle down after racing and being washed and groomed and just quietly munch their hay. They just didn't seem to care much about being excited.
Good luck with your prospective new horse!
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Old 11-06-2009, 06:30 AM   #13
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I'm going to watch him train this morning and i'm taking my camera. I can't wait to see him in action. Thats one thing i wish I had of of him racing(or training) So I'll try and get lots of pics.
I have a few i took last night but just of his's a butt. I have one decent pic of his head out of like 80pics!!

I'll post them once i get them all.
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Old 11-06-2009, 07:59 AM   #14
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A gal I know bo't an OTTSB and taught him everything thro groundwork. By the time she got on him his voice commands were down pat. He had a hard time grasping that he could move on a loose rein even when told to walk but they eventually worked it all out. Keep in mind that a certain sound might set him off and he'll be back on the track again. Old time cowboys believed a roman nose was indicative of an ill-tempered horse. Is it really a roman nose or just the long straight nose typical of a SB?
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Old 11-06-2009, 11:38 AM   #15
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Here are pics of Vance.
I hope the one of his head turned out ok. This is a roman nose is it not?

I lead him out to the field today and he was so good for me. He's ansy on the cross-ties but doesn't freak out or anything.
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Old 11-06-2009, 11:48 AM   #16
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I think he's cute! True his neck is thin but it just appears undermuscled...with the correct kind of work I think he would have a decent topline. Also looks like he needs some groceries since I'm sure hes racing fit right now. But I say go for it, if you haven't already! Plus I sure do love me a big horse and he is a big horse!
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Old 11-06-2009, 11:58 AM   #17
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Looks like the typical big honkin head of a SB.

Personally I like this breed.

The ones I have been around were quiet and transitioned well into being nice trail horses.

I think Vance is very cute.

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Old 11-06-2009, 12:19 PM   #18
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Awwww, look at that face on him.
Yup he has the typical SB head, but he looks really sweet.
I had a pony club student who rehomed one, he turned out to be not a bad jumper. I think you can have a lot of fun with him and I agree with the above posts, they tend to be pretty intelligent and accepting of new things.

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Old 11-06-2009, 12:25 PM   #19
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While my girl wasn't striaght off the track when I got her, she still required a lot of work. She's a pacer though & that, I'm told, makes a world of difference when retraining them.

I encourage anyone to give a Standie a chance. They are wonderful horses! I, myself, am not drawn to the breed physically but they have the most amazing temperments! My girl was both neglected & abused but, with time & patience, she's turned into a wonderful mare.

This guy should be easier for oyu than my girl was for me though as he doesn't appear/sound to be a neglect/abuse case and he's a trotter. He will likely have the common issue they all seem to have (pacers or trotters) of not being accustomed to bending. He'll need lots of suppling excercises to get him to bend through a turn instead of leaning through it, with his body stiff as a board, as if he's strapped to a cart.

It takes a lot of time, patience & work to get them going well under saddle but they are so worth it in the end!

Best of luck!
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Old 11-06-2009, 12:34 PM   #20
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Oh hes so cute! I love him! He looks so tall next to the lady spraying him How tall is he? I think he will make a lovely mount with some time and TLC. Hes adorable! Those SB do have HUGE heads! But, I love their big ol noggins
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