I’ve purchased two off-track Thoroughbreds in my day, and each time the story went something a little like this:
Step 1: Idly scroll Facebook and see a horse for sale. It’s cute, the photos aren’t amazing but you can tell it’s cute. It’s a few hours away, so I’d have to find shipping, but the price is right…
Step 2: Convince my significant other that buying a horse IS, in fact, good for the economy (and my mental health). He is less than convinced, but the eye-roll without an accompanying emphatic “absolutely not” is enough for me to obtain tacit acceptance of what’s about to happen.
Step 3: Exchange questionable messages with the seller, again via Facebook, arrange equally questionable payment terms (this was before the days of Zelle and Venmo).
Step 4: Peruse the internet for viable shipper solutions, some of which seem legitimate and some of which seem like legitimate scams, especially at my paltry budget.
Step 5: Wait at the barn until 3:30 a.m. for said horse to arrive via said shipper, who inexplicably took 10 hours to drive what would ordinarily be just 3.5.
If this scenario sounds familiar to you, then I think you’ll be pleased to know that there’s now, in these modern times we live in, a better solution for buying and selling ex-racehorses. It’s called OTTB United, and it’s a new app designed to not only provide a marketplace for OTTB aficionados to network their horses and find new partners but also to create community around a shared passion.
OTTB United is an app-based platform released late in 2020. The concept was simple: create a space for OTTB lovers and placement professionals to network, while also promoting the overarching goal of quality racehorse aftercare.
Over this column and two more follow-ups to come, I’ll be diving in to various features of OTTB United as they pertain to buyers, sellers, and the Thoroughbred placement market in general. Aftercare is top of mind for these racehorses as they come off the track, and having reputable networking opportunities is invaluable in ensuring the proper placement of each horse.
Right off the bat, I’ve identified three features that stuck out to me as a first-time user of OTTB United:
1. The user interface is simple and clean.
One thing I can’t stand about some apps is the lack of intuition when it comes to the user experience. I don’t want to have to go searching for what I need, and I really don’t want to have to deal with an app that frequently quits, bogs down, or throws up so many ads that I can’t get what I’m looking for. OTTB United makes it easy for even a casual browser to see what horses are available AND who’s selling them (and what the seller’s profile looks like — which is something I’ll come back to later).
2. You can complete the whole shopping process within the app (minus payment).
There is a native messaging feature within each listing that allows an interested party to contact a seller directly. This removes the need to hunt down an email address or phone number and wait for a response on yet another platform. It’s a simple feature, but I imagine cutting out the middleman in terms of communication helps a lot with closing sales and building seller reputations!
3. You can also network with shippers directly in the app.
No more sketchy shipping! Granted, in the seven or so years it’s been since I made the purchase referenced above, there has been a vast improvement in the vetting process for shipping companies (and there are a massive amount of professional, quality shippers for us to use now!), but it can still be nothing short of a migraine to find and book a shipper. OTTB United’s developers thought of this, too, and integrated a way to find shippers right there in the app.
These days, it’s all about convenience and saving time, and OTTB United has created a one-stop shop for buyers and sellers — and Thoroughbred lovers, in general — with a greater mission to tie it all together.
The OTTB United app is available with three tiers of membership: Free, Premium Buyer, and Premium Seller. Click here to learn more about each tier and to download the app and see for yourself!