If you don’t have experience with OTTBs yourself, it’s always a good idea to enlist the help of a professional trainer when sourcing a horse off-the-track and retraining it for a new career. Thoroughbreds have been stereotyped as hot and hard to handle, but as with people, they’re all different! Just because a horse is a Thoroughbred doesn’t mean they can’t be well-behaved. Some are just naturally chill dudes, others are been-there-done-that warhorses who have seen everything, and some have been able to enjoy time out on the trails at their connections’ farms.
If you get your hands on one of these horses it can make the retaining process that much easier. Here are three solid citizens currently available through CANTER who could have just what you’re looking for in your next eventing partner:
Lava Heat may still be a stallion, but this homebred has impeccable ground manners – even standing ground tied for a bath – and is such a dependable guy that his owners have no hesitation in hoping on him after a month off to go out for a trail ride. He didn’t show any promise as a racehorse so they retired him after two starts and have been using him as a trail horse on their farm for the past year or so. Lava Heat bravely crosses bridges, water, and traffic without hesitation and though he’s mainly been putzing around the countryside recently, there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t make a good sport horse. His owners are also willing to geld him before he goes off to a new home, so don’t let that deter you!
This son of A.P Indy has his daddy’s good looks and he knows it. He loves being in front of a crowd and loves to calmly show off to his adoring fans, so his favorite places are the saddling ring and the post-parade. Circle City has raced plenty, with 28 starts under his belt, and is “sound as a tack” but just doesn’t have the speed to really be successful on the track. Take him home, make him your own, and he’s sure to shine in the show ring!
Though this pretty chestnut gelding is Kentucky-bred, he’s a Chicago-racing favorite having made all 41 of his career starts at either Arlington or Hawthorne. Despite being pretty successful – earning over $50,000 in those starts – and staying sound, Greeley’s Special has stoped showing an interest in racing so it seems it’s time to find him a different job. Greeley is definitely a barn-favorite as he is friendly and sweet, but also calm and well-behaved. During racing off-seasons he’s been turned out at and ridden around his trainer’s farm so he already has some experience being under saddle away from the track.