What would happen, if I picked up a likely OTTB and documented his training from racehorse to sporthorse in a blog? There were a lot of good reasons not to… not least that I was terribly shy both of my writing and of my training prowess. But there was one very good reason to do it, and that was a five-year-old Thoroughbred gelding named Final Call, who I ran across at a training center in Ocala, looking idly for a new job.
Getting on Final Call, after years of not riding, was a revelation. We were in a round pen with high walls, next to a training track. He spent the first five minutes gazing longingly over the boards at the horses out on the track. He spent the second five minutes cantering graciously around the pen while I slipped and slid on a worn polo saddle. He would spend the next five months in my backyard, becoming my close friend while I learned to put into words all the theories I had acquired over years of schooling Thoroughbreds.
And at the end of it, a happy field hunter was vanned off to a new home, while I set off to New York to pick up where I’d left off ten years before, to be an exercise rider. I made the racehorse into a hunter; but he made me go back to the racetrack.
Now, four years later, I’ve spent time as an exercise rider at an Aqueduct racing stable, as a groom and mounted patrol partner with the New York City Parks Department, and as a freelance writer and novelist. I spend most of my days writing, often about horses. Retired Racehorse Blog went from a WordPress free site to standing alone and now back to WordPress. (Don’t go to the site without wordpress.com in the title. Trust me.)
The original purpose, though, still stands. Make OTTBs’ lives better, make their riders’ lives better, by sharing insights on the lives that they lived as racehorses.
Daily, hundreds and thousands of Thoroughbreds are seeking new homes. They flunk out of early training. They show no speed. They do not have the competitive aggression necessary to hold off their opponents. Some are – believe it or not – too sweet and yielding!
For those not experienced with retired racehorses, the training path can sometimes be rocky. Many unlucky Thoroughbreds bounce from owner to owner after what seemed like a match made in heaven at the initial adoption or purchase.
The Retired Racehorse Blog archives and blog posts are here to be part of your support network. It’s a training diary, but it’s more than that, too: it’s a place to ask questions, engage in discussion, and achieve a greater understanding of your Thoroughbred.
The purpose of this blog is to ensure that people aren’t just adopting Thoroughbreds, but succeeding with Thoroughbreds.