Anyone who owns, rides, trains, vets, plans to own, or shoes an off-track thoroughbred (OTTB) simply must read and own this book. It is potentially the best thing that has ever happened to the retired race horse in the U.S. and Canada.
Here we get all the information that we so much need: What's different about the OTTB's training needs? What has the horse experienced in the past, from weaning to racing? How do this horse's metabolism, temperament, physiology, emotional psychology, and work ethic differ from those of the non-race breeds? How can we help an OTTB transition into new careers? What feed and turnout routine is optimal, and what are the tolerances for variation? Which types of conformation in OTTB's lend themselves to which riding disciplines?
I so wish I'd had access to this book when I purchased my OTTB 8 years ago. It would have saved us both many hours of mutual confusion and fright. Every single sentence of this book rings true to my own experience and all the best literature I've read on the subject of retraining a retired race horse. They are different! Emotionally sensitive, eager to please, often having been deprived of true herd membership by their previous lifestyles, the OTTB's are a conundrum to many ordinary training regimens including natural horsemanship techniques.
This book lays out the entire life of the average TB racehorse, from birth to retirement to rehab to new beginnings. Written by a racehorse trainer who is the daughter of a racehorse trainer, it is not critical of the racing industry but it is knowledgeable of the special needs these horses develop. A true love of the OTTB informs every page, and author Anna Morgan Ford now operates a retraining facility called New Vocations, so she knows both sides of the racehorse's life, from track training to second career choice. You will find answers to every important question here, and references to further reading and resources are generally provided.
The photos are gorgeous and you'll get to see OTTB's in all kinds of activities from dressage, eventing, and show-jumping to pole-bending and cutting. I got teary-eyed many times at the actually inspirational content: yes, the OTTB does every post-racing equine job imaginable, and yes, these wonderful horses will make willing partners in whatever job you give them, if you approach them with sensitivity and engage their willing and enormous hearts.
I'm so happy this book appeared. I really believe that the OTTB is going to benefit from it: more knowledge, more good sense, more successful adoptions and purchases, more great training and health advice, equals a lot of horses saved from slaughter and a lot of joy. If you have ever dreamed of owning a retired race-horse, this is the one book you must read: your lovely future horse will thank you many times with his whole great big heart and soul.