View Full Version : Ex-Racers

20th January 2011, 02:22 PM
My friend is just putting the final touches to the loan contract for her to loan someones 17hh, 10 year old ex-racehorse.

Now I'm all for owning horses you want. I wanted a TB since I was a kid and I got one at 18, but I'm a very confident rider and when Roulette messes about it doesn't faze me, my adrenaline kicks in and I deal with the problem. By saying I'm confident I'm by no means saying I'm the best rider out there. But I've worked really hard with Roulette and together our trust has grown and there's not anything she wouldn't do if I asked her to do it. A completely different horse to what she was when I first got her.

Anyway, my friend is the opposite of me. She's nervous and gets easily upset by a horse messing about. She went round my yard with my finance to get Rou in when I was at a works do, she led Rou into the yard from the field and as soon as Rou tensed up she dropped the lead rope and ran off. (Her own words).

She also rode my other friends youngster for a few weeks but the horse was knocking my friends confidence massively. The youngster had a paddy one day when asked to leave another horse and my friend got off and started crying. She rode her a few times after that but was a mess and in the end my other friend told her to not come back again as the horse was going backwards instead of progressing forwards.

So my friend is getting her new loan horse next weekend and I'm really worried it's going to knock her confidence easily. My finaces mum (been round horses about 50 years and has her own) agrees with me (my friend is going out with my finaces brother so we all know each other). I've tried talking to my friend but she thinks I'm attacking her which I'm not, I'm just trying to look out for her. I hope more than anything it works out for her, I don't want her confidence knocked. I've not said to her she's not good enough I've just tried to point out how hard TBs can be to look after and ride.

Do you think an Ex-racer would be suitable for a really nervous and rather novice rider? Honest opinions please, and I know every horse is different, but she didn't take anyone to see the horse with her (I asked her so many times if she wanted me to go along) so there's a chance she didn't even ride it (she's like that). She's just so desperate to get a horse, the weekend before she was looking at loaning a 14.2hh cob, talk about extremes.

Sorry it's so long and probably doesn't make sense.

Thank you in advance for your opinions.

20th January 2011, 03:49 PM
I agree with you, I think this is going to end in tears. I thought I was a pretty confident rider but ex racers are a whole new ball game, last time I rode one it was an eye opener to to say the least!

I think your friend has made it clear she wants to do this without your input so I wouldn't say anything to her. Just support her however you can and hopefully she will either surprise us all or admit defeat before someone gets hurt.

Bright Sparkx
20th January 2011, 04:24 PM
I think if the horse is genuine and has been taught properly it doesnt really matters what breed it is or what horse she rides, i wouldnt really put a nervous rider on an ex racer as my first choice because they are really intelligent and may sense her nerves and take advantage or it could encourage the horse to be nervous too, but then again as i say if the horse is genuine it might do her the world of good and could work out just fine. Keep us updated on how it goes, i hope it works out fine for her.

20th January 2011, 04:36 PM
An ex racer doesn't allways equel a tensed up thoroughbred, and if he came off a small training yard the chances are he got treated more like a normal horse.

The up bringing of intese racers means they are socially deprived from an early age and when they are handled its simply business, so groom, tack up, gallops, stable. Very little training inbewtween. If he was a small yard then more 1-2-1 time may have been given and he may be a placid type anyway...but he is a big fella if he's not.

I guess its on loan and she can go back on it if need be.

20th January 2011, 04:50 PM
A nervous, fearful person on ANY horse spells potential danger. I wouldn't put a nervous rider on either of my horses (one being an ex racer) because I know that they would probably react badly and may even take advantage of a nervous rider.

Having said that, a friend of mine has a 17hh ex racer that she bought only 6 months after he came off the track and a calmer more sensible horse you will never meet. He was only 6 when she bought him and he will do anything for anyone without any fuss. Fingers crossed that your friends new loan horse is like my friends. :)

Zeitgeist Mom
20th January 2011, 06:54 PM
Even amongst ex-racers, there is huge variety in the horse at the end of the day. My first ex racer (who ironically was the most successful on the track) was a real lazy plod. :lol: When I bought him, the trainer said, 'You cannot fall off this horse.' And he was right, I never did. However, more commonly they are stress heads and can get very hyped up and silly. I personally like them because they have seen so much and are often less spooky than other types, but still forward going. I am finding my fat, cobby highland cross far more challenging than any one of the three ex racers I have owned.

20th January 2011, 07:23 PM
Hopefully she drops lucky and gets herself a sensible one. But I think it sounds like a recipe for disaster to be honest. It's not a small horse either at 17hh. It would be such a shame for her to lose her confidence but there's no telling her by the sounds of it :(

20th January 2011, 08:24 PM
I can see where you're all coming from and appreciate your input, thank you.

I'll try and support her as much as I can without being bossy and spiteful (reading back through my post I feel I've come across as rather nasty and spiteful which wasn't what I intended at all, I'm not like that.) I've just seen her have her confidence knocked already and don't want to see it again.

Stephanie, you recently got an ex racer, and there's a picture you posted of him with his head right up in the air, now if my friends horse does that to her there's a high chance she'll panic, I've seen it happen to her on a smaller horse.

She says that Rou is big, she's 16.2 and wont go into the stable with her, but Rou is one of the quietest horses in the stable it's unreal and her stable is massive so you've got no chance of being blocked in there by her.

I will keep you updated with how it all goes, and I'm also hoping to post some ridden pictures of me and Rou soon, if I can drag someone down the yard to take pictures!!

Thank you again for your opinions x

Bright Sparkx
20th January 2011, 08:32 PM
I really hope it all goes well. I hope both her and the horse stay safe tbh, if shes really that nervous i can see why your worried about her and how it could end in disaster, especially if shes frightened of your horse whos quiet,but hopefully we'll all be proven wrong.

Also look forward to seeing some ridden pictures :)

21st January 2011, 11:45 AM
Thank you Stephanie, I hope it does too, for my friends sake and the horses!

Wagtail - That's a littel reassuring that only 3 out of the 7 were totally unsuitable for a novice nervous rider, makes me feel a little more hopeful.

Hope my friend falls on her feet with a lovely lovely horse.
Thank you all again for your thoughts.

22nd January 2011, 08:31 PM
Like some other people have said, just because its an ex-racer doesn't mean its going to be a madhead.
There were several horses on the yard I worked at in Japan that were ex-racers. Yep, some of them (one in particular) had serious attitude problems and could be very badly behaved and sometimes dangerous to ride. But then there were others that were complete sweet hearts, had taken to being RS horses really well and were pretty much school masters.
So it depends what the horse she has found is like.
If she hasn't even ridden it before she signs the agreement though... that can't be good.

23rd January 2011, 03:17 AM
I think its unfortunately going to be a case of leaving her to it and see what happens. It doesnt matter what you say to her, she obviously wants this horse.

It could only go one of two ways unfortunately.........either this horse does her the world of good or it knocks her back further with her riding, no one can predict how it will turn out.

My 17hh Ex Racer is currently helping a young girl get her confidence back in the saddle and although hes doing a fantastic job, as his owner i still worry that she hasnt got enough about her to handle him but thats for her to decide.

23rd January 2011, 03:20 PM
She sounds like the kind of person who would have a lot more fun with something like a sensible, mature little cob.

It may work out fine but on the whole no I would not put a nervous rider on a 17hh ex-racehorse! TBs are so athletic they can easily unseat a novice without actually meaning to. Their movements are big and their reactions are quick. I've only realised since I've been riding a little stocky cob how impossible it is to fall off or even become unseated. He's cold-blooded so when he spooks it's just half a step to one side and you barely even feel it, and I don't think he's physically capably of turning himself inside out quickly. TBs can jump out of their skins before they've even realised it, while a heavy cob just can't move that fast.

I know you get cobs who are complete madmen and you get TBs suitable for grannies, but I do think their actual physique makes a lot of difference to how their temperaments appear. 17 hands is also so much scarier than 14 or 15...

24th January 2011, 09:37 AM
North Mcqueen, I'm really hoping this one turns out alright for her, I really don't want to see her confidence knocked even more.

Indi Jo, your ex racer sounds lovely, it's nice to hear he's giving the girl confidence, I hope this horse does for my friend too.

Eeek, I know where you're coming from with regards to movement. I went from a 14hh cob and a 15.2 welsh D to my 16.2 tb and the change in movements was amazing. Where as my jumping cob could get 6 strides between two jumps Rou can easily cover the ground in 2 strides, and the way she spooks at something, well it has to be seen to be believed!! But I'm very confident when riding Roulette and handling her.
My friend on the other hand has had her confidence knocked and never handled a horse that big and gets worried when Rou lifts her head coming on to the yard. I'm really praying this works out well for her, for her sake as well as the horses. Only time will tell.

27th January 2011, 05:44 PM
Ive been through this with a friend of mine. Bottom line is, they will do what they want, regardless to what you say and whether the horse is suitable or not.

I think the important thing here is, the horse is only on loan, and she hasnt bought it. Secondly, you sound like a very good, caring friend, and you will be there to help at the drop of a hat.

My friend brought an ex-race horse and it was a total fail. She then, swapped it for another one and they are getting on very well.

I might not get involved, as it may cause a lot of tension. If this happens, she may feel that she cant come to for help.

Good luck.


28th January 2011, 09:14 AM
Hi Erica,

Thank you, your post has really made me feel better about the situation. If something does go wrong then you're right, I'll be there to help her in a second. I think I'll take a back seat and just be there if she needs me. Thank you x

13th February 2011, 08:07 PM

Be good to hear how she gets on.


14th February 2011, 10:31 PM
I'd say it really just depends on the horse. I had a 16.2 ex-racehorse as my first horse, and I had no confidence at all when I got him. 30cm jumps reduced me to tears. If a horse bucked or spooked, I wouldn't get off because my instructor had the fear of God in me, but I would get very shaken up and take a long time to get over it.

Flambards was the best horse ever for all of that. :) He put a complete stop to it, and a few years down the line, I've found myself as the test dummy for the naughty horses and am pretty difficult to get worried (about horses, at least...). I think the good thing about Thoroughbreds is the kinder ones are sensitive enough that they know exactly how hard they can push you without breaking you down. Flambards certainly understood that, as did many other Thoroughbreds I rode - although some of them may not be so kind about respecting that boundary ;)

But I wouldn't despair just because the horse is a tall Thoroughbred, at least not yet. I think if she's wound up with a nutter regardless of breed she's going to have a problem, but if he's suitable in every other way besides being a Thoroughbred, it's not necessarily going to be the end of the world for your friend.

And a picture of my babysitter, just because I love him.

15th February 2011, 09:43 AM
What happened to Flambards? I remember reading about him a lot and how could he was for you, and remember reading about your sister quite a bit too (can't for the life of me remember her name sorry!)

15th February 2011, 07:31 PM
Oh long story on both fronts. I owned Flambards in South Africa, so when I moved back to the States I ended up leaving him behind with the barn owner. She used him in lessons for a while, which he enjoyed, because he's always been a very good teacher. He was 18 when I left though, would be 23 now, and because he had a long strenuous life (raced until he was 9 years old, then evented heavily) and arthritic changes, he was sold into retirement with a young girl and her mother. They keep him out in a big field and take him on walks now and again, if what I've heard is accurate, which I hope it is.

Sister is... a much longer story. She's having some life issues at the moment, which is about as far as I can go into it unfortunately. She is in her first year at university in South Carolina for now, though.

Zeitgeist Mom
15th February 2011, 08:15 PM
Flambards reminds me so much of King Louis. Long lost twin bother......




15th February 2011, 10:17 PM
Oooh yes! King Louis & Flambards are very much alike! :)

16th February 2011, 12:54 AM
Oooh they are twins! That's so cute :D

16th February 2011, 09:54 AM
Aww that's a really nice way for Flambards to live out the rest of his life, does sound like his early years were hard work bless him. I'm glad he's got a lovely home though by the sounds of it.

Sorry I didn't meant to pry about your sister, just used to see lots of pictures of her jumping too and was wondering what she was upto. Sorry x

16th February 2011, 11:55 PM
Ah no worries. I would absolutely explain if I could, but there are some legal issues involved so I don't want to put much on the internet just in case. :)

17th February 2011, 10:15 AM
Oh, enough said! Hope everything sorts itself out x