The Case for the OTTB
I admire blogger’s who puts controversial topics out there, because it’s something I do myself a lot. I also respect the following blog, but I really disagree with the case against the OTTB from Sprinkler Bandit last week.
Now before I write my rebuttal, I want to place a few caveats to the following.
A) I have potentially the world’s safest OTTB. I admit this. I am no star rider, and Simon makes up for my flaws in so many ways. I’m extremely lucky. This is why I will treat him like a prince for as long as he’s alive.
B) The warnings in that post can apply to any horse, and I agree with them in a general way. Are you a novice amateur rider who wants something solid you can show 3′ – 3’6″ with in a year? You should probably by a made horse – of any breed.
C) Every horse shown in this post is an OTTB with an amateur rider or child.
Aimee made the case against the OTTB, but I’m going to make the case for them.
If you want to be decently competitive in dressage/eventing/hunter/jumper and you have $0-$4,000 to spend… buy an OTTB.
Can you find amazing Quarter Horses in that price range that can win in one of those disciplines? Yes you can. Did your friend find a former show star Warmblood that needs to step down to a lower division but will win in intro dressage? I’m sure they did. However, the fact remains that if you are on a strict budget (aka almost free), you want something young with at least an average amount of athletic ability… an OTTB is usually your best bet.
“It’s a big breed with many different sub-types.”
The above is a quote from from Aimee’s post, and she’s absolutely right. This is the case for a lot of horse breeds these days. For example, if someone wanted an amateur friendly 3′ hunter… I would suggest looking at a hunter under saddle reject Quarter Horse or Paint. I wouldn’t say “Get a QH” because a 14.3hh roping horse isn’t going to make the hunter that a 17.2hh leggy bay QH might. Yet, they’re considered the same breed!
The same goes for OTTBs. Do some research about bloodlines and conformation. There are types of OTTBs with quieter brains, and types with hotter ones. Some lines have better conformation for X, while some are for Y. You shouldn’t go into a decision to buy an OTTB blindly with no idea about the horse’s genealogy, but you shouldn’t go into any decision to buy any horse with 0 clue about bloodlines.
If repurposing a life matters to you, buy an OTTB.
I don’t consider buying/obtaining an OTTB a rescue. Most Thoroughbreds are kept up very well at the track, and trainers are doing more and more to help ensure the welfare of their horses after track retirement. You are, at least in my opinion, repurposing that horse and giving it a new job that is more useful to a wider variety of people. I have always thought a (sound) horse that’s good at its job is typically a safe horse. A horse that can w/t/c and show in some classes for an amateur rider is more appealing to more people than a horse that can run a race and not win. I personally enjoy adding jobs to Simon’s resume, and it makes me feel good in an animal rights/circle of life kind of way.
If the journey is more important than the destination, consider an OTTB.
Notice I said consider instead of buy, because to me buying an OTTB you click with is on par with buying a green Warmblood or switching a western pleasure horse into a low level hunter. It’s not going to happen over night, and it’s going to take some work. In my experience, you can’t push Thoroughbreds too fast without disastrous results. If you want to buy a horse you can take to a horse show and win with tomorrow, an OTTB isn’t a good choice for you… but neither are those other options I mentioned above.
If you have a knowledgeable trainer with a solid program, consider an OTTB.
For all the reasons above (and more), OTTBs make great sporthorses. They don’t make great sporthorses in a vacuum without a knowledgeable rider and/or trainer. You know what other breeds can turn disastrous when a person buys a horse without a trainer and a plan? Oh yeah, EVERY KIND OF HORSE.
I guess I feel passionately on this subject, because I don’t believe in blanketing horses (or people) by a wide sweeping label. Like I said earlier, Simon is quieter and less reactive than my fancy bred Quarter Horse. I’ve never been scared on Simon, while Beckett dumped me more times than I could count.
Another OTTB in my life is my very first horse, which I don’t blog about much. She was a hot mare that needed a program, and I became scared of her. When I sold Lydia, my original OTTB, I said I would never own another Thoroughbred again!
Never say never. OTTBs aren’t for everyone, but I wouldn’t trade Simon for anything. If you want to throw him in a giant bucket of “Don’t buy an OTTB”, then you’d be missing out on a treasure.
57 thoughts on “The Case for the OTTB”
excellent post–very well considered and articulated!
Great, thought provoking post! I think there is also a HUGE difference in buying an OTTB straight off the backside, vs buying one that has already been let down and had a few months of professional training under their belt. The problem with OTTB’s and amateurs arises when the average non-pro rider buys one right off the track because it’s cheap, and is then in over their head when faced with retraining it. As I said on SB’s post, I have ridden a TON of really lovely OTTB’s, and they are such great, versatile horses. But I’m not sure I would want to take on the challenge of re-starting one myself. The key with any horse purchase is the honesty of the rider when it comes to their abilities.
Yeah, I agree there is a huge difference between RIGHT off the track or let down. However, there are plenty of organizations that help with the letting down/re-training process yet are still affordable ways to get OTTBs. With any horse but particularly with an OTTB, having a trainer and a plan is huge 🙂
I agree with this- big, big difference between buying an OTTB from the race track (ON the track TB?) vs buying one that has been restarted. And actually less because of the horses and more because of the people/culture of the race tracks and the way they handle selling horses, where test rides are often not allowed, etc etc.
1000000x YES! I had lots of stereotypes about OTTBs but once I sat on mine for the first time, I was completely sold. Just a few weeks off the track, my non-horsey husband was able to get on and trot him around the arena no problem. He is quiet as they come, compliant, and a general good soul. Just yesterday my trainer and I had to pause during a lesson to figure out if he spooked (because it was just a quick ear flick and a snort). OTTBs are a huge and diverse group – just because mine is quiet doesn’t mean all are, but just because some are feisty doesn’t mean all are. I also feel quite passionately about this. I was able to get a super-talented dressage horse with a super-cheap price tag, and it was the bargain of the century. I am an OTTB convert and will evangelize them for the rest of my riding career!
I am going to go out on a limb here and comment…. which normally I do not – I hate debating on the internet.
But I do completely agree with the original blogger. I have seen it time and time (and time again) go more wrong than right. (I am not gonna to re-list all her points – read the article – its clear, concise and 100% accurate).
I can’t and won’t speak for eventing and hunter jumpers – I am a dressage rider. What I will say is that this blog makes a specific example of putting the OT- in front of the TB. Off the track thoroughbreds are simply not confirmation (-ally) correct to do dressage.
If you want to debate that it CAN…. well. Sure. It CAN. Warmbloods can technically do reining too. But if you want to be successful at a sport (and aspiring to do life long training level is not a dressage career), then the horse should fairly be suited to that said sport.
I think a lot of the OTTB appeal is resources. I’m not going to argue with you and claim that an OTTB is going to make just as good as a upper level dressage prospect as your carefully bred Warmbloods… because that would be idiotic.
I am going to stay firm with my statement that if you want a young horse capable of the dressage levels that many amateurs compete at and are on a tight budget, an OTTB is a very good option.
First time commenter! Woot-woot!
You may or may not move above training level (for the record, I think you can…) but this point is absolutely spot on: “If the journey is more important than the destination, consider an OTTB.”
as for kate above, I am super happy that she was able to find an OTTB to fit into a dressage career. Still not advising anyone else to do that.
I agree with certain points on both sides of the argument. Do I think most people should avoid a correctly restarted OTTB? NO, once they learn their new jobs, OTTBs can suit a variety of riders. Do I think most people should avoid purchasing an OTTB right off the track? YES. In my opinion, the average amateur (without the help of a good trainer) does not have the tools or the time to take on a horse that literally just raced a week ago. Are the exceptions? Obviously, but as a rule, those are my thoughts.
This. CANTER and other OTTB groups do a good job of ‘letting down’ the TBs and preparing the horses for their new lives and still offering their horses at budget-friendly prices (as well as being honest about soundness/temperament/etc). But I hear more and more of people trying to by-pass these organizations to get the horses for even less money straight off the track, and IMO that’s really out of the league of many AAs.
Yes, everyone wants to save a few $$$ and get one right from the trainer… I also think so many people are unrealistic about buying them off the track and making $$$ by reselling them. It is not easy to make good money buying and selling OTTBs. People just look at what they cost vs what they can sell them for and forget about all of the expenses in the middle.
I agree. I don’t think most riders can handle an off the track OTTB without the help of the trainer. That might not have come across as clear in the post as I meant it to.
Agree as well. I got an OTTB right off the track and he was sooo nutty. But I knew what to expect and was prepared to have lots of patience and spend lots of time helping him calm down. Anyone that is not super experienced with horses especially that of OTTBs should not be buying directly off the track. They can be unpredictable and “wild” during the “let down” phase and them getting use to a new environment and routines. Both articles make good points, that’s for sure! OTTBs are great, I’ve owned many and they all have made wonderful horses. I’ve taught mine to do everything from hunter jumpers where I won countless Grand Champion ribbons to trail riding where I had the calmest best horse on the trail to even Barrel racing. These horses can do everything if given the proper care and training. Doesn’t mean they will always go out there and win but one thing for sure is that I haven’t met one that wouldn’t give its heart to trying to do its best and please its owner.
One of the safest, most push-button horses I had was an OTTB. He was even good at racing lol. He was only taken off the track because of an injury. He would jump anything and was practically bomb-proof. http://imgur.com/BtO59GO
Love it! I totally agree. Any horse can be the wrong horse for you, OTTB just have a bad rep. I think part of the problem is so many people that shouldn’t get them are getting them because they are generally easier and cheaper to find/get. I can’t wait to get another one 🙂
I agree wholeheartedly. Copper is an Appaloosa. Bred for halter who does hunter and western pleasure. His siblings? All over the place as far as what they are capable of, some of which that Copper won’t excel at. Reining for example. I strongly believe that you should try out the individual before judging him/her based on a breed stereotype. I have a friend with a green 5 year old ASB. He’s as chill as a QH.
I do think someone who wants to own an OTTB should seriously consider HOW they intend to advance with them. There is a girl in town here who has an OTTB and it has only spent 30 days with a “trainer” who mainly trains trail horses. Is she safe on him, I don’t entirely think so, but that isn’t his fault. He can’t help that he was free and seemed like a good choice for someone who has only ever ridden push button lesson ponies. Ok. End rant. 😉
I’m not sure why everyone is hating on the tb for dressage! There was a recent ottb that just scored big in one of the high levels (my ignorance here is showing) of dressage. There are plenty of watmbloods who suck at it too. Like with anything, look for confirmation that is suitable for your discipline. There are ottbs built up hill and short backed. Wiz (OK not an ottb but foaled by two ottbs) will actually be really great at dressage if he can every stop spooking!
There are a lot of OTTBs at the dressage barn where I board, and they’re all gems. They’ve also been let down well, are under the instruction of a knowledgeable trainer, and are solid citizens who regularly place well at Intro, Training, First, and Second levels.
I notice differences in my two TBs. Moe was on the track and Gina wasn’t; Moe is more people-oriented, less fazed by weird shit, and less spooky in general than Gina. Some of this is basic personality, but I believe a lot of it comes from Moe’s exposure to lots and lots of things while he was on the track.
The funny thing about these strong opinions is that no one is all right or all wrong, which is I believe what you are trying to point out.
I certainly don’t have a plan to own another TB (Stamp was never bred to race). Our experiences with one horse can shape our opinions so much, and that is certainly the case with me. That said, if I found a gorgeous made TB (OT or not) I would give it a chance.
Saying that a certain breed that offers a wide variety of body types and conformation can’t do a certain sport is completely nuts. No he might not go to the top of said sport but that doesn’t mean he can’t be well built for the job and completely able and talented at it.
Phoenix is a paint from mostly QH stock, that didn’t stop him from winning in hunters and equitation on a hunter/jumper circuit in his younger years. It also didn’t stop him from doing western trail, halter, and showmanship in his time away from me. He may not be the best at any of those things, but he is/was able to do them all well.
Thank you for taking the time to write this!! There are so many amazing OTTBs out there, and I hate to think that SB’s post will discourage people from giving them a try. I think it all comes down to bring honest with your abilities and working with a good trainer for support. If you wouldn’t buy a green WB, QH, or whatever, then don’t bring home what is essentially a green TB. If you don’t have experience training horses and you don’t work with a trainer, your OTTB isn’t going to magically become a superstar. I’ve ridden nothing but OTTBs since I was 17, and only one of those I’d classify as not ammy friendly.
Didn’t read the original post and probably won’t, but I agree with you, every horse is different, its not a breed thing, that’s just putting racism into animals. Speciesism? Breedisms? I dunno words, make them up.
I have to say I think you’re both right, which is why as you say it’s important not to slap one definition on an entire breed. I have ridden some amazing OTTBs, as well as some that never got over their job at the track and what they were originally trained to do, and although they jumped well and looked the part standing still, never really amounted to anything because the mental part always escaped them. My favorite lifetime ride was a VA bred TB hunter who I showed in the small juniors. She was not bred to race, she was bred to be a hunter, and she was amazing, and gorgeous, and really, really good at her job. If I were to get another TB, I would look for one that never spent much time at the track. You get all the athleticism without the crazy.
Making a blanket statement that OTTBs are not appropriate for AAs is, quite frankly, insulting, dismissive and uneducated.
Is the OTTB a good choice for EVERY AA? Absolutely not. But neither is your average WB, QH, or any other. You have to look at the specific skills and style of the AA and the specific horse in front of out of you and work from there. There are thousands of TBs competing with AAs successfully throughout any number of disciplines across the country. When well matched and competently trained, they are an absolute treasure. As to their suitability for dressage, ANY horse can be competent and correct through second level. Will it be as easy for an OTTB to progress through the levels as a purpose-bred, carefully developed warmblood? No. But the same could be said for any other non-purpose bred horse.
The dominance of the warmblood for AAs comes down largely to incredibly effective marketing, economics of the industry and the effectiveness of purpose breeding. Throughout my riding career, I’ve seen more AAs massively over-horsed on Warmbloods than TBs, thinking they need BIG movement, HUGE bascule, etc. When the reality is that most of us AAs need a good brain, solid work ethic and willing heart in our partner.
:: Claps ::
PS – they most certainly can do dressage as evidenced by Ken’s Kitten, who is competently competing at 3rd, 2 years off the track. http://www.horsecollaborative.com/kens-kitten-nuno-santos-thoroughbred-can-dance/
He actually just had his 4th level debut! 🙂
Love both posts – great debate! I agree with points on both sides. Yes, good to distinguish fresh-off-the-track versus already retrained.
Thank you SO MUCH for writing this post!!
Obviously, finding OTTBs a good home and a second career is very important to me and I agree with you. However, I saw TSB’s post as more of a cautionary guideline, as in, if you are looking into a horse straight off of the track and didn’t already realize the points that she was making, then you probably aren’t quite prepared to handle one without a lot of help, time, and money. Of course there are exceptions, but better safe than sorry. I love OTTBs and I completely agree with your this post for them, I just don’t think that a post making people think twice before going for the cheaper alternative of buying straight off of the track is necessarily a bad thing. There are a lot of posts out there about why people should buy an OTTB, one making a case against them makes sense to me. Anyway, it’s interesting to read both perspectives 🙂
No, I think a cautionary tale is good. I love OTTBs but a horse right off the track is not a good idea for every person! I think we all agree there.
What I don’t agree on are blanket statements! 🙂
Thank you for writing this 😀
I also was compelled to respond to the post in question. (mostly because I’m allergic to blanket statements that smack of breedism)
If after an honest assessment, you have questions about or major holes in your horsemanship / riding skills, (I sure did) then maybe a tb straight off the track isn’t the best idea. The transition from race training to other disciplines is specialized knowledge that comes with experience. A person who chooses to go that route would definitely benefit from experience, or at least a strong support system to assist with choosing and training such a horse.
Generalizations about who can or cannot “handle” an ottb are kind of offensive to me. Horses of any breed can become problem horses in the wrong hands. The sensitivity of ottbs is both their best and most challenging quality. A healthy dose of humility goes a long way with them. 😀
This is so true. When I was younger and still trying to find a good horse I rode tons (and they were all good schooling horses). There was a hot Quarter mare, a couple of Arabians, a quiet little Welsh pony and some others. No matter what one I rode I always went back to my boy. He’s an OTTB and I didn’t retrain him, but he’s beyond perfect. I know it’s unusual, but Lumpy is SO calm and quiet. I basically learned to ride a horse on him. He’s spooked a couple times for various reasons, but any horse would have spooked. He’s only lost a rider twice since he was retrained.
The only real “problem” with Lumpy is that he actually is a rescue horse on top of being an OTTB. He was abused when he was younger, so he has some trust issues with new people. In fact, he still tries to nip at me when I put on the girth on. But that has almost nothing to do with being an OTTB. The stereotypes on these poor horses are simply stereotypes because like you mentioned, there are ALWAYS hot horses in every breed.
Some people are seriously missing out 😉
I don’t think SB was attempting to make a blanket breedeism statement – and dimissing her post as such is a tad infuriating. The fact that SB has loved and adored two of her own OTTB’s is a pretty safe bet that she wasn’t trying to be an ignorant twit.
While I agree with both of these posts, I think they largely say the same thing (just come opposite sides of the emotional aisle). What I took away from SB’s post was that lots of people out there love the romance and idea of “rescuing” an OTTB and think it will be their magical Black Stallion journey without considering what some of the (expected) challenges will be. I think SMTT brings up a VERY fair counter point that any horse, anywhere can exhibit the same challenges.
Truly the moral of the story is we’re all better off educated, humble and staying aware of what support our particular horse (and we as riders) might need.
I don’t dismiss SB or her post, but she did make a blanket breedism statement from the way it was written. Her post has a lot of good points and we agree on many things, but just said it differently.
And just to clarify – I talked to SB before I wrote this. There is certainly no ill will 🙂
I love TBs. I think that hot temperament that they are often characterized for is rarer than most people think. Most TBs are not fire breathers. For most people, that fire breathing is only going to show up when they are pushing the horse, either for a higher level of difficult work (like collection) or for focus and attention, like on trails. Push a TB out of it’s comfort zone, and you might find yourself with a hot potato.
I like that.
Others don’t. Know thyself. Find a temperament that is suitable, breed aside.
Thank you for this! I was slightly offended by the original post, and considering that SB has had two OTTBs I was somewhat confused by it. I love my TBs, but they aren’t for everyone. No breed is. And as for the “TBs can’t do dressage” …my dressage instructor’s Grand Prix horse was a TB stud, and the first TB stallion to ever be accepted for the Dutch and Trakehner stud books. I just think that most people have been taught that TB’s can do dressage, or upper level h/j because the warmblood marketing is so good.
I wish people would have taken the time to read both posts. I think you both have the same ideas, with two different perspectives of approaching it. I think SB was mainly against straight from the track rather than restarted. Which I agree. I also love and adore my TBS and recommend them to anyone. However, the straight from the track “rescue” horses always make more horror stories than happy endings.
I can’t speak for others, but I certainly read all of the other post. There are a lot of themes that run through both and she has a lot of good points.
Not sure there is really anything to suggest that there are always more heartbreak than happy stories though. Nobody can claim that on either side.
One of my favorite expressions is… Ride the horse, not the breed.
Great post! I read STB’s post also and more just took it as “don’t rush out and buy a horse straight from the track if you aren’t experienced in doing such a thing.”
I think cautionary tales really are needed here. The downside to the gaining popularity of the OTTB is that more and more people are starting to think they can/should buy a green TB either straight off the track or with very little retraining. And because you can get these horses very inexpensively and because there are a lot of horses needing homes it is really, really easy for an inexperienced person to end up with a completely inappropriate horse.
This then becomes a major problem as people get hurt or get afraid or both of their horse and then don’t know what to do with it. What then becomes of these horses who are now not only OTTBs but also OTTBs that have learned who knows what kinds of bad habits? I honestly think that the “crazy” reputation of the OTTB comes more from these inappropriate placements than anything else. Most TBs taken straight from the track and put into an appropriate retraining program are going to be super solid citizens and many, many of them are absolutely AA friendly. But you can’t cut out that in-between step or it can be a disaster!
It’s great that there are tons of organizations out there now retraining and rehoming TB’s. The need is great for sure! But, there is a lot of pressure for an organization to have high (and higher) adoption numbers. Sometimes I wonder at what cost?
I know that for the organization I work with we require that every single prospective adopter come and ride with our trainer at least once. We have and will continue to reject adopters if we feel like they are not a good match or they don’t have a good support system in place to ensure the safety of both the adopter and the horse. As you can imagine our adoption numbers aren’t great but in all the time we’ve been in existence I think we’ve had two maybe three horses returned to us for any reason.
I absolutely love the OTTB for so many reasons and they can excel at so many things. For the AA on a budget there are many awesome OTTBs out there if you take the time to find the right one!
Love both sides of this discussion. Personally, I love OTTB’s for many reasons. They can be talented, beautiful, and affordable. IME, they are generally very teachable. Love all the points you made in this post! It makes me miss my own OTTB (he’s doing 3′ hunters with a 13yo girl now!)
AA+ a good trainer+ a horse that good trainer thinks that the AA is well suited for = success
I land smack dab in the middle of your and SB’s posts. My opinion on whether OTTB’s are great horses honestly depend entirely on the OTTB and on the rider! You cannot make a generalized statement either way to be honest. I say this as someone who has had a lot of experience with OTTBs.
Yes, I “work” for a rehoming programme that lets down and reschools OTTBs. Every single one I’ve worked with so far has been vastly different in their quirks and ways. And for every single one we had to find the right balance to help them find a happy, calm equilibrium.
One we had was an absolute gem. He would still have the occasional buck or squee but they were so tiny as to be laughable. But he was NQR somewhere. It took a lot of work and investigation to get him 100s and he is now starting his first season of official shows with his new person.
Another we had seemed happy – he was super cuddly on the ground, so inquisitive, intelligent and athletic as they come. Honestly I was throwing shoulder-ins and 5m circles at him the second time I was on him in an effort to curb his um “enthusiasm” and he just took all of it in his stride. He jumped like the dickens and was very showy – but he would regularly get all of us off, even our professional riders. Eventually after much tweaking, we found the right mix for him and he is good as gold now…most of the time.
Another mare I worked with was absolutely fabulous, calm, well-mannered, stunning paces and attentive. But take her into a different arena and she would just lose the plot entirely. That took quite a bit of skill to overcome.
All these horses were either straight off the track or had been standing. I would never recommend any of them to an amateur before training. Never. Afterwards…depends on how good the rider is 😉
A OTTB is an extremely personal decision and not one to be made lightly. However, if you get a good one…WOW do you get a good horse!
I probably stand completely alone in this thought, but I feel that the label “OTTB” is something that turns people off and shouldn’t be used in the way that it is. Racehorses are the only horses around that get stuck carrying the label of their former lives around FOREVER and they never shake it, and people use it to define them and judge them. An OTTB might have raced one single time, or never even made it to the starting gate, and then gone on to have a successful h/j career for 15 years – but they’re still called an OTTB. Why is that?
That is a very good point. Some probably consider it a badge of honor, but you are right that others are turned off.
LOL at people who think how they ride doesn’t influence how competitive they are but the breed of horse does. You wanna be more “competitive” ride better. Also i’m really over people always blame the horse #SMH
i love this post *and* the SprinklerBandit’s bc it’s opening up an important dialog. i tend to agree more with your points above, as i think SB’s are a bit too generalized. but what i really got from her post was that amateurs need to be HONEST with themselves about their goals and their abilities and find a suitable partner.
for some, an OTTB is absolutely suitable – whether bc that rider has the appropriate skills, the horse is a saint, and/or they’re part of a training program designed to set them up for success.
for others? an OTTB might not be the best choice.
in any case, i’m an OTTB lover (and expect my future first ever horse to be an OTTB) – but we riders are responsible for doing our due diligence before becoming horse owners.
I’m bummed I can never leave comments on your blog when I view it from my phone. It’s like Captcha won’t let me drag the ice cream to the cone. Anyway, I read this post when it was new and I wanted to say, “Amen, Sistah!” Wise words.
Great post. I agree with most of your points, except I think my OTTB might give Simon some competition for the quietest OTTB title. 😉
percocet…There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing wil…
I got 63%. I use Elements occasionally but tend to prefer Lightroom for speed as I seldom do special effects. Not a bad score I guess…some of the answers did take guesses as I’m sure you can imagine.Merry Christmas everyone!!
I’m glad to see this open debate. I saw the original post on SprinklerBandit and I disagreed with the “OTTBs not for AAs” argument. I *did* agree that the point of that post, and the underlying point of yours as well are the same: people need to know and understand their ability level, and find a horse that matches that ability.
Adult amateurs need to first be ADULTS and recognize their ability, their skill, their strengths/weaknesses, and their goals. If they cannot respect those aspects of their riding, then they better find a trustworthy and reputable trainer that can help enforce that when finding a new horse. AAs need to NOT get into whatever is trendy in the horse world, because the right horse for them may not have a lip tattoo or a brand on its rear end. Yes, some AAs who get OTTBs do end up over their heads, but those are people who either got caught up in the romantic aspects of “rescuing” (UGH!) the horse, don’t respect their limitations as a rider, or didn’t respect the horse’s limitations.