Category Archive 'OTTBs'

22 Mar 2017

Nick Bull Meets Off-Track Thoroughbred


You can get a great deal on a fine horse of superb breeding by purchasing an OTTB. However… the horse you get will be a racehorse accustomed only to running full tilt on a track. Your new horse will require lots of training to turn him into a hunter or ordinary riding horse. Naturally, some OTTBs will not be trainable.

Years ago, my wife and I and a friend looked at a Thoroughbred being offered for sale at a Ridgefield, Connecticut stable. I had met the ladies at the train station after commuting back from Manhattan, and I was handicapped by wearing ordinary trousers and street shoes.

The horse was handsome and large and up to weight, but he had the most horrible gaits any of us ever encountered on a horse. His trot was bone-jarring and so violent that both my wife and our female friend were bounced right out of the saddle after a few strides.

I climbed uncomfortably aboard (ordinary trousers work poorly for riding), gathered up the reins and signaled my steed to move off with my heels. His walk was decidedly uncomfortable. As I prepared to put him into a trot, I noticed the seller deliberately averting her eyes from the impending disaster. His trot was what I’d describe as a unique experience. It was so violent and extreme that in a very short time it was obvious to me that I had the choice of pulling up immediately and getting off, or getting bounced right off just like the girls. I pulled up.

Everyone who rides gets run away with from time to time. I always experience the imprudent temptation to let the horse go and enjoy the gallop. Fortunately for me, I have always been able to pull the horse up, or simply arrived on his back home at the stable where his stall and his hay are waiting. One time, the runaway ignored me and ran right into a tree, but I simply stepped off when he went down. Nick Bull was much less fortunate and seems to have experienced what the Irish refer to as “a crucifying fall.”

Hat tip to Jesse Swan.

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