Off-the-track Thoroughbred Habits
Many ex-race horses are adopted by recreational riders. While it’s great that these horses have a new lease on life, it helps to know how horses on the track are trained, ridden and handled. At the track, horses are often mounted and dismounted while they are walking, and are in continuous motion once the rider is up. Your off-the-track-Thoroughbred probably needs to be taught how to stand still and relax for mounting and when riding. Also, when racehorses are galloped, the tighter the rider holds the reins, the faster the horse goes. When you want a racehorse to stop, you loosen the reins. This seems backwards to most recreational riders and they often inadvertently cue a horse to go faster by holding the reins tight then panic as he moves quickly. To teach an “OTTB” to relax and go slowly, you must loosen the reins and keep them slack, picking up only when needed then releasing pressure immediately.