What Does My OTTB Already Know?

With RRP trainer applications open, the search is on for that one perfect Makeover mount! Your partner for the next 10 months and the one to take you to the Kentucky Horse Park and beyond!

As the RRP Thoroughbred Makeover grows in popularity, so does the amount of potential trainers vying for a piece of the $100,000 prize money. And, if the RRP mission is being accomplished, there will be a number of trainers new to Thoroughbreds that want to give the breed a shot.

If that’s you – welcome to the dark side! We are so excited to have you! Dabbling in a new breed is an endeavor in and of itself, let alone one that has already been trained to run fast and turn left. However, there’s much more to OTTBs than that, and their track trainers have already done a lot of the hard work for you.

Here’s what your OTTB already knows:

Basic Groundwork

Don’t let the chain shank scare you – Thoroughbreds coming off the track have been extensively handled on the ground. They already know how to lead, tie, stand for grooming and tacking. What’s even better is that most have already seen clippers, know what bath-time is, and are generally old pro’s at standing for the vet and farrier.

Look Ma, no hands! (Java is unamused…)


The more often a horse raced, the more places they’ve been (generally speaking). Gone are the days of fighting your Warmblood to put a foot on the trailer, your OTTB already knows the drill! They will usually load with no problem and haul quietly for you.

Basic Flatwork

The term “re-starting” is prevalent in the OTTB world, which only means your Thoroughbred has already been started, and usually quite well! These horses have been tacked, mounted and ridden at all gaits. While, they may not understand the type of balance and contact you’re asking for, you can trust that your OTTB steers, stops and generally understands how to be ridden on the flat. 




Loud Noises and Large Crowds

Ever spent a day at the races? Between the blaring horns at post, the screaming fans in the grandstand, and the general craziness in between, Thoroughbreds get used to a lot. Think your leaf blower in the aisle, your barking dog or your scary tarp is going to make them come unglued? Think again! Since your OTTB has been exposed to much scarier, you can skip the desensitization.

How to Give it Their All

If nothing else, you can be sure the track taught your Thoroughbred to give it their all. And you can bet that try transfers to life off the track, too. Most OTTBs love having a job and thrive in work, which makes retraining them for a second career a fun and rewarding experience!


So, if you’re new to Thoroughbreds and ready to start this journey, may you be pleasantly surprised at how well the track prepared your OTTB for whatever new career you pursue! And heed this warning: the addiction is real, my friends.


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