What to Expect When Buying an Ex-Racehorse

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When looking at horses for sale with plans to buy a horse of your own, buying or adopting an ex-racehorse may seem like a great option. Ex-racehorses are generally more affordable than many other horses for sale, and they give you the chance to train a horse of your own. But buying an ex-racehorse isn’t quite like buying a typical horse is. Here are some important things you should know before deciding to buy an ex-racehorse of your own.

Ex-Racehorses Need Let Down Time

If you buy an ex-racehorse off of the track, that horse will need some time to relax and learn to become a horse again before going into a full-time training and riding program. Many ex-racehorses benefit from being left alone for the first month or so that they are in their new home. Remember, racehorses are typically kept stalled for most of their lives, so getting used to being turned out at a new agistment will take an ex-racehorse some time.

Ex-Racehorses Need Gradual Diet Changes

Racehorses are fed huge quantities of grain to keep their energy up. One of the first changes that you will likely have to make to your ex-racehorse’s diet is to begin to gradually reduce the grain that he eats. Be sure to make this change gradually. You may need to compensate with added fat and forage in your horse’s diet.

Ex-Racehorses Are Green

While ex-racehorses have been trained to carry a rider, they aren’t “trained” for riding in the traditional sense of the word. Ex-racehorses know very few of the skills that will be asked of them in a traditional riding career, such as yielding to the leg or softening to the bit. Because of this, ex-racehorses should be considered green horses, and are not generally suitable for a beginner or low intermediate rider without the help of an experienced trainer.

Ex-Racehorses Are Taught That Whoa Means Go

Racehorses are taught to lean against the bit, allowing them to balance themselves against the support that a jockey provides through the reins. It’s important to realize that an ex-racehorse will come off the track with this habit, and that pulling back on the reins will signal to the horse that it’s time to lean against the pressure and run. Teaching an ex-racehorse to give to the bit is not terribly difficult to do, but it does take time and it’s important to be aware of this training practice.

Retraining an ex-racehorse can be a rewarding process, but it’s important to have a strong understanding of the different challenges that may occur when buying an ex-racehorse. Not sure that an ex-racehorse is right for you? Then looking at ads for horses for sale is probably a better bet.

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