OTTB | The Many Faces of the Off The Track Thoroughbred

bay horse on black background looking over shoulder

Thoroughbreds – the horses that capture our hearts. From racetracks to eventing trials and even Olympic games, the OTTB (off the track thoroughbred, for any non-horse people who have found themselves here) is one of the most ubiquitous and recognizable horse breeds. Many of my clients own and love an OTTB, and for good reason – they’re incredible horses. Additionally, they’re also stunningly beautiful!

The fabulous OTTB

Eventing Nation has already counted the many ways in which thoroughbreds totally rule, and my personal favorite is #3. That OTTBs are constantly inspiring us – I couldn’t agree more. Even back in the day these horses were competing at the highest levels in the Olympics and Pan American Games. Ever heard of Idle Dice? He started with a lackluster career on the racetrack and then went on to become the first horse inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame. He then went on to win over 70 Grand Prix in his career! It’s crazy to think of these horses being “racehorse rejects” and failing to live up to their racing expectations, and then they find a new job and blow everyone out of the water.

While not the most common sight, thoroughbreds have impressed in the dressage ring as well! The off the track thoroughbred Sea Lord was a contender at the Grand Prix level. Similarly, Quadrille, an OTTB bred and owned by the Queen of England, was a top level dressage horse after a failed racing career. Considering these horses are up against warmbloods who are specifically bred for dressage, that’s an impressive feat.

But where the OTTB really excels is in the eventing world. At the 2017 Rolex Three Day Event, out of 66 horses, 17 of them were thoroughbreds! And what’s even better – 11 of those were off the track!

What’s with the funny OTTB names?

Of course I’d be remiss to not mention the amazing jockey club names these horses have. I’ve personally met and interacted with quite a few oddly-named OTTBs, but nothing like Fiftyshadesofhay or Flat Drunk. And with a few caveats and exceptions, the thoroughbred owners/breeders can pretty much name their horses anything they want. Which explains how Mywifenosevrything and Thewifedoesntknow can race each other on the track. No – seriously. Some personal favorites: Notacatbutallama, Onoitsmymotherinlaw, Shakalakaboomboom, and Horsey McHorseface.

If you’d like an off the track thoroughbred of your own (and at this point I’m sure you do), organizations like The Retired Racehorse Project, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption, and Canter USA can help pair you with the perfect OTTB. As a result, many retired racehorses are able to find the perfect new career/family once their racing career is over.

As I updated my portfolio I realized just how many of the beautiful faces within belonged to an OTTB – so I figured a little love was in order. And so this post is dedicated to all of my lovely clients with an OTTB!

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