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Buying an ex-racehorse

From: Pilar

Hello Jessica!

I am currently looking for a new horse. I don't have alot of money at this time, but I really want a Thoroughbred with athletic ability that I can train to show as an eventer. I don't want a really young horse, it seems all the good Warmblood or Thoroughbred yearlings and two-year-olds are too expensive, not to mention ones that have begun training. I understand that there are alot of them who never make it on the track, and a good portion end up in slaughter houses. For these reasons I've decided to search for an ex-racehorse. Now my problem is that I live in Oregon and its all just stocky Quarter Horses here. I can't find any websites that have photos, not just a description, of ex-racehorses for sale - they all seem to go to auctions in the east and California. I really can't find any of these so-called racing failures that I'm told are everywhere, and I certainly can't find any youngsters. Why is it so hard to find them and how do I look for them? I really don't want to drive all over CA to every auction looking for a horse, and I don't want to spend a ton of money on a Warmblood or already trained horse when I have the resources to retrain a rescued one who hates a track and nobody wants. If you can help, I would really appreciate it. THANKS!!!!!

Pilar


Hi Pilar! If you want to take the direct approach, you might get in touch with the track vet at whatever track is nearest you, You didn't say where you are in Oregon, but you have Portland Meadows there, and then there's Emerald Downs in Washington. If California is more convenient than Washington, you've got Bay Meadows, Del Mar, Hollywood Park, Santa Anita, Los Alamitos... and I'm probably forgetting several. Racetracks can be good resources, because a good many horses are sold or given away directly; they never even go to an auction. You're more likely to be able to take full advantage of this if you know a track vet or a trainer, but if you don't, no worries - off-the-track-Thoroughbreds are available everywhere.

If I were looking for a Thoroughbred off the track, but didn't have any racetrack connections, I would begin my search by going online and getting in touch with the various organizations that do full-time work finding new homes for ex-racehorses. Three of the ones with which I'm most familiar are Rerun (www.rerun.org/), Canter (www.horses-canter.net/), and New Vocations (www.horseadoption.com/). The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (www.trfinc.org/), based in New Jersey, is another possible resource.

The sort of horse you're looking for is unlikely to be given away free, but you're right about OTTBs being good bargains. Even if the horse you fall in love costs several thousand dollars and is located in another state, the combined expense of purchase and shipping is still going to be considerably less than the typical pricetag attached to a promising your Warmblood from popular bloodlines.

Good luck with your horse hunt!

Jessica

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