Seriously you guys, I just want to find the perfect horse for the makeover already! I'm part of a facebook group for all the trainers this year and I keep seeing their progress reports and I start to panic. Then I remember that it really isn't a rush yet, RRP even said in an email that many of the best placing horses last year didn't get found/start their training until late spring early summer. Deep breath.
This is the horse I thought I would be using. He ran no better than 4th with his owner this summer, then the horse's breeder (who we train for) bought him back and we took him to Phoenix. Eugene was pretty sure he could get him to win and loves taking on a challenge. He ran in the money and kept improving. Mind you Eugene kept telling me that he should be an event horse. He finally won a race, and we thought maybe he would be done racing. You see when a horse breaks their maiden they are (typically) only beating other horses who have never won. The next race they can go in is a non winners of two, which means suddenly their competition have all previously won a race. It keeps getting more difficult to win (non three, non four). After winning enough races a horse runs in open company, meaning the horses have all won any number of races. Being able to run in some sort of a non winners race means that the horse still has 'conditions.'
We were thinking that Dancer would be done after breaking his maiden, as in unable to compete against other winners, but he really woke up when he won and now Eugene is thinking he will win again. Time will tell. I mentioned conditions, often when a racehorse isn't an allowance or stakes horse they are worth less and less as a racehorse as they have fewer conditions. Often this is when they become available as a new OTTB. This is why it is so important to keep working to create a market for OTTBs and to teach people about fair prices. You see, these are great horses with good training and the trainers and owners want to find them good homes. If the horse can keep making $1000 dollars here and there though and the price for selling is $500 why would they sell. Especially if that $500 comes with a buyer who is insulting and acting like they are rescuing the horse. Please don't take offense here, there are exceptions to every rule, I'm just explaining some general concepts.
So if Dancer isn't going to be my makeover horse that is ok, I will find another one that is ready for a new career. I also understand that if I want one that is the prime age of 4/5/6 and sound and pretty that the price tag will be at the minimum $1500 and could easily reach up to $3000 (or more). Remember when you are buying a horse from the track, it has had training for riding, trailering, baths, shoes, tieing, leading, grooming. It has had the best feed, supplements, and vet work available. Its stall has been bedded with fresh shavings every single day. It gets handled, exercised, and groomed every single day. I'm not rescuing it, I'm buying it to take on to a new career. In all reality even if I pay $4000 I'm still getting a great deal. How much does a warmblood that can walk/trot/canter, bathe, stand for the farrier, trailer, etc cost??? Are there horses that need some sort of a rescue? Yes, but there are in every single portion of the equine world. I have seen many thoroughbreds off the track that will never look as good as they did at the racetrack. So please, when you are shopping for a horse at the track, be kind and polite to everyone you meet.
Well alrighty then, I guess I need to step off the soap box. All of that said, I can't wait to find my next OTTB partner!!!!