02 March 2012

The Finale -- Retired Racehorse Training Project

Like many of you, I have been enjoying the Retired Racehorse Training Project's Trainer Challenge. Personally, I was happy with the outcome because I know what a wonderful teacher and trainer Eric Dierks is, not to mention a really great guy to work with.  That said, all of the trainers did such a great job working with these freshly off-the-track horses. Kudos to all!

One of the things I've loved especially about this project is that it has defied the conventional wisdom about OTTB's. You've all heard and read it. If you buy a horse off the track, you have HAVE to turn them out for at least six months for them to decompress.  While I do not disagree that turning any horse out for an extended period of time is just the vacay that many horses need, and crave,  it's not often practical for those on limited incomes who want a reasonably priced horse and can't always afford to have the horse eating it's head off for three months -- offering no other return to the owner than it's beautiful presence in a boarding barn that charges by the month.

The RRTP went a long way towards proving that these horses are not always the hot tamales that we have been lead to believe -- not always anyway.  Rather, they are intelligent, sensitive (to be sure) and adaptable. After all, they move from track to track, personality to personality, trainer to trainer (if they've been claimed - and most on the lower rung have -- often multiple times).  Adaptation is their middle name.  They are up to the task of taking on a new life if they are given time to accept each stage of their training.  If trained with patience and sensitivity, these wonderful animals are up to almost anything you throw at them.

We all know there are so many out there.  This is just a drop in the bucket -- but we're on the right track - pun intended.

Thanks to Steuart and Erin Pittman for this great project. Hope to see more in the future.  Now watch the finale!  Love the retreads!!

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