I love the horses I get to work with every day and finding horses coming off of the track second careers is very important to me.
Hot Roxie is a five year old thoroughbred mare that I am trying to help her owners/trainers find a home for. She is about 17.1 hands and is by Game Plan (same as our pony-horse that I have also shown dressage) out if a Pirate's Bounty mare. I love Game Plan offspring for dressage/jumping/eventing because they usually have good minds, are strong over the top line, powerful, and have good suspension.
I was extremely short on time in getting a video of Roxie before I moved, the quality is horrible, but I think that there is enough there to give a general idea of what this mare has to work with.
Roxie's first ride off of the track:
I guess I should mention that she had only been ridden once in the last month (on the track to show her to a potential buyer). We hauled her out to where she is going to board for the summer, gave her an hour to eat and settle in, then tacked her up and I rode her. I didn't lunge her, just led her around the arena to show her things and then got on. She was awesome!
I didn't ask her for much because we had just taken her completely out of her normal environment and routine. I started out just walking her on a fairly loose rein focusing on steering, stopping, and just basic control. Her owners/trainers had put a solid foundation on her and I didn't anticipate that this would be a problem. It wasn't. Then I picked up my reins and Roxie just kept a nice, relaxed walk and stepped into the contact nicely. A lot of OTTBs will start jigging or want to go into a trot when we pick up the reins because, at the track, contact usually means go. I was happy to see that more contact didn't change her rhythm or cause any tension at the walk. I did ride with my hands a little lower than I normally would because she seemed more comfortable that way.
After about ten minutes of walking, I picked up the trot. I just wanted Roxie to stay forward in front of my leg into a soft, steady contact and to stay as consistent as possible in the connection. I didn't worry much about going into the frame or where her head is. She did really well and didn't try to pull on me or rush in the trot. The footing in the arena wasn't very consistent, so you can see where she bobbled and/or slowed down through the deep parts. On the firmer parts she was very rhythmic and steady.
We also worked on some halts. She halts fine, but doesn't understand the just standing there part very well yet. She did improve a lot on this by the end of the ride and I was very happy with her.
I didn't canter because I couldn't see well enough to keep out of the deeper spots. Finding Roxie a home would be nice, but I'm not going to risk hurting her to get it done. The video quality sucks anyway and I can't really use it as an actual sales video.
As far as general behavior, I was impressed. Roxie really wants to please and responds a lot when you reward her for something. She has a good work ethic and is intelligent, with a pretty good confidence level. She relied on me when she wasn't sure about something and seemed really trusting of me. Roxie looked at things (there is a lot of stuff around the arena), but never quit listening and didn't get worked up over them. She is really funny in the fact that if she is a little spooked by an object, Roxie wants to walk up and look at it. The only time she spooked was when I let her check something out. I kept a loose rein and she stood there looking at it. I could feel her tensing up and when it was time to walk away, she spun about a quarter of a circle and ducked a little. It was easy to ride, I never even had to pick up my reins and she was over it in less than a second.
What prospective buyers need to know:
Roxie, obviously, hasn't had any (dressage) training, but already has a good foundation. I think she will be able to progress quickly, but will need consistency. She isn't a beginner horse and needs a fairly experienced, confident rider until she gains more experience. Someone quiet, patient, and tactful would fit her well. I don't think she is the type of horse that will respond well to getting muscled around. Roxie is the type of horse that will try really hard for her rider as long as you are fair to her.
I squeezed in a little time the day before we left to get this video. I wish that I could have gotten one in the daylight, but there just wasn't time. That's how much I like her though. If I didn't, I wouldn't have worried about it with all of the stress of trying to get packed and moved. Actually, riding her was a very refreshing break from all of the stress. She is a nice horse and finding her a new career at a good home is very important to me.
When I try to help people find a second career for OTTBs, I only deal with the people I trust and know to be honest. Her owners/trainers have taken very good care of her and Roxie has never been injected or had any soundness issues. She wasn't running as well as they would have liked and instead of forcing the issue, they opted to retire her and find her a good home.
Roxie is priced at $2,000, which I think she is more than worth. If she doesn't sell this summer, then I will continue with riding her in the Fall. Honestly, I wouldn't mind the chance to put some training into her. If I didn't already have too many dressage horses, I would buy her myself.
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