About Off-Track Thoroughbreds

Sue and Red Miah

Sue and Red Miah

This blog is dedicated to telling Success Stories of off-track Thoroughbreds who transition into next careers, or retirement.

The stories found here are intended to showcase the versatility and athletic aptitude of ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds in a multitude of next jobs, from trail horse to competitive eventer, and to convey their value to the world once their racing days are finished.

In addition to publishing new stories every week, Off-Track Thoroughbreds  presents a regular Q&A feature on horse health with renowned veterinarians at Rood & Riddle of Kentucky as well as a Q&A with a variety of fascinating people in the horse world.

Published since March 2010, Off-Track Thoroughbreds.com attracts upwards of 100,000 readers each month as it adds to the positive buzz about ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds. After closing briefly in January, 2015, the blog was re-started in February 2015 in partnership with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

Information on this site is provided for reference only, and is not intended to advise any person or organization for the purpose of retraining, working with, or riding ex-racehorses, or any other breed. Always consult a horse professional (trainer, veterinarian, farrier) who can provide a proper recommendation on how to best handle your specific situation. 

Contact Information:

Susan Salk, Creator/Writer: 617-548-1274 (cell), email; susansalk@gmail.com

David Salk, Editor: david.e.salk@gmail.com



58 responses to “About Off-Track Thoroughbreds”

  1. Ashleigh Hughes

    What a wonderful blog!!! I am from South Africa, and on a similar crusade to you. I work within the horseracing industry as an Assistant Trainer, which means my viewpoint and advocacy for the OTTB slightly different perspective! I have recently started my own, similar blog about South African OTTBs. It is still in it’s infancy, but has gained so much more support than I could ever have imagined! If you have a spare moment, you could have a look at it here:


    We also have a Facebook group called A Thoroughbred Second Life, which has gained nearly 200 new members in the last 10 days.


    Thank you for what you do for the OTTB! Truly fantastic!

  2. Lauren Jackson

    I am a volunteer and board member of Hoofs and Woofs Animal Rescue located in Valley Center, CA which is in North San Diego County. Our founder, Dorothea Boughdadly, has rescued as numerous no longer racing Thoroughbreds off the Del Mar Racetrack as she can. Most come with injuries incurred during their racing careers so much time and money is spent to rehabilitate these magnificent TB’s so that they can be adopted out as pleasure horses for the rest of their lives. Once the healing is finished, the training begins…teaching them the move clockwise in our round pen is the first hurdle followed by learning to walk, trot, canter instead of galloping at the start of a ride. I personally adopted Handsome John, who was purchased as a colt for over $400,000 followed by $600,000 in training. After working with him for a year, he is now my million dollar trail horse! The best is that our volunteers span a wide range of ages and are mostly women. Half of us have battled cancer while another gave her kidney up to save her dying young son last year. We heal just as the horses do. But funding, unfortunately, is our worst enemy. After spending endless hours caring for our 30 plus horses each and every day, we just don’t have the strength, endurance and number of volunteers needed to conduct fundraising. If you have any links to grants or other funding sources other than the ASPCA, which we have tapped already, please let us know. Thank you so much! Our website is: http://www.hoofsandwoofsanimalrescue.org/

    1. positivelyhip

      I am just seeing your letter in regard to organizations that help fund Off Track Thoroughbreds. I am a photographer that volunteers my time and talent to After The Finish Line — a funding charity for those purposes. The website is http://www.afterthefinishline.org Good luck… : }

  3. susan miller

    re Famous Woman: She follows me around like a dog & the new thing is that she has a repertoire of facial expressions when she wants attention or is hungry – if she has a halter on she can open the paddock fence and let herself out – she doesn’t go anywhere but it is just something to do – She seems to understand what I say to her & when I come in to feed her and the other horse is nearby I just tell her to “get dance away from me” and she does the vets told me two years max with those injuries but she has 8 – she is such a great mare – I had hoped to breed her to alphabet soup as that is my stakes horse as she is an A+ nick to him – her hormones were low so they did not breed her so there is always next spring
    OTTBS are the great – wish I had a big farm as I would have more of them

  4. Jon

    My wife and I are looking to ad horses of riding age to our herd again since we have only one that can be ridden at this time. Of the 4 we have, 3 are pensioned and will enjoy an honorable retirement with all the care, comfort, treats and love that they have known since they have been with us.
    Once again the search begins looking for the only horses we will consider, the OTTB. No breed has more heart,smarts and athletic ability than the OTTB. I am a firm believer that just because some are not good race horses, it does not mean that they can or will not excel in some other sport horse discipline. We seen morning glories eat up cross country courses like they were born to do it. We have had good race horses that became fanatastic sport horses. Event, jump, barrel race and enjoy the OTTB!

  5. Katie Joviak

    I was thrilled to see your blog. I have always owned OTTBs and people have always tried to talk me into getting a different “quieter” breed. I own a 25 year old OTTB and a 6 year old OTTB. They r like children to me. They have hearts of gold. My older one has been my most trustworthy companion. We have jumped, trail rode, given my kids lessons , barrel raced and practiced with the mounted police unit. I couldn’t ask for better horses.

  6. Annette Murphy

    I had a wonderful OTTB a grandson of Secretariat, chestnut with the same 3 white socks and similar blaze on his face as his grandsire.
    He came to me having done a little low level dressage but had mostly been a field hunter. He was a very even tempered and patient horse and was excellent on the trail, hunting and for lower level dressage competitions, the last 2 classes I rode him in
    and we won both!
    I then gave him to a friend who sent him home when she was diagnosed with cancer
    We had him put down last Fall (2012), he had lost all his molars and had difficulty chewing, he was 29 years old!

  7. Lynn

    Hi Susan ,
    Just wanted to say how glad I am that the OTTB’s seem to be making a comeback and how your writing makes more people aware. In Texas, besides the occasional large stock horse, that’s about all we used in the 60’s thru the early 80’s in the H/J world. I left and went to AQHA where I continued to use off the track QH’s. Im now returning to the H/J circuits with yes.. another OTTB . A mare Id long admired on the track, I picked her up on the backstretch retiring sound at the age of 7. She was ready to go home. A 16.2 hand mahogany bay stunner,she could easily do conformation hunters. I’m grateful I grew up showing them because it helps alot now and has enabled me to ride all SORTS of horses in life (and gave me the softest hands in the western hemisphere 😉 ). It’s not true that you MUST have a warmblood to win if you are competing. These guys and gals are every bit as good.

  8. susan miller

    I have an OTTB – her name is Famous Woman – when I got her she was on the way to the killers. She had a broken foot (foundered) & a broken ankle (now fused). She made 90k for Mike Gill. She sufferred so much that first summer and I did not know if I could save her or not. I did and am glad that I did. She is on special shoes & is in a run in situation with one other horse. She is a hard keepper, sort of fussy about what she eats. If you do something she does not like then she will bite at you. She has a huge heart, helping her survive being nerve blocked and raced with broken bones hopefully will susstain her for many years. She is a little off now and then but for the most part she is sound. I have been lucky and have had good vets to help me and especially good farriers. She is a miracle horse!

  9. Wendy

    I have a seven year old OTTB “All About Mama” his barn name is Eddie. He raced at Fort Erie, then was bought to be someone’s jumper but his heart wasn’t in it so she sold him to me for pleasure riding and trails. He has horses in his pedigree like Bold Ruler who sired Secretariat, Nashua, Nasrullah, Native Dancer to name a few. He is not an easy keeper but is a very sweet boy who excels at being a calm mount for pleasure riding and trails. He has the most easy going laid-back personality and I am very fond of him. He always greets me with nickers when I go into the barn or field. I love him and his personality.

  10. Jon

    My wife and I had a 33 year TB gelding that evented until this spring and a 28 year old TB mare until late winter. We still have a 26 year old TB gelding, a 24 Year old TB gelding, a 21 year old TB mare and her 4 year old TB daughter. All have a forever home.

  11. Anne Tully

    We bought 21 acres in hopes that someday have a set up where we can adopt OTTBs. It would be my greatest pleasure to give some a good home either to give a second career or to just live out their golden years in peace. God bless anyone who has adopted one of these lovely animals…and not just OTTBs, any horse, donkey or burro.

  12. Ruth Mayday

    @M.Zinn – yours is truly a success story. Not every horse should continue to compete; for a horse like Beauseant to find a loving, caring home is the greatest reward a horse can ever earn.

  13. jannice strain

    As a small breeder and owner of tbs. Who truly loves and raises good ones. Finding individuals to take them after their racing careers is truly a challenge. My horses early years are spent in a “horse family” mares, babies, yearlings roam together. I’m fortunate to have a stallion who is a great “caregiver” so everyone grows up I I adaptable and sound. I don’t put them in training until three, so they usually have long careers and retire sound or with very minor issues. I would love to be in contact with people who can assist me in finding second careeers for them.
    I now have a 8 yr old grey mare who is simply too pretty to turn into a broodmare at this time. She was successful on the track and I believe she would well for someone younger than I. I want to personally moniter where they go and that is difficult with the adoption organiztions.

    1. Jon

      Try Mid Atlantic Horse Resue. Bev and Ginny do a great job. I am sure you can work it out so you know where your horse is and how he is or she is doing.


  14. Anna

    I bought a 9 yr old Thoroughbred a little over a month ago. Poker (that is his name) used to race (he is a son of Well Directed), so Poker was abused to the point that he refused to enter the gate. He was then taken off track and lived for several years in someone’s back yard. The riding school where I ride bought Poker along with three other horses and hoped to make him a school horse. Long story short, Poker was just too dangerous and unpredictable. And since no one would buy him, he was going to be sold to the bad place. So, I bought Poker. (mind me, I have not ridden for over 20 yrs when I bought him, shortly after I found that stable) I have been working with Poker on the ground first, trying to teach him not to be afraid. I have been riding him for the past three weeks (never boring, if you know what I mean), he is getting better, but we are still far away from the success story. He is OK by himself, but the moment he sees other horses.. he becomes crazy. It is the worst when other horses leave the paddock area and he is still there… So… we have a long way to go. I have never read so many books about horses before.. constantly searching the web looking for tips.. Almost everyone at the stable is afraid him, which makes the situation worse. But i am hoping that one day we (Poker and I) will post a success story. Keep your fingers crossed! (well, I have one little success story: when I bought Poker, he had to be tranquilized to have his hooves done. He would NOT/NOT raise his legs without kicking. Several pound of carrots later… he lifts his legs for me like a baby… how is that for a success story!) Thank you for posting your stories, it makes me believe we can do it, too..

    1. Sarah

      Good luck with Poker. MY OTTB has been a wonderful experience too. By far, Clinton Anderson has one of the best OTTB training series that was recently on TV. Search on the web and I’m sure you can find it. I know it is available to members on his website.

    2. Deanna

      I have a 14 year old OTTB, Hot Contest, (Orion is his barn name) that was raced until he was 10. He had a sweet disposition while under saddle but mean and bossy on the ground. We did ground work and he responded very well as he is willing, smart and very trainable! He recently started “acting up” while under saddle and I discovered he is in pain. He has a sore back and probably an ulcer. Is it possible Poker hurts someplace? As I have addressed the pain, Orion is getting better every day. Just a thought….

  15. Judy Schwartz

    Hi Susan, I have a riding academy and have been teaching for the last 17 years. I have 7 OTTB’s here at my farm, some of whom are retired now, and some just starting their careers as hunters for children.
    I have a couple that I believe deserve to have their stories told, from racetrack to broodmare with 8 babies to champion hunter mare for a beginner student riding less than a year, to our 27 year old retired boy Louie Longlegs. Thanks and I found you on FB 🙂

  16. Laurie

    HI – nice site – I had an OTTB growing up in the late ’60’s. She was an interesting girl. She came off the track with a lot of ‘issues’ but boy could she jump! We worked at things slowly and she became a great show jumper 4’9″ plus. I also pony club evented her and even chased cows with her! It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I looked up her papers on the Jockey Club site. She had been bred in Kentucky, and found her way to Montreal, then to Kingston Ontario. Much to my surprise she had been raced 17 times and had placed. We bought her as a 3 year old for $400 and were told she’d been raced ‘a couple of times’ haha. She was sound her whole life and a wonderful horse. I event now on a Shire/TB cross, but must admit the OTTB’s are still in my heart and I’m considering another one.

  17. susan stewart

    so inspiring…what a gift of freedom these horses and their loving humans give to children in need of a little extra understanding….and don’t forget about other breeds of ex-race horses…quarter horses and arabians (also appaloosas, paints and even mules!) i worked at the quarter horse track for many years and was fortunate to have witnessed numerous adoptions, but not nearly enough…we’ve adopted into our family several ourselves…too many folks at the track (and elsewhere) see these magical beasts, who can’t or won’t run fast enough or stay sound enough, as disposable or only worth killer price…it is barbaric and heartbreaking. what worthier enterprise than to save the unwanted and love the unloved while enriching the lives of our most precious children.

  18. Michele Chavez

    An episode of Animal Cops Houston that aired on 30 January 2012 told the story of an injured thoroughbred who was rescued. His name is Heart of a Hero:


  19. lesley frary

    the work you guy`s do is amazing wish there was as much help in the uk for horses as you guy`s have, we have a couple but not many . i have always had x-racers say always i have only had 3 since i was 15 now 38. my first was with me till he was 21 and my second was 15 but a fab ten yr`s we had my now horse is a gorgeous chestnut mare from america out of mutakddim . she is amazing .. please carry on with all the great work you do …..xxxx

  20. Kristina Fritz

    I just came across this site after seeing an article posted about SEA LORD and his patriotic appearance. I love this website and your approach to the issues we have been faced with.
    SEA LORD knows what it is all about – thanks to you.

  21. Sarah Hayden

    You may be interested in a new-ish rescue facility in rural Missouri called Renaissance Rescue. It is owned and operated by Barbara Hutchinson. She currently has 60+ rescue horses, mostly off the track but some that just got lucky enough to find her. She is working to rehabilitate, train, and adopt out many of these horses to approved homes. It is a truly incredible organization. Just thought I would mention it, and if anybody is looking for a prospect and wants to adopt, they should look into her.

  22. Dan marks

    I have just joined, but can’t find any interest about TB jumper breeding.
    Some years ago Jim Day and i looked up the race records of all the elite TB jumpers we could find and their race records were not just poor but really abominable.

  23. MaryAnn Myers

    I just happened onto this blog through a post on Facebook. Awesome site, Off-Track Thoroughbred!

  24. Ginny Wood

    Renaissance Rescue was started in 2007 in Farmington, MO (approx. 90 minutes south of St. Louis). The majority of these thoroughbreds are from Fairmount Park in Collinsville, IL. We have a few from other race tracks also. We are awaiting our not for profit number. We have many to be retrained and a few that will forever be our yard ornaments. High hooves to all that make it possible for these fabulous horses to have a new life!

  25. Louise Ferro Martin


    As you know, my heart and passion is to help to save the Off Track Thoroughbreds. Your blog is doing a wonderful job doing that. You are helping to make others who might not be familiar with the situation understand the seriousness of this problem and how wonderful these magnificent creatures are.

    Each story portrays a love and respect that is created by the owner and the horse. Congratulations Sue! Keep up the good work!!

  26. M zinn

    I really like your site, even though the horses featured here are successful in winning ribbons and our boy has only won our hearts.

    I understand how that wouldn’t make for exciting reading. The video link I posted earlier though not about him competing is about how he has adapted to life as a trail horse and how he has fit into our family so completely as to become as important to us as each other.

    Sure, OTTBs can compete and win….but they can also be nothing more than a family horse. THAT’s verstatility.

  27. Belle

    I’ve been looking into adopting a OTTB for awhile now, and I have to say that reading all of your stories brings me one step closer to getting one. I would love to have one! Thoroughbreds are incredible horses and deserve a second chance after the track! If you or anyone else reading this has any advice on where to get one then please let me know and send me a message to my email! (kbjaspen@gmail.com) Thanks again for helping in making a difference. =)

  28. M. Zinn

    This is Beauseant(not his race name) when we got him:


    Scabby, ribby, body score of 2, too weak or dispirited to hold his head up …

    We’ve had him a year, and here is my video tribute to the most brilliant, loving, funny and just plain wonderful horse we’ve ever known.

    You may use this video on your site, if you wish, to promote awareness of thes noble, brilliant and versatile creatures…the OTTB.

  29. Sarah

    Hi – I only have a minute but saw the post that you wanted to see videos… I will also send a picture too later of our awesome OTT adopted thoroughbred Raj (now 24 yrs old) that had 12 babies! Here’s a link to a video my daughter made of her and her friend riding in our pasture and playing polo (just hitting the ball some). http://youtu.be/Ra6R6bwpKRM
    Raj actually tolerates the swinging of the mallet great! Enjoy!

  30. M. Zinn

    I recently put together a little video of my TB that is quite moving.

    It’s not really a success story like those on your blog as he isn’t in competition. He is just a light trail riding, family horse.

    If you would like to see the video i could email it to you…..it might be nice for people to know that TBs can make good family horses also.

    1. Nuala C. Galbari

      I would love to see the short video of your OTTB. My horse, Captain Jack Sparrow (see April 10 blog) is also getting used to trails and I will soon begin light dressage work with him, however I do not plan to compete! Mostly, though, he will just be taken on gentle hacks and have fun with his other herd members.

      I’d love to share news of your horse, too.

      You can e-mail me and send the file, if you wish, or direct me to a web address.

      With kind regards,

      Nuala Galbari

  31. Valorie

    Thank you for taking the time to maintain this site and tell so many inspiring OTTB stories! We all need to keep doing what we can, big and small, to get the word out.

  32. Stacey Meyer

    I have four OTTB’s, 2 are in their 20’s and are retired from the track and also second careers as show horses. The mare is my first horse that my parents bought me as a teenager and the best horse i have ever ridden! The gelding i got just to give him a good retirement home. I also have one 6 yr old OTTB and a 10yr old OTTB and am hoping to get in the show ring this summer with both of them!! The 6 yr old is related closly to my retired mare and is just as amazing as she is!!! These horses (OTTB’s) have such amazing work ethics and always want to please!!! They are so loyal and loving and all their weird quirks just make them all the more fun!!! I tried to get into QH’s and Paints but they just can’t match the TB’s in my book!!!

  33. Kristen

    Love this. I too, am a PROUD momma of an OTTB…he’s my love. He’s the most challenging, smartest, sensitive and loving horse I’ve ever ridden on. Truly. I’m proud to call him mine.

  34. Laura

    I bought an ex-racehorse three years ago. He was dumped by his owner, then worked a while as a school-horse for young children and novice riders. I bought him for his calm and willing disposition, not knowing exactly what OTTB were all about. He is not an easy keeper, his feet need a lot of looking after, but he is worth every effort.
    He is now 9 years old, and has taught me lots and still does evry time I ride him. Patience and tolerance of my mistakes are his greatest attribute. Kudos to all of you who love them enough to have given them a second chance!

  35. jennifer Morrison

    Good site – I was a founder of LongRun and wrote 2 chapters in the book Second Chance Horses – hope you got a chance to see it – I enjoy writing about people like Emma-Jayne on my blog

  36. Russ Burns (Blacksmith)

    These horses are retired from racing not life , they love a chance to do something else and are wonderful at it ! have fun.

  37. Nancy Albino

    Great story about Sarah Says Go ! What a wonderful happy ending. (I volunteer at the USERL in Raleigh, NC. We have rescued many horses from abuse & neglect.)

  38. Sally Bost

    Thanks for all your efforts! I too adopted an OTTB a few years ago. She is now 23 years old and previously had 12 foals. I just love the thoroughbred intelligence and personality!

  39. Kelsey

    I just love these stories! I’m the proud owner of a 28-year-old OTTB, and I just love reading about others; their lives with the OTTB’S! Thank you!

  40. Ashley

    Great site. Speaking as a owner of an OTTB, these stories posted on here really bring me alot of joy when i see other ottbs out there enjoying new life’s . Keep up the good work.

  41. john mortell

    Great job, Susan!keep fighting the good fight.


  42. Susan Morse


    Great blog and great story on OlivaSudden. This rocks!


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