Dreaming of that Racehorse
The surge of excitement, the thundering sound of hooves on the race track and the gleaming, muscular bodies of the racehorse, often inspires spectators dreams of owning just such an animal. With it’s grace and strength, and undeniable beauty it is easy for some to want to buy a horse from the race track, to take home and ride. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of the life that a racehorse lives, has no idea what he is fed, and does not understand that what might seem to be abnormal behavior, is merely what he knows.
Racehorses spend most of their time at the race course, in their stalls. Their mornings start off early, and some are taken out for training or a work out, and then they are returned to their stalls. They spend maybe 20 minutes on the track. Grazing and roaming paddocks is not part of their daily lives, so most racehorses need to be introduced to these conditions, one day at a time. To let a horse loose in a paddock, straight from the track, could cause himself serious injury, and he could open a few fences for you, without using the gate! They cannot be left in the blistering sun, or any extreme weather conditions right away. They need to adjust to their new surroundings and way of life. Hand walking for several days is recommended, or a small paddock where he cannot reach a running speed. And just till he calms down, most people wrap the horse’s legs in polo bandages, for a little added protection.
If your horse loses condition or weight, do not be alarmed. He will need at least six months to settle in completely. Because racehorses need to be kept in perfect racing condition, they are often fed supplements, are heavily grained and at times, are given steroids. Not knowing what racehorses are fed, can lead to the new owner underfeeding the horse, which leads to a rapid loss in weight. Racehorses, or Thoroughbreds, do require more feed than most horses and in most cases do not fair well with being left outside 24 hours a day.
Bad behavior in racehorses is common, but only due to the fact that most trainers do not care about behavior, but winning. These horses are trained to run and win, and that is all. You will need a little patience and a lot of love, to bring out the true nature of your new companion.
And jumping into the saddle is also recommended, in time. Some horses won’t be used to the sensation of legs hanging by their sides, or the feel of a Western or English saddle. You will have to introduce him to this. The great and brave horses usually move to farms for reproduction, and the horses that the public buy, are usually kind, gentle and a little fearful. Give him time to adjust, because the life of a racehorse is not easy, nor is it kind. They are war horses, for the “Sport of Kings”, and if they are lucky, they will move on to be owned by someone who will teach them how to love, how to live but mostly, how to be free.