Survey Says OTTB Owners Satisfied With Their Mounts

Researchers recently found that, despite what can be an arduous first year of transition, healthwise, owners are overwhelmingly very satisfied with their horses and most said they’d buy an OTTB again.
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Dr. Shannon Reed rode Jakes Mineshaft to top-ten finishes in competitive trail and dressage (in which she was the top amateur finisher, as well) at the 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover. | Photo: Nancy Salvo/Courtesy Dr. Shannon Reed

Off-track Thoroughbreds (OTTBs) are popular sport-horse prospects, capable of pretty much anything from galloping around cross-country courses to working cattle on ranches. Involvement in an intense sport at a young age could mean more physical and mental wear and tear for these horses than nonracehorses. But researchers recently found that former racers—even “war horses,” which have raced more than 50 times—can find success in second careers, despite what can be an arduous first year of transition, healthwise, and owners are overwhelmingly very satisfied with the breed.

At the 2018 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 1-5 in San Francisco, California, Shannon Reed, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, shared the results of a study in which she and colleagues sought to answer that question. Reed, an OTTB owner and rider, conducted the study when she was an associate teaching professor of equine surgery at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, in Columbia. Currently, she is an associate professor of equine surgery at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, in Columbus.

Thoroughbred aftercare
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Reed and colleagues developed a 31-question survey that they distributed through social media platforms, horse show organizations, and other networks. They also evaluated race and training records of respondents’ OTTBs

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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