I'm new to this, so I'm hoping you all can give me your opinions!
I'm looking at purchasing an OTTB (off the track Thoroughbred). I live in south dakota, so trust me when I say that Thoroughbreds are not extremely popular here, but I am looking for a horse to do hunt seat with. I was hoping to find an appendix quarter horse so I could do AQHA shows since that's what the majority of the shows are here, but those are so political anyway, so I got to the point where I didn't care what breed, just needed the horse to fit within spending limits and wanted something 7 years or less.
So, my mom found a place nearby that actually does have Thoroughbreds from off the track and he had a 2 year old appendix too. I was thinking I'd go up there and want the appendix, but he had a few Thoroughbreds too, so I looked at all of them. One of the Thoroughbreds just spoke to me, it really was like love at first sight! Mind you, my husband is a car salesman so i've been told a million times to not purchase off emotion (how can you not when it comes to a horse though? lol). So I held back and waited to see him ridden and then ride him for myself. This horse blew me away.
Just a little background, I'm 25 years old, ridden/owned/shown horses pretty much all my life, but when I turned 18 I was moving to another corner of the country for college so I had to sell my horses. I have still been riding over the last 7 years, I actually worked with an OTTB in Florida where I was going to school. She was a great horse and gave me such a positive impression of a horse off the track.
So, I want to get back into showing, pretty much just open shows, definitely flat classes but would like to do a little jumping as well. When I got on this horse, I was pretty amazed with what he knew. Now, after reading, some ottb's can't even trot? This guy would trot for days, even jog, and was actually on the bit. His canter was nice, too. I never, ever, would have guessed that he had been racing because he was just so laid back and level headed. Is it possible to just get an amazing horse like that? He was truly a pleasure to ride. The guy I'm getting him from rode him once, but for 12 hours straight, he has a ranch with all of these TB's, and said he did nothing wrong, was just perfect. When he saw me riding him you could just see his eyes light up, I don't think he knew what he had. We've agreed on a price and he's getting vet checked next week; if he passes he's mine.
Now my question is, should I get xrays on his legs or only if the vet recommends it? Just a little history on him, he is 5 years old, has had 37 starts (of those, 6 firsts, 7 seconds, 3 thirds). Is that a lot of races for a horse? I don't really know what average is, but as a 2 year old he had 6 starts, 3 years he had 11 starts, 4 years he had 13 starts, and this year he has had 7. I was told that his last race he came in last and was at the bottom of the pack in the race before that. The guy selling him has also said that he was told he just doesn't want to run anymore, just made his mind up, so they decided no more racing for him. When I rode him his last race was about 3 weeks ago, the vet check will be 2 days short of 4 weeks from his last race. I've read about some horses just acting totally different after they come off of whatever drugs they may have been on, is 4 weeks enough? Do you think he was off of them if he was on anything when I rode him? Should I have the vet draw blood and test for this? I am just in love with this horse, assuming his personality doesn't change from the last time I rode him.
I'm interested in all advice/information/thoughts! Thanks so much.