OTTB ACADEMY BLOG

This Is Why I Use Long-Lining and Double Lungeing Groundwork Techniques for Training OTTBs

 

There’s a lot of information out there online offering tips on how to begin lungeing your ex-racehorse. There’s no such thing as a one-way solution to do anything in regards to horse training. It all boils down to your experience, the horse’s level of experience and individual preference. You have to be knowledgeable and fluid when it comes to training, especially retraining. I’ve reschooled and rehabilitated ex-racehorses on a professional level for more than 20-years. Since I've been a professional jockey and grew up showing horses, I understand what lies in-between the parallels of both worlds. 

On the grounds of equine emotion and mindset.

It's important to keep in mind horses are highly intuitive and sensitive. Past emotional trauma unbeknownst to you might show up during training. It can be exhibited and misinterpreted as a horse appearing to act "crazy," when in fact, it's a reaction from some traumatic past event they haven't worked out...

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What to Do When a Horse Is Pulling on the Bit and How to Really Listen to What Your Horse Is Telling You

 

First of all, this blog post might rub some equestrian bloggers the wrong way. I was inspired to write it based on this blog post. My thoughts are they missed some very essential "horse listening." Just riding through a problem like this isn't good advice and it's not fair to the horse. There are many other things to consider first if a horse is chronically rooting or pulling.

When a horse is acting up under saddle, by rooting or pulling against the bit–it's time to take a serious look at what the horse is trying to tell you. Horse's don't do things like this, "just because." By "riding through it," you are exacerbating the underlying issues and ignoring the horse's plea for help. Good horsemanship is not just about riding, everything goes fundamentally deeper and it's based on the horse's well-being first and foremost not just your riding skill set. Having perfect equitation isn't going to help your horse-not with this anyway.

If your horse is heavy on the bit,...

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The Most Effective Holistic Equine Exercises to Help Your Horse "Get Strong and Stretchy" Regardless of Riding Discipline

 

Often times we ask a lot from our equine partners that is physically demanding and in many situations, during training, shows, clinics or competitions, they give us their all. In return, it's our responsibility to “listen to the horse” for any sign of pain or discomfort and alleviate the underlying systemic issue(s).

As a Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist & Movement + Mobility (Biomechanics/Kinesiology) Specialist it is my passion to study equine and human movement and develop exercises, training techniques and therapies that further improve the development of a healthy, sound, strong and happy horses–(humans, too).


Many horses have issues with balance, straightness, and range of motion, especially off-the-track-thoroughbreds Horses are similar to people, in that they have a preferred laterality. The dominant (strong) and hollow (weak) side of the body-being right side or left side dominant. Because they have a...

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How Spirituality Can Deepen the Equine-Human Bond for Enlightened Horsemanship

 

Silence.

"Silence is a source of great strength." - Lao Tzu

What I mean by silence. Let me start by asking you a couple questions. Do you take the time to ever just be with yourself? This means no phone, no TV or streaming, no Internet, no background noise, no music, nothing but yourself. How often do you “disconnect” from society and go into a deep meditation or go for a walk in nature (without the damn phone)?

We all have busy lives, of course, but the increasing pressures of social media and being addicted to notifications and "what’s the latest trend" as a society brings a certain mental and emotional fatigue. I enjoy social media as much as anybody else, it can be a powerful tool when leveraged properly. However, I’ve also learned to take more time for myself in the real world and restrict the time spent on social media by adhering to a schedule. To avoid further scrolling temptation and getting sucked into the time consuming social media...

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The Top 5 Most Ridiculous Ex-Racehorse Myths Perpetuated by Major Horse Publications

 

We’ve all read the articles by so-called “experts” and “professionals” who claim to know ex-racehorses. For those of us who have field experience both on and off-the-track with ex-racehorses, those articles and their "advice" leave us cringing.

 
If you’ve worked with ex-racehorses both on and off-the-track, perhaps you share my feeling of, OMG what are they talking about? Many major horse publications are trying to offer their readers educational insight and expertise on a variety of topics pertaining to ex-racehorses. However, the lack of research and knowledge being offered up is beyond perplexing. When it comes to OTTBs though, I find many articles leave me scratching my head or just plain furious for misinforming the public with terrible advice and perpetuating negative myths about ex-racehorses.

As someone who has over 20+ years of working with racehorses as a groom, hot walker, breaking 2-year-olds, galloping as an...

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The Top 2 Things Thoroughbred Racehorse Trainers Are Missing to Improve Equine Performance and Win More Races

 

Do you want to win more races? As a trainer, owner or breeder, of course, you do. There are two powerful holistic methods that are often overlooked in training to condition and develop the Thoroughbred athlete into peak performance.

Conditioning the Thoroughbred Racehorse

Conditioning consists of many interconnected anatomical components. Trainers must consider all the physical mechanics in place and their functions, such as the cardiovascular, respiratory,  skeletal and muscular systems. And ever deeper within these categories that concern racehorse conditioning is the connective tissues (ligaments and tendons), neural pathways and the issue of thermoregulation which pertains to the cardiovascular system. The emotional state of a horse also plays a part in conditioning and performance as well. 

This post focuses on the muscular aspects of improving racehorse performance. Conditioning the musculature system of the racehorse properly is vital to winning. The...

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Massage Therapy for the Equine Athlete to Achieve Peak Performance and Gain a Competitive Edge

 

Why Certified Equine Massage Therapy?

 
You might ask yourself, why should I invest money to get my horse a massage?  Especially if you don’t invest in massage therapy for yourself.  Most people still hold the belief massage is a “luxury” as opposed to a therapy. That’s even true for many in the equine world.

Having routine massage therapy sessions for your horse can:

  • increase flexibility
  • improve range of motion
  • aid in muscle relief
  • help prevent injuries (that could cost a small fortune in vet bills)
  • improve athletic performance
  • decrease rehabilitation time
  • reduce hypertonicity 
  • improve overall well-being

 
Massage therapy, more specifically equine sports massage is a therapeutic method of bodywork that when implemented properly can enhance equine physical performance. Not to mention, it can also vastly improve an equine’s behavior––by addressing and treating underlying and sometimes undressed physical pain....

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Mounting Techniques for Back Pain Management in Ex-Racehorses

 

"In Training Horses, One Trains Himself." - Antoine De Pluvinel

 

The are many benefits of using the mounting block for horses. The general consensus is the higher-the-block-the-better. It's ideal to mount from a high mounting block (three steps or higher) without using the stirrup iron.

The reason for this approach is a minimal amount of pressure and strain is placed on the horse's back and there is less stress on the alignment of the spine.

Of course,  this technique isn't ideal for every situation, but it's considered ideal for the health of the horse's back and spine.

This post shows some basic and fundamental tips for training your off-the-track-thoroughbred to properly stand while being mounted to reduce stress on the spine as well as back pain management.

Ex-racehorses coming from adoption organizations will most likely be trained to stand properly while being mounted. However, if you are getting your horse directly off-the-track they'll...

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The Three Essential Exercises Your Horse Should Be Doing to Achieve Peak Performance

 

As a Certified Equine Massage Therapist and OTTB enthusiast, I pursued becoming a CEMT to understand equine anatomy and physiology on a professional level. My intention is to continue the studies of equine biomechanics on a deeper level to better serve our equine partners by implementing training techniques and therapies that further improve the development of a healthy, sound, strong and happy horse.

Our equine friends are amazing athletes, they give us everything and in return, it's our responsibility to “listen to the horse” for any sign of pain or discomfort and help alleviate the underlying systemic issue(s) without causing more problems. 

Many horses have issues with balance, straightness, and range of motion, especially off-the-track-thoroughbreds. Some behavioral issues are a direct manifestation of underlying and sometimes unaddressed physical pain. These physical issues won't resolve on their own, we can help them...

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Beneficial Herbs and Plants for Your Horse

Learn about the different types of herbs and their beneficial properties that can provide relief and aid minor ailments in your horse.


 
"As with any herb or medication, consult with your veterinarian and check with governing horse show organizations to make sure herb/substances are not banned."

All horses can reap the rewards of beneficial herbs. Off-the-track-thoroughbreds can blossom in health by consuming certain herbs. Horses in general, but OTTBs especially suffer from ulcers, muscle soreness, weight gain issues and other physical ailments. 

 

Anise Seed (Pimpinella Anisum)
Supports the digestive and respiratory systems and increases appetite. 

Calendula (Calendula Officinalis)
Helps with skin ailments liver detoxification.



Catmint (Nepeta Grandiflora)
For ingesting it has calming properties and aids in fever reduction. As a poultice apply to sore painful muscles or surface bruises.

Celery Seed (Apium Graveolens)
Aid in digestion supports healthy urination,...

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