First Outing


Have you Done your Homework?


'A Day at the Races' Webinar


Tips for your first outing with your OTTB 


The ‘Fears’ Surrounding Retraining Racehorses


A Day At The Races 

Ever wondered what you racehorses life looks like on the day of a race? What is the process? How are they tacked up? What do they experience as ‘an outing?’

How can we, as retainers, then take parts of their first career to aid their second career? This 1 hour long webinar recording will give an insight into ‘a day at the races’ combined with how we develop our former stars of the track into successful riding horses, regardless of what sphere they go into. 

🏇🏾Tips for your first outing with your OTTB 🏇🏾

Over the weekend William aka Forthbridge did his first dressage tests, he was an absolute superstar to say the least ⭐️❤️⭐️ 

To help with his first outing I put together some ‘top tips’ for the day on our insta stories (@thoroughbred_dressage) and have been asked to share them on here-so here we go!


Can you preen, wash, trim etc the night before? (Sorry to those with greys) It reduces the ‘flap’ around time which your OTTB is going to pick up on-it’s meant o be calm and enjoyable! 


I use a treat bucket in the lorry to help teach ‘standing on’. It allows the focus to stay quiet and in the lorry when loading, unloading, tacking up and un tacking. It also aids chewing, which keeps the Bain quieter as your OTTB has to breathe 


I have everything set within arms reach. It reduces the faff time, it’s keeps things simple and it stops you over flustering and panicking. It also helps if your horse wants to get moving 


Can you get ready before you leave aka be dressed? If you can do so safely tack up in the lorry before you lower the ramp. It allows you to have everything sorted and ready to go rather than trying to make your horse stand and wait-they’re not used to it! Get your lead rope on and get going 


OTTB like to walk. Get moving and allow them to see and understand and settle before you get on. 


You don’t have to plait! You don’t have to get on in the car park and ride into the arena. Do everything to how you and your OTTB do at home to provide normality and understanding . It’s hard to block out the outside noise, but it’s also a necessity 


Standing, watching, breathing, taking it all in is a BIG part to it all. Rather than feeling the need to be constantly ‘on the go’ teach your OTTB that hanging out and having snacks is just as much fun. (Allow you all to breathe as well 😉)


Keep you aim/goal for the day the smallest you can make it I.e ride one good 20m circle, ride a straight centre line, ride on good trot➡️walk transitions. This keeps you focused on ‘riding’ and helping you OTTB and not just going inward and worrying about what everyone thinks, if the judge is in a good mood, your score etc etc etc. Everything after your ‘aim’ is an added bonus 🎉

🏵 Have you done your homework? 🏵

January, for most, is the time of year where goals and intentions are made. It’s a time where we; reflect and, especially over the last couple of years, make plans and goals with the intention to move forward and develop our racehorses. 

Whilst the intentions and goals are brilliant things to set and work towards, I think we have to take real care with our ex racehorses, when it comes to competing/going out for the first few times. 

In racing, the thoroughbreds Adrenalin can be used to enhance performance (sometimes it can be to a detriment if they have ran their race before they set off), in dressage we are looking for; harmony, balance, ease, calmness-all of which do not come naturally when you have the ‘adrenaline kick’ 🤦‍♀️Following on quite quickly from the ‘adrenaline kick’ is the ‘red mist’ where all sense and sensibility disappears (this can be seen be explosive behaviour, but also ‘inward’ and ‘backwards’ tendencies where our ex racehorses shut down) and you start questioning why you even considered brining an ex racehorse into your life. 

So how do we best equipe our ex racehorses and ourselves to avoid the adrenaline kick, or teach our ex racehorses the ‘new way forward?’ 

🏵Have you plaited them at home and ridden them? Have you ridden them plaited, when you travel for a lesson? Does their behaviour change? 

🏵How long does it take you to plait? Is it a necessity? We can get flustered by the prospect of making everything look lovely and neat, and combine that with our ex racehorses having to stand still whilst you faf and stress, can only add to the melting pot…….

🏵Does your ex racehorse stress if you change their routine? It may be that you need to plan in extra time for bathing for sanity if kind of your ex racehorse. Don’t leave them in on a show morning if they need to go out for a leg stretch, or put them on the walker so they’ve moved. A bit of added elbow grease is worth keeping the brain happy 

🏵How do they react if they see the lorry being pulled out? Can you have everything ‘ready to go’ the night before so all you have to do is load up? 

🏵 Have you loaded and taken them somewhere prior to see how they travel and deal with a new surrounding at the other end? 

🏵Have you done arena hires? Have you done arena hired where you ride with a group of friends and then take your ex racehorse away to another arena and work them by themselves? Leaving ‘the herd’ can be quite distressing for our ex racehorses. They don’t ‘work alone’ in racing, so when you ask them to perform in a dressage arena on their own, it can be quite daunting….

🏵Have you shown them a car or a table parked @C? Have you shown them flower pots? 

🏵Do you get on them the same way at a show as at home? Remember to keep everything consistent and the same

🏵 can you tack up safely in the lorry and then get them off and get on? Reduced the ‘faff’ time as much as possible…

🏵WALK THEM! If they’re worried, or jittery, walk them in hand everywhere. This is how they’re used to doing things, use it to your advantage. Let them take in the sights, and sounds. Keep walking (get those steps up! 😉) and moving until they relax and breathe out, then progress forward 

🏵ARE YOU IN CONTROL OF YOUR EMOTIONS? This one is a biggie ⬅️⬅️⬅️⬅️ If you get wound up and stressed it will only transfer through to your ex racehorse. Try and be calm, in control and take things step by step. Have everything organised, easy to hand and minimal in the amount of things you need to do, arrange and sort 

It may seem ALOT, but it does help ‘the process’ and keep our ex racehorses happier, calmer and more understanding, which is all we ever want and will allow us to achieve our goals and aspirations 

For any other tips please DM/message or visit

The ‘Fears’ Surrounding Retraining Racehorses

The Fear of Failure 

Failure looks like different things to different people. Whether its; that you cant get your OTTB on the bit, that you feel like they’re constantly running away, 🏇🏾🏇🏾that you cant get the correct canter lead on one rein, that you cant control the canter. THESE ARE NOT FAILINGS! They are ‘training moments’ and things that you can, and will get through, you just need the right tools and understanding to be able to get through them (this is where we can help 🥰😉) 

The Fear of People making fun of me for Failing

This one is a pretty horrid one, 🤢🤮but also a very valid one. It is so hard to not be influenced by those surrounding you, especially, when on DIY/Livery yards. It is difficult and can feel like you’re the ‘odd one out’ or the one doing ‘wrong.’ You’re not, you just have a horse who is a little bit different, needs a certain approach to management and riding, and THATS ABSOLUTELY FINE! Surround yourself with people who; encourage, support, lift you up (and also give you a good kick up the backside when you need it..) Your home team is absolutely key in the retraining process and anyone who sent there to helps support and see you progress needs to, politely, leave the ‘support bubble.’ 🤗

The Fear of Investing 

Knowing which trainer/trainers to invest in, along with the correct saddle, bridle, physio, farrier etc can all be very daunting! Know that, especially in the early years, the investment will be higher due to the change that is going on with your OTTB, both physically and mentally, but see this an investment forward, to the future. Lessons ARE A MUST for us all, at all stages of the retraining journey! 

The Fear of Commitment 

The panic of ‘just how much time’ 🤯🤯is a real one. Your OTTB does not know your schedule for the day/week/year, so they won’t panic if they’re not ridden an exact number of times per week. Time off horse/out of the saddle is just as beneficial (if not more for the young OTTB’s) for your OTTB. Its all about building up and maintaining the posture and core strength and getting inventive with your work routine/schedule. There is no ‘exact timeline’ for anyone. Progress at your own rate/time and the benefits will be HUGE

The Fear of people being Mean on Social Media

What you decide to post/not post is up to you. As goes with the heading of ‘fear of people making fun of you on social media’ anyone who is a negative Nancy needs to be asked to ‘leave the support bubble’ and the joy of a ‘BLOCK’ button is wonderful. The SAME goes for anything that triggers you as a rider. Block/mute/remove yourself from the situation, ITS DOES NO ONE ANY FAVOURS!

The Fear of Rejection 🥺

This can be true if you go fr a lesson with a new instructor, or you feel like you don’t know where else to go/what to do and reach out for help.Always know that you will NEVER be rejected. Asking for help guidance is such a POSITIVE step in the right direction. Retraining and racehorse isn’t easy/straightforward and all!!! You’re doing it and giving this horse a second career in a loved home, surely that’s a wonderful thing in itself! 😚 🦄 

The Fear of it all being ‘too much’ 

There are days/week at a time where this can be very true! Just know that you are always progressing, even on days when you don’t feel like it. Take regular photographs of your OTTB stood up, take regular videos you can look back and see how far you’ve come. Sometimes when we are ‘in it’ we cant see the progress. And remember, that EVERY SMALL STEP needs to be celebrated (no matter how ‘small’) its always AN ACHIEVEMENT 🥳🥳

If any one the above resonates with you and you would like to know HOW to move forward through your ‘fear of failures’ working with your OTTB as themselves, their body and their retraining journey, I am doing a Masterclass for OTTB Mafia THIS WEDNESDAY at 5pm EST (10pm GMT/London time) We will talk through topics to do with; conformation, contact, rider position and balance, how to stop the strong/running OTTB and allow YOU to ask questions to help you with your OTTB and their retraining journey. 

To join us the sign up link is below and if you cant make it, you will receive the playback which you have lifetime access to! Any question please DM or head to