Serious Advice Needed

Tallulah Belle

New Member
Apr 7, 2010
I have two gorgeous ex racehorses. The first one is Max, he is a 16.1 Chestnut who raced 32 times as a National Hunt Horse. During his career he became very traumatised by racing and refused to run on several occasions, he was then retired at 8 and retrained for hunting / hacking and was a really great horse for both, he was then sold a year ago and hunted very heavily by a hard handed man who was very hard and strong with him, and then he ended up at the Ascot Sales again, and thats' where I come in. He is now 10 years old and a real gentle giant, he is a little anxious still when being ridden but is settling down well with a good routine and gentle treatment. He is in a happy mounth jointed snaffle and seems to like that.

My second horse is Duke a 15.1 ex flat racehorse who was too slow, and was retrained as a polo pony but was not sharp enough and now at 8 he has come to live with me and Max. he is a little bit grumpy but he did come to me with rain scald and mud fever both of which are healing nicely. He won't hack alone as yet but is perfect in company.

The question I have is how do I get a strong bond with these horses without the use of a round pen or anything similar? I am on a busy eventing livery yard where the boys are on part livery as I have a young family and I am down there for 4 hours every other day. Am I kidding myself that they will see me as a leader when I am not there every day or can anyone offer me some good solid advice to help me establish a bond with them both. They are both great in the ground.




Apr 29, 2002
You don't need any special equipment or system to form a bond. Just be fair and consistant in your handling on the ground and under saddle (and allow time for getting to know favourite scratching places etc!!)

People seem amazed that our retrained racehorses (we have a bit of a collection...7 plus afew other TBs!!) will all stand untied , walk politely without necessarily having lead ropes on, put themselves in their correct stables when asked. They have never had any training as such to do these things just built up trust in us.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Jan 6, 2006
Just spend time with them! Don't get hung up on being a leader, just get to know them & let them get to know you. Mind you I'm not into NH, I think so much of dealing with horses is common sense, compassion & love.

Tallulah Belle

New Member
Apr 7, 2010
Thanks guys, I agree with you on all points. My approach is always one of calm, gentle handling with my boys.

I had a really lovely moment when I went to the yard today and Duke was lying down in his stable, so I went in expecting him to get up, but he didn't then I gradually walked over to him crouched down and he let me stroke him, and he then went down completely flat out and let me sit by his head stroking his nose and cheek, it was so lovely! We were there for about 15 minutes before a horse came clip clopping into the yard and he got up to have a look. I adore my boys and feel that the quiet gentle approach with them will work best. I spend lots of time brushing them, feeling them all over, washing Duke who has rainscald and needs his baths, and then taking them out for quiet hacks. They really are super horses. I feel VERY VERY BLESSED!

Tallulah Belle

New Member
Apr 7, 2010
I've had Max for a month and Duke for 2 weeks, it's still very early days yet know, but I want to get it right with them from the get go :)
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