Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Off-the-Track Thoroughbreds

How long have we been in business?

Elizabeth bought her first Thoroughbred off-the track for resale in June 2001. She sold her first horse a year later in the spring of 2002. Since that time she has sold or found homes for over 300 horses! Read our Success Stories page and Horses Sold (the oldest sales) to see who bought our horses.

We are not in the business of selling horses, rather Our Mission is to transition as many Thoroughbreds as possible from racehorse to sport horse. We are promoting the Thoroughbred breed as an alternative sport horse and family horse. We hope that our Success Stories will make other people take a chance on an off-the-track Thoroughbred.

We don’t care who you buy it from, but we do care that it gets a
good home and good training. We offer the Training Notes from Elizabeth page to help buyers of Thoroughbreds learn to train them. Our buyers are always welcome to call or e-mail Elizabeth for some one-on-one advice and suggestions. She is sorry that she is unable to offer this to all buyers of Thoroughbreds but her time is very limited.

When you purchase a horse through Bits & Bytes Farm, you become a member of our extended family. We all help each other for the benefit of our Thoroughbreds.

How much do your horses cost?

We have horses in all price ranges with most being priced between $2,000 and $9,000. Prospect horses (horses still at the track) are in the $2000 to $5000 range – sometime less and sometimes free. Special Reserve horses are the highest priced and because they have additional training. We usually pay from $1,500 to $5,000 for a horse at the track that is sound and racing. Sometimes we can get them for less and we try to pass on the savings.

Most horses that have already made it to the farm are priced from $6000 but we do have exceptions. We usually have to double our costs just to cover vet checks, x-rays, vaccinations, chiropractic care, teeth floating and transportation. Bargain Barn horses are usually rescue type horses (older or have an old injury) or maybe they just need a home fast. These may be free (with a donation to a horse rescue group) or very low priced. Please call for pricing on any horse. Prices change frequently. We do not give out prices by e-mail. If you don’t call you may miss out on horses that have not yet made it to the Web site. We encourage serious buyers to call us and discuss their perfect match.

Where do you get your horses?

We get our horses from owners and trainers we trust, at farms and tracks all over the country. We have built a reputation with them for being able to find good homes for their horses. They know we will not send the horses to auction or sell them to just anyone. We will work hard to match the horse with the best owner. These are not rescue horses that have reached the end of their careers. These trainers care about what happens to their horse at the end of its racing career. We require all buyers of our horses to stay in touch and provide us with updates that are posted on our Success Stories pages on this site or on our new OTTB Success Stories website. The former breeders, owners and trainers are watching our Success Stories to see how their horses are doing! We have so many wonderful stories we had to create a whole new Web site for the newest Success Stories.

Aren't off-the-track-Thoroughbreds difficult to ride?

Thoroughbreds are the athletes of the equine world. They are sensitive and quick but seldom crazy unless badly handled. Thoroughbreds should not be the horse of choice for a new rider or a timid rider — not because they are hard to handle, but because they are so sensitive. They do not do well if they have their mouths banged on by someone using their horse's mouth for balance. Most Thoroughbreds have a very soft mouth and are very quick to respond to the rider. Likewise their backs are sensitive and they do not like someone bouncing on them. Most Thoroughbreds will slow down their trot if you slow down your posting or if you do a half halt and lean back. They have been trained to go when the jockey is crouched over their necks and holding hard. A Thoroughbred knows to slow down after he crosses the finish line because the jockey sits up (like our half halts in dressage) and lets go of their mouth. This said, we have sold totally green Thoroughbreds that are as quiet as a quarter horse. You never know what they will be like until you get on them away from the track. Read our Success Stories to see what our buyers say about riding an OTTB. Check out the Training Notes from Elizabeth pages for training tips and suggestions.

 

Are they sound?

We are buying our Thoroughbreds to get them off-the-track and away
from racing before they break down. Once they break
down there are two options for them: auction (and maybe the killers)
or, if they are lucky a rescue group will help place them.

The horses we buy have not spiraled down to that level. We
are buying horses to resell and so we look for sound horses with
gentle spirits who are just tired of racing.
Some of them may need a little down
time.

We will share all we know about them with you especially if there
is a past minor injury that would limit what they can do. We thoroughly
question the owners, trainers and handlers of the horses to get
a better idea of the horse before buying. Some Thoroughbred resellers
buy their horses at the auctions and they know nothing of their
past. Some are just reselling horses from other rescue sites with
little or no additional training. Beware of horses being resold away
from the track for under $3000. Most likely the horse trader purchased
the horse sight unseen from dealers who bring in horses by the truckload
and sell them cheaply. They may have purchased the horses directly
at the auction with no history or background knowledge of what the
horse has done.

Bottom line: Ask lots
of questions and get references before buying ANY horse and get
a vet check.

Do I need to call ahead for an appointment?

Yes. We want to know all we can about you and your
riding skills before you come to the farm to try our horses. We
want to make sure you will be safe and that we have a horse that
matches what you are looking for. We have visitor's from all over
the country come to ride and we want to make sure we can give you
our full attention so that you will not be rushed to make a decision.
Elizabeth has a "real" job that supports the horses at the farm.
She regrets that she unable to stop her work if people just drop
in. Elizabeth creates Web sites for a living and many times she is
under extreme pressure to get the work done in a timely fashion.

Can I bring my trainer?

Yes. If you are working with a trainer please bring the trainer with
you or at least have the trainer call us to discuss your riding skills.
We encourage you to find a good trainer to help you with your new
horse. We want our horses to get the best possible training so that
they will not spiral down and end up in an auction because someone
did not take the time to teach the horse properly. Trainers want to
make sure you have the right horse so get your trainer involved early
in the buying process. Don't waste your time and ours by falling in love with a horse that your trainer does not like. If you can't make a decision without your trainer's approval - bring your trainer with you on the FIRST VISIT! We have very limited time to show our horses and we are tired of having the deal squashed after several visits because the trainer was not involved and does not want the buyer buying a Thoroughbred.

Do you let the horses go out on trial?

No. We do not let horses out on trial for several reasons.

  1. If you change a horse's routine they can get upset and not show
    their true personality.
  2. Any change in feed can cause colic.
  3. We have found it difficult to get people to return a horse once
    they have determined it is not a match. We do not have the time
    to chase after our horses to get them back.

We know our horses and will help you make a match. We encourage you
to come several times or try the horse in your environment before
making a buying decision. These horses are not used cars that we allow
out on a "test drive" to someone we have just only met.

What is the difference between Horses for Sale
, Prospect Horses, Bargain Barn and true Rescue Horses?

Horses for Sale are at
the farm and they cost more because we have spent money to make sure
they are healthy and sound. We have vet checked and transported them
to the farm. We have ridden them and assessed their personality and
training. If you have a limited budge and feel comfortable buying
a horse directly from the trainer or off-the-track, we will help
you. You can find a pre selected list on our Prospect
Horses
page.

The Prospect Horses are
horses from trainers we trust. Prospect Horses
are not at our farm and we have not done vet checks on them.
We will put you directly
in touch with the trainer to discuss the horse and do your own due
diligence. Most of the horses are at still racing and at the track
where you cannot ride them. Most Prospect Horses are sold
sight unseen
with
or without a vet check. If you are not comfortable with this, then
please do not call about our Prospect Horses for sale. We
do not do buying trips with buyers to see Prospect Horses.
Read more about "How
to Buy a Prospect Horse"
.

Bargain Barn Horses are
horses from trainers that we know and trust but they have had a problem
in the past. We are very up front about the past injury and suggested
uses for the horse. Sometimes these horses are free but usually if
we sell to someone we don't know, they are about $1000. We put a
high price on them so that they do not get picked up cheap and get
resold at a auction. We donate a portion of the money from these
horses to Thoroughbred rescue organizations.

We will also help you find a Rescue
Horse
if you have a truly limited
budget. Many of these horses are sound but need time off and training.
Prospect horses start at $1000 and rescue horses start at FREE to
about $800. There are restrictions when you purchase a rescue horse.
We have a list of rescue organizations on our Links page.

What are the advantages of buying an OTTB
from Bits & Bytes Farm?

When you buy a Thoroughbred off-the-track, he has a "track record".
What we mean by that is, your horse is a registered Thoroughbred
with a public permanent record. You can look up
his pedigree for free at www.pedigreequery.com.
His pedigree and race records are also available on the Official
Jockey Club Web site
.
We prescreen the horses and help you
locate a vet and a shipper. You are welcome to use any vet that is
allowed at the track or farm where the sale horse is located and
you are welcome to pick up the horse yourself. Take a look at our Buyer's
Check List
before buying
any horse.

How long are the horses at the farm before they
are sold?

It varies. We are getting a reputation for offering beautiful Thoroughbreds
at great prices. We have many people following our site that have
the experience to take a green horse right off-the-track but don't
have the connections to find one. They often grab a horse before
it even makes it to the site. Sometimes we don't advertise the horse
right away because we are evaluating it or it needs more training.
It may look like a horse just came on the site but it has been here
for a while. On the other hand, some horses are on the site for
a long time because they show special talent and we enjoy doing
their training. These horses usually end up as "Special Reserve"
horses. These are the ones that Elizabeth has fallen in love with
and she is very careful of who gets them. She wants to make a special
match so that these horses can really excel. So if you see a horse
that has been on the site for a while, think twice, it may be one
of Elizabeth's special horses.

Why do some Prospect Horses disappear off the
Web site?

Sometimes the trainers decide to keep racing the horse, sometimes
it is sold to another trainer who will race the horse at a lower
end track. Sometimes the owner or trainer gives the horse away or
sends it to auction. The worst reason that horses disappear from
the site is that they got injured before we found them a new career
away from racing. These horses are running for their lives and every
race may be their last. Act fast if you see a horse you like on this
site. If you hesitate they may not get a chance
at a second career -- they may not survive their first!

How can I get my horse home? I live across the country.

We can help you find a safe and honest shipping company. If you are
local or near a track we visit, we might even be able to deliver it
in our trailer. We will provide you with a list of our preferred professional horse transporters.

How will we help you resell your horse?

Sometimes it becomes necessary to find a new home for your horse.
Life situations change or maybe the horse is not suited for your
discipline or he is injured. We will always help find a home for
any horse we have sold. How? We will add the FOR SALE notice to the
horse's Success Stories. We have a new drop down menu for OTTB Resales.
We will also talk with any prospective buyers who call us and let
them know about your horse. IF, you have kept up your horse's Success
Stories, a potential buyer will know exactly what the horse has been
doing since he left the track.

We ask that you send us a current photo and a write up as to why
the horse is for sale so that we can add it to the Success Stories
page for your horse. If you have not kept up with the Success Stories
and do not provide current photos, it is going to be difficult to
place your horse. It is written on our Bill
of Sale that we will always help you find a new home for your horse
should it ever become necessary.
We never want to hear that a horse we sold has been resold
at auction!

You will be amazed at how many people follow our site and dream
of owning one of our horses. They live vicariously through YOUR successes
and enjoy seeing how the horse's training is moving along. These
people will be the first to call if your horse is listed for sale
on our Success Stories. Sometimes a person who was afraid to take
a chance on a Prospect Horse, still at
the the track, but they will buy him now you have gotten him off-the-track
and done some training.

Do you do training of outside horses?

We do not take on other people's horses. Our focus is on getting
horses off-the-track and into loving homes. We have our "real
business" that supports this goal. We do not have the resources
to take on additional horses in training. We will however, direct
you to trainers who are set up to do training full time. Occasionally, we will bring a Prospect Horse directly to our farm for some training or retraining.

Do you do boarding?

Yes. We do have a few stalls for outside horses. Our boarders help
support our pursuit of transitioning these Thoroughbreds off-the-track.
It takes a lot of money and help to do all the work involved in preparing
these horses for new careers and our boarders are a part of that team.
We always have a spare horse for our boarders to ride if their horse
is temporarily lame. They also help with training and exercising the
horses for sale at Bits & Bytes Farm. We accept only geldings and we do not do pasture boarding.

Can I buy a horse and keep it at Bits & Bytes
for training?

YES! We do not often have stalls open up so the best way to get to
board at our farm is to buy one of our horses for sale. Many buyers
keep their horses at the farm for a month or more to learn how to
continue their training before moving the horse closer to home. Sometimes
we bundle training into the sale price of the horse. This happens
usually if the horse is purchased within the first month he is at
Bits & Bytes Farm.

What has happened to the horses you have sold?

We like to stay in touch with the people who buy our horses. The
breeders, owners and trainers we buy our horses from like to know
that their horses are doing well in their new careers. Check our Success
Stories
pages
for "the rest of the story". Our
commitment to the horses does not end with the sale. We are here
to help you with the retraining. In return, we hope that you will
stay in touch and send us photos for your horse's Success Story page.
If it becomes
necessary to resell your horse, we will help you market
him through our Web site. We have a drop down menu of our OTTBs
Availalbe for Resale
on our Success Stories pages.

Can I use your horse photos in a sim game?

No. All our photos are copyright protected. If you would like to
use them in another fashion please contact us for written permission.

Can I use your photos in any way?

We do allow certain uses for our photos. Please send an e-mail with
any request for photo usage.

What is a "Friends of Bits & Bytes Farm"?

"Friends" are experienced horse people who have the time
and the desire to help us train and exercise our Thoroughbreds. They also commit to helping with the chores around the farm and assist in feeding and turnout of the horses when we are out of town on a buying trip.

Many
of our "Friends" rode seriously years ago and now have
the time, but not the horse, to get back into riding. Don't worry
if you are a bit rusty. We can polish your riding skills. There is
nothing like a Thoroughbred to teach you how to be soft with the
seat and hands. You will fall in love on your first ride. We do have
one warning to offer: Most "Friends of Bits & Bytes Farm" fall
in love with a special horse and end up buying him. There are leasing
opportunities for our "Friends" so that we do not sell their favorite
horse. Call us for more information. We do not lease horses to go
to other farms.

"Friends of Bits & Bytes Farm" are the first to hear
about the Prospect Horses offered
to us from our long list of approved trainers."Friends" get
to ride all the new horses that make it to the farm. They also get
first chance to buy them. Do you have the desire to join in the fun?
Do you have three or more days a week to come to the farm to help
our and ride for a few hours? No time but you can contribute financially?
Give us a call. No beginners please. Speak to Elizabeth at: 770-704-6595.

Can you create a Web site for my business or farm?

YES! That is what we do for a living to pay for our horses! We have special pricing for smaller business and farms. We also create Web sites for corporations and professional businesses. Go to our Design Services page for more information and pricing. Today, it is more important than ever to have a Web presence for your business.

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