Off the Track - Overview

This video course follows the progress of 'Lambikins' (aka Mahitabaa), a 6 year old thoroughbred gelding. Lambie has been off the track for 6 months having had 17 starts over his racing career.


The purpose of this course is to transform Lambikins into a safe and happy Adult Riding Club (some Dressage, Jumping and Trail Riding) horse using the Kandoo Foundation Training lessons. Off the track (OTT) horses don’t always adjust well to their post-racing life and these lessons are designed to make that transition as easy, clear, calm and stress-free for the horse as possible.

A second horse, Pillar of Hercules, has now been added to this series. You will find video lessons featuring both these beautiful Off the Track horses on these pages.

Basic Course Breakdown:

  1. Bridle Work
  2. Long-Reining
  3. Saddling and 1st Ride
  4. Shoulder Control
  5. Transitions
  6. Hindquarter Control
  7. Canter
  8. .....Watch this space....

Each section will include a number of different lessons and you can follow along with him and see the changes in him mentally, educationally, emotionally and physically.

Bring your OTT horse along for the ride!



The course is also suitable for a Standardbred OTT, however there will be a specific course coming to the Kandoo Club site soon for ex-pacers and some of the things they find difficult are unique to both the breed and their training.

This is a re-education course and, while specific to the thoroughbred, would also be suitable for any horse that was changing discipline.

ISES Training Principles:

  1. Release the pressure immediately when the horse responds. Off the track horses have rarely been taught much at all. This type of learning will be all new to them and is sure to come as a pleasant surprise! Check the 'Science' pages for more about Learning Theory as we will be using negative reinforcement (releasing the pressure when the horse finds the right answer) to train each of these foundation lessons. Positive reinforcement will also be used in terms of stroking and praising the horse. Your horse may well be more accustomed to a combination of flooding and positive punishment - the two very techniques we will avoid.
  2. Use signals that the horse can differentiate. If your signals are clear and easily distinguishable from one another you will minimise stress in the horse and he will enjoy learning. One example might be rein pressure. OTT horse often have very limited steering and we will teach them to follow a feel of the rein so that when the rein opens away from the neck they follow it around in an arch but when it remains close to the neck they travel straight.
  3. Train and initiate responses one at a time (shaping). As these horses have often been flooded with information we need to be especially careful to break everything down into its smallest possible components and, over time, shape the behaviour we want.
  4. Train habitual responses using consistency and repetition. We are forming new habits in the horse and teaching through patterns to do this. Each time we repeat the pattern it should be the same so as not to confuse the horse.
  5. Train only one response per signal. Our signals should be clear and each should elicit just one response. For more complicated movements/behaviours we need to shape these by building them up progressively.
  6. Avoid fear during training. OTT horses have often spent a good deal of time feeling very fearful. It is our job to build confidence in the horse and this starts with him understanding what we are asking and having handlers that are predictable, fair and consistent.
  7. Train persistence of responses. We are training for self-carriage and don't want to be holding the horse in a frame or keeping constant leg pressure on the horse.
  8. Check for relaxation. Your OTT horse will probably visibly relax with each short lesson that you teach. Keep and eye on his emotional level and get some video along the way to check his progress. Relaxation is the key that leads to through, flowing and correct movement and a stress-free horse that is enjoying the journey with you.