The owner and director of Team TBAITA
Fully insured and registered
BHS Gold Member (British Horse Society)
AOFA level 3 Qualified
Currently enrolled with the BHS and doing all BHSQ Qualifications up to BHSI to be an established coach across all three Olympic disciplines.
Based in Fairford, Gloucestershire.
The British Thoroughbred Agency is the British division and head office for all OTTB rehoming within Great Britain that fall under our trusted trainers and supporters listings. Our Irish Thoroughbred Agency is the Ireland division of our company which is our main retraining, rehoming and racing yard based in Donaghcloney, Craigavon, Northern Ireland and owned by Suzy Barkley Racing. Both thoroughbred agencies are fully insured and registered business's owned by Monique Lyle and Alex Jackson.
The British Thoroughbred Agency and the Irish Thoroughbred Agency get weekly notifications straight from the studs and trainers across the UK and Ireland of horses retiring from the racing circuit to include horses retiring from our racing yard in Donaghcloney.
Thoroughbreds are retired for many reasons and mainly because they are to slow for racing.
The British Thoroughbred Agency and the Irish Thoroughbred Agency get sent all their documentation which includes photos, videos and medical histories on each horse. Team TBAITA then selects horses suitable to our criteria for our rehoming programme which includes health, vices, temperament and conformation.
Once our selection process is completed, Team ITA then collect the horses that are available in Ireland and transports them to our main stable yard in Donaghcloney where they are assessed further and start their new schooling programme whilst Team BTA in the UK rehomes horses directly from our trusted trainers and racing yards across Great Britain.
All horses are open to viewings and vetting's, and horses are rehomed accordingly to training, breeding, conformation and temperament. Please note that all the horses available for rehoming in Ireland are all with Team ITA in our main stable yard at Bluestone Lodge in Donaghcloney Graigavon Northern Ireland, owned and run by Suzy Barkley unless advertised otherwise.
The British Thoroughbred Agency and the Irish Thoroughbred Agency (Ireland Division) handles all enquires, viewings and vetting's.
If you are new to Team TBAITA we take exceptional care in making sure the right horses go to the right homes, we like to keep updated on all the horses and how they are settling into their second careers.
Remember to like our Facebook page and download our app to get notifications of all our horses available for rehoming as they come off the track!
The Beginner’s Guide to rehoming an OTTB
Don’t expect the horse to be given away — If it is likely to have a chance at succeeding in any kind of career, it is worth a price, like any horse. Trainers and owners have recognised that, if they put a value on a horse, it has more chance of ending up in a suitable home.
Thoroughbreds are rehomed accordingly to their soundness and personality, we always say be aware of a free or cheap horse!
Thoroughbreds off the track have seen it all. The thoroughbred racehorse is often broken to saddle at two years old, educated to work on the track, walk into and jump out of barriers, travel on trucks, stand all day in the stalls, burst into a gallop then meander back home, and they see all kinds of crazy things on their way.
If you have the time and patience to ease them into their new life, you will find you have a pretty well rounded horse on your hands. The idea of nasty track vices like wind sucking and weaving often turn people off, but they are not as prevalent as you might think. Even less so once a horse gets the freedom of a paddock. Once a thoroughbred knows where they are and what is expected of them, loud noises, flappy things, and crowds are no biggie while the boutique breeds may not be so wise.
First of all – what exactly is an OTTB? An “off-the-track Thoroughbred” is a Jockey Club-registered Thoroughbred horse that was previously racing or in training to race, and has since been retired. Injury, lack of talent, and old age are examples of reasons that can result in a horse being retired from the track.
What does an OTTB do once he/she is retired? Well, that’s where Team BTA and Team ITA come in. OTTBs have been known to transition into successful show horses in hunter/jumper, dressage, eventing and other styles. They can also be trained as lesson horses, companion animals, or even for therapeutic riding programs. Like people, horses have their own individual personalities, and some are better suited to a certain job than others are.
You’ll laugh every day with your OTTB!
Horses emerge from the racing industry with all sorts of quirks. Yes, some of them aren’t totally desirable, but mostly they just make you laugh. You’ll laugh when they taste their first apple, and drool all over you with a look of “Where has this been all my life?!” You’ll laugh when you say “no” and they confusedly come back for more. Off the track thoroughbreds are discovering a whole new world of treats, paddocks, friends, shows and so much more. Sometimes you will want to cry, but mostly you will laugh along as your OTTB fumbles his way to a new career.
You’ve decided you want to purchase an off-the-track Thoroughbred. Here’s your beginner’s guide:
1) Research the breed – the most important thing is to know what you’ll be working with. Thoroughbreds are selectively bred for speed, stamina, and a variety of other factors that make them formidable on the racetrack, and they are not usually suitable for beginning riders. Thoroughbreds are often thought of as “hot” and hard to handle, but this is a myth (although there are always some outliers. We all have that one friend … ). Extremely intelligent and willing to please, OTTBs are perfect for your next project.
2) Make your plan of attack – Many of our OTTBs do not cost a lot but of course, taking care of a horse for the rest of its life is where things do get pricey. Once you find your dream horse, what are you going to do with him or her? Most racehorses know how to run and turn left. I recommend that when you get them off the track, you start by going right . From there, it’s up to you. Jumping, dressage, eventing, therapeutic riding programs, or your new moneymaking lesson horse – your OTTB will be the best investment you ever made.
3) Pay it forward – Thoroughbreds are beautiful, smart, talented animals, and it’s important to make sure that they’re taken care of once their racing days are over, regardless of how much money they made on the track. Sharing OTTB stories and links, or supporting organisations such as us makes it possible for us to do what we do.
4) They may not be used to conventional riding techniques - A racehorse will be unfamiliar with long stirrups and a heavier saddle and is unlikely to understand seat and leg aids until they are retrained. Jockeys are often given a leg up while the horse is walking so a former racehorse is unlikely to stand still for you while you mount from a block.
OTTBs will not be used to being exercised alone and will associate riding out in company with its former life on the gallops. They are unlikely to have travelled in a trailer before as they travel in trucks to the races. All day turnout will be a new experience that should be introduced gradually. They will be used to being in a busy yard and might be overwhelmed by your individual attention.
5) Buying an off the track Thoroughbred (OTTB) fresh off the track can be an excellent bargain - but it takes some imagination to see what “could be” when faced with a scrawny three-year-old. Many riders, accustomed to seeing well-fleshed animals, find it difficult to see beyond the ribby skeleton and improper muscling that is common in a race-fit Thoroughbred. “His neck looks awkward. His back seems weak. He’s so narrow!” is a typical response from inexperienced buyers.
Always be aware that horse's are simple animals and a change of environment, feed regime and different relationships with the rider/owner can all greatly influence the horses behaviour particularly in the period immediately following purchase.
We hope this article has helped you in your decision.
HAPPY RIDING !! 😃
The British And Irish Thoroughbred Agency
The Irish Field
© Photo Healy Racing
Suzy Barkley is eyeing Galway for Mcquinn after he was placed in a Punchestown bumper last month.
The seven-year-old gelding had previously been pulled up in a point-to-point and a maiden hurdle, but left that form behind with a staying-on third at 100/1 in Punchestown.
Barkley said: "I've always thought a lot of him and always believed in him despite his form - I think ground was a factor as doesn't handle soft ground. Another furlong and he would have been even closer.
"It took nearly a year for me to get him right with ulcers and not eating properly. He's a big horse, and he is eating well now and has got condition and is stronger.
"I'd like to go to Galway for a bumper with him and the Run For Your Money Syndicate are keen to go - they are all originally from Ireland and all but one live in England now.
"I hope he will keep improving but chasing is his future - he is a fabulous jumper. He is related to Colin Tizzard's good horse Royal Vacation (a Grade One winner over fences).
"He's a good ground horse and would like it good to yielding."
The Irish Field
By Margie McLoone
Mr Flowers and his trainer Suzy Barkley after he had won at Down Royal. Photo Healy Racing.
The Suzy Barkley-owned and trained 27-year-old had a great innings, retiring in 2006 at Down Royal after recording his fourth win over fences
THERE was sad news from Donaghacloney this week with the death on Monday at the age of 27 of the Suzy Barkley-owned and trained Mr Flowers who had been in excellent fettle up to the previous day.
A son of Cardinal Flower, the bay gelding was bred in 1992 by James O’Mahony out of the Monksfield mare Miss Monksfield, a half-sister to the Realm gelding Olan Lad whose seven wins included the 1989 running of the Thyestes Chase.
Mr Flowers was purchased as a foal at Tattersalls by the late Philip Dennison who sold him on at the same venue the following November. Suzy gave Rathmore Stud 7,200gns for the gelding at the 1996 Derby Sale and he has been in her care ever since.
He ran 37 times in total and showed his best form over fences, winning four times, finishing second four times and placing third on five occasions.
Having filled the runner-up spot in a two-mile, one-furlong handicap chase at the 2006 Fairyhouse Easter Festival, Mr Flowers ran at Down Royal the following month when, at the age of 14, he was retired after winning the Daily Mirror Handicap Chase over two and a half miles, beating the seven-year-old Bravery I into second by three lengths.
“I had hoped to do some of those racehorse to riding horse classes on him but he quickly let us know that going around in circles was not for him!” recalls Suzy who currently has 12 horses, mainly youngsters, in her Bluestone Lodge Stables.
“It didn’t matter – ‘Frenchie Flowers’ as we called him here was my pet and I was happy just to look after him at home. When I decided to buy a flat foal, I thought Mr Flowers would look after the colt but, again, he’d have none of it and so that job was given to my old Grade A show jumper, Futurarma, who is now 24.”
David Foster was a highly respected and much loved event rider, who enjoyed a very successful national and international career, which included representing Ireland in three Olympics. In the summer of 1998, David was tragically killed while eventing locally in Rathmolyon.
The following year The David Foster Injured Riders Fund was formed by David’s wife Sneezy. The fund has been running successfully ever since. Its sole purpose is to financially help injured riders.
There are four Trustees looking after the fund; Sneezy Foster, Carmel Mc Shea, Caroline Preston, and former Eventing Ireland President Lord Patrick Conolly Carew.
To date, the fund has paid out more than €160,000 to over 25 individuals. In some particularly exceptional cases 2 to 3 payments have been made to the same individual / family. All payments are given with complete confidentiality.
The main fundraiser is through an annual ball that is well supported by the racing and eventing communities. The ball is held in David’s home town of Enfield. However, members of the eventing community often fund raise independently. Killossery Lodge has run competitions in the past and donated all profits made while a range of Cross Country Course Walks, Table Quizzes and other events continue to raise awareness and finance for the Fund. In addition, a small contribution from every Eventing Ireland membership is donated to the David Foster Injured Riders Fund.
The David Foster Injured Riders Fund is a very worthy cause. All those who have benefitted from the fund have been deeply appreciative of the support in difficult times.