Kristin Berkery

Kristin is a digital marketing expert and voiceover talent in Sacramento, California, with a life-long passion for horses. In her spare time she's active with her daughter and son. See Kristin's marketing agency and LinkedIn profile.

What is an OTTB?

An OTTB is a brave soul, an animal with movement in his bones, an athlete of tremendous power; but most of all, an OTTB is a horse to love.

The Head and Not the Heart by Natalie Keller Reinert

I’m honored to welcome author Natalie Reinert as ilovehorses.net‘s first guest blogger. One of Natalie’s passions is Off-the-Track-Thoroughbreds, or retired racehorses that go on to other careers. Check out Natalie’s novel The Head and Not the Heart, which has 5 stars on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. — Kristin Berkery

by Natalie Reinert

You’ve heard of OTTBs, of course. You have a friend with a friend who bought a horse off the track. She told you they’re those hot, crazy, fire-breathing dragons you see leaping onto their owner’s heads at horse shows. They’re those mad, spooky animals that take off when a branch snaps beneath a hoof, turning a trail ride into a tantrum. They’re those fragile, sensitive beasts that break out in hives when they’re touched by a butterfly.

Neville Bardos Thoroughbred horse

Neville Bardos, an OTTB who avoided slaughter and survived a barn fire, pictured with Boyd Martin. He is a possible candidate for the 2012 U.S. Olympic equestrian team. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld/USEA

But wait, that can’t be the whole story. OTTBs are making the news these days, from the Retired Racehorse Trainer Challenge to the high-profile stories on miracle horses like Neville Bardos, the Australian OTTB whose will to not just live but get back to work as a 4* event horse has made headlines in equine and mass media.

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The Akhal Teke: Desert Horse To Olympic Champion and Back Again

by Kristin Berkery

>> Download the complete 1,400-word article for Kindle

Horse and rider in native Turkoman costume, date and photographer unknown

Horse and rider in native Turkoman costume, date and photographer unknown

Absent, foaled in 1952 and winner of three Olympic medals. Photographer unknown

Excerpt: This summer marks 52 years since one of the most unusual horses first competed at the Summer Olympics in Rome. Absent, a striking black Akhal Teke stallion with four white socks and a star, introduced the world to a little-known ancient breed when he won a gold medal in dressage for the Soviet Union. He returned to the Olympics two more times for an individual bronze medal in 1964 and a team gold medal in 1968, both in dressage.
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The Wild Horses of Chernobyl

In a weird twist, the worst man-made disaster in history has provided a new home for endangered Przewalski’s Horses.

by Kristin Berkery

Chernobyl reactor 4 after the explosion.

In the middle of the night on April 26, 1986, an explosion at the V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Station near Chernobyl, Ukraine, changed history.

Nuclear fallout was discovered on the other side of the world within a week. Nearly half a million people were resettled from contaminated areas. The number of deaths attributable to the disaster is unknown.

The cleanup became a huge financial burden on the Soviet Union, and the government’s secretiveness about the disaster led to a demand for reforms (glasnost) that precipitated the crumbling of the Soviet empire.
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What is Il Palio?

by Kristin Berkery

The winner is the horse that crosses the finish line first, regardless of whether it has a rider.

The starting line of Il Palio di Siena.
Photo by Janus Kinase

Held twice every summer, Il Palio di Siena is the wildest horse race in modern times. The jockeys ride bareback on mixed breed horses they may be unfamiliar with at blinding speeds through dirt-covered streets in Siena, Italy. The whips they carry are used for interfering with other riders and horses in addition to encouraging their own horses forward. It’s common for riders to be unseated and their mounts to finish the race without them.

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More *Witez II and A New Film About Polish Arabians

This video blog post is a follow-up to the article, A Real-Life War Horse: *Witez II’s Journey Through History.

In the clip, I provide more information about the author of the book And Miles To Go and reveal the truth about *Witez II’s “liberation” after the war. I also highlight the video Path To Glory: The Rise and Rise of the Polish Arabian Horse, which is probably the most comprehensive film ever made of Arabian horse history.

Bonus points if you can name the model horse behind me. 🙂