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.

I’m honored to welcome author Natalie Reinert of the Retired Racehorse Blog as‘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

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

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.

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.


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.

Pinterest: Some of the Coolest Horse Photos on the Web

by Kristin Berkery

What a busy month! I’ve been working on a variety of design projects for marketing clients, doing fun things with my kids, reading a ton of books, researching for, and continuing to develop a new book project. You’ll see new articles here soon.

I’ve created a Pinterest board for and I invite you to check it out. Included are some unique photos you probably haven’t seen yet. Here’s a preview.

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.

Top Gear TV Show Races Ford Mustangs Vs. Horses

by Kristin Berkery

On Tuesday February 21 at 9 pm EST History Channel will air a new episode of Top Gear USA which will pit Ford Mustangs (a Boss 302 and a Roush) against horses in a Pony Express challenge. I was fortunate enough to attend the audience taping for this show so I know how the race turned out… but I’m not telling! It will be a nail-biter and I bet you won’t be able to resist cheering for the horses.

Look for me in a lavender shirt in the audience scenes. In one, I’m standing next to a Roush Mustang and in another I’m about three people behind co-presenter Tanner Foust.

Watch Top Gear on Tuesday at 9 pm Eastern/8 pm Central on History Channel.

Now they need to add a horse to their promo image.