FWIW, my OTTB/Paint never got over the OT part of her life, and I had her for more than 18 years. Remember that on the track, horses only go into a small pen like a warm-up ring or the like just before they go to the gate. My vet’s wife, a former exercise rider on the track, had to explain this to me because my mare did exactly as you’re describing. The episode was 16 years ago, and people around here still remember it, so obviously she was stellar in her lunacy! I eventually got her to behave in the riding ring, but shows wound up being off-limits for her. She was too scary for the other riders. I tried the calming supplements, but nothing did the trick to overcome her early training. Surprisingly, as soon as I untacked her at the show and let her graze, she calmed down immediately and stood for hours while I watched the rest of the competitors. Her show career simply wasn’t to be.
Now, before anyone gets hot under the saddle, this is not an indictment of all OT horses. I’m just pointing out that some make the transition more easily than others, and this owner shouldn’t feel like a failure for not being able to get past this problem without professional help. That would be my recommendation. There are some amazing people out there–mostly former racehorse riders at some level–who are very talented at getting the race out of the horse. I didn’t do that with my mare only because she developed pasture heaves soon afterward, and I didn’t have the heart to ride her during the summer when I had other perfectly fine horses to ride and show. But had she been my only horse, I would have found someone to “fix” the problem with training methods I’m not savvy about.
Horses In the Yard