Be realistic about your ability and experience with horses. Generally, retired racehorses are good to handle, however, some may be a little nervous whilst adjusting to the change in lifestyle.
Your horse may not stand still for you to mount; this is because the jockeys are more often than not legged up whilst the horse is walking. Some will stand provided someone holds them.
Although the horse is used to being ridden it may not have any idea about conventional riding techniques and equipment.
The horse may not have travelled in a float before as many horses are trucked to and from race meetings. It is also worth keeping in mind that the horse has probably never been tied to the side of a float or truck.
When taken out and about for the first couple of times the horse may think it is going to a race meeting and therefore be excited and confused.
It is recommended to vet your horse first. Even if problems are revealed don’t deter you from having the horse, at least you are fully aware of what you are entering into and you are being fair on the horse by understanding it’s physical capabilities. This should also apply if you are being given a horse.
Ask if the horse has developed any vices, like crib biting, wind sucking, weaving, box walking, etc. You don’t need to reject a horse with vices but you need to decide what you can live with.
It is important to remember that the horse has been fed a specialist racing diet, exercised regularly and will be accustomed to a racing stable routine. These horses will take time to let down and acclimatise to their new lifestyle.