How old is too old to jump?

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by sandyacres, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. sandyacres

    sandyacres Full Member

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    I just acquired a mare that is 16 and trained to jump, dressage, cross country and has been competing for at least the last two years with her previous owner. She is seen here jumping a schooling course at 3'3".

    [video=youtube_share;sJBCr9cQa2A]http://youtu.be/sJBCr9cQa2A[/video]

    She did have one hock injected 1 1/2 years ago and other than a chiropractor adjustment 2 times a year she wears front shoes while training/showing. I am 5'11" and weigh 165 pounds. I don't plan on jumping high just would like to do some small shows and not sure if it is going to be an issue to jump her safely. Any opinions would be great!
     
  2. Rainja

    Rainja Full Member

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    Depends on the horse and how high/often you would be jumping. A 25 year old pony at my barn is eventing with an 8 year old girl and does great. If your horse is in good shape and health doing small jumps once or twice a week it shouldn't hurt her. But as they say a horse only has so many jumps in them. Just keep an eye on her and if you notice she is lame/sore/reluctant cut back on the jumping.
     
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  3. Venus

    Venus Senior Member

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    I think it depends on the horse and their ability - an ex GP horse with relatively few issues may be able to easily "pop over" 3'3" compared to another horse who was maxed out at that height when they were younger.

    My horse is 22 and still jumping, if all goes well he may show to 3' this summer. Never had his hocks done, although he's on a feed-through supplement and I will likely be starting him on adequan. Keeping older horses fit goes a long way in helping them stay sound, so I would start there (doesn't have to be crazy, but having muscle to support them will prevent injuries). She will likely "tell" you if the height/workload is getting to be too much for her.

    If she was injected a while ago, you may want to re x-ray that hock (or both, even better) to see what's there, could be she'll need more injections as she continues (I assume there was a reason she was injected in the first place).

    Lots of the school horses I learned on were well into their 20's and still jumping up to 2'6" :)
     
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  4. Dressage Princess

    Dressage Princess Senior Member

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    My old man was still doing courses up to about 3' when he was 20/21, and loving it. Though he did start to show his age around that time, so I retired him shortly after that and he is now happily cruising around the paddock keeping the youngster in check.

    It really does depend completely on the horse and what signs are showing - I've had to stop one of mine jumping at the ripe old age of 11 because his legs couldn't hold up for it, while he was okay to keep going with a bit of flatwork for a bit longer. Other horses I know have kept going well into their twenties.

    If the horse is sound and not showing any signs of discomfort, I don't see any reason for it to not keep going. Though of course, having a vet look your mare wouldn't be a bad idea just so you can get an idea of what sort of condition her joints are in and what signs of strain may be starting to show up.
     
  5. sandyacres

    sandyacres Full Member

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    Thank you guys!! But second part of the question, am I too big to ride this mare being 5'11" at 165 pounds?
     
  6. Venus

    Venus Senior Member

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    Depends on the horse - first would be her size. If she's 14.2 and slight, it may be a bit much to ask her aging body. But that's not the only consideration, I've known 16.2hh TB's that can't handle a rider much over 125 b/c they have sore/sensitive backs or other issues, while lots of teeny tiny QH's easily carry men over 200lbs. I'd start of first with how big her previous owner is to give you a baseline of what you know she can handle.

    I'm tall too (almost 5'10", so you have me beat!) and I don't like sitting on anything much smaller than 15.3 - although my guy's 16.1 is probably the smallest I feel "comfortable" on. That's more personal preference/comfort rather than a weight thing. At 165, you shouldn't be too limited by your weight for riding most horses over 15hh (IMO)
     
  7. MysticRealm

    MysticRealm Senior Member

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    There was a school horse I knew of a while ago that was 27 and still giving jumping lessons to kids. Depends on the horse. I also retired my mare from jumping (and nearly all riding) by age 10 or 11 or so b/c she had chronic lameness problems.
     
  8. Passelande

    Passelande Senior Member

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    If she is sound, I don't see why not. 16 is a great age because it is a fun age because the horse is still fun and responsive and yet has lots of experience. Just make sure she is physically able to do so.
     
  9. LifeIsGrand

    LifeIsGrand Senior Member

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    Don't like the horse... but 16 is not too old for a horse to jump higher (3'3-3'6) but I would only pursue it if

    1. the horse is conformationally sound for it. if they have bad knees forget about it, not worth it.
    2. the horse is FIT for it.
    3. the horse is maintained for it
    4. has a history of decent joints and no injuries

    I wouldnt even bother if the horse has had a suspensory injury, or bad back, or bad joints. I know a school horse in my barn who is 20 years old and still does little 2'6 courses, but he is trained VERY well, very honest, and is maintained with injections, seen by the chiro, etc.

    But the horse in the video is not something I'd want to do anything with.
     
  10. JKetsche

    JKetsche Senior Member

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    I'd be more concerned about the lack of control than about the fact that she's 16.
     

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