I simply do not understand the rush to climb on a young horse.

Discussion in 'Horse Chat' started by mooselady, Nov 22, 2016.

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  1. mooselady

    mooselady Senior Member

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    What is the purpose of backing an 18 month or 20 month old horse?

    We hear the defence that well race horses do it, they prepare them for futurities at this age...well two wrongs don't make a right, and if you are not involved in these industries, then WHY?

    There is good evidence that horses bones don't mature until a lot later. http://www.hoofrehab.com/ArticlesPDF/Timing and Rate of skeletal maturation in Horses.pdf so why risk compromising a youngster right at the start, why not wait?

    I know that there are those who do it, but my question is why? what makes you ignore the evidence and start them?
     
  2. Peanut Palomino

    Peanut Palomino Senior Member

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    I think a lot of people are just impatient. All the reasoning in the world won't make a difference either because "other people do it," or because they've "done it before and didn't have issues."
    Thing is, most of these people haven't kept a yearling broke horse into it's late teens or early twenties, so they don't actually know what long term damage they've caused. They sell the horse before they have to face the potential consequences of their actions
    It's a shame.
     
  3. Dream27

    Dream27 Senior Member

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    I don't jump on mine until the spring of their 2 year old year. I really don't see the point of getting on them the winter of their yearling year. To me, that is too early. The 4-6 months of waiting for spring to roll around, plays an important part in their development, IMO, and there is no reason that you can't do the basic ground work (saddling, ground driving, bridling) during the winter, and then they are ready to go in the spring (not that I can do that, without an indoor arena, so mine just tromp around in the pasture all winter).
     
  4. NBChoice

    NBChoice Senior Member

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    I bought Sublime when he was 5. I was really surprised to see how much he filled out and matured by the time he was 7. So getting on horses at such a young age is just asking for trouble to me. Not saying people should wait until full body maturity to start training. But I wouldn't start sitting on a horse until about 2.5-3 years if I ever did training.
     
  5. sherian

    sherian Senior Member

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    the "race horses are started at" excuse is bull **** anyways - heck of a difference galloping on a prepared track in a straight line/big radius curve with a hundred lbs of jockey and working in an arena doing a lot of turns and stops with 150 + lbs of human plus saddle on what is often meh footing
    .
     
  6. Arem

    Arem Senior Member

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    People who are impatient should not get horses younger than two.

    Some horses should not even be ridden at two and should be given more time to mature.

    Other than the excitement of starting a young one, I don't see the point or benefit to starting sooner than 2. Let the baby horse "baby horse." Turn it out, for pete's sake, leave it alone, and let it learn valuable "how to be a horse" lessons from other horses. It will make a better horse in general.

    Even if they don't ride, too many people fuss too much with their young ones. Then they grow up to be dull and pushy. I guess some people like dull horses? And pocket pests? But in my opinion, that's ruining the horse.

    I like them friendly, but sensitive. I don't like to have to use more force because the horse has been messed with so much, it doesn't care anymore. "You won't hurt me." "You don't mean it." A sensitive horse reacts with so much less cue or reprimand. And while I like friendly, I need them ok with being out of my space and not bugging me, into my pockets, nosing into whatever I'm doing.

    Turn. Them. Out. And let them grow up. Re-evaluate at 2. Mature enough? Start lightly. (Lightly!) Not? Turn back out. Repeat until ready.

    All a young horse really needs is lead, load, tie, stand for vet and farrier. Want to fuss with a horse more than that? Get one that's older.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
  7. foxtrot

    foxtrot Senior Member

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    It's usually just flat out ignorance.

    I don't even mean that insultingly, just a totally different mindset. Most 2 and 3 year olds, even long yearlings, are already big strong looking animals. People are totally unwilling to acknowledge that "just" a human on the back of a huge horse could cause any damage. I've seen that argument a lot--the horse weighs x lbs and I weigh x lbs, I doubt he'll even feel it! It's terrible.

    I don't necessarily approve but I do get why the racing and futurity industries are the way they are. I don't get doing that to a horse you aren't pointing at futurities.

    But then part of the fun of babies to me has always been watching them grow up and learn. There's so much you can do with a horse on the ground. Usually the people clambering on them so early are people who scoff at groundwork so that's part of it.

    I saw a 5 month old filly on Craigslist the other day with a bridle and heavy western saddle on its back. It's just so needless.
     
  8. mooselady

    mooselady Senior Member

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    See, I can't help but wonder if some folk like to climb on them early because they are less likely to buck or throw a fit? I don't know I am surmising here, but a baby does not have the same strength and power to object.

    Apart from that I have nothing much to offer.
     
  9. StarPattern

    StarPattern Senior Member

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    My QH was started when she was 4ish. She's now 23 years old and still completely sound. She has a touch of arthritis in one knee, but that is managed with glucosamine. It only bothers her when the weather is really cold and I don't ride her anyway. In the summer, she can outrun younger horses and I routinely have to show people her papers because they don't believe she is that old. Most people think she's between 8-12 years old.

    I think her late start deserves all the credit for how well she has aged. My Standardbred is 21 and while she isn't in BAD shape, she does look older. She was a harness racer for much of her life and then used as a broodmare. Compared to Vegas, she looks older.
     
  10. foxtrot

    foxtrot Senior Member

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    I think that's a good part of it too. It's kinda like the obsession with overstimulating babies and "imprinting" them (even though most people have no clue how to REALLY imprint and just torment a baby in the name of desensitizing). Actually, the desensitization craze as a whole... must prepare the horse for every single possible contingency ever as early as possible, so the sooner you ride the horse the easier it will be to train. I've seen that mindset...
     
    localmanruins, meljean and mooselady like this.
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