Originally Posted by Paint Mom
arena work as a 3 year old (maybe 60 - 90 rides total through that year, and as a 4 or 5 year old, regular riding and some showing is what I'm going for. Just want to know how light light riding has to be.
Depends what 'arena work' means. I'd keep it low-impact until maturity. Likewise, it depends what you do & for how long on those 30-60-90 rides. If for eg, your 'rides' on him at 2-3yo were sliding on & then off his back, or even sitting there or walking around for a minute or few, esp if he's big & you're not, I don't think that would be really detrimental. If 'regular riding' at 4 yo was short, low impact trail riding or arena work, likewise.
And trail riding... Aren't wild horses traveling miles and miles a day from the time they're born? So even with trail riding why wait so late?
Wild horses don't tend to do their miles with extra weight & imbalance on immature backs.
Tho it's not just the being ridden too young it seems - I've heard it said that a well respected researcher I know of, who's examined & dissected thousands of horses, has found 100% of racehorses - trotters included - to have sacroilliac and other back issues. I'd take it that QH futurities would be the same. ....Like I said tho, I've only heard this, not seen any data to prove/disprove it.