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post #11 of 15 Old 07-13-2012, 02:24 PM
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i started my mare at 3yo, bc thats how old she was when i got her. that being said i wouldnt be against starting a 2yo lightly for a couple months, then giving them the winter off. light riding can actually strengthen their bones.
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post #12 of 15 Old 07-13-2012, 02:46 PM
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What I would do is put a solid foundation of groundwork for 2 or 3 months, so that they're yeilding fore and hindquarters, lunging WTC, stopping on the lunge, backing, accepting pressure, and maybe accepting the bit or saddle pad if I think they're mentally mature enough.
Then I'd turn them out until late in their 3rd year for saddling, bridling, and depending on the individual, short rides no more than 20 minutes at a time.

By the time they're 4, then the real training would start. Not 2 or 3 hours of hard work, but consistent, and steady work 4 to 5 days a week. My goal would be for them to know their leads, WTC comfortably and balanced under saddle, backing well, accepting and giving to the bit, flexing side to side, breaking at the pole, and all and all, having a sound minded individual with a supple body.

I'm not into the futurity and derby thing. I understand that that is where a horse makes a name for itself, but shouldn't be at the expense of their soundness.

I want an horse who is willing to work and will be able to do so for the next 20+ years. I can be patient so that they're started right.

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post #13 of 15 Old 07-13-2012, 04:54 PM
Join Date: May 2012
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Originally Posted by kassierae View Post
Horses are sexually mature at a year old or so. Yearning fillies and colts can and have had foals.
Ability to reproduce does not mean sexual maturity. That's the equivalent of saying a 12 year old child is sexually mature just because their primary organs are functional. Colts don't express full count and potency until they are about 5 to 6 years old.
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post #14 of 15 Old 07-13-2012, 06:34 PM
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Okay but able to reproduce generally means their organs are mature enough to reproduce. Hence sexual maturity. It's not like a stallion is going to think to himself 'oh she's.only a yearling she's not sexually mature so I'm not going to mate with her'.
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post #15 of 15 Old 07-13-2012, 07:39 PM
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In the natural world, fillies stay with their families/herds until they are between 3-4 years old. Then they are chased off by the sire or allowed to be taken by competing stallions. They are not bred as yearlings and two year olds. That only happens in the human world where for some reason people think it is okay to breed animals back to back when they're still technically babies. This is because society is impatient and likes to produce results as fast as possible, which is why we have horses, animals that can live between 30 and 40 years, physically broken down by the time they are four years old.

And no, able to reproduce does not mean sexually mature. Just because they are capable of it does not mean they truly have the physical capacity nor the capability to pull it off in good health. Breed a two year old filly, hope the baby comes out healthy, and be lucky if she is still rideable or decently useable as a mount in 4 or 5 years when she is so sway backed you can't put a saddle on her because the tendons and fusable bones in her spine haven't grown and strengthened to the point that she can support a growing foal in her belly. Never mind what the weight bearing does to unfused knees and hocks and cannons that are still malleable at that young age.

A horse does not have a completely strengthened and fully supportable bone structure until they are nearly 7 years old. If their backs and their joints cannot take the abuse, why do you think their sexual organs can?

Sorry for the rant.

If you allow a horse to grow, without having to bear serious weight as a young colt or filly, you will hardly ever see swayed backs or serious arthritis in an animal until they're well into their 20's. It's the ones started as two year olds and ridden consistently as soon as they are started that you end up seeing having seriously bad arthritis by the time they are 10 years old. 10! A horse that young shouldn't be arthritic. You shouldn't have to give a cocktail of injections to get a horse in their teens to go without pain. It is friggin' ridiculous because people are so impatient.

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