Why start them so young? - Page 12

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Why start them so young?

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    07-07-2014, 11:22 PM
Originally Posted by COWCHICK77    
Studies keep getting mentioned but one thing to think about when reading studies is who paid for the study and how it was conducted. Anyone with enough money can have a study conducted.
Then look at studies that have been published in the past concerning human health. Eggs are bad, oh wait, eggs are good for you. Alcohol is bad, well actually 2 beers a day for a male can be beneficial, one a day for a female is healthy. What is considered bad and good changes constantly, I can't keep up with it.
So I base opinions on experience.
I would also like to add that in the scientific community you do not have to publish what does NOT work, only what works for your hypothesis. So if I say that starting a horse at two will lame them up, do my samples and find that some or most of the horses I used for the study who were lamed up had prior genetic conditions I do NOT have to report that, thus skewing the results and validity of the test. Sad but true.
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    07-07-2014, 11:41 PM
Originally Posted by COWCHICK77    
Studies keep getting mentioned but one thing to think about when reading studies is who paid for the study and how it was conducted. Anyone with enough money can have a study conducted.
Then look at studies that have been published in the past concerning human health. Eggs are bad, oh wait, eggs are good for you. Alcohol is bad, well actually 2 beers a day for a male can be beneficial, one a day for a female is healthy. What is considered bad and good changes constantly, I can't keep up with it.
So I base opinions on experience.

Rbarlo, it sounds like your six year old is a dandy, good for you, nothing like a born broke horse! :)
If he was not ready at 2,3,4 or 5 then you did him a service by starting him at 6. But starting him at 6 didn't automatically make him a great horse. The horse is an individual.
I keep stressing the individuality of the horse but it doesn't seem to be getting through.
I have a 4 yr old that has less than 60 days on him, I have a 5 year old with less than 45 days and two year olds with more riding than those horses combined. Because I ride and train to what they can handle. My horses are an investment and I do care about them.
This. Oh, so very much, this.

I, like Cowchick, view my horses as lifelong investments. Some I keep, others I sell on, but no matter what, I want them to have successful and long careers so everything I do with them is geared toward that goal. All the horses I grew up on were started at 2 (some started heavily for the show pen), all those same horses were still going strong up into their mid to late 20s.

When I see signs from the individual horse that they aren't ready yet, I back off and give them time. However, if they are ready, there are a lot of things that a young mind can learn more quickly than an older mind who has developed their own opinion .
    07-08-2014, 01:32 AM
Originally Posted by rbarlo32    
All she really has has left is to learn to canter on que which as she is going to be sold as a you g child's pony most likely a lead rein pony it really isn't all the necessary for her to learn that and at 6 she has hardly past her prime when she could easily keep working into her 20 as long as nothing tragic happen.

Okay, I am cringing.

A broke horse isn't a broke horse at the walk/trot/canter/maybe a little leg.

You don't stop teaching them after they learn to canter...And if you haven't even cantered her yet, I can't believe you have put all the other buttons on necessary for her to be a broke horse.
Cherie and MyJumper like this.
    07-08-2014, 02:30 AM
Did not read all the replies, but there are two main reasons horses are started young. Impatience on the owners part, and anticipation for competition whether it's futurities or races. Yes, there are horses started early that will stay sound. Yes, there are horses started late that will become unsound. That being said, if you truly care about the well being of your horse you will take all measures and precaution to ensure they have the best quality of life. Much of it is genetics and conformation. Some horses are naturally strong and well conformed they can take an early beating, whether you should be doing it or not. Others will have issues all their life. If you have the abilities to take on a young horse you should also have the fortitude to do what is best by them, realizing they are a payment you may not be able to enjoy for awhile. No matter the genetics I believe in allowing a horse to mature both physically and mentally before regular riding. Allowing familiarization to tack, ground work, and conditioning is different.
    07-08-2014, 02:56 AM
I can't speak for big name trainers. We don't have any around here (at least not that I know of).

I can speak for everyday horse people. I think a lot of it comes down to not knowing better. I know if you have a horse that is over three-years-old and not started around here, people ask you what's wrong with the horse. There is an arab mare for sale at my barn that is six-years-old and hasn't been started. The owner has her posted on Craigslist. She finally took her down because she had too many people emailing her, asking her what was wrong with the horse that it wasn't started yet at six. Ignorance isn't an excuse, but it is a reason.

I also think a lot of people look at the racing industry and think "Well, if they start their horses at 2, so can I." They don't think about, or don't care about, the lasting effects on a horse's body and mind. Just like some people don't give OTTBs enough time to decompress after being on the track before putting them straight into training and expecting them to perform like a similarly aged horse with more training.

Yes, I started my gelding at 2. As a 5yo, he has maybe a dozen total rides on him. He has cantered under saddle once, and that was on his fourth ride (my trainer friend just wanted to get a feel for his canter and only cantered him for the length of one long side of the arena). Most of his rides have been walk, with a little trot. He was 15hh and 1200lbs as a 2yo, and was mentally more mature than any of the other two-year-olds on the property. My BO started another 2yo at the same time he started mine. The other 2yo was a tiny (13hh) QH gelding who was physically and mentally immature. His owner (a 180lbs man) rode him hard on the trails from the get-go in big spurs and a twisted wire snaffle. I would be willing to get that that little gelding will be broken down LONG before my gelding is even ready to quit.
    07-08-2014, 03:30 AM
Originally Posted by kimberlyrae1993    
If it was so so bad for the horse we would have stopped starring them at 2 years ago.. just saying.. almost all horses are started at 2.
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Just to step in and support rb and what she is saying...she is talking from everything that she has been brought up with..this statement is interesting to me in the discussion, because if we are are talking about the history, you have to agree that there is a longer tradition of horse riding in the UK than there is on the West side of the Atlantic. Over those 1000's of years we came up with our own long held and long understood beliefs, which include the fact that horses should not be started, as in backed until 3, and not ridden until they are 4, of course all ground work is in place before that.

It is also a long held belief in the UK that 15% MAYBE 20% at a push is the very maximum that a horse can carry. Strange how I still believe that backing and riding at two is wrong, but I have an easier time re arranging the truths I used to know to allow myself to ride, albeit with a burden of guilt.

Oh, and my UK side is fine with horses working on the roads, standing on cement floors, being towed in little trailers behind cars. Our beliefs in what is right are largely set by our early experiences and teaching, the older we get the more difficult it is to re program that thinking.

I believe that I have read studies talking about the ages that grwoth plates close up, and it is way later than two, but no I can't link you to them, bed time for this old girl.

Just remember, just because you were brought up believing something, just because "we have always done it" it does not make it right or true. Also every horse matures at different ages, many breeds mature at different rates.

My conclusion, one horse MAY be ready at two, his pasture mate may not be physically or mentally ready until he is four. Blanket statements never apply to all.
smrobs, jaydee and Horseychick87 like this.
    07-08-2014, 03:39 AM
Someone posted , way back, comparing the weight bareing percentages of young humans to young horses. That is not an apples to apples comparison. Humans can carry a LOT more than horses, proportionate to their weight, becuase of their vertical alignment from standing upright on two legs. Horses are really better "designed" to pull a load, than carry a load. While we humans are better 'designed' to carry a load, than pull it.
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    07-08-2014, 04:25 AM
She may not have cantered with a rider but she is great and transitions already so canter would not be a problem should I decided to do that with here and as I said I'm aiming her to be a lead rein/first ridden pony so cantering isn't a necessity, plus I never said she was completely backed yet nor did I say she doesn't still have a lot she could learn, but for what I am aiming her doe she doesn't really need to learn much more. I also broke my stallion to ride and drive when I got him I got him at ten he went, looked and did really well and far from past his prime at that point.
    07-08-2014, 04:47 AM
Super Moderator
I think this might be a cultural thing, in the UK in the domestic horse community almost "no-one" (although, of course some people might) starts a horse at two. It just is very frowned upon. I would never do it and will happily wait until 4 years old if the horse is a slow developer or even longer, there is no hurry and no need to back something that most people over here regard as a baby horse that has a lot of growing to do. If this thread was on a UK forum the answers would be completely reversed in terms of support - so I'd just put it down to different ways of doing things, as long as horses are loved and cared for it really probably makes very little difference in the grand scheme of things.
    07-08-2014, 06:15 AM
Canter is unnecessary for a leadline/first ridden pony?

So... considering canter is where most breakers will buck the most and the hardest [even my girl put in a few crow hops and she was totally easy], you would put your BEGINNER child on a pony that had never been cantered under saddle?

Tell me, what happens if said pony were to spook forward for a few strides? What about when your child wants to learn to canter? Maybe nothing. But maybe the pony panics and starts bucking like a rodeo bronc and your child ends up with a broken neck.

I will grant that CAN happen with a broke horse too, but it's far less likely.

Tell me again that a first ridden/leadline pony doesn't need to know how it feels to canter with a rider.

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