Critique my plan for Gracie? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 22 Old 12-01-2009, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Critique my plan for Gracie?

Ok, so for anyone who doesn't know, Gracie is a 16-month old Quarter Horse filly. I got her as a 7 month old, and mostly, we've been doing a lot of grooming, handling her feet, and basic leading. A few months ago, I upped my expectations a bit, working more on working in-hand. That is, walking, trotting, backing-up, and side-stepping. I also taught her how to bow. She ties, cross-ties, trailers, and bathes. She can pony, we've walked along by the road and she barely flicks an ear at traffic. We are also working on yielding to me and keeping out of my bubble. That's what she knows now.

Now here is my plan for the future. I'm giving us a lot of time, so I think it will be unlikely that we can't finish a step in the time I'm allowing. That being said, I wouldn't mind pushing things further back if she does need more time.

I want to continue working her in-hand throughout the winter. Next summer [2010], when she's almost two, I want to start teaching her how to lunge and actually get her to excercise [not to much, just some controlled excercise] as opposed to lounging around in the pasture and having the occasional run and buck and fart moments.

Next winter [2010], when she's about two and a half, I want to start introducing tack and equipment. She blankets just fine, so the saddle pad will be a piece of cake. But we'll be working with my surcingle, then saddles and girths, then bridles and bits. I plan to keep putting them on, taking them off, for a few months.

The following Spring [2011], she'll be almost three, and then I'd like to start lunging her under saddle. I'd like to gradually include lunging with a bridle and bit on, maybe do a little work with super long side-reins, I'm not too sure about that part yet though.

After she turns three that summer [2011], I want to start getting on, getting off, doing basic stops and walks, turning, just the most basic of the basics. I'd like to gradually work her up to cantering under saddle.

THEN, the following summer [2012], she'll be four, and I want to get down to business and really start riding her. Going on trails, and actually working.

So that's the ballpark plan. I'm in no hurry, and I have no intention of getting on her before she is three, and I have no intention of working her hard until she's four. I want to take it slow, because like I said, I'm in no hurry whatsoever. Any advice, or anything you'd like to add, and especially any encouragement that I have a good plan would be greatly appreciated! Please and thank you!

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #2 of 22 Old 12-01-2009, 04:31 PM
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I've ridden with a trainer who lungest a horse in side reins with a saddle before anyone gets on. She likes them to be balanced first. The same trainer told me she dosent tie a horse untill 2 or three because they can cause major injury to their neck if the get upset. I am planning to do something simmilar with my weanling (same time frame.) Ill probably introduct my weanling to tack next spring though, because I want to show him in hand. With a bit/ bridle.
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post #3 of 22 Old 12-01-2009, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Well she had to tie. There's no way I can have a horse that doesn't. She tied before I got her, and I taught her to cross-tie. She was tied to one tree, and I had a lead rope wrapped around the other tree so I could release when she freaked out. And I don't think a baby would cause any more damage to themselves being tied than a full-grown horse would. I could be wrong, but 300lbs of pressure on a weaker neck can't be that much worse than 1100lbs on a stronger neck, can it?

And I have no intention of getting into the show life, except maybe schooling shows in the way far away future, so it won't be a problem for us to wait, lol.

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #4 of 22 Old 12-01-2009, 05:19 PM
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Babies joints and ligaments and muscles arent fully formed yet, they're still growing. They might even be a little weaker, but I think they also heal faster. Her arguement was that they are more likely to have neck injury then a full sized horse. She said something about ligament tares.

Im not sure if I agree with her, but I don't want to risk it.
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post #5 of 22 Old 12-01-2009, 05:57 PM
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that's almost the same sort of plan I have for Hunter, although he was 2 in August and he just got off 8 weeks rest from hernia surgery. Over the winter I am exercising/lungeing him and introducing to saddle etc. Was going to borrow my friends surcingle but even with punching more holes its still way too big, so I am in search of a smaller one.
I don't plan on backing him until he is 4 as he was undernourished for most of his young life and I want to make sure he is in tip top shape before I go there. He is slowly growing, lol

Good luck in your training
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post #6 of 22 Old 12-02-2009, 12:48 AM
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I think you've got a good thing going.

I have two 20 month old babies I'm training as well, and they are leading, ground tying, tying, picking up\trimming feet, stepping up on a step, light round penning, and light longing (walk\trot only). They've also been bathed. They've had a light english saddle on, and have had syrcingles on. I've also put a bit in their mouths. This has all been done since August this year; prior to that, they barely lead, and didn't know any of the other things. They probably won't be backed until late next year, when I feel they are strong enough.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #7 of 22 Old 12-02-2009, 04:33 PM
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Oh, I just hope everything goes as you planned! There is not one thing wrong with taking it slow, I would do the same thing, GOOD LUCK GIRL!! ;)

- If today was your last day, and tomorrow was too late, could you say goodbye to yesterday?
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post #8 of 22 Old 12-02-2009, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! This is my first time with a baby and starting a horse. I just want to make sure I'm not planning on something that's going to screw her up, haha. Your reassurances are definitely appreciated. =]

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #9 of 22 Old 12-02-2009, 07:29 PM
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I don't like overhandled babies. To me a family pet can become a real bratt. I want them to grow up first, handled very little and when they are old enough break them fast. I would not buy a 1 or 2 year old because I couldn't wait to get started.
In the old days we broke horses on their second birthday and they seemed to do just fine. You are not a heavy weight so I see no problem with you getting on her when she turns two.
As kids I rode yearlings without any problems and the arabs use to believe in breaking them as yearlings.
If you overhandle a baby as one famous trainer said "they become to resistive"
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post #10 of 22 Old 12-02-2009, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiosDad View Post
In the old days we broke horses on their second birthday and they seemed to do just fine. You are not a heavy weight so I see no problem with you getting on her when she turns two.
Obviously you aren't up to date on any kind of current literature. Two year olds LOOK full grown, but their bones are still forming. Even light backing on a two year old can lead to problems down the road. Unless she knows a ten year old who can successfully break a horse, Waiting until she's three seems like a good option to me.
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