How early do you want to start a futurity horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 08-27-2008, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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How early do you want to start a futurity horse?

Hey ya'll, I need some help with a question no one really knows the answer to. How early is it safe to start a futurity horse? I mean if the horse is born in Feb - April and the shows start in Spring/Early Summer, then there would be no time to put some training on them, so they have got to start earlier than that. My trainer that I work for sometimes has race babies that he starts in October of their yearling year regardless of when they were born. This year, he only has a bay filly who was born in late April. The vet said it depends on the condition of their knee, but even if their knee was closed or not, it still seems a bit mad to be riding something around 19 months old. What do you think? Oh, I'm asking because we got great compliments on how well Lady is built and if I planned to show her next year in the 2 y/o futurities. I told my trainer about it and he was all for the idea, but I don't want to mess my horse up. Whew sorry for the article
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post #2 of 13 Old 08-27-2008, 06:16 PM
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I personally think it depends on how much you care for the horse, v's what the horse might give you in prizes.
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post #3 of 13 Old 08-27-2008, 06:43 PM
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What type of futurities are you planning on doing? Most of the ones I've been involved in start after July 1st. Personally, I only do futurities on horses that are really suited for it. To me, that means it all comes naturally to them - they basically just have to learn how to balance with you on their back and listen to you; you don't have to really work on their movements and such.

That said, when I have done it, I start them on the ground as a yearling, really working on listening to me in all aspects, saddling, taking them places, light lunging (15 min and less), and ground driving. That all makes the transition to the saddle relatively easy, and cuts down on how much you have to teach them from the back.
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post #4 of 13 Old 08-27-2008, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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I live in Texas and was told there was a bunch of futurities relatively close by, although I'm not sure of the dates/locations, etc. Well, I'm aiming towards reining with my filly. She is going to be over 15HH, so too big to make a great cutting horse (I was told). She is already engaging her hindquarters in everything she does (stop, backup, turning, etc.) I have never starting a horse ground driving, but have done it with a few already started. How would you suggest I start. Do you get them accustomed to the bit and do it that way, or maybe in a halter/bosal type thing. She is very light in her face, so could probably go in a bosal, that's what I was going to train her in to start.

The trainer I would be working with thinks that I should start her in October, as in riding her, but I think its too young to start them that early. IMO, they would have a great couple of years, then start getting lame, etc. With feet/leg probs. I talked to one family a while ago that starts them at 18 months riding, but they get some points on them and sell them while in their 2 y/o year, so Idk what to do, lol.

I think driving my baby would be a great way to start at least, then it should be easy to get on her when she is two (May 2008). Do you think it would be safe to start riding her around 22 months or so, since she is really well built, even as a 16 month old right now? I want a horse I can go to local shows with until she is in her 20's. My trainer says she will be fine, but I'm leery.
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post #5 of 13 Old 08-27-2008, 09:11 PM
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It is my personal opinion that NO HORSE should be started before they turn 3. Their bodies and minds just aren't ready for it.
19 months is much too early, I don't care if it's a TB, QH, Clyde, or Shetland. It is too hard on their bodies.


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post #6 of 13 Old 08-27-2008, 09:41 PM
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If you're going for reining, most of the futurities are for 3 year olds, unless it's changed (I used to ride with a guy in OK that did a lot of reining and all-around, but it's been about 4 years). I have had horses of my own that were started in Jan, Feb of their 2 year old year, and kept until they were 10+ years old, showed very lightly as 2 year olds and picked it up as 3 year olds, and never had an issue with lameness. But that's me, not everybody will have the same luck.

To me, I have let the horses tell me what to do. If I want to do futurities, I start riding them around Feb and see what they do. Short rides, just teaching the basics. However, I let them tell me to keep going or not. And most of them are just not mature enough, so they get one to two months of light riding, and then are turned back out for a few months, and brought back in and the same thing done. The only horses that I've done futurities on (HUS and WP) are the ones that those short little 20min rides are enough to get them ready to go in the pen.

Any horse I'm not aiming at futurities on, they get started late summer of their two year old year, turned back out until they are three, and then started working.

As far as ground driving work, I start out with a halter and two lunge lines, and get them guiding in each direction and going forward off my voice. However, I don't do this with every horse, mainly the ones I am trying to jump start for the futurities.

Sorry I can't answer your question completely, but since I don't know your horse or how you or your trainer rides, it's really hard to say. Best of luck with your young one, though.
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post #7 of 13 Old 08-28-2008, 01:42 PM
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I don't agree with starting horses before they are three. Its bad for their joints/ back/ overall health if you don't let them finish growing.

But it's up to you, it depends on what you think is the most important thing. Do you want to show your two year old under saddle and risk them not staying sound into their twenties? Or do you want to wait, not show in the futurities start them at three and have a horse that will most likley be usable into their twenties and beyond?

It depends on the horse. Sure there horses that are started as yearling's and are still being ridden at twenty five and horses that are started at three and have to be retired at fifteen, but the earlier you start, the greater risk of injury.
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post #8 of 13 Old 08-28-2008, 02:04 PM
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mine was 2 when we started him back in april, he was elidgeble to show AQHA in july. It's august and we almost have the lope, just in time for him to go on winter vacation for several months....

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
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post #9 of 13 Old 08-28-2008, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Sandsarita, I looked up a few associations, and there are 3 y/o fall futurities, so I could start her in the summer/fall of her 2 y/o year and be pretty good by the time the 3 y/o futurities are here. If she doesn't like to rein as we go along, I can always do trail and some rail classes just for fun, but we think as long as she enjoys it, she will be a great horse. She isn't even bred with any point earners up close, but our goal would be to get a couple points on her, so she's proven and breed her to a great reining/cutting stud to get an even better baby that I'll also keep for just about forever, lol. I'm hoping she will come along. It makes me feel a lot better about not starting her out in a couple months. I am going to research how to start driving her, I think that would be something I could do for a while, then it would be a hop, skip, and a jump to introduce her to a rider (ME!!!).

Farmpony, that's awesome that you almost have the lope down!!! Are you showing in breed shows, or club/open shows? I think its always fun to take then to the club shows and put a couple miles on them. I think I like the smaller shows better than the bigger ones, lol. Idk what level I'm going to be showing at yet, it just depends on how much ability both of us have and how far we want to go, I guess. I've only been to one breed show, the Arizona Nationals, where I rode a friends horse in Western Pleasure and totally bonked it because another horse from a 4H group ran into him and he blew up, lol. It wasn't a very good experience.

I personally have no problem starting a horse out when its 2, if it has enough bone to it and isn't showing problems carrying its weight, but everyone has different opinions and memories, so they believe differently, which is great! It wouldn't be very fun if everyone had the same opinions.

Thank you for your opinions, it gave me a lot to think about. I am going to break her when she is 2, but I might just go nice and easy w/ basics instead of rushing to get to that futurity, unless she progresses fast, which she has so far. Thanks Guys!!!
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post #10 of 13 Old 08-28-2008, 04:00 PM
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I do the Arab shows as my "local" shows and then the breed show I do is the AQHA shows. (He's a QH). I love the Arab shows though because they are really nice people and it's a great schedule. Plus it's 2 days and they have stalls for $25 so there is no stress, you come in friday night, ride and bathe and then show all weekend....

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin knees get lazy
And love like crazy"
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