Originally Posted by horse_luver4e
I know but show me an old horse that doesn't have arthritis.
There are plenty of horses that have been well cared for working and competing well into their 20's. I do agree that many older horses have problems with arthritis. As to the original post:
I think the real issue at hand though, why cause a horse to have ligament and tendon problems, and arthritis at 15, 12, 10 or even younger as opposed to their late 20's, when it can be avoided in most cases?
Jumping at any age is a high impact activity, and younger horses are not physically ready to do it. Even if they think they are ready mentally (though most of the time horses of that age can't possibly have the maturity or experience to really know what they are doing and stay level headed about it. They are prone to getting over-excited or frightened (though this happens with older horses too of course).
I feel this way about many high impact sports though. When I still barrel raced a few years ago, people were buying, training, and racing them younger and younger. Many were track rejects (still fast for barrels), who were racing barrels at 3 years old. The lameness of horse under 10 was SICKENING. Starting reining horses at 2 years old in hard training! Futurities for several disciplines where 2 year olds compete at a national level! Racing 1 and 2 year olds heavily! What is the rush?!
My boy is turning 6 this spring (young still, I know, BUT), he has yet to take a single lame step because I have taken things slow with him...and not even as slow as some might. I rode him A LOT from age 3 on, and lightly as a late 2 year old. If I had been barrel racing him since 3, he would probably be arthitic by now.
My 2 cents...no offense intended toward anyone :)