Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Alberta, Canada
• Horses: 0
Young, uncoordinated Draft X
Hello all, I'm new to the forum and sought it out because I have a few questions.
First of all, I'm 22 and have been riding since I was 9 or 10. I have done lots of work with young horses and with retraining older ones. Recently, I came across a lady who was looking to find a trainer to work with her three year old Draft/Paint X. Needing a project since my sister just sold her horse whom I was schooling cross country and over fences (he was previously strictly a dressage horse) I thought it would be the perfect solution to keep me busy.
I went and met this new project of mine this past Monday and the facility is great, the people are great but I'm not convinced I will be able to do much more than walk and trot with this guy. His knees are not closed up properly because he is so young and he is in the middle of a growth spurt. Right now, his croup is at least 3 if not 4 inches higher than his wither so, not only is he ridiculously downhill but he is gangly and uncoordinated, as one would expect him to be while in the process of shooting up another four inches.
I am going to stick to easy, gentle stuff with him because I have no interest in harming his knees or pushing his little green baby brain too far too fast. I am pretty familiar with drafts and know that they usually mature, both physically and mentally, more slowly than smaller horses. Obviously, my best route is going to be lots of circles and serpentines and figure eights and hour glass drills with lots of bending and transitions. I also want to work on his balance and rhythm but am concerned that his ungainliness and inability to coordinate and understand where is own limbs are is going to make things difficult, particularly at the canter, which is going to make things even more difficult with the horse's owner. Giving the horse a balanced rythmical canter is one of her biggest goals and, given that he is growing so much right now, I don't know how well I will be able to get him to that point.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to what else I can do to encourage balance and rhythm in a young, growing draft? He is already over 16.2hh and I wouldn't be surprised if he eventually tops out at a whopping 18hh. I want to get him thinking about his balance and being careful before he weighs 2000 pounds. I have been reading a website entitled, The Art of Classical Riding, suggested by someone else on another thread and it's giving me lots of ideas, but I thought I would ask and see if anyone has been in a similar situation and, if so, what they did to help both themselves and their horse.