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Too young to jump?

This is a discussion on Too young to jump? within the Jumping forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Is a 2 1/2 year old horse too young for dressage
  • Is a six year old horse too young to event

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    02-21-2012, 11:39 AM
  #11
Yearling
I started jumping my mare at 4. We stuck to 18'-2" that whole year. By her 5yo year we were doing 2'6". 4 is the age to start jumping, but don't go too crazy. By 5 they should be doing more serious work. But even to this day, now that my mare is 10 I only jump 2-3 days a week, and only 1-2 times will they be hard jumping workouts, the other day usually consists of gridwork.
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    02-21-2012, 12:14 PM
  #12
Trained
I totally agree lovethesaddlebreds. This past year was my mares 5yo year and I showed her at 2'6". A couple times I jumped 3ft under instruction, but not regularly or many jumps. Now that she's 6 I feel like anything goes.
     
    02-21-2012, 07:12 PM
  #13
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsygirl    
thats pretty crazy ! I was going to do the young event horse with my mare. 4yo need to jump 3ft though, and I thought that was too high. I stayed at 2ft-2ft3 with her when she was 4.
However they aren't jumping 3ft at YEH shows until the end of the year, usually at championships. I'm currently at a farm where they're holding YEH events and have been helping set courses. The majority of the courses right now are around 2'6", with maybe two-three jumps total coming up around 2'9" and perhaps one at 2'11" (novice height). The idea is that by the time the horses are ready for championships at the end of the year (usually in October) that they can navigate a small novice course without much trouble. Considering you can qualify for championships with only two shows with a score of 70%+ or one show with a score of 75%+ I wouldn't say you're putting all that much stress on a young horse's legs unless you haven't prepared it and conditioned it well.
     
    02-21-2012, 07:26 PM
  #14
Green Broke
Leg joints are pretty consistently done by 3 years old at the very latest. Horses fuse from the feet up and from the tail forward. That means that the very final bones to fuse are in the neck around 6-7 years old.

I see absolutely no harm in lightly starting a horse over fences at 4 years old. However, I would make VERY sure that you're horse is already well balanced and relaxed as this is where you'll find success. I didn't jump my 4 year old because she couldn't even canter balanced. It had nothing to do with her joints and everything to do with her mentality. She'll be 5 years old in April and we've just started over crossrails and gymnastic in the last month after she had 2 months of Dressage training with a professional trainer. She is MUCH more adept at handling jumping now, and able to recover from any striding mixups instead of panicking, tripping and hurting either herself, me or both.

I would be far more concerned about the mental and athletic capabilities of a 4 year old then I would with leg joints. Setting them up properly reduces almost all of the major risk.
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    02-21-2012, 07:32 PM
  #15
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuffyDuck    
No, gelding ;)

I was just trying to prove a point that horses at 4yo are jumping those heights. I'm no jumper so can't say what they should/ shouldn't be jumping. I know 3yo/4yo auction horses free jump impressive heights too...and he's going for the big bucks... 25,000 out here for a horse is rather expensive! That sort of money means your horse is going to reach top level.

He was just one of many that I did a basic search from 3,5years - 4,5 years.
To be fair, you can find proof that a lot of things that shouldn't be done with horses are being done with horses (or any other subject for that matter). Just look at all the different situations/photos/videos that have been discussed just here in this forum that people were adamant should not be being done.
     
    02-21-2012, 09:35 PM
  #16
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Strange    
However they aren't jumping 3ft at YEH shows until the end of the year, usually at championships. I'm currently at a farm where they're holding YEH events and have been helping set courses. The majority of the courses right now are around 2'6", with maybe two-three jumps total coming up around 2'9" and perhaps one at 2'11" (novice height). The idea is that by the time the horses are ready for championships at the end of the year (usually in October) that they can navigate a small novice course without much trouble. Considering you can qualify for championships with only two shows with a score of 70%+ or one show with a score of 75%+ I wouldn't say you're putting all that much stress on a young horse's legs unless you haven't prepared it and conditioned it well.
the spring one they held a couple years ago around here was pretty maxed out- there certainly wasnt anything under 2'9". Theres not a lot for YEH around here and only one event around here even holds it. I didnt want to be jumping my 4yo 3ft so I didnt do it.
     
    02-21-2012, 09:54 PM
  #17
Green Broke
My horse will be six in March, and my trainer sternly suggests I don't jump her more than once a week, lightly. "Less is more. Ground poles are fun too." I'm recommended not to jump over 18 inches and to just have fun over cross rails and little grids. My trainer has a five-year-old she retired from regular jumping after seeing his five-year-old half brother ruined by being jump too high and too soon.


After seeing that, she is probably a little more strict about jumping babies than most. But I see no disadvantage to her policies. It keeps a horse useful for longer and saves their joints. Jumping is tough. My friend's old jumping horse is a sorry creature. He's 20 years old. Even with joint injections, he isn't much use. He started showing signs of wear years ago. He was burnt out by too much jumping. Bad knees, bad hocks... Constantly lame.
     
    02-22-2012, 02:03 AM
  #18
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by themacpack    
To be fair, you can find proof that a lot of things that shouldn't be done with horses are being done with horses (or any other subject for that matter). Just look at all the different situations/photos/videos that have been discussed just here in this forum that people were adamant should not be being done.

That's true macpack,I can't comment too much as I am not a jumper and don't know the rights and wrongs, however as I posted further on, this isn't a one off, this is many horses, that when I searched, are doing these heights.

I think another valid point has been made, too- about making sure your horse is conditioned enough to deal with the stress on their legs for the jumps in the first place.
     
    02-22-2012, 02:21 AM
  #19
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by holdonlove    
I have a 4 year old quarter horse who I started as a barrel horse but absolutely hated it. However, she loves to jump but I'm worried she's still a little bit too young as I've heard not to start her over jumps until she's 5. She's still going to need a lot of ground work english before she's really ready, but would I damage her joints by taking her over small x-rails? She's never going to be a big jumper so I was wondering if it was okay to start jumping her over smaller stuff before she's five.

Also what boots do you think would help minimize the stress on her legs?
Thank you!

The damage is already done if the horse was started too young already.

I would work on this until she has this down before I would jump her.

I would recommend these --> XT new Product intro

IMHO, 4 years old is not too young to start your horse but you really need to get all the basics down before going into any discipline.
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    02-22-2012, 10:40 AM
  #20
Weanling
I think ground pole work and small cross rails should be fine, as long as you don't push her. It's not like she doesn't enjoy it!
     

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