Did I start my horse too early?
Alright - I know there are tons of opinions and methods out there. I'm aware of that. But I'm finding myself in the middle of all these opinions lately - thus, confused.
I have a little paint mare, Kylie. She's adorable. She'll be 4 in the spring, and our training program is based on reining technique. I sat on her back at about 2. Didn't start working her until she was about 3. And even at that, it was light work, with lots of vacation days. She only really started working hard this winter. She's a great little mare, loose, smooth, she just flows into everything I ask her.
My trouble arrived yesterday. I had an equine massage therapist in for a session with Kylie. The EMT found a bit of fluid in her front right and left hind, and a bit of tension. We proceeded by doing a flex test on her left hock, which resulted in a slight lameness. At a normal gait, she's great, you can't detect any soreness. The EMT in question then told me straight up I started her too early and pushed her too hard too fast. :shock:
I know it's hard for you guys to judge my situation fairly, you don't know me, and have never seen me or my horse haha. But I'm just asking what other people's experiences are, and if you think this EMT was out of line immediately putting the blame on me?
What do you guys think?
Light riding as a 3y/o and serious work as a 4 y/o is not too early by most people's standards. In the world of reining futurities, most horses are started and competing as 2 year olds (not saying it's right or wrong but that's how it is). So as far as the starting her too early, I'd say that's quite a stretch. Did he not know her history? Maybe he assumed you started her as a 2 year old.
She was aware of her history, she's been treating Kylie since before I ever even started her. I guess my main concern right now is the cause of the lameness. Did I cause it? And if I did, I want to fix it.
It does not sound, per your description, that you started her too early. I did the same thing on my 16.3 hand WB - and most WB's are started at 4. But get the vet in to assess her issues, not the therapist. It may be that she did something foolish in the pasture and needs some down time, it could be maybe that she's being worked a bit too hard lately. The tension is probably just her compensating for the fluid causing pressure - so I wouldn't worry about that.
But the vet should be able to do ultrasound to see if there is any stretching/tearing in her ligaments/tendons. In the interim perhaps put her in something like Sports Medicine boots (a11 4 legs) for support when you turn her out, and follow vets advice. My guess is he'll say to give her a week or so off then re-start her gently. DMSO wrapped with saran wrap then pillow wraps on top of that will help sweat out the fluids (I usually wrap at night when horse is stalled, then remove wraps and turn out during the day, as horses tend to swell in PM when stalled and walking in pasture helps eliminate swelling unless they have really bad issues).
She is young so even though seh's willing we need to remember that when we work the youngsters so we don't overdo. :D
That's kindof the direction my brain was going, but needed someone to confirm it I think.
I appreciate it :wink:
Honestly I do not think you started her too young. It's naive in my opinion for the therapist to tell you that without figuring out exactly what the problem stems from first.
Thanks Lakotababii, those were my thoughts exactly.
The fact that you are concerned shows that you will handle this fine. IMO, better to gentle and train your horse early, than to turn him/her into the monsters that are being sold to newbies that cause way too many injuries. I question your therapist not catching any problems earlier than THIS. =/
I don't have a therapist but my Vet(s) have caught problems that I didn't see. (Please understand that distance in an emergency made me change Vets. My current Vet lives 6 miles away, and my previous AWESOME Vet's Clinic is 1 1/4 hours from my house.)
I suggest that your Vet give you any diagnosis about this. Probably rest will heal your mare. She is young and young horses can heal. My horse, "Corporal" (1982-2009, RIP) was a skinny 4yo when I bid $5 more than the meat market in 1986. He NEVER could fatten up, and he had evidence of bumps and bruises--some from ME bc I played with him and seemingly we did EVERYTHING I could want to do with a horse over the years. He stayed sound the entire 23 years that owned him, and I thoroughly enjoyed him.
Please keep us up to date. =D
I am planning on getting my equine vet out, I'm actually a vet student, and work part-time at his clinic, so I've seen him in action lots and trust him 100% :-).
That helps a lot! :wink:
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