Right Age to Start?
I do not want this to start an argument on whats a good age to start. Thats not really what I am asking. Some people I am around a lot recently purchased a yearling paint (turns 2 officially at the end of the month) as a present for an 11 year old girl with very, very, VERY limited horse experience. He was a cryptorchid, they took him down for surgery about 2 weeks ago now. I went over there about 2 days ago to find the man leading the little girl around on the horse, bareback!!
Now he isnt some big, bulky boy. My guess is that he hands 13 hands IF that. Late bloomer, straggly and imho still looks like a yearling. No matter what I tell them they dont believe that breaking him to ride would create issues. Now if he was solid and not such a little guy I would let them do as they please. However, this bothers me. Does anyone have any information on the dangers of starting horses too early? I know if they see actual information about the dangers of it they will rethink this. They do love him, just arent trainers.
I read this article a while ago and it has a lot of good info on starting colts too young.
Weber Training Stables - Riding Young
Good article Roper! Also look up Dr Deb Bennett Equine Studies Institute Homepage for the studies of much of what they talk about in that article. Dr Bowker's research also shows that *even in ideal situations* a horse's caudal foot(heel region) doesn't *begin to develop a lot of strength until at least 4-6 years old.
From that picture, he looks very foal like. Great articles from Loosie & Roperchick, hopefully the owners will comprehend the information in those and utilize it.
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Uh oh :( all his joints are open and growing. His hocks, his knees, everything. A horse is truly not fully formed until 4 to 6. Even stock breeds. Whether they are growing in height or just broadening out. Not to say you shouldnt start riding until they are 5 but 1? Especially since he looks like a young yearling.
Even though many people start to ride at 2 I have seen so many horses that were pushed too hard too fast ruined by 9 or 10 getting hocks and stifles injected just to stay sound.
If these people just intend to do what their doing now, leading around for pony rides and eventually having a kid plod around he will hopefully be ok but demanding work will definitely break him down. He def shouldn't have a full grown man riding him at that size and age. He is very clearly still growing out and up. He'll probably be a hand or maybe 3 taller by the age of 5.
I would tell them to consult a vet. I doubt a vet would advise them to begin riding or at least not any demanding work. Maybe next time your vet is out for shots or something. Maybe a farrier would give them good advice bc they def know the beating a horses feet and legs can take. That way they can hear it from a professional in person. It sounds like they need a step by step plan since they are beginners such as once he weighs this much you can do this or once hes this age you can start riding for up to 5 days a week for this long doing these gaits/exercises.
Best of luck!
One little bit of not so bad news. Small horses are less likely to have problems than large ones. They mature faster, and are less prone to damage from early starting, so long as they are not over loaded with too much weight.
That said. Still not a good idea to start riding any of them until they are 3 plus.
"That is unfortunately a fallacy"
Not a fallacy, but fact, small horses mature more rapidly than large one, and are not as easily damaged.
The studies I've seen into developmental stages suggest otherwise.
It has been proven false in numerous different studies and both articles from me and loosie state that.
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