too young? -hides from bullets-
if you guys are kind enough to read all this -gives a box of chocolate chip cookies-
alrighty, let me begin be explaining my situation. i work for an older endurance rider, and he bought a 20 month old egyptian arabian mare for me back in november (ish). so months go by, and i work with the mare, shes quiet on the ground, almost unflappable, indepentent, and sweet. she takes a small, light saddle, and will accept a bit. i am currently teaching her to stop/steer via the bit from the ground. (she is in a loose ring french link snaffle)
my boss owns the horse, but he will not sell her to anyone but myself. im not sure if many of you will understand our set up. he purchases horses for his workers to train and -eventually- do endurance racing with, and after that, the horse is often purchased from my boss for the original price. its not like im training to sell, you know what i mean? its just easier to have him own her, pay the expensices, and i just work off my debt.
anyway, i was feeding her the other day, and my boss comes in and he and i where chatting. he was talking about the training i have done with her, and i tell him all she has acomplished. tarps, bells, walks on the trail. (short and on flat land), cars, ect. he wants me to start riding her. mind you that now she is 2 years and 3 months old.
now he wants me to do just walking, nothing to hard. just walking in the round pen, stoping, turning ect. i am 5'4'' and about 123lb, she is 2 years and 3 months old, and is about 14.1/14.2 hands.
i dont want to hurt her, or cause serious damage to her. what do you suggest i do? can this cause serious damage that will plauge her -and i- with vet visits? thank you all for your imput.
This is always a pretty hot discussion. I'll start with my opinion....
I think it really depends on the breed of the horse, the physical build and maturity of the horse and the horses state of mine. That being said, arabs are, I believe very slow to develop and can wait as long as five years to start. I'm not sure I know of anyone that has started one at the age of 2. Usually between 3 and 4....
I personally wouldn't start anything until at least 3, and then only walking around a pen.
You can accomplish tons from the ground. By the time you do back her she will be much more ready.
i wouldnt start her until her three year old year but i know alot of people who start at two. I don't know much about arabians and their skeletal development but i do agree that it depends on the breed
I know a lot of horses that get started at 2 1/2 just sitting on them and walking they've all been fine, but it depends on the horse. If she is still "baby shaped" I wouldn't do it.
Arabs are very different then any other breed - both physically and mentally - and it is not unusual for them to be started much later then a Quarter Horse, as an example. From my limited knowledge of the breed, I would say that her age is too young to even have a saddle on. Many Arabs begin training as driving horses and your horse may be a little young even for that.
I don't know much about Arabs.
But I start my Welshies and Native Brit ponies at 2 (if I manage to buy them young enough). Just walking around the Arena twice or three times a week after a butt load of ground work on the roads, around the woods/feilds etc.
After 6 months to 9 months depending on progress I start taking them up the woods in walk just to get them used to hacking and socializing.
Of course as progress goes on they trot, canter, go for meet up's etc;
I don't think walking will do any damage, I say go for it if you feel confident about her.
No one knows her better than you so go with what you think =]
Very, very light riding MAY BE okay (no more than 5 to 10 minuets and only at a walk). It really depends on the horse. I would personally ask a vet next time one comes out. Nothing better than a pro opinion.
All horses skellatally mature about the same, no matter what breed they are. Knees are closed 2-2.5 yrs old, hocks 4-5 yrs old, and the big bones at the base of the neck, around 5-6 yrs old. The only variations are for geldings that mature over 16h, they take up to 6 months longer to mature.
If she were mine, I wouldn't get on her back until 3yrs old. Maybe just getting on and off with a little walking around a few months before that, just to get her used to me being up there.
Here's a good article by a vet about how horses matural skeletally.
Another good article by a vet on the topic.
And They Call Us Horse Lovers - Articles
Print these two articles out if you think they'll help the horse's owner understand your reluctance to get on her.
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