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Missy May 11-03-2013 10:59 PM

Starting age for haffies
 
I have started my ~3.5 y.o. haffie under saddle. I chose not to start her at 3, as I had originally planned, b/c she was visibly "down hill" and clearly had some growing to do. A friend's father that owns quite a few haffies said he did not start them under saddle 'till the age of 4 b/c, in his opinion, that is when they were mentally and physically "ready". Anyway, I take my time with her, so she is hardly in danger of being pushed to hard before she fully matures. To date, she has proven to be very compliant, amazingly so, actually. I can see where it would be very easy to in fact get a little greedy and push ahead quickly. So, I am wondering about this "4 years of age" for haffies philosophy? Anyone agree, disagree?

deserthorsewoman 11-03-2013 11:21 PM

Traditionally in Germany and Austria any horse is being lightly started after the summer of it's 3rd year, very basic work, longing, ground driving, riding with a light rider, mostly walk, trot, halt, back, maybe, if horse offers, a little canter. Come spring of year 4, theg usually go back on pasture for the summer and provided they're mostly done growing, not obviously immature still, serious work starts again in fall.

Missy May 11-03-2013 11:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman (Post 4020418)
Traditionally in Germany and Austria any horse is being lightly started after the summer of it's 3rd year, very basic work, longing, ground driving, riding with a light rider, mostly walk, trot, halt, back, maybe, if horse offers, a little canter. Come spring of year 4, theg usually go back on pasture for the summer and provided they're mostly done growing, not obviously immature still, serious work starts again in fall.

The gentleman held this opinion specifically for haffies. I know he doesn't have the same opinion for QHs. I have started (not started and pushed, mind you) some QH's at 2 - and I am guessing so has he. I know my grandfather went by what you described for all his horses - as did a lot of folks back then. I tend to agree with it for the most part - but not always. Haffies are a peculiar breed, IMO. It is rather difficult to gauge their mental maturity, for example - they just aren't as "spunky" as most "normal" breeds. Not that I am complaining, mind you.:wink: But, I wonder if that is why some buy into the "wait till 4" school of thought (i.e., since you can't "get a read" on their mental maturity, just wait till you are sure).

deserthorsewoman 11-04-2013 12:00 AM

I know what you mean. That's why they're considered a small" cold blood", as we call it. They're bred for working all day, and can be very hard headed( ask me how I know lol), But then again, nothing really rattles them. Only when they started crossing them with Arabians they got livelier horses which were not suitable for kids or beginners anymore, let alone the work they originally were bred for. They sure were pretty, tho.
I think there's no problem if horse is physically mature enough for under saddle work, the mental state is something you'll have to watch and step back if need be.

Missy May 11-04-2013 01:02 AM

I hadn't really seen an arab haffie cross, so I looked at some pics. Hmm. Different - not really my preference. Maybe if I saw one in person I would find them more attractive. My little girl is "little" ;), I don't think she will make it to 14hh. Some of the arab cross pictures look like some good sized horses. I can't see how their (haffie's) disposition could be improved, much. She needs "contact" every so often for direction, but she appears to take no offense. Any other youngster I ever owned would have gone into the next zipcode if I had made the same amount of "contact" w mr. whippy. Her biggest failing is that she gets bent out of shape if she "believes" she did something correctly, but did not. She doesn't "blow", she just loses focus for a short time and has a little "moment". That is the only definitive indicator I have of her maturity level. Otherwise, her behavior is far beyond her years compared to other non-draft breeds. She is "fun"..but it took me a good while to learn/understand her particular "way of going".

deserthorsewoman 11-04-2013 01:21 AM

I used to ride an Arabo-Haflinger as a teenager. Tins of fun. She looked more like aQH than any of her included breeds. Would go all day, and fast,, too. But when treated wrong, she became a fire breathing dragon lol.
I dint think that" moment" you describe is breed specific. I had aTB/ Warmblood like this. seems like they're first mad at you, then at themselves, for not understanding right away. For him I had to break it down in baby steps, and repeat a lot, but once he had it, he wouldn't forget it ever again. A little like doing 1+1+1+1 instead of 2+2..... if I did 1+1+2, he got lost. Don't know any better way to describe it lol.


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