Overworking? What should this horse be doing?
Well bit of random thread but I have a 4 year old gyspy cob mare and my sister has a just turned 3 year old welsh sec d gelding..
The main point of my thread is to find other peoples opinions and see if im wrong...
To me a 3 year old should be introduced to tack, lead on roads, light hacks and not much more then turned away... My sister is w/t/c her boy everyday as well as lunging before, hacking out for quite long distances again at w/t/c, using side reins and spurs on him, and teaching him to jump/poles, and schooling quite a lot.
He's a very good boy and takes everything in his stride but to me shes pushing him way too far and Im trying to make her see.. She may not get the repurcusions as she'll sell him on but im sure it cant be doing him any good and its not people I care about. I dont want to see him injured:? He's mentally very immature and he still mouths etc.
I am only w/t my mare on hacks and only just starting to canter and teahcing her poles etc. She knows how to school w/t/ on a circle and halt to trot etc and im just teaching her to canter on a circle. She doesnt have much muscle so struggles to canter on a circle. My sisters 3 year old is just as not muscled but if he falls back into trot she sees that as him being naughty. Yes he may be being naughty but surely he may just be struggling to keep canter on a circle?
Id just like to see other peoples opinions. Whether im being way too overprotective or she's doing too much!
Also, I thought side reins should only be used for lunging, not riding. Am I wrong there? I dont use gadgets so I have no idea...
Well, there are a wide variety of opinions on how much riding at what age. I think it is perfectly fine to start two year olds and to put three year olds into serious training. Obviously all horses need to be watched carefully and not ridden beyond their physical ability. I have always waited a year longer on Arabians.
I do not believe in riding hard for hours and drilling 2 and 3 year olds, but I have no problem at all with teaching them to hold a canter, stop, turn, and do other maneuvers. We work cattle on 3 year olds and have prepared 3 year olds for reining and cowhorse futurities (where the horses are 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 years at show time.
A lot of these horses are sound and are shown in cutting and reining competition well into their teens and a 20 + cutting horse is not unusual, so I do not think it hurts them if they are trained reasonably.
It has also been shown that horses that are used and ridden at two actually develop better bone and hooves than horses that just stand around. I personally prefer training horses that have grown up running out in big pastures. I prefer rough uneven ground. The most difficult horses to 'leg up' and keep sound are horses that are stall or pen raised. They just do not develop the quality of bone that horses develop that run out. They 'pop' splints easier and get sore much more quickly than horses that run out.
As for the side reins --- they are a poor crutch at best and can be a death trap at worst for a ridden horse. It is far better to get proper head carriage through correct use of reins and by using leg pressure to 'drive' the horse into the bit rather than to use gimmicks like draw reins, side reins, Geman martingales, etc. JMHO.
Personaly I think she is pushing to hard also. The horse is only 3! Give him a break. If the horse takes it then that's fine but their bones are still growing so it may hurt and be bad for his legs and back! I always get worried about that.
Side reins are good for riding when you first start your horse. That way they still know where to be and how to carry the riders weight. That is a VERY good thing riding with side reins. It keeps the horse on the bit and soft in the jaw. Once you take them off you just need to be skilled enough to make the horse not hard in the jaw but that's another thing. ;)
Anyway yes I think the horse is getting pushed to hard. I just get worried about the horses bones. I think the side reins should stay on because it will help not hurt the horses back! Good luck message me if you want more info because I have started ALOT of young horses so I would LOVE to help(:
Thanks for your opinions guys. i respect them completely but personally i believe 2 is way too young. this boy is three but to me he's not mentally ready 4 serious training. however, racehorses are started young and i know things are different in usa to uk. i totally agree though. side reins are a crutch. to me the young horse should go forward willingly and accept YOUR contact. its just creating a false head carriage but its interesting 2 c some1s opinions who agrees with them. thankyou kaylee! im happy with how my mares going but when i get my youngster i'd love to pick your brains :)
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I would never put side reins on a 3 year old, particularly to ride. At 3, all I want is for the horse to go forward, to stop and to turn. I don't even give a second thought to where it's head is. Side reins do nothing for the horse's back unless they are more advanced in their training and have learnt to swing over the back. I'll use them on the lunge so that I have a contact to start developing that swing, but at 2 or 3, it's go and stop only.
It's still a baby at 3, racehorses are bred to mature faster than other breeds - plus most break down very early due to this intense work as a young horse. Don't go by what racehorses do when training your own horse.
As a baby, you absolutely do not want to fry their brains. Keep the work easy, light, and short. Keep a nice soft elastic contact on the bit, and just expect the horse to go forward off your leg, and stop to your rein.
As they get more advanced I would expect to start training the horse to stop from the seat, but as a baby, leg means go, rein means stop.
Spurs, again, I would not put them anywhere near a 3 year old. It should not need them. I will only introduce spurs to a horse when I am beginning lateral work. Otherwise they're just unnecessary. Any reason why this horse is being ridden in spurs? Teach it to get off the leg only, and ride with a whip to give a reminder if the leg does not achieve an immediate reaction.
I also would not be jumping at all. Trot poles and very small cavaletti maybe, but not jumping. She's just asking for this horse to develop tendon and joint injuries. hacking out for reasonable distances is ok, but keeping it to a walk/trot and minimal canter.
Many people (if they have a brain) will not buy a youngster that has been pushed exceedingly hard from the get go, as it's common knowledge that this can cause degenerative issues AND fry the horse's brain. Great if they're willing - but I've seen 2 and 3 year olds offering piaffe and flying changes, the rider has gone 'oh great my horse is talented' and training harder and harder. By 4 or 5 the horse has broken down physically and mentally and can't do anything other than pleasure riding. If a horse is willing as a breaker - keep it that way!! DON'T abuse that willingness or it will come back to bite you in the butt.
Then again, he may turn out perfectly fine!
Of course the next few weeks and months will do all the telling as to whether she's over doing it or not...
Kayty summed up my feelings pretty well.
A three year can be under tack and being ridden, but all I'm asking of him is basic obedience - w/t/c on a loose rein, light hacks. Not a lot of turns, circles and figures, no demand to be "in a frame" or even on contact. Keep the work undemanding and stress free. Maybe cavaletti, depending on the horse. At four, I would increase what I ask of the horse; developing work on contact, more school figures, start crossrails, etc. Even with a 4 year old I'm going to keep work sessions shorter than I would with a older horse, and mix in some hacking out/trail rides.
With 3 and 4 years olds, their bodies may be ready for more intense work, but their brains may not be, and you're just as likely to end up with behavior problems down the road as you are physical and soundness problems.
i agree maura ^^
once they are four i really like to take it from the horse. my mums 4yo is still at the take it slow, just starting contact kinda of time. my mare is 5yo but when she was 4 she was ready mentally to start working harder than that, she was getting very very bored !
as for side reins, i love to lunge youngsters in long side rein before i ride. i would never get on an unbroke horse that had never been lunged in sidereins, just how i was taught. its good for them to pull there head around and learn they will hit the reins. i even like them to have a good trip and hit the reins so when they do something like that undersaddle they wont get scared or worried when they do hit the reins.
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