Young horses and Jumping- How to tell when?
My mare is just turned 4 years old and is and Arabianx. She has matured to look less and less arab- but I can't tell "what parts she got" when it comes to physical maturity.
She'll be an all-around ranch/trail horse, but my question applies more to search and rescue- in order to get certified (the horse) they have to be able to do a multitude of things, including jumping (obstacles up to 2').
I know horses mature at different rates, and arabs are supposed to mature slower than other horses- so how can I look at her and tell she can work on it (without hurting herself long term or otherwise)?
I have heard about "knees locking" and whatnot- but dunno how to tell or what to look for, or even if I could tell.
The next certification starts in September for search and rescue, which I would like to do- but don't want to hurt her.
Mind you, this would not be be like training her to be a jumper- it's not that physically daunting- all she has to show is that she'll take whatever in her way with a grain of salt- just push her way forward with or without obstacles, brush, trees, dogs, horses, etc.- and I have the capability of controlling her under any and all circumstances and she'll simply try what I ask. (There are things she HAS to be able to perform- but it's not a show, just has to get it done)
Thanks! PS- she's my avatar. If anyone has any guesses about what she's mixed with- go for it! I know daddy was arabian- if not full, was pretty close to it- and mommy with just a bay mare whom I was told was some kinda not-so-common-breed-around-here-but-not-obscure- like a morgan or something. Neither parent was "paint" but she popped out pinto- and I suspect mom was just a qh/paint who was solid. Mom didn't look any different that the average qh/grade mares that are over bred around here.
First of all, kudos to you for putting your horse's safety first.
Second, as you know, arabians mature very slowly, both physically and mentally. So, you have to assess her ability to jump...without jumping her.
Ask yourself a few questions:
1.) Does she ride relatively balanced, or is she traveling around on the forehand with her head in the air and no engagement?
2.) How is her attention span? An immature horse, particularly an Arab, does not have the attention span required of a mature, adult horse. Does she get bored or lose her focus easily and often?
3.) What is her physical condition like? Can she physically handle the strain of riding for 3+ hours on trail, or is her baby body slowing her down still?
4.) What does she physically LOOK like? Is she very butt-high and spindly-legged, or has she finished out, with a level body and proportioned thirds?
Pictures of her conformation and videos of her under saddle and being free lunged would greatly help. Of course, if it's a simple 18" jump she has to plop over once, that's not likely to hurt any 4-yr old.
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