Failure to thrive? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 07-23-2015, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Failure to thrive?

I recently purchased a 3/4 thoroughbred 1/4 appaloosa yearling gelding. Both his parents are over 16 hands high and his full brother is 17 hands. This little guy is just over a year old and somewhere around 12 hands (I've had him less than 12 hours so I haven't had a chance to measure him yet). He isn't skinny and he looks well looked after but he is just so small. Does anyone have experience with horses that have slow growth or lack of growth?
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post #2 of 19 Old 07-23-2015, 04:02 PM
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any photos? At 12 months your horse has achieved most of his height. Just because the parents are tall does not mean the offspring will be.

Take a look at this. It may help:
Behind the Bit: How big will a foal or young horse get?

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post #3 of 19 Old 07-23-2015, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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I don't expect him to be as tall but at 12hh as a yearling that would put him at less than 13.5 hands as an adult (assuming he has reached 90% of his final height by 12 months) which is considerably less than the parents and sibling. I can post a photo when I get home this evening.
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post #4 of 19 Old 07-23-2015, 04:59 PM
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Do the string test. Run a string from coronet to middle joint in the knee. Convert inches to hands.

I've always had it accurate to within 2 inches, and it's usually bang on.

My yearling is a bit over 14hh and string tests 16.1hh.

I've seen some pretty weird growth patterns.
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post #5 of 19 Old 07-23-2015, 05:40 PM
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My filly was severely neglected but she was all of 11.3hh at 16 months. At 2 she was 13.1hh. At 3 she was 15.2. You'd be surprised...sometimes they bloom late.

Honestly 90% of their final height sounds ridiculous at 12 months old. I've never seen that and I've seen many Foals of all types of breeds grow.

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post #6 of 19 Old 07-23-2015, 05:44 PM
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I agree with BlueSpark about the string test. Not sure how tall my gelding was as a yearling (bought him as a 2yo), but as a 2yo he was right about 15hh. He's now 6 and is just shy of 17hh.

Some horses are late bloomers, as Endiku said.

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post #7 of 19 Old 07-23-2015, 05:53 PM
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I also have to disagree with the 12 month assessment. I have seen horses grow until 3 years old and add as much as a full hand due to muscle growth in the withers at age of 5. So don't count the littel guy out yet.

But I do agree a sire or dam's size in not a foolproof indicator of offspring size. Add in the fact he is a mix will make a big difference too. If he receives both recessive genes for growth, he may be small. You have indicated that his brother is taller then both sire and dam. So there is your first indicator that parental size does not make for offspring size.
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post #8 of 19 Old 07-23-2015, 05:59 PM
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Well, genetics are a funny thing, and further back in his parentage, there could well be horses that aren't so tall.
What is his App breeding?
While TBs are a closed registry, Appaloosas aren't, thus type is really not fixed, including average height.
Horses, that aren't fed for maximum growth, also don't reach full maturity until about age 5
I breed Appaloosas for many years, so I will give you an example, far as height variation, when many more genetic factors can be expressed, versus in a closed breed registry.
I owned a daughter of Scooter Bug G She was 16.2 hh
Bred to our stallion, who was only 15.2hh, she produced several offspring that were 16.1 to 16.3. Bred to another stud,who was actually taller than our stud, she produced a colt that only grew to about 14.3hh No doubt, genetics in that wide gene pool that were recessive, but still there.
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post #9 of 19 Old 07-23-2015, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Endiku View Post
My filly was severely neglected but she was all of 11.3hh at 16 months. At 2 she was 13.1hh. At 3 she was 15.2. You'd be surprised...sometimes they bloom late.

Honestly 90% of their final height sounds ridiculous at 12 months old. I've never seen that and I've seen many Foals of all types of breeds grow.
^^^^^I am on this side of the fence. My neighbor bought a not-quite-old-enough-to-be-weaned colt at a breed auction.

The woman who bought the mare refused to take the colt. Said she didn't care if he ended up in the ditch, she wasn't taking him.

My neighbor rescued the colt. He stayed short and scrawny for 2+ years.

One spring I saw this gorgeous chestnut horse, about 15H, in the pasture. I called to see when they got the new horse. My neighbor laughingly replied that was the colt we all thought would never get past 13H.

My Arab/Saddlebred had a slow start, as nobody knew the mare was in foal, until he hit the ground. Her milk didn't come for a good 24 hours. He grew to be taller than his dam and the stallion that jumped the fence.
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post #10 of 19 Old 07-23-2015, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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It's interesting to hear all of the cases where the parents heights did not predict the height of the offspring. I'll attempt to string test him when I get home (he's not halterbroke). I think I will also put him on a high protein diet and see if that changes anything. As far as I know his previous owners just had him on pasture. I'm surprised nobody mentioned the effects of nutrition on the growth of horses.
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