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Discussion Starter #1
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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Discussion Starter #3
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #10
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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It's interesting to hear all of the cases where the parents heights did not predict the height of the offspring.
Oh, for sure!

In 2002 a colt was born to my 14.2 hand AQHA mare and a 15.2 hand AQHA stallion. Colt string-tested to hit 16.2 at maturity, and I didn't believe it so checked all the other horses with the string. Spot on! Colt's full sibling was 17hh. :eek: But my colt was born already 42", so he had a head start. :wink:
 

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horses grow until the age 5 -7 depending on breed. anything with draft mature slower.
An average adult horse needs at least 14% protein. Nutrition is very important to a growing horse, BUT you do not want to overfeed or you will have joint problems with your horse.
Google ' protein requirements for a yearling " I would never try to guess a height by the yearling age. We had 3 colts that were dinky as two year olds one is almost 15 h , and the other two surpassed 15 h. I only have one of them now. I do not know what you are feeding, if it is grass hay, supplement with some alfalfa. Do be aware that the better nutrition he gets, the better he is going to feel and have more energy .
 

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Carefull of high protine diets. It can cause him to grow faster than his tendons can. Seen this a cuple of times. Know ahorse with contracted tendons caused by too much alfalfa.
 

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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.

I did, you just did not read correctly, regarding nutrition and growth
I said horses not pushed towards maximum growth, will mature slower than those that are, taking about 5 years to reach adult height, versus as two year olds, like halter horses
Since you said his body condition was fine, I assumed he was fed enough protein, etc for that slower rate of maturity, like horses in the wild.

Had he been in poor body condition, then yes, inadequate protein, energy and minerals will cause growth to be stunted, but those horses have poor body condition score
You have to remember, that if you push for maximum early growth, you walk a tight rope, far as Orthopedic developmental disease
If you feed more energy (calories ), than both protein and minerals in the right amount and balance for that rapid growth can support, your horse is prone to ODD.
 

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My gelding was fed straight alfalfa from the time he was a weanling until a couple of years ago when I moved him to a new barn and had the option to feed him grass and/or alfalfa.

For reference, yes he is half draft. His dam was a 17.2hh Percheron and his sire was a 15.1hh paint.
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I did, you just did not read correctly, regarding nutrition and growth
I said horses not pushed towards maximum growth, will mature slower than those that are, taking about 5 years to reach adult height, versus as two year olds, like halter horses
Since you said his body condition was fine, I assumed he was fed enough protein, etc for that slower rate of maturity
I'm sorry, I did just skim these answers while I was working. I guess I was just more surprised that there was not more of a discussion on nutrition. A good body condition does not always mean that all nutritional needs are met. Certain amino acids may be limiting his growth if they are missing.

When I brought him home last night I gave him some quest plus dewormer and today I found several large strongyles and TONS of small strongyles. Poor little guy.
 

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There's a huge difference between a grain fed two year old and a pasture fed two year old. Racehorses are often fed for accelerated growth so they can hit the track as soon as possible.Compare that with a two year old mustang, who is used to foraging. All these horses will grow at different rates.

My mare was a pasture fed two year old who didn't get grain (or handled at all). She was skinny as a rail but with long legs. She grew at least six inches between ages two and three. She looked like a tiny yearling rather than a two year old.
 

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Poor enough nutrition will stunt a horse, but it has to be pretty bad to truly prevent a horse from reaching his full height.

I have seen a colt out of a 16.3hh mare and a 16hh sire mature to 14.2hh (and they were both thoroughbred race horses) and I have seen a 15.2hh mare and stallion (also thoroughbreds) produce a colt that grew to 16.2hh. Neither parent was stunted.
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I'd always thought it was 75% by 1yo and 90% by 2yo. If I''d have gone by 90% at 1 none of mine would have been bigger than pony size. Most have put on more than the 10% from 2yo to 5yo. Looking back they were more like 85% of their height at 2. Their string tests were closer to being accurate.
 
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