Article on growth, maturity, and longevity of a horse and how you can help.

Great article by Deb Bennett, Ph.D from . The Ranger Piece. Timing and Rate of Skeletal Maturation in Horses, with Comments on Starting Young Horses and the State of the Industry.

I didn't send Dassah to under-saddle training until she was 5. She had loading experience, had been halter-trained, worked on the lunge, and stood for the farrier. I should have spent a ton more time with her but I was young, stupid, and overly confident. I thought she'd be more relaxed since she'd been imprinted early and exposed to quite a bit - there's that overconfidence biting me in the ass. She ended up having a bratty and over-indulgent personality. That's mostly gone now, as she hits 10 this May but with more, and better, work, that would never have been an issue, or it would have been stopped early on.

The primary reasons for not backing her before 5 were the points raised in this article. I wanted to give her bones a chance to mature. I didn't have the research to back me up then but I knew the SPS stallions lasted much longer than most of the horses I knew about, rode on, or saw other kids riding. I knew there had to be something about letting a horse go longer before asking for under-saddle work. With Dassah I waited too long to begin in-depth work on everything else - we could have ponied, bathed, trailered more, clipped, bitted, needle-desensitized, and established really solid ground-work. Next time I won't make that mistake. She's turning out to be a stellar mare, I'm very proud of her, I just see these holes that now need filling in and are taking longer to do so.


Popular Posts