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Re: [RC] Deb Bennett's Article in Jan EN - Sherman - Lysane Cree

I have seen a few four year olds started in CTRs. Most people took it pretty slow and easy and were only aiming for completion.
Hopefully I won't get slammed (too much), but I am probably going to go to a few competitions this year with my four year old Paint. She is the only horse I have and the only one I trust enough to ride. But with that said, I plan to take her to a training ride which is a 12 mile mileage ride under CTR rules. The other rides I am considering are a 15 mile mileage ride about 1 month later. There are also a 20 mile mileage or  25 mile novice CTR ride towards the end of the season which could be possibilities as either one is within reasonably close driving distance.
I know she is young and I do care about what happens to her. I will be happy with completing in last place provided she is happy and healthy. I also have no problem with pulling at any time during the ride. I don't canter with her yet on the trails, we only do walk trot.
My more long-term plan would be to continue in the novice CTR division the following year. Longer CTRs (more than 25 miles) and endurance would only come later on down the road. By then she would be 6.
So there you go. Some of us, by force of economics, lack of alternate horses, etc. do start our horses "working" a little younger. But some of us are also conscientious about what we ask the horse to do within that "work." For example, I would not consider starting my horse in a lot of the western events (barrels, cuttting, etc.) at three or four because of the hard impacts on joints. I could be wrong, but while LSD out on the trail has some impact on the horse, I wouldn't say it has quite the same impact as some of those other sports.
Better get my teflon suit now... :)


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