ridecamp@endurance.net: Re: 4 year olds

Re: 4 year olds

Tue, 25 Mar 1997 12:49:18 -0500 (EST)

In a message dated 97-03-25 12:16:14 EST, you write:

<< Given this, I am curious to know how people here feel about asking four
year olds to engage in a six to eight hour effort and cover 25 to 35
miles (which AERC policy allows for LD rides). I know that I saddle
broke my first horse as a long three year old, and started doing LD
rides with him as a longish four year old, and I will regret it for the
rest of his life. Though he is not what I would call unsound (yet) he
does x-ray as having a bit of arthritis in the forelegs, and I believe
that if I had waited longer, and gone slower, he would not have this
We have never considered competing a horse at 4, and never would.
Particularly with straight Egyptians, who mature much more slowly, we
consider this to be adding risk to an already rsiky venture. We like to keep
our horses around and productive a good long time, and so we see no reason
not to take our time. It has paid off in sound horses - in body and mind -
for 22 years. As an aside, we also are not big believers in shoeing
youngsters, since their feet are still developing, and so to put that kind of
mileage on a young horse who has perhaps just had his first set of shoes
applied just doesn't make sense. Our mare who is coming 4 in July has not yet
worn shoes, is walking and trotting under saddle 2-3 days a week, and is
coming along beautifully. Our farrier was out this morning and commented on
how wonderful her legs and feet look - big ol' feet - parti-colour - strong
and pliable - and not a crack in them! Perhaps this summer she will get her
first shoes.

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