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Starting young ponies and horses...

Some of us have seen people start very young horses wrong with bad
results. The original post gave a few people the impression that very
young horses can be started young and campained hard. Conditionally,
that may work!! On the other hand, I've worked at the racetrack and seen
some fine babies ruined because they were the legal age but not
conditioned right or not physically up to the stress. I've also seen
some great horses started young and brought along right that run for
years and retire to other careers looking great.

It **really** depends on a lot of factors!! That "start them young"
impression needed a disclaimer of some sort!

There are people out here without the experience, sensitivity or
patience to monitor the development of a young prospect, to develop and
condition them strategically and slowly. MANY young horses have been
damaged by careless application of a training regimen that would be fine
on a mature horse or a young horse with an ideal background and

I hate to see "great results" posted without the caveats, (I do it
sometimes too, don't I?!) because we all have our areas of ignorance,
and someone may just try this on a horse or pony that simply isn't
mature enough for it, or may push a young horse or pony too far or too
fast, thinking that they're doing the right thing.

Gav was backed as a 2 year old by a very light person, and I sat on him
every now and then after he was 2 1/2, but didn't trust myself to start
him until he was 4 years old. And, I didn't want to take any chances.
Horses like Gavilan cost nothing in initial investment - he was
virtually free - a pay back from a good deed I did!!! BUT - I've sunk a
lot of time, energy, money and love into him, so why take chances I
don't need to? 

That's why I'm slowing down my completion times and moving to multi-days
and higher mileage to satisfy my competitive surges until he's got 1000
miles. I'm over cautious, perhaps, but I know I can get fiercely
competitive, I know Gavilan is JUST as competitive, and why risk it? The
time and distance will give us the foundation to go fast strategically
in the future. I hope!!!!

An old cowboy, Short George, once coached me... "Darlin, when you're on
a horse, ride that horse. Don't ride the horse you read about in some
trainin' book, don't ride the last horse you rode, don't ride your
friends horse. Ride the horse you mounted. And remember it's you up
there - not that fancy trainer or your know-it-all friend. It's you and
that horse. Ride your own ride. Not somebody else's."

Ride your own ride.... priceless advice from a man who earned $400 an
month, which was spent mostly on Miller Long Necks. 

  -- Linda

Roberta Jo Lieberman wrote:
> Farafix wrote:
> <<<Tempo was started at 2 after checking with 2 vets.  Just walking for 9-10 months.  Added a little trotting & cantering after he turned 3 & was x rayed (clean x rays).  He is now 6, has over 900 miles, and has had the cleanest legs of the 3!  He rarely gets any fill ---- I attribute the 9-10 months of walking to having put a nice base on his legs.  I'm a lightweight rider, which is why the vets gave the ok to just walk when he was younger. Fortunately, I'm going away for the weekend, so maybe the conflagration will subside by the time I'm back (HA!)>>>
> No need to duck, Nancy!
> I have found her to be an extremely careful, methodical rider and
> horsewoman who *thinks* about everything she does with her horses.

> Reminds me of when we started Equus under tack as a two-year-old back in
> 1979 (yup, that was a long time ago, eh?)....we sure got flamed for
> that! (and a few other things, some of which we deserved, if anyone here
> is old enough to remember). But our guiding hand Matthew M-S said, "When
> you begin training early, you have the luxury of going more slowly...and
> the greater the opportunity you have to build in hard-tissue strength."


  Linda Cowles                        408.847.3531 - Office
  Lion Oaks Ranch                     408.390.0728 - Cell
  5355 Hecker Pass          
  Gilroy CA 95020

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