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View Full Version : What do YOU think?!? Appropriate or Not?



GoGrnRideIrish
Mar. 26, 2012, 12:02 PM
THREE YEAR OLD HUNTER DIVISION
Entry Fee: $100.00. Individual classes may be entered at $40.00 each.
Open to horses three years of age. Fences 2’9”. Judged on performance, manners and way of going. Will be asked to jog.
Three Year Old Hunter
Three Year Old Conformation Hunter (conformation to count 25%)
Three Year Old Hunter Under Saddle

What are your opinions on horses jumping at age 3? Especially considering the current hunter trends are more geared towards warmbloods.

Looking for YOUR opinion- all welcome! :winkgrin:

Janet
Mar. 26, 2012, 12:13 PM
The 3 year old classes are not new.

Generally speaking, there are some horse that , with an excellent trainer, can happily jump around a 2'9" course with not very much jumping practice.

That is who the class is aimed at.

If a lot of jumping practice is needed to prepare (either for the horse or the rider) then you shoud skip it.

GoGrnRideIrish
Mar. 26, 2012, 12:21 PM
Just FYI since I probably will get similar posts:

I am not asking for any personal reasons. I am a professional and have an educated game plan for my own personal young horse.

I know this is not a new class/division.

*I am simply trying to hear opinions of what people think about this division- (what are your 3 year olds doing) do you find it appropriate or ridiculous?

Janet
Mar. 26, 2012, 12:23 PM
I would not do it myself, but it does not bother me when others do it in a sensible way.

Lucassb
Mar. 26, 2012, 12:40 PM
I don't think it is a big deal. As long as the horse has physically matured enough (knees closed, etc) and is temperamentally suited for the work (ie, does not require a ton of prep) it's not all that much to ask.

My then-three year old jumped his first ever jumps in December, then showed at WEF in the baby greens (3') two months later with no problems at all. He turned 4 the following month. He's been going strong for his new owner - who vetted the bejesus out of him as a coming 6 year old - and had a near-perfect PPE, certainly no worse for the wear.

My vet has pointed out that proper development and conditioning go a long way toward preventing injury over the long term, and personally I find that starting a young horse on an appropriate program at 3 can help with that process.

My oldest horse - who worked hard as a youngster (OTTB, retired sound at 6 from racing) - is still fit and sound in his mid 20's. He has beautiful conformation and has been properly managed the whole time, and could still easily jump around a 3' course.

HJPony
Mar. 26, 2012, 12:50 PM
I think your time and money put into this horse can be better spent elsewhere. I would enter this class as a marker of progress and certainly would not compete in it regularly. Your horse's joints will be thanking you as he ages. Theres no need to start at three(unless your looking for a quick and non profitable sale) as he will have the rest of his career to jump the same jumps.

GoGrnRideIrish
Mar. 26, 2012, 12:51 PM
My then-three year old jumped his first ever jumps in December, then showed at WEF in the baby greens (3') two months later with no problems at all. He turned 4 the following month. He's been going strong for his new owner - who vetted the bejesus out of him as a coming 6 year old - and had a near-perfect PPE, certainly no worse for the wear.



What breed was your horse? How long was he going u/s before you started him over fences? Just curious :)

GoGrnRideIrish
Mar. 26, 2012, 12:54 PM
I think your time and money put into this horse can be better spent elsewhere. I would enter this class as a marker of progress and certainly would not compete in it regularly. Your horse's joints will be thanking you as he ages. Theres no need to start at three(unless your looking for a quick and non profitable sale) as he will have the rest of his career to jump the same jumps.

Based on what you wrote above- Do you think it is more likely or less likely a breeder/trainer would push their horse as a 3 yr old (than an owner)?

LovesHorses
Mar. 26, 2012, 12:57 PM
So is this 3 coming 4 in 2012, or 2 coming 3? I can understand the first one, not the second.

GoGrnRideIrish
Mar. 26, 2012, 01:00 PM
So is this 3 coming 4 in 2012, or 2 coming 3? I can understand the first one, not the second.

I would love a confirmation on this too. I was under the impression that USEF follows the jockey club rule? The horses birthday is Jan 1. Maybe I am wrong with that assumption? :confused:

yellowbritches
Mar. 26, 2012, 01:01 PM
While I certainly am not considered conservative in how I like to bring youngsters up, my immediate reaction to this type of class (for 3 year olds) is "What's the rush?" I don't see why they need to be showing that young and tend to think that if they are little prodigies, maybe they should be commended for that, then thrown out in the field for another 6 months or a year and allowed to be a horse. They have a long life ahead of them, so why do they need to start at 3?

Again, I am all about starting babies under saddle at 2 (LIGHTLY), riding them and even popping the good ones over some little fences at 3, and have no issues with them going out and doing a little something here and there at 4. But I think it's just a little rushy to get them out, showing over fences at 3.

supershorty628
Mar. 26, 2012, 01:51 PM
I agree with Lucassb. I don't think every 3-year-old needs to be showing over fences very often, but it isn't necessarily an atrocity either.

BAC
Mar. 26, 2012, 02:20 PM
What breed was your horse? How long was he going u/s before you started him over fences? Just curious :)

I don't remember the breed (other than some type of European warmblood) but he has been circuit champion two years in a row on the VT circuit as well as winning in the hunters (both with an ammy and a pro) in some of the top AA shows in the country, including Harrisburg.

alto
Mar. 26, 2012, 02:46 PM
THREE YEAR OLD HUNTER DIVISION

What are your opinions on horses jumping at age 3? Especially considering the current hunter trends are more geared towards warmbloods.

Looking for YOUR opinion- all welcome! :winkgrin:

Assuming the average horse/owner/trainer, I wouldn't buy the division champion.
Big difference if the horse is 2 & some vs 3 & some, I'd consider the latter & walk very quickly in the opposite direction from the former.

Some horses competing in that division will have schooled a few jumps, others will have done many (& how much higher are they schooling at home) ... but why the rush - what is so special about jumping 2-3 yr olds, rather than 3-4 yr olds :confused:
(excepting the obvious monetary considerations from growing the horse another year)

Most young green horses over jump, so these horses haven't been jumping only 2' 9" with riders but some degree higher, & even if the knees are closed, the back is very much not - again so much depends on the particular horse & rider & trainer :lol:

It would be easy enough to determine age by birth date rather than the first of the year.

Janet
Mar. 26, 2012, 02:49 PM
I would love a confirmation on this too. I was under the impression that USEF follows the jockey club rule? The horses birthday is Jan 1. Maybe I am wrong with that assumption? :confused:

You are correct

GR102 Age (of Equine).
1. For competition purposes any horse is considered to be one year old on the first day of January
following the actual date of foaling.

ETA that dressage does it slightly differntly. By specifying the age in MONTHS (e.g. 36 months) rather than years, they avoid the USEF definition and use the actual birthdate.

GoGrnRideIrish
Mar. 26, 2012, 02:58 PM
Thanks, Janet! I thought so

MintHillFarm
Mar. 26, 2012, 03:12 PM
I probably wouldn't show my 3 year old over fences, but that's my own choice...

I think a very good minded youngster would be fine with a professional...I am just not a fan of jumping them very much at that age.

I also think that the over fences portion for these babies should allow simple changes and basic baby mistakes.

Lucassb
Mar. 26, 2012, 03:31 PM
What breed was your horse? How long was he going u/s before you started him over fences? Just curious :)

He was a WB gelding, and not a behemoth - 15.3 on a tall day, and very well put together, not gangly like a lot of horses are when they are that age. He was also very tractable and laid back, all of which made him very easy on himself from day one. He had been under saddle maybe 30 days before we started him over fences.

I always find it interesting how many people object to this sort of program for young horses who are pointed at jumping careers. My vet always clears each youngster before they start in our program, and has no concerns about what we ask them to do, and I've yet to have a problem with long term soundness.

Of course - we don't drill the horses for hours at home in the ring, don't usually jump much outside of shows, and don't routinely use a longe line. We have good minded, nicely built horses that are well suited to the job of being jr/amateur friendly hunters, so we aren't pounding round pegs into square holes, so to speak.

CaitlinandTheBay
Mar. 26, 2012, 04:17 PM
Goodness, I did grow up conservative! My barn didn't even start the WB babies until they were 4!

TheJenners
Mar. 26, 2012, 04:18 PM
I wouldn't aim for that class :no:. Maybe, just maybe, with a horse that doesn't still look like a baby, and who has a biological birthday towards the very beginning of the year. Maybe. And if the show was later in the year. Maybe...

My "three" year old (http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/s720x720/540149_3563113158101_1281017695_3561489_273575734_ n.jpg) doesn't turn three until the end of May and still looks like a baby IMO. We are going to lightly start him this summer and see where his brain is, but unless he stops over-thinking every...single...thing...then it will be w/t and steering, then lots of hauling to places and standing tied or getting walked around.

westie55
Mar. 26, 2012, 05:00 PM
This is like asking is it appropriate to ask a kindergartener to read a book. There are kids that age that cannot read and there are those that can. As long as the horse has been started properly and is physically and emotionally ready, I have no problem with it. What is inappropriate for some might be completely appropriate for others.

ccoronios
Mar. 26, 2012, 06:21 PM
This is like asking is it appropriate to ask a kindergartener to read a book. There are kids that age that cannot read and there are those that can. As long as the horse has been started properly and is physically and emotionally ready, I have no problem with it. What is inappropriate for some might be completely appropriate for others.

Welllll, except reading a book isn't going to affect your soundness for years to come. Unless you're forced at gunpoint - and then it's your mental soundness, not physical.

Lord Helpus
Mar. 26, 2012, 10:33 PM
I have no problem in free jumping a 3 year old, or in starting it over tiny fences at home at that age.

But, to show a three year old requires a lot of intensive training that most of them are not suited to. Flying changes being the biggest thing. Yes, shows can say that simple changes will not be penalized, but most trainers will still teach the changes anyway.

Shortening/lengthening down lines. Having enough mileage to not look at the jumps -- all of that requires training and pounding.

Personally I would not show a 3 year old over fences, especially during the summer. The IHF is in Sept, but those horses have already been to several shows to get mileage.

I would also not buy a horse which is showing at 3. Look at the track record of horses from the IHF and how they have done throughout their careers....

But I do not think it is horse abuse to show a 3 year old; the ones who cannot handle it, physically or mentally will disquaify themselves from such a program.

I just think it will eventually come back to haunt the horse later in its career.

PNWjumper
Mar. 27, 2012, 12:10 AM
I'm with Lucassb on this one. In a properly set program, the classes absolutely have a place. They're not for every horse, nor are they for every rider. And sure, some trainers/owners/riders will put excessive wear and tear on youngsters to get them ready for it, but that can happen with or without young horse classes.

I certainly wouldn't have a problem putting my own horses in the class (assuming I felt they were ready/mature enough/etc), and have done roughly equivalent things with some of my 3yos. With that being said, I wouldn't necessarily rush to buy a horse that someone else campaigned in the 3yo classes because I know in my program there's very little jumping and prep work that I put into my youngsters before we head to shows and clinics (I do focus on conditioning, but keep the jumping to a minimum when they're young), but I wouldn't assume that everyone else operated on the same sort of "minimalist" approach.

I took my current youngster as a 3yo (39 months old) to a clinic and jumped him around 2'6"-2'9" jumps to introduce him to jumping. He hadn't jumped before the clinic, and was only a couple of months under saddle. I would have done the same thing at a show without thinking much of it. By the end of the weekend he did a couple of lovely little courses complete with a bending line, a one-stride, and flying changes (which we had never attempted at that stage in his training).

I disagree that a lot of prep is needed to jump a horse around 2'9" fences. Most of my horses have done changes without hassle. And none of my current horses look at jumps. And in theory there shouldn't be a lot of shortening and lengthening down lines. That's the beauty of the hunter ring with babies assuming you've got a rider up that's fairly accurate.

My personal feeling is that the 3yo classes are a fantastic venue to introduce youngsters to the show ring. If I had a horse that was the right age and physical maturity level (meaning not young-for-his-class like my current guy), I would love to have the ability to haul it around to shows with my other horses and save my jumping for a few classes at each show instead of doing anything at home.

allicolls Aefvue Farms Deep South
Mar. 27, 2012, 02:50 AM
As a QH person by background, I'm used to horses being ridden/shown at 2 and practically old hat at going to the horseshows by the end of the 3yo year, but we still never started ours over fences until pretty late in their 3yo year. I guess I could see where, with the right trainer and a smart, calm, quick-learning horse, it could theoretically be ready to go over a 2'9" course late in its 3yo year, without too much jumping at home. But I think that's the exception, not the rule. And having a horse ready to go around 2'9" safely and ready to win at a big horseshow are different things, and I worry about the amount of schooling that may go on if horses are really pushed to be ready to win this class. Ideally, I would hope that a trainer would recognize when a youngster is not ready to be jumped at all, not ready to jump a full 2'9" course, not ready to handle a competition situation, etc., and bring the horse along at the pace that works for that individual. But I hope the same things about QH/Paint trainers and they continue to start babies at 21 months to be ready for the big 2yo futurities and the enormous paychecks that go with them. Fortunately, the hunter world has not started throwing $100,000 prizes at the 3yo hunter classes, and god willing they never will.

Neigh-Neigh
Mar. 27, 2012, 03:28 AM
I jumped my former horse (an Arab) at 3, on a lunge line regularly as part of his conditioning, but not under saddle until he was nearly 6.

gottagrey
Mar. 27, 2012, 01:43 PM
Depends on what you are planning to do. If this is one division at one show this spring/summer I don't see a problem.