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What would you do with a 3.3 yr old?

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  • What would you do with a 3.3 yr old?

    I'm a little clueless when it comes to youngsters and would love to hear what COTH-ers do with 3 year olds.

    Horsey is a 16.2h Holsteiner cross. Was backed as a 2 year old. At the seller's barn he was doing a nice walk/trot/canter under saddle, instantly responsive to the leg and taking a contact with inclination to go round. Can do 4 rows of cavalletis at the trot without hesitation and also does canter poles under saddle.
    Horse was lunged once a week off bridle with surcingle but no attachments.
    He's furthermore very sensible and has already been taken out hacking on the roads alone and in company.

    He was getting 4 20mins sessions of work a week prior to coming to me, which would have been one lunge, one roadhack and two schoolings at the w/t/c.

    I just don't know what to do with him now that he's at my place.
    I could work with a trainer, but somehow I'm thinking this has got to be too early to put him in work.

    I'm also worried that lunging such a young horse might be too hard on his joints whilst he's still growing.

    I was thinking of taking him on some hilly trails under saddle at the walk for 1/2hr twice a week and perhaps one 20 min session of walk under saddle in the ring with a little bit of trot and forget about the canter again util he's 4 yrs old? Does this sound about right, or should I continue with a similar workload he used to get? Or on the contrary just let him sit around until he's 4?

    He gets turned out daily for 4hrs in a paddock, I don't feel comfortable turning him out in the 3 acre field just yet, because my other horses will most likely bully him. So whilst he walks around grazing in the paddock, he doesn't really trot or canter much during turnout.

    Would love to hear your thoughts about youngsters, so I get a better feel for what is suitable . Thanks!
    Last edited by Lieslot; Oct. 11, 2011, 08:57 AM. Reason: spelling

  • #2
    I love doing long-lining with youngsters. That would be a great way to give them some exercise w/o a rider, but not with as much stress on the joints as going around in a small circle on the longe.

    Plus you can work on steering and work up to more complicated stuff eventually like lateral work all w/o a rider so when you get on, all that will be easier.

    Comment


    • #3
      Well.... I come from H/J land and grew up with QHs so take this for what it is worth.... the current regime doesn't sound all that unreasonable, since it was 4 sessions a week at 20 minutes a session. Seems about right to me.

      I would definitely do lots of walk hacks out and about. Do as much work outside the ring as you can at this stage. I'd go ahead and do some trotting out there too providing footing is good and he remembers his manners.

      Personally I would NOT just let the canter go for now. I'd continue doing some ring work and definitely incorporating the canter.

      I wouldn't bother with the longing. I don't really care for longing young horses much, especially a big boy like yours. And if he's well started and going decently you don't need the longing as a training tool as much as you might if he were greener. My mare is 4.5 and just started under saddle, I've been longing her more than I would typically, but she needed to learn voice commands and such. Otherwise, I'd ditch the longe line.
      We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

      Comment


      • #4
        Your horse is 3.3yrs old and if you are that clueless about yongster, why did you bought him?

        Did you do a PPE? What did the vet said about his way of doing? Does he seem tired, overused, angry or something? Does he have any medical condition?

        This is a rather big horse and IMHO, you will need more than your little pen and little schedule to keep him healthy in his mind and body. A young horse needs to have a light/moderate but regular training schedule and lots of big pasture time where he can gallop! Unless you want stiffle problems because of lack of musculation...especially with the big horses, I'm seeing this oh so often... Walk trot and yes canter! Long lines, huge circles! Yes, you don't wanna mess the joints, but don't forget to strengten the ligaments thus the muscles holding everything together!

        Sorry but please buy older horses if you don't know what to do with the youngster or get yourself a good trainer in which to put your trust and get the horse trained and under good care.
        ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

        Originally posted by LauraKY
        I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
        HORSING mobile training app

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        • #5
          I'd stay with the similar work load he's getting, but make sure he gets adequate turn out as well. It's a light work.. w/t/c.. i wouldn't do any jumps, or start barrel racing him or anything.. but he needs some work out to be in good shape.
          "Sadly, some people's greatest skill, is being an idiot". (facebook profile pic I saw).

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by FlashGordon
            Well.... I come from H/J land and grew up with QHs so take this for what it is worth.... the current regime doesn't sound all that unreasonable, since it was 4 sessions a week at 20 minutes a session. Seems about right to me.
            Interesting, he was actually started by a jumper rider at a jumper barn.

            Originally posted by alibi_18
            Your horse is 3.3yrs old and if you are that clueless about yongster, why did you bought him?
            Uhhh, why the harshness? I don't need to justify why I got this youngster! All I can say, he came to me in a special, totally unexpected way by someone very near & dear to me and I want to do things right with this horse. Hence asking for some advice, admitting that I have never had a youngster before.

            Of course he had a PPE and I spent 2 weeks with him every single day, hacking, schooling & lunging him before bringing him over.
            Vetting was clear with no remarks, horse is actually fit, already been taken out to the inspection shows

            He can go in the 3 acre field, I'm just not so sure about what my 18hh+'ers will do to him. Because he's actually very tiny next to the giants. Perhaps I'll just get him out there with one of them at the time and see how that goes.

            I've got a good trainer to work with my 18hh+ers, I just thought it would be too soon to get him in a regular lesson/training program.

            So define adequate turnout for a youngster?
            What size field do your 3 year olds go out in? Perhaps I need to board him.

            I hadn't thought of longlining instead of lunging, makes sense. He should take well to that.
            Rather than walk the hills, I can do long straigth two-point canters in the neigboring hilly farmfields, since they'll be harvested any day soon. That ought to help but hindend, right.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi. Can you pony him with your older guys?

              If not, I'd take him on lots of walks around the farm and off. Just to develop a bond, as well as exposing him to the world.

              I agree about the longlining.
              If you are petite, I would hop on a few times a week and just do walk, and some trot. I would not canter yet, but I am super cautious.

              Have fun, he landed a great home!

              For turnout, I would do one horse at a time. Put him with your beta horse in the larger turnout...see how they do. If they do fine, then switch to your other horse and the new guy till they settle in.
              I think if they eat and are in the area of each other, they kind of figure things out, before they even meet.
              But, I always do intro's with one horse at a time.
              Good luck.
              save lives...spay/neuter/geld

              Comment


              • #8
                I am sympathetic to your plight. 4 years ago, I ended up with a barely started 4 year old after my 12 year old been there done that Irish Draught packer died unexpectedly. I am an older, heavy, wimp who had no business with a 4 year old. I trailered him to a trainer about once a week for months. She put some mileage on him and gave me a program. At first, my instructions were to walk and trot on the trails near home. After a few months, we did more. My horse is now a well mannered trail horse who knows basic dressage and eventing. He and I have a great time together.

                You might consider trailering to a trainer once a week for a few months. Your baby will benefit from a change of scenery and from developing a training plan. You don't have to be a pro to raise a nice youngster if you are willing to pay for whatever expertise you lack.

                Comment


                • #9
                  OP, ignore the troll.

                  Trail riding a young horse is a great way to get them in shape. A little trot and canter isn't a bad thing for a nicely developed three yo. How much and how long really depends on the horse. Cantering up hill can be very good, helps the horse sit and balance - horses tend to want to canter up a hill.

                  Advice on young horses - they can go through growth spurts quickly and become discombobulated for periods of time. Had to stop cantering one young one bc he became so butt high he didn't know how to balance himself. Showed by him suddenly bucking in frustration (canter was his favorite gait till then). Did avoid canter till he figured things out more and
                  his front end caught up enough so he wasn't struggling so much. So just be aware and pay attention - same thing for how your saddle fits.

                  Btw, it's not bad to take up contact with a young horse, but don't ask for him to flex longitudinally. Leave him his neck for balance. Just saying as some modern trends push for the horse to be cranked in.

                  Happy riding!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I see many different opinions on Coth about youngsters. Alot of people here don't start them until they're 4. My 3yo was started late in her 2yo year. I very rarely lunge, but if she has had several days off, I'll let her blow some steam for 10 mins. Over the fall and into winter last year we did 15-20 mins in the ring 2 days a week, w/t/c. Also 1 or 2 trail rides a week. By the time she turned 3 she had been out alone & in company, through water, up and down hills, etc. She will stand tied to the trailer even if firecrackers go off around her. She is a big wb/tb cross, so its not that shes quiet, she just totally trusts me. She had 8 weeks completely off in the coldest part of the winter then went back into the same regimine. Now she is working in the ring 3 days a week. 2 of those are 30-40 minute schools, 1 is 15 mins of stretchy trot, and 2 trail rides. She is fit, strong and seems to enjoy our routine.
                    Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gimbalist View Post
                      OP, ignore the troll.
                      Should the OP ignores you too? Hello new member!
                      ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                      Originally posted by LauraKY
                      I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                      HORSING mobile training app

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm with those that don't think his schedule sounds like too much, but I think you're right to think about some low(er) stress activity through the winter at his age. Easy going trail riding (and by "easy going" I mean mostly at the walk) would be a great way to take a break while still working with him.

                        I usually get mine going as late 2yo/early 3yos and then toss them out for the winter. With my latest guy that means that he was broke and had 120 days put on him (4-5 days a week) right at 3. We were doing 15-20 minutes work focusing on moving forward off of the leg and "fake" lateral work (turning down the quarter line and then moving back towards the rail without any lateral movement). We did poles on the ground, but no cavaletti, and his last 3 days under saddle were spent at a clinic jumping around little courses.

                        I then chucked him out to pasture for 8 months and started him again as a 4yo. And now I'm running into a "problem" that sounds like it may be similar to what you've got. My guy is such a sport about everything that I'm at a loss with what to do with him. He does everything I ask him, so the only limitation I've run into is the fact that his body still isn't ready to handle the workload that his brain and athleticism can. So my approach has been to focus on something particular (nice trot to canter transitions or light lateral work or cavaletti or little jumps, etc.) and then ride him in "blocks" to get him to that goal. So if I want him really moving off of my leg into a forward gait, we may spend 4-5 days a week for 2 weeks working on transitions and serpentines and changes within the gaits, and then I'll give him a couple of weeks off. My goal for this "block" is a little jumper schooling show where we'll do some bigger classes than he's done so far in a couple of weeks and then he'll go out to pasture for another few weeks.

                        I do think that working with a trainer sounds like a great idea....as long as the trainer is familiar with and comfortable working with babies. I do lessons once a month or so with my dressage trainer and it's been a great help for me. She's really fantastic with babies and has come up with quite a bit to gradually start introducing him to concepts without adding the physical stress of actually doing things his body may not be ready for.
                        __________________________________
                        Flying F Sport Horses
                        Horses in the NW

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Size doesn't necessarily have anything to do with proper turnout buddies. My 3yo Arab colt's best friend was a giant 3yo Belgian gelding and their babysitter was a 15yo Perch gelding. Spike, the Belgian was so big and gangly that he couldn't hurt my much more agile Arab.

                          My 900lb Arab is not an appropriate turnout buddy for anything submissive or terribly dominant, no matter how big or small it is. He is a bully to the submissive and he will. not. back. down to anything that puts up a fight. At his old boarding barn, he and my friend's ASB got locked in an epic battle. They are both bullies and were both out for blood. We had to permanently separate them. My guy also decided he was going to pin a new colt we had hoped he would make friends with in a corner all day. We tried for a couple days, but the other colt spent the whole of each day pathetically standing in the corner until we rescued him and put him in a different pasture. Now he's turned out with my husband's QHs. He's a bully to one and the other is the benevolent king.

                          As for "appropriate amount of turnout?". My vote is always on "as much as possible". My guys are out 24/7 in good weather and are only stalled at night during the winter months when it drops below freezing at night. I only stall them because my Arab is a cold weather weenie and drops weight faster than I can blink. My guy grew up in a 20 acre field first with mom and other babies then from weaning to around 3 when I bought him, he was in a 20 acre field with the other colts his age. At the boarding barn, he was in a 2 acre field with the Belgian colt and their Perch babysitter. At the next boarding barn, he was in a 1 acre field with 2 Percherons and 2 Belgians. Now he is with our 2 QHs on anywhere from a quarter acre if its wet to 6 acres if its dry.

                          As for workload? Different schools of thought. I've taken it very slow with my Arab despite people telling me what he "should" know by some arbitrary point. I spent the first 6mo I had him backing him and doing ground work. The next 6mo were spent working on woah and walking under saddle. I did 20 minute lessons 4-5 times a week. When he turned 4, I focused more on the trot and extending the workouts until we were up to an hour by the time he was 5. Last year we started working on his canter. He was just too awkward to do much cantering in the arena before then.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Thanks everyone, interesting to read what others do, keep it coming .

                            I'll wait till the weekend, when I have more hands around, but will try him with one other horse in the bigger field.

                            I will also look around what boarding options are out here with really large fields. Bonding would of course go better if he's at home, but if that means he's not got enough space to run, then I need to think that through and find him a really large pasture, eventhough galloping in a wet fall pasture does make me a little nervous.

                            I emailed seller last night to ask what he does with his other 3 year olds over winter, and actually being Europe, they get large stalls and a couple of hours in a sand paddock, but no turnout from Nov till late April. They continue to be kept in the same workschedule.

                            So to those that turn in out large fields, you don't worry about the flat out gallops & bucks when the pasture is wet and they risk a slip or a fall? Being young I'd expect him to throw some happy crazies a bit more frequently than an older horse. Or am I being overly concerned?
                            I guess there will be no magic right or wrong answer to turnout with winter round the corner . Wished I lived in a drier climate.

                            Sounds like my trailriding idea will be good, as long as I keep some trot & canter going too, which will mean getting trainer involved.
                            I'll keep up some groundwork, he's quite relaxed about stuff, so this ought to help the bonding.
                            I definitely want to start trailering him out pretty soon, so he's happy to leave the other two behind and go places alone. Perhaps I ought to go to trainer's facility rather than get trainer to come here.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              There was a really long thread awhile back called something like "so what are you doing with your 3 y/os?" that prompted a bunch of spin-off threads for 4, 5, 6 year olds, however I can't find it......maybe someone more skilled with the search function can find it!
                              **Member of the Ocularly Challenged Equine Support Group**

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Hmmm, just tried a search, but can't seem to find it, would be love to read it however. If anyone can link, thanks a lot!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Lieslot View Post
                                  Thanks everyone, interesting to read what others do, keep it coming .

                                  I'll wait till the weekend, when I have more hands around, but will try him with one other horse in the bigger field.

                                  I will also look around what boarding options are out here with really large fields. Bonding would of course go better if he's at home, but if that means he's not got enough space to run, then I need to think that through and find him a really large pasture, eventhough galloping in a wet fall pasture does make me a little nervous.

                                  I emailed seller last night to ask what he does with his other 3 year olds over winter, and actually being Europe, they get large stalls and a couple of hours in a sand paddock, but no turnout from Nov till late April. They continue to be kept in the same workschedule.

                                  So to those that turn in out large fields, you don't worry about the flat out gallops & bucks when the pasture is wet and they risk a slip or a fall? Being young I'd expect him to throw some happy crazies a bit more frequently than an older horse. Or am I being overly concerned?
                                  I guess there will be no magic right or wrong answer to turnout with winter round the corner . Wished I lived in a drier climate.

                                  Sounds like my trailriding idea will be good, as long as I keep some trot & canter going too, which will mean getting trainer involved.
                                  I'll keep up some groundwork, he's quite relaxed about stuff, so this ought to help the bonding.
                                  I definitely want to start trailering him out pretty soon, so he's happy to leave the other two behind and go places alone. Perhaps I ought to go to trainer's facility rather than get trainer to come here.

                                  If he's in a large pasture, and used to it.. they generally get used to it pretty quick. It's better, imo, to have them in a spot safe to run, then to try to keep them in an area too small for a nice gallop. Then when they do get into an area large enough.. they injure themselves.

                                  otherwise your plan sounds great.
                                  "Sadly, some people's greatest skill, is being an idiot". (facebook profile pic I saw).

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I always try to keep my babies out 24/7 on hilly pastures. I like them to be able to move and run and use their bodies and muscles to develop as needed. But, obviously, not everyone has that opinion. Of course I worry about the fluke buck-slip-fall, but that is such a rare event. How many horses do you know that this has actually happened to? I would rather have them be happy and healthy than stuck in a stall all day.

                                    At 3 I do a lot of trail riding. I like to get them out and let them see everything while still working in a non stressful way. I think it is amazing for their brains. I still do some ring work once or twice a week but not a ton. Continue with the W/T/C, bring in some lateral work, itty bitty collection etc.

                                    At 4 I still do a lot of trail riding but also up the ring work to a few times a week and that fall start hopping over cross rails etc.

                                    I usually introduce most things on the trail, their first canter will be behind a steady eddie on the trail, their first jump will be following another horse over a log etc. I think it is one of the best things you can do for a baby.

                                    Good luck with your new guy! I'm sure he will turn out wonderfully!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      My girl lives in a private 1/4 acre pasture. It has a bit of slope to it. Since she lives in it year round, I pretty much close my eyes and hope for the best when it gets muddy. So far, so good. Shes pretty atletic and I figure what she's doing on her own, shes capable enough to handle. There are times I see 10' skid marks, with all 4's and shudder! If she were in the barn and being turned out, I probably would keep her in something smaller, but like someone else said, when they live in them, they seem to have a better handle on it. I do now she's not a big 'player' sometimes just a big trot around the outside with a few bucks, but she spends most of her time in her stall. When the weather is bad and the ground is slick, she'll offer to play more in the roundpen, which I encourage, since the foorting isn't slick and I can control the playing.
                                      Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Take him places! You're not just building up his body, but you're also building up his brain. Take him to a friends farm to school in another arena. Take him off the farm to trail ride in the woods with friends. Take him to a local schooling show just to hack around and get in and out of warm up.

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