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What is everyone doing with their 4 year olds?

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  • What is everyone doing with their 4 year olds?

    Just like the title says what are you doing with your 4 year olds?

  • #2
    Mine is a bit of an "old soul" so he is happily preparing for his eventing debut. He is a really easy-going and fun guy. Dressage is WTC, leg-yield, shoulder-in and haunches-in, counter-canter, simple changes through trot. Jumping is 2'6-2'9 courses (difficult to go bigger in the small indoor, we are very close to being outside!) with some larger single jumps thrown in. Flying changes were there but I had some difficulties in the small indoor, so he is going to have a week with the trainer in the outdoor ring to confirm them.

    Unfortunately he has a funky tooth thing going on right now, so he is having an easy week until his vet appointment after Easter.

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


    • #3
      I sent mine to Southern Pines.

      He'd did everything I'd planned for him for his 3 and 4 year old years in less than a year. He's not exactly a farm boy; he can take about two weeks of full-time, unemployed turn-out before he starts protesting the lack of excitement in his life. He's tall, physical horse, and his protests weren't fun to deal with.

      So after much soul-searching -- we were quite attached to him -- we sent him on a road trip. Due to winter weather, he was on the road for an extra ten days, he even went all the way south to Temecula, and, according to the shipper, he had a wonderful time. They were suprised to have one that liked it so much. I'm sure Danny thought he was on tour, like a rock star.

      In SoPi, Glenbaer started riding him, and decided to take him XC schooling. He's so mature when you're sitting on him, it's easy to forget he's a young 4 year-old. He jumped everything happily, she told me. I told her he'd never jumped before, except for being longed once over a little brush box, just to see what he'd do.

      He was set to make his YEH4 debut last week but sadly, we had to scratch due to a virus in the barn. I think he's going to a schooling HT in the next couple of weeks.

      But he's a rare animal. One-in-ten-million brain. Great balance and coordination, straightforward ride. I've never had a horse do anything like this at 4 -- my homebred mares have all been too immature, physically and mentally, to do much until their 6th year. But I'm doing the right things for him, he just needs to have a lot more going on than most horses.


      • #4
        Last summer we bought my son a young event bred mare - a 3 year old Han/tb by Freedom Z out of a Catherston Liberator mare (out of a Primitive Rising mare). She is now 4 years old and 17hh.

        They have spent most of the winter working on their flat work and hacking. She is so easy to work with and such a nice mare.

        Today we took her over to dreamcrest for the start of her eventing career and her first official jumping lesson - we just did little x's over the winter at a trot.

        She was awesome. A couple little bobbles at the beginning and then instinct took over - by the end of the session she was jumping a line at a canter and did some cross country jumps. My son is over the moon - she was so great.

        Here are some pics.
        Last edited by Bravestrom; Apr. 6, 2012, 06:59 PM.


        • #5
          hand walking...and hoping she comes sound soon.

          She got kicked last fall in the stiffle.....and is still not right. Ugh. Did IRAP....joint and xrays look good now but the stiffle lig. still needs some healing.

          BEFORE she got kicked she was W/T/C and just starting to pop over little little fences. WHEN she gets sound (hopefully soon)...my plan is the hack her out a lot. Maybe go hound exercising this summer and go to some schooling shows. Not in a rush to take her eventing...but will focus more on eventing next year.
          ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


          • #6
            Petey update with Vid clips.

            Petey just did his first outside "gallop" which in this case means cantering up a little kind of a grass hilly run. Convieniently with fencing on all the sides so if he got loose... well.... at least we'd catch him.

            He has done it two days in a row and is awesome. Canters along easily soft in the bridle and just so awesome.

            I caught last night's run on cell phone video. Yes hand holding vertically while cantering on a 4 yr old! **Warning** It can cause motion sickness.... so lean away from the screen. :-)


            Meanwhile his flat work is improving and he actually leg yielding both ways and can do it semi consistently in the bridle. Though I wouldn't say we're on the bit. He is still working off the underline and growing a topline. But it's improving.

            He did his first schooling show. Did 2 classes at a schooling jumper show indoors the first week of March. He jumped clean and was a rock star. Little head tossing, so a martingale may appear for his next public outing.


            Oh and after his "gallop" Weds night he managed to jump over the 2 super scary felled logs at the farm! And he did the 2 the last time through as a long combination. Landed looking for the second. I was uber impressed.
            And all this after leaving the track January 16th!

            He is a wunderkind.

            We've been trying to get out for a cross country school, but sadly Middletown was rained out both of the weekends I had been targeting. I was bummed
            We'll see where I take him next but I have an idea to possibly go to the TB Celebration show in June at Virginia Horse Center. And they have classes for both Petey and Lad. So that could be nice.

            "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


            • #7
              I have a 14.2-hand Welsh/TB cross that just turned 4 on March 29. He is very athletic and smart but I've found that with this type of personality it's very easy to bring them along too quickly. So we are just taking our time and I'm enjoying the process.

              I backed him at 2 and then gave him the winter off; brought him back at 3 and really did a lot of long lining (we do combined driving so long lining is a very natural part of the training process), slowly increased the under saddle work, and then added trail riding.

              This year, he is solid walk/trot, going forward into the contact and really using himself well. We've recently introduced the canter and he loves it and is very balanced. Since he gets bored so easily, I add trot poles to our flatwork and then my husband and I do a lot of hacking out (he rides our 5-year-old large driving pony). We do water, small banks, ditches...anything we come across and the boys absolutely love going out. We've trailered them off the property quite a bit, both together and individually.

              My goal this year is to do some walk/trot dressage tests and bring the canter up to par with the solidity of the rest of his work. I don't plan on really jumping him until he's five. I just feel it's asking a lot to have them jumping with their young, still growing bodies. Probably why I never considered YEH classes...it just felt like too much, too soon.

              The biggest thing is understanding that despite how smart he is that he still has a "baby" brain and that I need to give him time to mature and really listen to him to figure out what pace we should be moving at.

              His most recent pictures are in this album (he's the bay roan pony):


              • #8
                Mine is coming along pretty well. I got him off the track in October last year (thanks to a COTH Canter Cutie Alert!). We moved barns in December and he developed ulcers and an abscess, but since those healed, he's been in consistent work since February. He gets ridden about 5 days a week, mostly flatwork with occasional jumping and hacking. He has a tendency, when tense, to curl up behind the bit and hang, so I spent several weeks on light contact re-learning "up and out" and relaxation. Now I'm just asking him to come round, he has a good concept of inside bend and he's learning counterbend. He does baby leg-yields at walk and trot, spiral-in and out. The canter is still a bit wild at times, but the upward transitions are actually getting to be nice. I'm not focused on the canter too much...it will come as he gets stronger, straighter, and more confirmed in half-halts. Jumping and pole work has helped his canter without too much drilling on it.

                Jumping was creating major anxiety (and No Brakes) so we did lots of work over ground poles, and that has helped immensely. I also resisted the urge to bit him up, and instead "bitted down"-- went from a KK to a nathe, and that made a huge difference. He's very athletic, and has surprisingly good balance when he listens. I've cantered to some pretty tight distances to the ground poles, and when he's soft, he'll naturally "sit down" on his own to squeeze an extra stride in. It's a very cool feeling, one you expect in an upper level horse, not an inconsistent, green OTTB at this stage in training.

                Jumping-wise, he's been out to Masterson Station and schooled all the baby xc stuff, and loved it. Ditches, banks, no problem. Crosses creeks all the time at home (would much prefer to get his feet wet than go across the scary echoing bridge!). At home, he's trotting and cantering single fences about 2'-2'6". We aren't doing full courses yet... we do lots of circles after jumps to retain control, but he can put a couple lines together when good. I found he responds better to circling and "flatwork NOW or fall down!" than a straight line halt (err, run into the fence eventually).

                I've also free-jumped him several times in the tiny indoor. At first he didn't really get it, but adding treats as a reward changed his mind pretty quickly. Now I just stand back and stay out of his way!

                My goal with him is to go novice at some point later in the year. We'll do some baby combined tests and schooling shows along the way; I'm hoping to go to Sayre School in May for the BN combined test. I would love to take him to YEH, I think he would do really well, but there aren't any within a short drive (I think there's one up in Ohio, and at Richland, but that's an awfully long drive just for one baby horse!). He's got all the physical qualities of an upper level horse, but I'll let his mental readiness dictate our pace and path to getting there.

                Gymnastic schooling 3/19
                XC at Masterson Station
                “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                ? Albert Einstein



                • #9
                  I have a short video of Danny cantering at JMP Farm.


                  • #10
                    My filly is a bit of a late bloomer, but we W/T/C and have done a couple small cross rails! She did a local dressage show at Intro last weekend and we plan to do another in May. She'll be bred in May and then put into real work after she weans the foal next year!


                    • #11
                      I'm so embarrassed What am I doing with my 4yr. old? Not a dam thing! When I lived at a boarding stable I used to bitch about the people that would spend tons of money sending their horse to an outside trainer, then never ride them when they came back. Now "I am them". She had 60 days under saddle,came home in Jan., and I've been on her 3 times since then. Good thing she's an easy goin' kinda girl
                      "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George


                      • #12
                        My 1st 4 year old outted at Nov in the summer and won the Novice Champs (his 2nd horse trial) in Sept.

                        My 2nd 4 year old came to me in the summer after being started (but with no jump experience) and he did local BN schooling HTs through the end of his 4 year old year.
                        Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                        • #13
                          Unfortunately...nothing. Since starting a new job this winter, I have had no time to even ride the stallion so the babies are all just hanging out in the pasture. I have several that need to be started - any takers?
                          Fox Haven Farm, Inc.
                          Home of 2002 JC Registered stallion Artrageous

                          Artrageous has his own Facebook page!


                          • #14
                            My four year old Welsh Cob X TB soon to be five. Her four year old year was spent in long lines and trail riding. She was growing in big spurts last year so did not do much with her. She is now about 15 hands and still growing. Hopefully this fall she will go to a few dressage shows and make her eventing debue at BN! She has been free jumped at the begining of this year so I'm hopefully she will pick up jumping quickly.


                            • #15
                              One of our 4 year olds (Odin, who will be 5 this summer) just went to a Ride & Review dressage clinic this past weekend. He was sooo good! At last year's clinic, he was just starting to work on 20m canter circles - and this year he was the highest scoring test at the whole clinic, this time working at first level, yay! I've been jumping him mostly over BN sized stuff this winter, but I will occasionally set something up to 3' - 3'3" at home now. He loves it. Last summer, when he had just turned 4, he did 2 hopeful events as his first shows and we schooled over some hopeful and BN xc jumps. This year I hope to start him at BN. He is the first of our homebreds to show, and I'm super thrilled with his mellow and willing attitude.

                              Our other 4 year old (Franka, who *just* turned four 8 days ago) is doing training level dressage work and just did her first hunter show over 2'0" jumps. She did 2 grasshopper events last summer as a 3 year old. She's the steadiest youngster I've ever met. Mentally she's ready to do more, but we're waiting for her body to mature a bit more before she moves up from her short, 2-3 day a week baby ride schedule.
                              Blacktree Farm
                              Lessons, Training & Sporthorse Sales.
                              Blacktree Studio
                              Graphic Design, Web Design & Photography.


                              • #16
                                Mine is trying to become sound at some point


                                • #17
                                  Mine is not quite four but soon and I am just trying to stay on it as this point.

                                  Young athletic and winter have been exciting. He walks, trots, canters, natural lead changes, cross rails and some uncalled for spanish riding school moves LOL


                                  • #18
                                    Mine was just started over jumps last month. It was great to see him go as I had never free jumped him. I lightly started him working at 3, then I just spent the fall and winter trail riding. He was schooling XC last weekend and absolutely loved it. He took to it like he had always done it. I think growing up in a pasture we flood irrigated was a good thing because he gallops thru water obstacles and jumps ditches like they are no big deal. He has his first show next week and I am both excited and nervous!
                                    Cloverfox Stables


                                    • #19

                                      No time to ride her since I bought her last June. Then I got in a car wreck and couldn't ride. Now I can ride some but still no time. Have her inpartial training and she's doing well, just not sure of her future with me.
                                      Shoulders back, hands down, leg ON!



                                      • #20
                                        Trying to stay on!! haha

                                        We just started cantering. Three whole strides...whoo weee.

                                        Not bad for his scattered and battered start
                                        Boss Mare Eventing Blog