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Care of three year old during backing and training

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    Care of three year old during backing and training

    We started backing my 3.5 year old WB filly in July. She is quite difficult and sensitive (she is an Olympic Ferro baby)but with the help of a professional we are progressing well. My concern is that despite the fact that she has been worked very lightly her legs have shown some signs of strain. A splint formed on the outside of her foreleg but this was due to a knock when she jumped out of the paddock. Now she has wind puffs in both hind fetlocks. I rested her for two weeks and I bandage her legs at night then cold hose in the day. She does not show any sign of lameness and the vet said to keep an eye out for discomfort but continue working lightly. I have conflicting advice from my horsey friends, some feel I should turn her away and leave her for a few months while the trainer and I feel that we might have to start over if we stop working with her now. Does anyone have advice or experiences similar to the above?

    #2
    Why would you have to "start over"? She won't forget everything you've taught her.

    IMHO, 3.5 years is still too young to be asking much of anything. I didn't back my mare until she was almost five. No horse on this planet is mature skeletally before age six. Turning her out for 6 months, or giving her the same amount of time to continue to grow while maybe just continuing with basic groundwork, may help her.

    She's showing you physical signs that what you're asking may be too much. Listen to them, and put aside your own goals for this horse in place of her long term well-being
    Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you have now was once among the many things that you only hoped for.

    Comment


      #3
      How much work is she being asked to do? What type of work is it?

      What were your management practices prior to entering training? How have these changed now that she's in work?

      It's worth noting that developing bones (as well as mature ones) need exposure to a certain amount of stress in order to mature properly and stay in good shape.

      http://www.thehorse.com/articles/132...s-tough-enough

      The point is to introduce any new training program gradually and systematically, in a way that doesn't suddenly surprise or shock the horse. If a horse is sensitive, you may need to go more slowly, but still you must get the job done.

      Look up the standard of performance for 2, 3, 4, and 5 yo's in sport programs around the world, and you will become acquainted with the performance benchmarks that are the norm. It's unlikely that many horses are worked to these various standards every day of their lives; instead they are gradually brought into peak form when necessary when a competition or sale situation arises.

      Let these and your horse guide you in deciding how much and what type of work is appropriate.
      Inner Bay Equestrian
      www.USSHBA.org
      KERx

      Comment


        #4
        The horse is sending you a message. Read and heed or ignore. Your choice. Your consequences.

        G.
        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

        Comment

          Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Abbie.S View Post
          Why would you have to "start over"? She won't forget everything you've taught her.

          IMHO, 3.5 years is still too young to be asking much of anything. I didn't back my mare until she was almost five. No horse on this planet is mature skeletally before age six. Turning her out for 6 months, or giving her the same amount of time to continue to grow while maybe just continuing with basic groundwork, may help her.

          She's showing you physical signs that what you're asking may be too much. Listen to them, and put aside your own goals for this horse in place of her long term well-being
          Agreed, the work we do is more ground work, tacking up, mounting and dismounting. No actual ridden work apart from a light walk trot to change things up in the round ring.

          We can turn her away but it has been a rough few weeks due to the fact that she is so dominant and we have just reached that point wher she is realizing we are not here to fight but have fun together. She has challenged us every step of the way trying to assert herself as the boss, I don't have any goals for her at this point but it does feel like we still have to play that mental game to align her with who leads and who follows.

          Comment

            Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by M. O'Connor View Post
            How much work is she being asked to do? What type of work is it?

            What were your management practices prior to entering training? How have these changed now that she's in work?

            It's worth noting that developing bones (as well as mature ones) need exposure to a certain amount of stress in order to mature properly and stay in good shape.

            http://www.thehorse.com/articles/132...s-tough-enough

            The point is to introduce any new training program gradually and systematically, in a way that doesn't suddenly surprise or shock the horse. If a horse is sensitive, you may need to go more slowly, but still you must get the job done.

            Look up the standard of performance for 2, 3, 4, and 5 yo's in sport programs around the world, and you will become acquainted with the performance benchmarks that are the norm. It's unlikely that many horses are worked to these various standards every day of their lives; instead they are gradually brought into peak form when necessary when a competition or sale situation arises.

            Let these and your horse guide you in deciding how much and what type of work is appropriate.
            Thanks for the awesome link! The work right now is very light, tacking up, mounting. Lots of walking and a bit of a trot. 20 mins max three days a week. We focus on bombproofing, hacking down the driveway and back. I keep wondering if it is the rider work or crazy antics in the paddock causing the leg issues. Not sure if we turn her away anyway and hope for the best or proceed handling her. Unfortunately I cannot limit paddock time or space, I prefer her enjoying a full day's turnout.

            Comment

              Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by M. O'Connor View Post
              How much work is she being asked to do? What type of work is it?

              What were your management practices prior to entering training? How have these changed now that she's in work?

              It's worth noting that developing bones (as well as mature ones) need exposure to a certain amount of stress in order to mature properly and stay in good shape.

              http://www.thehorse.com/articles/132...s-tough-enough

              The point is to introduce any new training program gradually and systematically, in a way that doesn't suddenly surprise or shock the horse. If a horse is sensitive, you may need to go more slowly, but still you must get the job done.

              Look up the standard of performance for 2, 3, 4, and 5 yo's in sport programs around the world, and you will become acquainted with the performance benchmarks that are the norm. It's unlikely that many horses are worked to these various standards every day of their lives; instead they are gradually brought into peak form when necessary when a competition or sale situation arises.

              Let these and your horse guide you in deciding how much and what type of work is appropriate.
              Thanks for the awesome link! The work right now is very light, tacking up, mounting. Lots of walking and a bit of a trot. 20 mins max three days a week. We focus on bombproofing, hacking down the driveway and back. I keep wondering if it is the rider work or crazy antics in the paddock causing the leg issues. Not sure if we turn her away anyway and hope for the best or proceed handling her. Unfortunately I cannot limit paddock time or space, I prefer her enjoying a full day's turnout.

              Comment


                #8
                Can you explain what you mean by "crazy antics in the paddock" ?

                Is she pacing when turned out? What is her stall/turnout situation?

                Comment


                  #9
                  So not the exact same situation but we had one of our ponies broke at 3. She exhibited behavior that made us think she wasn't quite ready. I brought her home and honestly she sat in my field for 2 years (I don NOT recommend, it is just the way it worked out).

                  Started riding her again this spring, she's a different pony. She didn't
                  "forget" anything buy she grew up in mind and body.

                  If your horse is having physical issues, it is telling you something. Listen.
                  Come to the dark side, we have cookies

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I don't think her workload is too high. If her legs are showing strain I'd look at what she is doing at liberty before the under saddle work. I cannot imagine walking under saddle and lightly trotting a few minutes at a time would cause any strain.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Sabbles View Post
                      Agreed, the work we do is more ground work, tacking up, mounting and dismounting. No actual ridden work apart from a light walk trot to change things up in the round ring.

                      We can turn her away but it has been a rough few weeks due to the fact that she is so dominant and we have just reached that point wher she is realizing we are not here to fight but have fun together. She has challenged us every step of the way trying to assert herself as the boss, I don't have any goals for her at this point but it does feel like we still have to play that mental game to align her with who leads and who follows.
                      I'd be doing basic ground work with her just to get some manners into her. Not sure how long you've had her, but 3.5 years is too old to not have basic good manners. It will then make the starting process much much easier.

                      Lots of opinions here, but research shows that race horses stay sounder when they are in training as 2 yos. The splint most likely happened due to turn out, does not sound like she is doing enough with training to pop a splint.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I'd like to know what she does out in the pasture? Lots of running/bucking/playing? Also, what does your ground work consist of? I can't imagine you're getting on a "dominant" mare without w/t/c on a longe line or in a round pen.....??? How is she asserting her "dominance"? What sort of things is she doing?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          You said round ring, what size is the ring? What size is the horse? That may be your problem right there, if she's not ready and you're working her on a circle her legs may just not be able to handle it. I'd turn out for awhile, personally.
                          It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            You could start driving her and give her a lot of training and miles while you wait.
                            I'm driving my pony, who was ground driven and broke to drive this spring at 4 years of age. I've been going down the roads with all sorts of crazy experiences. I got on her the first time last week. Rode down the driveway and across the main road to the neighbor's pasture. Two horses in a paddock running like crazy. I was able to walk,trot and canter her like a horse with 60 days typical riding. I have taught her voice commands for walk,trot and canter while driving and the experience she's gotten has clearly carried over to riding. Plus, she's in much better shape after miles of walking in pavement and lots of trotting on firm grass and roads.
                            She is barefoot,too although I just got some boots as she wore her feet down too much on a long road drive recently.
                            With wind puffs, I would certainly get X-rays. It is sometimes associated with OCD lesions.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Not too long ago, it was the "norm" to lightly start a horse in the fall, then turn them out until spring to think about it, and to physically and mentally mature. They started real training in the spring.

                              She won't forget anything, and may well seem to have figured some things out on her own after some time off.
                              www.TheSaddleTree.com
                              www.TrainingTree.net

                              Comment

                                Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by NorCalDressage View Post
                                Can you explain what you mean by "crazy antics in the paddock" ?

                                Is she pacing when turned out? What is her stall/turnout situation?
                                No pacing or that kind of behavior, it is just over the top hooligan behavior. She charges round the paddock some days and tries to play with the two oldies who keep her company.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  https://www.facebook.com/GumTreeStab...type=2&theater

                                  Comment

                                    Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thanks Gumtree, I agree. I worked on a spelling and pre training farm for 18 months some years back. My reason for this post was for discussions around experiences of others in looking after the 3.5 year old during the early stages of straining.

                                    May sound ridiculous but we hardly lunge her. I have a professional who starts horses for a living assisting me. He long lines her at first to suss out her reactions and then hops on. She has been awesome.... Once you are on her back. On the ground she is incredibly dominant to the point of acting 'coltish'. We gave her a week off work and as predicted her ground manners went out the window. She definitely is much happier with her session three times a week.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Did she have a lot of turn out with "playmates" before she started training. That is the ideal, as they start legging themselves up.
                                      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                                      Comment

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