Young Horse Training- When are they old enough?

Gentle Reminder...

Although most equine enthusiasts want to do right by their horse, many people are pushed into starting to ride horses at far too young of an age.
Decades ago everyone was focused on if the knees were closed before beginning under saddle education...
Having had many recent conversations with various vets, and looking at the HUGE percentage of cadavers of horses who had to be euthanized in their teens, and the massive amount of arthritis present in the spine has been mind-blowing and saddening.

Starting hard work too soon, ill-fitting tack, "gimmicks" for quick-fix training approaches rather than a quality foundation of balanced, soft, and supple horses, and a few other factors seem to be the biggest contributors to horses breaking down.

All breeds physically mature at different ages, but please remember mentally and emotionally it takes a LONG time for them to grow up.

Please don't limit your focus to hurrying the horse's education to achieve your short-term goals. Consider the potential mental and physical long-term consequences of asking too much, too fast, of the young horse.

It should not be a "norm" to walk into any barn and see the increasing numbers of horses that require continuous "maintenance injections" and daily prescription medications dosed out to keep these youngsters sound.
Too much of present-day lameness, whether due to mental stress or physical breakdown, is caused by human fixation of goals and a "time is money" attitude that in the end far too often causes permanent lameness to the horse. And then he is often discarded.

Irrelevant of the chosen discipline, we need to be accountable for our horse's well-being. We are their voice. If your horse is showing behavioral "issues" please step back and do an in-depth assessment to investigate if pain is present and a contributing factor in the unwanted behaviors.

So many horses live in daily pain. They only have so many ways of telling us. Are you listening?

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