|Oregon 2 1/2 year old TWH being worked
in snaffle or hackamore and bareback, western, aussie saddles in
round pen, arena, trails by intermediate rider.
Question: Have a young horse that is still growing and is low in the withers. How much of an influence will this have on his gaits until he matures?
He has a good overstride, but not much headnod. I really praise
him when we
I am satisfied to keep his attitude light and his bones/joints healthy.
Any suggestions or comments reg. his downhill conformation would be appreciated.
From Panelist Jonathan
First of all I would pony him in halter only and with a horse that gaits
properly . I find it amazing how they will mimic other horses . On the
up side , you can make this natural instinct work for you by working him
in saddle or ponying with a proper gaiting horse .
As to a "headnod" some do , some don't . It's up to you to either accept him or conform him . Of course that decision can only be made once he is going properly . I realize it is breed standard to do so , but personally I wouldn't loose any sleep over it .
As to letting him trot , GOOD . I find it is a longer but stronger road to gaiting properly . The more muscle groups developed make a more athletic/sound horse in my book .
As to his "down hill " conformation , as I said he is a young TW, but 30 months is a age I would like to see a horse out of the see/saw growth routine and more level . This may be a genetic fault , but one that can be worked with . I have always believed the end product in this industry will always be based on a 50% genetics and 50 % training ratio .
I have a 50/50 TWH/PP stallion that takes his size at 16.3 Hh from his TW side . He is just coming into himself at 6 yrs. . I only expect him to get better in the next 6 . Give your boy time and he will give you what he can .
From Panelist Steve
This horse is immature and I would not expect to see this horse's gait reach its full potential until he is 4 1/2 or 5. The horse's back is one of the last parts to fully mature. The low withers indicates he still has a lot to grow and therefore, his back is even more immature than average.
The ability to bridge (opposite of hollow) the back is critical for high quality square walk production. To obtain this optimal posture requires decent conformation and quality muscle development. In the immature horse, neither is fully developed.
Continue to do what you are doing and let this horse learn to move forward and enjoy riding. Be patient. To get him in optimal physical condition at this tender age would require more riding than a 2 year old should experience. And because of the immaturity of his development, would yield very little improvement.
From Panelist Bob
At 2 1/2 your horse is still a baby with all of the growth problems of youth. Different horses grow at different rates. I have a 4 yr old colt that seemed either wither high or butt high every time I looked at him until the last few months. I started him under saddle at 3 yrs of age, but didn't do much other than get him bridle wise and used to carrying weight. I am just now starting to work with him seriously under saddle. His mind and body are much more responsive now than they were last year while he was having growth spurts.
You do need to concentrate on keeping him in a rounded frame in order to keep him square. You will be able to do this much better in a snaffle bit than in a mechanical hack as the latter tends to raise the head and hollow the neck and back.
From Panelist Lee
This horse is a baby -- he will keep growing and changing some proportions until he is at least 6. Generally, a horse that is rump high will be inclined to be pacey.
It sounds as if you are trying to encourage a step pace -- I would not
be doing that. He should be learning to do a flat walk, and stay
consistent in it, if he is doing anything at all. At his age, he
should not be ridden out on trail rides, or even in an arena for more than
10 minutes at a time, if at all. His bones are still growing -- they
will stay healthier if you stay
Good luck with your horse.
From Panelist Liz
I find with the young ones that are still growing, their gaits can sometimes change weekly, because of adjusting to growth changes. Don't worry about it and let him grow. Get your dog walks and 2 speeds of flat walk down now and let him grow. Being high in the backend now can put him more on the forehand and then you may end up working him in a way now that will cause problems later.
The trot is not a bad thing and much better that developing a pace by going down hills. It can be much harder to get a running walk out of that pace than a trot. I would not want him going to the stepping pace at all if I wanted a running walk. Also the stepping pace being a ventro gait in the back (hollow) is not good for a young horses back that is still growing. You are much better off sticking to the flat walks and getting a running walk from that and keep the non stressful neutral back (level).
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