I may be opening a can of worms here

Miniature Horse Talk Forums

Help Support Miniature Horse Talk Forums:

MBennettp

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2004
Messages
838
Reaction score
2
Location
Shawnee, Oklahoma
The reason that I posted this here is because this forum is a rescue forum and I know that all who come here are interested in keeping these animals from being abused.

I am sure there will be some who will disagree with me but that is okay, you are certainly entitled to your opinion as I am entitled to mine.

On the subject of riding and driving any horse, pony, mini before they are mature, I have been on many shetland breeder's websites and a lot of them have yearlings that are trained to drive and some are even being ridden.

I personally disagree with this practice and think that if people would quit buying from these individuals and tell them that they aren't interested in their animals because they have had their training started before they are mature that they might re-think their practices.

Instead, a lot of people think that these breeders are wonderful and can't wait to purchase from them.

Some of the same people are also condemning other people who start their animals early.

Just my opinion and if I offend anyone I am sorry but in my opinion, this practice needs to come to a halt.

If you feel this post has no place here you may delete it but I feel that this is a cruelty and should be stopped.

Mary
 
K

kaykay

Guest
hi mary

i certainly agree that minis and or ponies should not be broke to ride or drive at such a young age. I myself have not seen these websites?? I would never condone anyone doing that!!
 

rabbitsfizz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2003
Messages
10,938
Reaction score
386
Location
England
There was a thread on the main forum about it a while ago- it's a well known Shetland breeder and the yearlings are proudly offered for sale, in their sale, as "broke to drive" (OH how I HATE that word!!!) The defence offered was that these animals were "started" BUT that is not what it says on the website and, as an outsider, I can only go by what I see in black and white- I do not know this person, I do not know his reputation (which it seems is exemplary) I do know I would not buy a horse from him!! At the moment I am just starting a three year old who is built like an OUTHOUSE(!!) She does not fit in the shafts of the little cart sent with her, BUT she is only just ready to start working. I don't care how well grown/strong (and remember I deal with Native Shetlands, not airy fairy pretty Americans) a yearling is, it is still a baby in it's head and should be left to play and grow. Same as putting yearlings in foal- people do, some get away with it, some do not and some, as we have found to our cost on the main forum, just sell them to someone and forget to tell them they have been running with a stallion!!!
 

MBennettp

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2004
Messages
838
Reaction score
2
Location
Shawnee, Oklahoma
I come from a long line of shetland breeders (my great grandfather brought the first shetlands to Oklahoma from Indiana before statehood) and I was always taught that other than halter training, no horse, pony, mule, or donkey should have any serious training even started before the age of 2 and preferably wait until they are 3. I was also taught that you didn't work them hard until they were at least 4.

My great grandfather said that handling them and teaching them small stuff like standing for farrier or vet, standing tied, leading and general manners was enough work for any young horse. He would start ground driving at age 2 and maybe light driving before they were 3 but no serious work until they were mature.

As far as breeding yearlings, that would be equivalant to allowing a child to carry a baby as soon as she went into puberty. They are not ready either physically or mentally to raise a baby.

I'll get off my soapbox now, things like this just burn me up. You would think that people would have more sense.

Mary
 

SunQuest

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2002
Messages
1,280
Reaction score
0
I so agree with you all. Here is what I posted on a thread on the back porch on this subject. I personally don't start any horses at all until they are at least 3 years old... Only halter work until this age with very little lunging as it is just to much for their growth plates IMO.

---------------------------------------------------------

Hi All,

The following article was forwarded to my by a good family freind from the dressage / jumper world. This applies to all horses, and is useful in realizing that even minis are often asked to sometimes do things at to young of an age in which they could hurt themselves.

(I don't know who the Veterinarian and professor is that wrote this, but this aligns with what I have learned particularly from Dr Deb Bennett when she says that the growth plates mature from the ground up.)

Just found it interesting on how long it really takes for a horse to fully mature, and hope that you all find it interesting as well.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SCHEDULE OF BONE FUSION

This was written by a Veterinarian and professor at one of our country's most prominent universities...

Owners and trainers need to realize there's a definite, easy-to-remember schedule of fusion - and then make their decision as to when to ride the horse based on that rather than on the external appearance of the horse. For there are some breeds of horse - the Quarter Horse is the premier among these - which have been bred in such a manner as to LOOK mature long before they actually ARE mature. This puts these horses in jeopardy from people who are either ignorant of the closure schedule, or more interested in their own schedule (for futurities or other competitions) than they are in the welfare of the animal.

The process of fusion goes from the bottom up. In other words, the lower have fused; and the higher up toward the animal's back you look, the later. The growth plate at the top of the coffin bone (the most distal bone of the limb) is fused at birth. What this means is that the coffin bones get no TALLER after birth (they get much larger around, though, by another mechanism). That's the first one. In order after that:

2. Short pastern - top & bottom between birth and 6 mos.

3. Long pastern - top & bottom between 6 mos. and 1 yr.

4. Cannon bone - top & bottom between 8 mos. and 1.5 yrs.

5. Small bones of knee - top & bottom on each, between 1.5 and 2.5 yrs.

6. Bottom of radius-ulna - between 2 and 2.5 yrs.

7. Weight-bearing portion of glenoid notch at top of radius - between 2.5 and 3 yrs.

8. Humerus - top & bottom, between 3 and 3.5 yrs.

9. Scapula - glenoid or bottom (weight-bearing) portion - between 3.5 and 4 yrs.

10. Hindlimb - lower portions same as forelimb

11. Hock - this joint is "late" for as low down as it is; growth plates on the tibial & fibular tarsals don't fuse until the animal is four (so the hocks are a known "weak point" - even the 18th-century literature warns against driving young horses in plow or other deep or sticky footing, or jumping them up into a heavy load, for danger of spraining their hocks)

12. Tibia - top & bottom, between 2.5 and 3 yrs.

13. Femur - bottom, between 3 and 3.5 yrs.; neck, between 3.5 and 4 yrs.; major and 3rd trochanters, between 3 and 3.5 yrs.

14. Pelvis - growth plates on the points of hip, peak of croup (tubera sacral), and points of buttock (tuber ischii), between 3 and 4 yrs. and what do you think is last? The vertebral column, of course. A normal horse has 32 vertebrae between the back of the skull and the root of the dock, and there are several growth plates on each one, the most important of which is the one capping the centrum. These do not fuse until the horse is at least 5 1/2 years old (and this figure applies to a small-sized, scrubby, range-raised mare. The taller your horse and the longer its neck, the later full fusion will occur. And for a male - is this a surprise? -- You add six months. So, for example, a 17-hand TB or Saddlebred or WB gelding may not be fully mature until his 8th year -something that owners of such individuals have often told me that they "suspected").

The lateness of vertebral "closure" is most significant for two reasons. One: in no limb are there 32 growth plates! Two: The growth plates in the limbs are (more or less) oriented perpendicular to the stress of the load passing through them, while those of the vertebral chain are oriented parallel to weight placed upon the horse's back.

Bottom line: you can sprain a horse's back (i.e., displace the vertebral growth plates) a lot more easily than you can sprain those located in the limbs. And here's another little fact: within the chain of vertebrae, the last to fully "close" are those at the base of the animal's neck that's why the long-necked individual may go past 6 yrs. to achieve full maturity). So you also have to be careful - very careful - not to yank the neck around on your young horse, or get him in any situation where he strains his neck.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Marsha Cassada

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Messages
9,404
Reaction score
8,243
Location
Southwest Oklahoma
Thank you so much for posting the bone fusion information! That is a topic I have wanted to learn more about. I would be reluctant to buy a mature horse from someone I didn't know, as most of the problems do not show up till the horse is mid-life. I have printed this out to keep in my mini horse vet book, along with many other interesting articles from the forum. Thanks again!

Marsha
 
Top