Wednesday, August 20, 2008

When is it Too Young to Start?

Talked to an out of state friend, and got an update on their little filly born earlier this year. He was proud of his daughter for training the little baby. "At 5 months old, she'll already walk, trot, and canter on the lounge line."

Um, is she too young for that? Why is there such a push in the world to have weanlings "trained"? Why can't we just teach them to halter & lead, and then let them go be babies for at least a year, if not two? I'm not saying some lateral flexion and a few round pen games are totally inappropriate, and I completely think polite ground manners are a must. But when is it too much? We don't expect human babies to be athletes until they're teenagers - because we're not close to being "done growing". Why are our ponies any different?

Your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Be very very VERY! careful with babies on a lounge line. Working on the circle can do HORRIBLE damage to young stifles and hocks!
Nice to get the young one so acclimated to being handled, but stop please please stop the madness. That poor baby will be arthritic at age two!
Even older, set horses should be lounged with great care and moderation.

Jennifer said...

I wish I could. I'm many states away, and she's not my filly, or my child.

They've had multiple muscle problems with the momma, for similar reasons - too much training at too young an age. They bought the momma after the damage was done ... and I even remember them saying "she was worked too hard too early".

fssunnysd said...

Oouch. I have a related issue with my BO, who seems to believe that if a horse has done something once, it will retain the memory of it for life, and can repeat whatever the action perfectly on voice command. Erk. It's made for some interesting experiences through the years, many of them involving trailer loading. ("But they got into the trailer when they were foals with the mares - why would they not load [in 5 seconds] now?" - three years later....) She now bears, grudgingly, with my teaching them to load before we actually have to put them in the trailer. Sigh.