Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Too Much of a Good Thing?

I love his little yearling face

Dickie has reached the baby horse age where his riders need to practice self restraint. When you first start a youngster it isn't as easy to overwork them. Dickie has the attention span if a gnat on meth so his brain wore out long before his body. Bre at age three was more focused than Dickie will probably be at age five so she was overworked before I even met her. 

Dickie now brings his grown up mind to the party everyday. Now that we've added more fun things (poles, cross rails) so his attention span is longer than his strength. Instead if convincing Dickie he can handle another 15 minutes even though he's bored I find myself stopping when we have more gas in the tank. He also looks very grown up. His chest has almost doubled in size. He's gone up a tree size in saddles. He's muscled out almost everywhere (he's only weak spot are the quads that keep his stifles steady). 

I have to admit it's really hard to quit when it's so much fun. He's turning into a fun fun horse. His stifle issue was a reminder that he's still four. He's got another two years if growing and filling out. There no such thing as a "fast maturing" breed. No matter how strong your horse looks his spine is still growing until six. If you are riding a youngster or bringing a horse back from inactivity find a way to hold yourself back. Whether it is a timer or sticking to specific plan each ride. Stopping 15 minutes early can add up to extra years of riding. It might even avoid a career ending injury before you make it to the first show. 

Mostly muscle but he's missing the mucle along his flank. 


  1. Good to know, my horse is 5, maybe I'm overworking him :/

  2. This is a great post and a great reminder!!! It is so hard to not overdo it with young horses, but being patient and waiting that little bit of extra time can mean the difference between a horse retired at thirteen and a horse who is still being ridden in his twenties. :D Of course I think I took this mentality too far the other way and have under-done (yeah I made that word up) it with Chrome, but it's okay. I'll get him in shape eventually.

    Also the fact that the other muscles in Dickie's haunches are strong is a good thing. An article I read said the quads are the last muscle to strengthen, so once all the other muscles in his butt are strong, then his quads will also strengthen. :) That's why I have to get Chrome exercising to strengthen all of his butt muscles before I can start focusing on his quads.

  3. he looks fabulous. And I agree about the overwork!