March 21, 2012

Growth Rates and Training Plans for Young Horse

Category: Tips,Training — Carrie @ 6:52 am

Over the years I have had so many different young sport horses come into training at In Motion Sport Horses. It is always interesting to see how they are either mature or immature, both physically and mentally.  Some young horses are really ready to go into light work and some just are not.

I recently read an article in Warmblood Today,  March/April 2012 addition, titled “How Slow Do Warmbloods Grow? by Erica Larson.  Within the article is a “growth plate conversion schedule”, written by Dr. Deb Bennett, PhD, founder of Equine Studies Institute, which I found very interesting and helpful in training young horses.  The schedule is as follows:

  • The coffin bone solidifies at birth
  • The short pastern fuses between birth and six months of age
  • The long pastern fuses between  six months of age and  one year 
  • The cannon bone fuses between eight months and one year and a half
  • The small bones of the knee fuse between  one and half years and two and a half years
  • The bottom of the radius and ulna fuse between two and two and a half years
  • The weight-bearing portion of the radius fuses between two and half and three years
  • The humerus fuses between three and three and half years
  • The scapula fuses between three and a half and four years
  • The hock fuses around four years of age
  • The tibia fuses between three and three and a half years
  • The femur fuses in three stages between two and a half and three and a half years of age
  • The pelvis fuses between three and four years of age
  • The vertebral column fuses when the horse is five and a half years of age, with male horses often taking up to six months longer

This conversion schedule really helps me to understand what I see and know to be taking place on the outside of a horse.  Hopefully, it will help clients and horse owners do the same.   I feel a great responsibility is mine, to my clients and their horses, as the trainer at In Motion Sport Horse, when I see indications that a horse is not ready to carry the light work load that is being asked of it.  The bottom line is that not all young sport horses are ready to go into light work, just because they are of a certain age.



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