... are they doing riding two year olds?
I know this is going on. Not just in the racing world, no, it's endemic among the stockhorse people, the western people and in some of the dressage/hacking crowd as well. Hello, guys & girls, are you for real?
I know you're in a hurry to get those promising youngsters out there and competing and winning money, ribbons and other glory for you. But is it so important to you that are willing to damage your horse's health and long term future? Or what else is your excuse?
They aren't ready. Not in the brain and not in the body. There is a reason why child labour is banned, has it maybe occurred to you that a two year old horse is also a juvenile?
It's damn sad to see this happening. But I get even more furious when people who supposedly dedicate themselves to the correct handling and riding of horses, big names in horse circles, go along and even support this crap. I thought you guys and girls are supposed to be role models. You preach the fair treatment of horses, good relations between humans and horses and gentle methods. Yet you condone the damage riding usually does to young horse bodies and minds. How can this be??
If someone comes and says to me: help - I have this issue when I ride my two year old colt, then my answer is to get the .... OFF that horse. Wait until he's four.
Oh, and then I had the joy of looking into Horse Deals (online, as I don't buy it any more). And found a picture of a yearling (!), saddled and bridled, and the description proudly commententing on this. Oh yes, it was a crappy pictures, horse standing like a lean goat, partially obscured. Real good advertising... But what on earth is a saddle (and bridle!) doing on a yearling??
What is going on? How can this be stopped?
I know this is the age of impatience. We want it and we want it now. Instant gratification. Instant fixes for problems. Immediate results. Waiting is old fashioned and slow.
But guess what - some things cannot be hurried, and the maturing of horses is one of those. For good reading on this subject, visit equinestudies.org and read the excellent piece by Dr.Deb Bennett titled Timing and Rate of Sceletal Maturation in Horses.
And take it to heart.