Decisions, decisions...

Jake will be three in May. I see other young horses being ridden and I just can't do that to Jake yet. He's a big boy but he's still growing. If you read Deb Bennett's work on the maturation of young horses you'll understand my hesitation to follow the tradition of riding two-year olds.
I don't think their minds are ready either, no more than a 12-year old child should be behind the wheel of a car, expected to make decisions under a variety of road conditions. They're just too goofy. Add that to the fact that they're growing so much they probably don't know where their feet are and it becomes more clear why I am happy to wait. 
I'm thinking that we'll do some riding by the end of the summer, but that doesn't mean that he's not doing work. What it does mean is that he's in no hurry. Which is a good thing because I can't quite decide what path to follow to educate him. I've backed maybe a dozen horses so far but it's been a while, about 10 years, since I climbed on an un-broke beastie. What direction do I want to take this time?
Jake leads and longes well and we're working on his ponying off his mother and his Uncle Cody. He ground drives to a snaffle but he doesn't like the bit, grinding his teeth, so that's a question. I have tried a rubber bit last fall and today I tried a regular snaffle. Both got the same response: he works quite well on them but grinds his teeth. I will continue to try a few more bits, maybe another snaffle with a different width of mouthpiece or a french link?
His teeth are definitely an issue. He ripped out three incisors in January, somehow, and he has healed up well from that, but he's losing his first baby teeth. There is one more incisor to go and I have found one molar cap in the manger so far, which doesn't mean he hasn't lost more molars, just that he didn't conveniently lose them where I could find them. 
I bought a bosal last week and set it up on Tatti, Jake's dam, to try it out. For those who don't know what a bosal is, it's a rawhide ring that controls the nose of the horse without a bit in his mouth. The cowboys like to use a bosal for the youngsters so they can leave the mouth alone, at least until the teeth have all changed by five years of age. I'm enjoying it on Tatti but I need to put some more miles with it before I can feel confident with it on Jake. 
So tonight we went back to traditional ground driving and it was very comfortable for me. I'm confident with that and he reflected that confidence. At the very end of the lesson I figured I'd get on him a few times next to the mounting block - what I call doing the 'demented monkey': climbing all over him while he patiently stands still. He was such a good boy, not moving an inch, but we're going to need a breastplate to hold that saddle in place on his roly-poly frame.
So now it's up to me to figure out the plan that will give me the most confidence and in turn, make him a confident young ride. 
Decisions, decisions...
 

1 comment

  • LantzM

    LantzM Indian River

    I completely respect your choice, based on sound knowledge and great research. Advocate for your horse, but don't allow him to become an Xbox, sofa surfer because pressure or outside my tax him. You have a great chance to allow him to learn lessons that will make his transition to employee easier after his days of education. Learn and evolve on an continuum, not peak and valleys or a flat line. "Don't cheat him trying to save him."

    I completely respect your choice, based on sound knowledge and great research. Advocate for your horse, but don't allow him to become an Xbox, sofa surfer because pressure or outside my tax him. You have a great chance to allow him to learn lessons that will make his transition to employee easier after his days of education. Learn and evolve on an continuum, not peak and valleys or a flat line. "Don't cheat him trying to save him."

Add comment