When is a horse a baby?
I’ve always said that 2-year-olds are babies and shouldn’t race. I feel they are physically, mentally, and emotionally immature. Science backs me up as far as physical maturity, as the back (and some joints) are not fully developed until age 4 or older. Everyone points to the knees and thinks horses are ready to run when the knees are “closed”, but they are practically the first to close. In my opinion, a horse doesn’t reach its full strength (read power) until it’s much more mature than two. And as someone who has saddle trained horses, horses really understand things better when training is delayed until they are more mentally mature. The easiest horse I ever trained was an unbroken six-year-old I named Huey. Taught him to lunge on day one. On day three I introduced the saddle (western). On day six I hauled him down to a nearby trail and rode him on it. I do credit it to his being a fully mature horse. For those who have ridden babies, I’m sure you’ve felt them sway under your weight, and struggle to walk a straight line. Huey had no such issues – to me a clear sign that 2-year-olds are not really ready to be ridden.
Oz was born in the herd and lives in the herd. It occurred to me a few weeks ago (at times I’m very slow!) that it’s very clear that the HERD considers Oz (at 15:3) to still be a baby. He has never had anyone’s teeth on him (except his dam’s). He is free to go up to any herd member’s grain or hay and share it – even the herd leader’s (Shadow) who is extremely food aggressive.
So, since even the horses consider 2-year-olds to be babies, shouldn’t we?
I’m curious to see when the horses start treating Oz like an adult!