So I know I said I would bring this to you last year; but hey, life had other plans for Ronan and I. Between running the business and ‘life’ I was struggling to find consistent time (who is with me!?). This in the end turned out to be the best thing I could have possibly done for Ronan. He had a lot more physical and mental maturing to do before we really cracked on with under saddle work. See the difference for yourself:
Ronan turned 5 in December so his vertebra are not mature yet (the growth plates are still fusing), and even though his posture has changed and he is looking more mature I will be having a really strong focus on developing core strength and suppleness through his back in order to support and prevent damage to the growth plates during this process. More information on this in articles to come 🙂
Skeletal Maturity in the Horse
Figure 3: information adapted from Bennett, 2008.
Please, please remember this when bringing on your young horse (or any horse for that matter). On top of skeletal maturity you need to consider muscular development (after all, ‘muscles move bones’). Every horse is different and may require more time developing strength (and confidence) in certain areas than others. Identifying your horses conformational weaknesses, posture and muscle development will allow you to develop a specific plan to gradually strengthen and supple your horses body without causing damage.
Also don’t get stuck comparing your horse to others. This will only be to the detriment of you and your own horses progression.
Also mental maturity is just as important as physical. You may find that after a few weeks of work that your horse needs some time just to ‘chill’ out and process before coming back into more work.
I hope this #DevelopingRonan series gives you some inspiration, new insights and a deeper understanding of the importance of developing strength and flexibility in our horses to ensure their biomechanical and mental soundness. Resulting in the longevity of their ridden careers.
After all, we all want out horses to be happy and healthy!
PS keep your eyes peeled over the next week for the 1st instalment of #DevelopingRonan.