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The Importance Of When Horse's Joints Set!!!

The Importance Of When Horse's Joints Set!!!

Joints in a horses body set at different ages so understanding when they set is so important to your horses welfare and long term soundness!

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By Amanda Wilson | Friday, 20 March 2020

We have always been very cautious about what we do with young horses. I start my three-year-olds for only 1-2 weeks of bareback riding consisting of walk and trot and maybe a light canter around the farm. After that, they are turned out until they are rising four and will do 4-6 weeks of light baby work then get turned out again and will come back in for the 4-year-old season where they jump anywhere from 1-4 shows at the absolute most!


As a five-year-old they might do 6-8 shows at the most and then as a six-year-old they will start to do a full season. Even then they are looked after very carefully.


I swim my young horses a lot (they don't actually swim, usually the water comes to just below their wither) as this takes the pressure off their joints. I also give all my horses joint supplement (I feed Tuffrock EJF which is incredible!) All my horses are very clean and sound through their joints and I credit this largely to the feed (Coprice feeds) and supplements I give them (correct supplement feeding is SO important in looking after joints, bones, muscles ligaments, tendons and more).


I am also very selective about the ground I jump or ride my horses on and am always icing their legs, bandaging them after hard work, poulticing them etc to make sure they never have any excess heat in their joints.


I see too many young horses being run too hard when they haven't developed properly and it is often these horses that break down far too early in life. The horse's spine takes SIX years to set so that is why it is SO important to not do too much work on them when they are young, especially if they are weak in type of lacking good muscle across the spine and back. The pelvis and the shoulder blade also don't set until the horse is 4-5 years of age. I talked to a vet who dissects horses for a living and she says that the amount of horses she finds with arthritis or bone damage in those particular joints is shocking (almost every ridden horse she has dissected has had bone damage to some extent), and she says this occurs largely due to the fact that horses are being worked too hard on bones that have not set.  


So I know it can be tempting to want to go out and do lots on your long horse but please consider their long term soundness and welfare!




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