Thursday, March 22, 2012

(Sings) They tried to tell us you're too young...

On the Chronicle of the Horse (COTH) list, someone posted this footage -- clearly a youngster with talent, and from the poster who translated the commentary, they said he has a good mind.  What is a bit surprising is that he was broken at two. He is now three-ish, I think? If I understand correctly he has been sold to a big name rider.I wonder what constitutes breaking, and what kind of schedule he was on. So young!

The rider is a lightweight, but looking at both of these videos, (being ridden, careening around a tiny ring) neither seems especially horse-friendly.

Here he is in March 2012 at his licensing...


  1. I definitely like him better than Romanov, but really don't love him. I think it was too much too soon - for him to look as mellow as he did under saddle, seeing how much energy he had in the licensing, chances are he was ridden far harder than I would be willing to ride a 3 year old, much less as a two year old. The riding video was taken in January if I remember correctly - which means he was not a full 3 years yet.
    It's interesting to look at him and think about his breeding. He has the Don Schufro loft, but seems to have some tendency to not use his hind end correctly, which comes from his sire most likely. If he's trained intelligently and kindly he probably has the ability to be very nice - here's hoping that happens. (I don't remember who ended up with him.)

  2. Hi Net,

    I am not familiar with Romanov, how does he move incorrectly behind -- how is that weak? And how do you see that in this youngster? I admit to not being very analytical about these things.

  3. Romanov drags his hind toes badly and trails his hocks. People on the Chronicle forums were raving over him when Edward Gal got the ride, but I was kind of horrified by how he moved. I wasn't familiary with him at the time, at all. EG was definitely working on trying to get him moving better - you could see some response to half halts. But I don't consider a horse who really drags his toes a top stallion choice. This guy has a tendency to want to let his hocks trail - you can see as he maneuvers they do. However, he also can easily use his end correctly, and definitely isn't toe-dragging. I think training will make a big difference on how he ends up moving as an older horse, so I hope it's good training. I would consider breeding to a horse who looked like this if I were breeding a mare with a fantastic hind end who needed more suspension or energy, for example, as no horse is perfect!

    Something else I find interesting - look how little movement there is in his back, really, particularly where the saddle goes. He can be trained to have more movement there, but I suspect hasn't been trained for that relaxation yet because his gaits are so large already. Whether he is or not (because I suspect he can learn to have a very fluid, moving back) may also make a big difference in how he turns out.

  4. What was their hurry to start him at two? Is there some kind of dressage futurity that I haven't heard about?

  5. There is a very interesting article by Dr Deb Bennett on Skeletal Maturation in Horses (see that notes that the longer you wait (before starting a young horse) for the growth plates to convert to bone, the safer you are in terms preventing injury to the horse. I think 2 is way too young for any horse to have any sort of riding.

  6. He is a lovely boy and certainly talented. Considering his age, I think he moves just fine from behind and, if he stays sound, should only get stronger and more correct.

    But I do worry that he's so young and trained so much already. I was under the impression that warmbloods actually mature later than TB's, so ideally, they should be started later.

    I guess it's one more example of the dollar sign trumping the horse's well being. If he were mine, he'd have started some long lining and been sat on, but that's about it. I'd wait until the end of his three year old year to actually ride. *sigh* Hope he stays sound and healthy and has a happy career.

  7. smazourek, you got me. Jean, I understand the economic rationale for starting racing horses younger, but not this type of horse. The only thing I can figure is that they want to give them an advantage over horses they're competing against in terms of experience, but it's not like they win a "purse."

  8. I agree that they probably started the horse young to improve their profit. I mean sure he doesn't have to be ready by 3 to win the kentucky derby like some TBs, but horses are way expensive to keep so by selling him early they cut their costs. The people buying this horse are doing so based on the potential they see in him and I doubt he's going to look any more amazing potential wise as a 5 year old doing training level then he does as a 3 year old trotting around a ring nicely. The very minimal increase in selling price probably doesn't seem worth it when you factor in his board, feed and vet bills for the next 2 years or the risk that he could hurt himself in those 2 years and be worth nothing. Starting him makes a huge difference to them because buyers want to see that the horse still maintains all that lovely movement with someone onboard and doesn't go bananas.

    That said it's a bummer they care about making money for themselves now more than his longterm soundness. I was also under the impression that warmbloods take especially long to mature and that even smaller breeds really don't finish remodeling their bone until 4 or 5. I've heard of lots of Western barns starting horses as 2 year olds but it's disappointing that there are dressage people out there doing this too, especially considering the whole premise of dressage is to make your horse stronger and sounder : (

  9. This is Andreas' new ride! He is beautiful!

  10. He's lovely. It makes me cringe to think how much training he's undergone at such a young age. Hope they don't wind up souring him by doing so much so fast.

  11. Sezuan is at danish Andreas Helgestrand Dressage and is sold to swedish Patrik Kittle (but will keep being trained by Helgestrand).

    This is the rider:

    According to one of the other riders at the stable it's the 10-12th time the rider rides the horse without lounge. Since the video was filmed in the begging of january 2012 he has been backed a little bit as a 2year old, but not much at all.

    What is fascinating with the horse and discussed in sweden and denmark is the rideability, how many other 3-year olds is this rideably?

    In my opinion it is a fantastic horse and it seems like he has a really good head. But don't personally believe in braking young horses this early, I don't like that vey many young horses are shown under saddle at the three-year old tests.

    BH Romanov is Sezuans sire.
    BH Don Schufro is his mothers sire:

  12. On the other hand there is evidence from research conducted by veterinarians (Bennett is NOT a veterinarian, BTW) that stressing the bone before it is mature yeilds stronger bone than bone that is stressed after maturation.

    FWIW I think he moves a bit hinky behind, as if he is almost going wide behind from being pushed beyond his strength.

  13. Bennett isn't a vet, but she knows more than many a vet out there. She's a zoologist and paleontologist with a specialty in equine breeds, specifically our domestic horses. Her JOB is to look at bones.

    And she's right. The last bones to mature and fully close is the dorsal spine, i.e. what you sit on. Getting on a two year old guarantees some sort of back pathology later in life, maybe minor, maybe severe. Warmbloods developing slowly is a myth: no horse breed develops slower or faster than any other. Domestic horses finish skeletal maturation at 6 years old. IMHO, breaking a two year old to ride is abusive. Just because it's done with nice fancy tack and a well dressed rider in an expensive barn doesn't make it any less so.

  14. I value research conducted by veterinarians over the opinion of a horse-owning paleontologist.


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