Like people, horses are living, breathing, dynamic creatures. Occasional stress is a part of being alive. We will never be rid of it. Nor do we want to be. It keeps us functioning optimally. But when does stress cross over into being too much and becoming detrimental to our health or our horse‘s health? How do you know? When does it first begin to be a problem?
The following article is a fascinating look at skeletal maturation in horses and its relationship to riding and training methods: Timing and Rate of Skeletal Maturation in Horses by Deb Bennett, Ph.D.
When I take in a senior horse to rehab, I usually have no idea what their initial training was like, and how young they were ridden. Many things can be improved or reversed in older horses, but what if the damage was never done in the first place? How much longer would our horses be able to do work if we waited to ride them until they were skeletally mature?