Date: February 2001
Q: Are the Tekes late developers?

A: I do not think
that the Tekes differ from other breeds regarding building their skeleton,
which means that their growth plates should all be closed around the age of
three and a half until four years of age.
I do not recognise Dr Deb Bennetts time of closing of the different parts
of the growth zones from the scientifical literature. A lot of research is
performed on this area as the people of sport horse industry want to train
their horses optimally. In many studies being performed on the European
horses the reason to problems with growth zones like osteochondrosis is due
to overfeeding protein and carbohydrates. Osteochondrosis can also be
inherited.

Many endurance riders find it devastating to start a young horse too late,
they are aware of the importance of training of the skeleton and how
important it is to stimulate the development and hardness of the skeleton
by the repeated stepping on hard or medium hard ground, it is the same
mechanism as for us humans, if we do not walk or run our skelton will
degenerate.

The sound horse is built first by the genetical input, which you can do
only once, therefore is the most important, and by the environment,
feeding, training.

It is wrong to say that the longer you wait the better it is, the horse
need a long time to be prepared for his future work, the show jumper must
start early over fences, maybe not under rider, but you'd want them to
start training over fences before they are two, and you want them to work
on the bit in all gaits when they are three.
Most horses cope with this but some that are going to be very tall, might
need more time. It is up to the trainer to know your horse and be very
careful to see when the horse is going though growth spurts and by then not
strain the horse too much.

The training of the young horse where you start riding the horse on the bit
on the spring when the horse turns three years old is to recommend as the
horse is not only it's skelton but also an individual that is easier to
form mentally as a three year old.
 

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