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I purchased a long yearling at Waverly this spring, who had been started and driving about 2 months when we got him. I was concerned about overworking, but his Amish fitter told me he had just done some easy wagon work on the road, as part of a team. In any case, he turned 2 in May. We have been working him with increasing frequency, but I am often concerned about how much is too much at his age. Our big problem is hills, which make even the lightest wagon a hard pull on the uphills. Is this acceptable a couple of times a week? We've also been doing some light scraping, with a snow blade and a little bit of slipscraper....less than 30 minutes each a week with him as part of a team. How do you judge what is enough? I certainly don't want to overdo it.

K.C. Fox says 2017-08-17 23:00:31 (CST)

I just watch their breathing & watch their leg when they start to trembling they have had enough. When they sweat and lather there working just don't let them go to long, A break as long as they stand good, some of this you learn by doing it is hard to tell you how to do this.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

NoraWI says 2017-08-18 06:57:03 (CST)

It is good that you have concern for your long yearling. I never started a horse much before 3 years of age when they almost achieved maturity. Ground work on the flat, yes. Hitching to anything more than a dragged tire, no.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-08-18 08:53:52 (CST)

Danielle, there are three considerations:
How does this work strain heart and lungs?
Is it affecting the joints negatively?
What does it do to the disposition ?
The last question is the easiest to answer: As long as the horse willingly does what is required without having to be goaded on, it is fine.
Considering the joints and organs you have to take into account, that the horse is still developing and that you want to avoid too much of a strain. Watch the heart and respiratory rate ( there are charts to compare what is normal) and see after work how long it takes him to get back to normal. With a young horse it shouldn't be longer than ten, fifteen minutes at best.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-08-18 20:48:53 (CST)

Actually, the logical conclusion of my last sentence should have been
" it shouldn't take longer than ten, fifteen minutes at worst". You don't want recovery time longer than that because that would men you overexerted the horse. Like Nora I think one should be very careful with young horses if one wants them to have a long life. When I was young it was quite common for the farmers in my area to consider a horse of fifteen years quite old, partly because even though they didn't work horses too hard in their opinion before they were three they did.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2017-08-19 17:15:37 (CST)

Thanks for the tips. You've all made me feel better. I think we are on the right track. He's broken a sweat a couple of times, thanks to the 80+ degree weather, but I don't think I've seen him breathe heavy for more than a couple minutes after pulling something. Based on what I've seen so far, he's going to be a great work horse some day!! He's already got the heart, I just have to hold him back to prevent overexertion.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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