Horses growth...

by - 9/18/2008 02:34:00 PM

I read this article and this was stated:

If a young foal looks like a tiny version of an adult horse, it's probably going to be a small horse when it's full-grown. If a young foal reaches the age of two without having gone through an awkward, gangly stage, it's probably going to be a small horse when it's full-grown. The gangly and awkward ones that first seem to have huge heads and huge joints, then grow up one end at a time, first croup-high, then high in front, then croup-high again, and that go through a stage during which they look long and bony and uncoordinated -- those are the ones that will probably be tall when they are full-grown. This would tie in with your source that mentioned a small head indicating early maturity -- it doesn't mean that the horse will actually be physically mature earlier, you'll still need to wait for the skeleton to finish developing. But I would interpret that statement as meaning that a foal that develops adult proportions very early is a foal that is going to grow up to be a small horse.

Questions... Do any of you feel this has merit?

Have any of you heard of this?

How much is probably genetics?

What have been your views on how horses grow in your experience?

My Toby who is 2 years old now. His dam is 15.1hh. She is our palomino. His sire was 16.1hh. Toby is currently a little taller than his momma. Toby grew like it was mentioned above ... gangly, goofy, one end before the other. I did not do the measurement of his leg thingy that a gal told me about to get an approximate height because it was past the right time to do that when she told me about it... follow me? So, how long does a horse continue it's growth (up not out)?

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  1. I tend to agree with that. I got a lil mare, 2 yrs old. Looked like a small horse, with HORRIBLY overgrown feet. Her mama died on a ranch shortly after she was born, and they brought this filly in and bottle fed her, then did NOTHING with her, gave her away.
    I bought her from the second owners for a ton of hay (then about $100) and because the owners were drunk at 10 a.m. and couldn't catch the mare in a 12x20 stall. Anyway, she never did get bigger. I always thought she was stunted, but now am not sure. She looks like a great kids size horse, except she's a bucker. So I ride her, but mostly bareback, cause I feel me and a saddle is just too much weight. She's 14.1 hands (I recently measured) but it occurred to me she's 6 now and never did grow like I'd hoped she would.
    I think they grow up until about 3 yrs old.

  2. I'd agree with the if it looks like a horse when a foal, it'll be small.

    Normally work on a TB stud and we had a gorgeous chestnut filly who looked correctly proportioned the day she came out! Ended up the short, stocky, sprinting type that we worried would be too top heavy for her legs to deal with as a weanling/yearling.

    We've had others like that also. Something that's born leggy/gangly you've got a better chance of it growing out to a nice horse. Not that I have an issue with the compact type! They make great horses, but if you're after size...

  3. Well, that is an interesting question. In my experience, it is a combination of genetics and feed. Genetics can never overcome a lack of proper nutrition, but the proper nutrition can overcome what would appear to be genetic.

    So along with the genetics would have to be breed and bloodlines within that breed. Most people consider QH's fully grown by the time they hit 4 years old. But, many of the old foundation lines don't completely finish growing up until they are 5 or 6. They really only hit their prime at about 8y/o. More modern QH bloodlines do have a tendency to quite growing up sooner. Thoroughbreds are known to continue growing until they are 6 or 7y/o.

    Our old foundation bred King stud threw 2 kinds of horses-geldings and mares. All of the geldings are huge(15.2-16.1H and 1300-1500lbs). Not a single mare passed 15H. Most of them are 14.2-14.3H. They weigh in between 1100-1300lbs. It didn't matter what type of mare you bred him too-tall, long and lean or short and thick, all the geldings were tall and all the mares were short.

    Now our Lady Bugs Moon stud was another matter. He was sort of all over the board. Tall and thick, short and thick and tall and lanky. Oddly enough, the leanest one of his bunch came from the thickest mare ever bred to him.

    As for the gangly stage...we have raised several that never did have a gangly stage. I think a lot of that has to do with the proper nutrition. They may hit a stage where they look overly large in the butt or rather peaked in the hips but they don't ever look gangly or uncoordinated.

    I know that doesn't help at all-but genetics are complex and even full siblings can be very different, just like people.

  4. thank you so much for all this information. I appreciate hearing from you and it does put light on the subject. I love learning about horses and the blog world seems the best classroom for it.

  5. Well ther you have it!! I was going to tell you Mikey Or BC would know!! Maybe OC (One Cowgirl) would have a good answer too!
    I raised a foal from day one. His momma died that afternoon after having him. He was perfect from day one! Never gangly, always proportioned. He had a big momma about 16 1/2 hands his daddy was about 15. He ended up being about 16 and built like a mac truck! I fed him the best I could afford. He never did without anything. sigh he waas gorgeous, and sweet. So I am not sure what makes them turn out? Genetics are a big plus! About 3 or 4 is when they stop growing.

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