Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Sweden - the land of carrots and apples
Ok, I admit I didn't read through everything..
I just wanted to say; training nothing at all with young horses is almost as bad as training too much.
I'm not saying you should ride or put weight on 18 month olds, but the horse needs to work with it's body from day 1 of it's life, to get a strong, durable and sound body. The bones need to carry the horse and the muscles need to move.
The first work for a horse is to get up and manage to get a sip of milk ;) Next comes running with friends in big, un-even and rough pastures. After that, it's human-made work.. except learning to listen and trust the human, the horse need to strengthen it's body for the extra stress of a human rider. One was is to walk on the ground it'll later be ridden, to walk up hills or to work in long reins; where the only weight is the one of the horses own body.
If you lack a good, rough pasture, you need to start working the horse earlier. Again - not by riding it sooner, but work that strengths the muscles it'll use later, without extra weight, and that teaches it to use it's body in a good way for when the unatural weight of a rider lands on it.
I'm saying it since I know that when people usally get the idea of ''don't ride to early'' they think ''leave the horse in a pasture until it's 3,5 before even trying a saddle on''.. but walking the horse daily with only a saddle for some months, helps it gain the right muscles. And that slight weight can start already at 2 years old as long as there's no rider in the saddle.
Then it's important to work the horse in a nice form, one that first off lifts the back. Collection comes later, but lifting the back is important...
And I don't get this with riding the horse when it's 3 years old and has as much hormones running through the body as it ever will.. handle it from day one and start riding it at 3.5-4 years old when most of the hormones are gone and it's safer for the rider to sit up the first time.
But most important; patience.
Well.. my thought..
Oh, and one more thing: An hours work for such a young mind and body is way too much! It's much better to have lots of short lessons n the start.
Crow was ridden about 10-20 minutes, 3 times a day, 5 days a week when e was sent to a trainer to get started under saddle properly. (he was 6 at the time, I bought him when he was 5 and he was pretty much a pasture pet aftr they found out he wasn't fast enough for the track ;) But riding was new to him so he needen short quality sessions to stay focused ) He often seemed to learn more between the sessions than on them. I rather have a focused horse for 15 minutes than one that get's unfocused, distracted,stressed or bored after half of the 1 hour session. :)
Always keep your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.
Last edited by Zab; 06-24-2009 at 08:04 PM.