Right age to start a horse

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Right age to start a horse

This is a discussion on Right age to start a horse within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    10-22-2007, 09:33 PM
Right age to start a horse

Just curious what people think is the right age to start a horse in serious training under saddle. I think in the US there is a major tendency to start horses WAY too early, especially if your keeping the horse's long term soundness in mind. I personally will never start a horse under the age of three. Yes I will get them used to a saddle and bridle and some lunging after they turn two , but no rider!
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    10-22-2007, 11:35 PM
I started abby at the age of 3 and her brother will be 3 1/2 next year when we start to brake him
    10-24-2007, 10:11 AM
I think around 4 is fine. :)
But yeah, some people start too early.
    10-24-2007, 06:05 PM
My husband and I were just discussing this today. We are both anxious to start our 2 fillys under saddle. They will both be 2 in the spring and we are planning on starting their training the following fall when they are 2 1/2. I don't plan on having anyone in the saddle till they are between 3-4. I have a "dummy dan" that will be the first in saddle. He weighs about 100 lbs. Its really hard to wait, I measured Shiloh today she is 15.3h already! And Saro is right at 15h
    10-24-2007, 11:26 PM
I normally break in mine at around three (under saddle) I usually have started all the ground work at about 2 1/2 years depending on the mental development of the horse.

My 3 yr old Faith I started ground work at 2 as she is a very smart, pest of a horse. One who gets extremely bored just sitting in the paddock . She's now broken in and I'm itching to ride her, but have to wait cause I just had a baby.

Everyone has their preferred ages that they like to start horses, but really the horse will let you know the right time. You just have to take in to account their mental and physical developements.
    10-26-2007, 04:12 AM
I think it depends on the horse and sometimes the breed. Some breeds mature faster than others. Arabs for example mature very slowly. That's why in Endurance they can't ride in an 80km ride until they are 5yo and can handle the work and even then there are restictions on how fast you can go on them. For endurance we usually break them anywhere from 3 to 5yo.

I think 3yo is a good age to start lightly training them slowly and once they are fully broken then they are turned out for another 6-8 months before starting anything i'd call work!
    10-26-2007, 05:53 AM
As previous people have said, the horse will tell you when its ready through its physical and mental development. I have a friend who has recently bought an unbroken 2yo Anglo Arab who was broken in just after they bought him. He was broken in by John O'Leary from Golden Grove, SA and is coming through the ranks currently. "King" is ridden every second day and goes to shows often and LOVES it. I was shocked to hear how young he was as he's just turned three but I am sure if there was a problem with the amount of work he was doing her instructors would definatley tell her. Again it depends on the mental and physical development of the horse

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