Originally Posted by phoenix heartbeat
Having a horse who was started over fences at age 3, I caution you. I have a 12 year old Arabian mare who was started over fences at 3 after 4 months of ground training. She has horrible arthritus and other issues. Jumping at that young of an age can cause seriouse physical AND mental problems down the line.
I two would pass over a horse that had been started over fences at age 3. I don't start them over fences untill around 5 or 6. I like to make sure i've taking the time to teach them everything they need to know before throwing jumps at them. Ground poles are ok. But not at age 3.
I am flabbergasted that you are even considering to jump him, when he's only 3 years old. If I was in the market for a horse, I would bypass him seeing that he's already jumping fences at that young of age - just asking for joint issues down the road.
And its not that the trainer you talking to was necessarily wrong. Like someone else said everyone has their own way of doing things. Some things work for some horses others don't.
I completely agree with phoenix heartbeat. My old gelding was started over 2ft fences as a three-year-old (and when I say started, I mean they didn't do anything smaller than that...this was by the owners before me, not by me...I got him as the arthritic 6yo) and within a YEAR he started refusing jumps because his hocks already had arthritic changes. He loved to jump (and still would probably, if you really asked him) and had a decent talent for it, but because he was started so young, in a little less than a year later he was done with jumping forever. Now, he can only be used as a light trail horse with maybe some small W/T/C schooling shows for fun. He is 8-years-old and his right hock is already fused. As for the mental aspect of it...I'm not sure how it can ruin them, but I do know that any time Dakota saw a jump, he wanted to go over it, even though I knew he couldn't (in the winter, I had to W/T him for 20-30 minutes on the lungeline to warm him up and loosen up his hocks before we could even think about doing any kind of work).
My Aires is two-years-old and I definitely want to jump with him (XC if we can)...but I am waiting until he is AT LEAST five before even thinking about starting training him to jump. It's not fair to him to start earlier than that. For now, we'll be doing a lot of trails and a lot of flatwork.