Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Horses, like people, have distinct personalities. Some people are calmer, more responsible, more intelligent, more active, more friendly etc. Same with horses. Some young people will act calmer than others, sometimes calmer than older people, just as you might have an 18 year old who is more responsible or calmer than a 50 year old.
Saying that lets say a four year old horse is like a 10 year old child. Regardless of how mature they are, they are still a ten year old child. Regardless of the experiences they have had or how smart they are they are still a ten year old child. Would you trust them driving a car? Would you trust a ten year old child to look after a baby? Some people might - but to me they are still a child. They haven't got the same processes as an adult. They can still get afraid easily without guidance, act irrationally, because as a child they are not rational.
This may not make much sense, but its the way I see it. Regardless of how good a young horse is, how calm and gentle and safe, they are still like a child. They can still get afraid, they still don't understand the same way, they don't know how to react the right way no matter what they have learned. For this reason I would not reccommend a young horse to an inexperienced rider or handler - this is because a young horse requires a strong leader who knows what they are teaching. By owning a young horse you are constantly teaching it, and reinforcing the lessons. Not just with riding but with handling, catching etc. If you don't know what to teach it, and if you don't have the confidence or experience to create immediate lessons then a young horse isn't for you.
While having a trainer around can make it better, they are not going to be there to supervise you all the time, and its little things that you don't know that can cause problems later.
There are heaps of "perfect" horses out there, even though it doesn't seem that way now. I'd wait for something a little older, something can hopefully help teach you, that is forgiving and that you can just muck around with without worrying.