riding a 2 year old? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 65 Old 09-30-2011, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy riding a 2 year old?

i know i haven't posted alot onhere, and that my english isn't the best, but i hope you can look beyond that and answer a curious question of mine

i don't post, i just like to surf around the forum and look at posts. i think the cultural differences in riding around the world, outside my own country is very exciting! i like how polite and nice people are on here, opposed to my country were people can be very rude and outright. the honesty can be a good thing too though, keeps the horse welfare high.
while i've learnt alot just surfing round this forum, some things have shocked me as well.

i've now stumbled across quite a few posts and threads, about people riding 2 year olds.. can that really be true, or is it just typo's?
i mean, they're still babies

could someone explain if that really happens, and if so - why? and please don't take this the wrong way, i don't want to be rude, i just wanna know :)
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post #2 of 65 Old 09-30-2011, 02:23 PM
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Oh hi! I'm in Denmark too, but I'm not Danish :)

It's not common in English riding, the standard breaking age for English riding horses is often 3 or 4 years old. But it seems some Western riders break their Quarter Horses in as two year olds. Racehorses are also backed as two year olds.

There many differing views on this subject, and some people can get quite heated and passionate about it. I'm not exactly sure as to why, my personal opinion is to start them lightly as three year olds, then put them out for a while and bring them into more normal work as four year olds.

I guess its just a practice that has come about and stuck through time, that these people believe that two year olds are fine for starting work, I'm not sure how heavy they work them though. Some people believe three or even four is too young.
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post #3 of 65 Old 09-30-2011, 02:29 PM
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In the Thoroughbred racing world I believe those horses are very young when they begin riding them. I think they are actually about 18 months, sometimes younger. They are entering them in races at 2.

If a thoroughbred were to be owned by a hunter/jumper or a dressage person they would wait until 3 and sometimes 4 to start breaking the horse.

In the AQHA/APHA/AHA show ring they are breaking them at 2 and sometimes slightly younger so that they can put them in the futurity classes.

Most people do wait until the horse is 3 or 4 years old though. But no, you are reading correctly.

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post #4 of 65 Old 09-30-2011, 03:22 PM
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i have a 18 month old filly, my 16 year old son has sat on her with no saddle on, while i lead him, but only for 5 mins every few weeks, just so she gets a feel of someone on her, she has never took any notice with us doing this, she will not be doing anything more than this till she is 3.
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post #5 of 65 Old 09-30-2011, 03:22 PM
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Unfortunately, there are those that ride at 2 yrs old :(
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post #6 of 65 Old 09-30-2011, 03:35 PM
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For me it completely depends on the individual horse, some are physically and mentally more mature earlier, some later. I generally start mine lightly as long 2 yr olds doing just walking and getting a good handle on them through that fall & winter. By the time spring rolls around they are 3 yo's ready to do more & they already have a great neck rein, stop, back, & sidepass.

When I started training, I did start them young with futurity goals in mind. One of my older mares I started at 18 months and won my first wp futurity on as a 2 yo. She is my one & only with any hint of arthritis. Though it is very mild and easily managed with msm & yucca, I am certain the damage was done early on. I was young and extremely goal driven & unfortunately my mare paid for it. Needless to say in the 15+ years since then I have changed quite a bit in my thinking as far as training. My motto now, we get there when we get there. If only I had that luxury with those I get paid for....

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Last edited by MHFoundation Quarters; 09-30-2011 at 03:38 PM.
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post #7 of 65 Old 09-30-2011, 04:39 PM
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Yep, people do it all the time. Is it good for the horses? Some will tell you its OK, but I disagree. Its about winning money in futurities or selling quick....greed. A good horse is worth waiting for. Its more than physical maturity, they need to be ready mentally too.
Id rather wait a year or two and be riding my horse at 25 than feeding it suppliments or injecting...
Better safe than sorry for me.
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post #8 of 65 Old 09-30-2011, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Plymus View Post
i like how polite and nice people are on here, opposed to my country were people can be very rude and outright.
That made me chuckle out loud
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post #9 of 65 Old 10-01-2011, 04:06 PM
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I start my colts at two. But by start I mean I put approx ten rides on them. Mostly walk little bit of trot, approx 10 to 20 min in length and then they get left till december or so till they have matured some and then they get lightly worked till spring. As three year olds I expect my young ones to be able to go on a trail ride, help move cows, start playing with a rope etc. I do not rope big steers or do hard stops and running barrels on my horses until they are 5. I slowly build up their tendons and muscles from the time they are almost three until they are 5 and then I start actually treating them like broke horses.

Is it wrong to start young ones at two? No, not in my opinion if you do it slowly and carefully. They are babies, cannot take a hard session like 3 year olds can. These futurity babies I believe are pushed waaay too hard. And a lot of the time, you don't even hear about these horses after they are 4. Its a shame really.
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post #10 of 65 Old 10-01-2011, 05:51 PM
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I agree with most on this. Most trainers when talking about riding a two yr old is not talking in the same way you ride a 4 yr old. I look at it like this. If you handle your foals regularly and slide a halter on and lead them beside their mom. Hold the rope and don't let them walk off. You know small things that really are not intrusive and actually work. When it comes time for halter braking it is not some scary thing that they fight most take to it like nothing. Same thing with the farmer. If you pick up your foals feet every few days and hold it tap on it clean it out. When the big day comes it is not so bad.
I do not understand why you would wait till they are big enough to start a fight. I like to avoid fights from the start. I like my horses to get to be a horse but light introductions to things at a young age is better to me.
I do not agree with the breeds and shows that promote showing young horses. I do think that is why we have less of the greats out there and that the greats do not live as long.
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