Is 3 too young to start training? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 02-09-2013, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Is 3 too young to start training?

I'm buying a horse from the tracks and retraining it. I have found one I really like and I'm planning on bringing him home but he's only 3. Obviously he's still going to grow and mature a bit until he's 5 or 6, but I'm hoping to get him in a regular riding schedule soon. He raced a couple times as a 2 year old, and has been started english, but I'm worried he might be too young? Should he be okay to continue his training under saddle at his age, as long as I don't ride hard every day? What are people's opinions on when it's safe to start doing small jumps/raised trot poles once or twice a week? Could someone give me an idea of a general timeline they use to train their horses?
If it helps, I'm not heavy and he could carry my weight no problem. I'm mostly worried about the impact on his legs and setting him up for injury in the future.
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post #2 of 13 Old 02-09-2013, 05:58 PM
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I think short rides getting his basics down ( no jumping or only very occasional low low jumps) he should be ok. Just don't expect to be able to jump him right away i would even give him some time off if possible. Sometimes it helps and ensures his knees and everything are closed and ready to go.
My trainer waited till her black mare was 5 1/2 to do much as her knees took that long to be cleared by the vet for work. However her pally was ready to start work by mid 4.

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post #3 of 13 Old 02-09-2013, 05:58 PM
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Depends. Do you know how hard he was worked? Many racers are start at 1 1/2. I know a friend who bought a ex racer who was started at 1 1/2 and raced at 2. Hes going to be in his 30's. Still sound.

If you do get him, maybe put him in a pasture and leave him be for a while. Maybe get a vet to x-ray his joints before you buy to see whats going on.

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post #4 of 13 Old 02-09-2013, 05:59 PM
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As far as jumping goes, I wouldn't start that until he's at least five. I had a gelding that was started jumping at three and he had arthritis by the times he was five and is now nothing more than a light trail horse (walk only with small adults or children), and that only once a week...and he's only ten.

He's already been backed if he raced as a two-year-old, so continuing his training should be fine, just as long as you don't push him too hard or too fast.
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post #5 of 13 Old 02-09-2013, 06:00 PM
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My colt was started at 3 but with light riding. He just turned five and will get worked hard this year.
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post #6 of 13 Old 02-09-2013, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! I don't think I mentioned but I'm going to event with him once he's ready, so lots of flatwork and dressage will be coming before we show him jumps regularly. I just want to make sure I don't rush him.
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post #7 of 13 Old 02-10-2013, 05:35 AM
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Read this and then think about the best way forward:
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post #8 of 13 Old 02-10-2013, 05:51 AM
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My breaker [an unraced TB] is two. I see nothing wrong with it, done right, and depending on the individual horse's physical and mental maturity [mine is more than ready to come into work at two years 4 1/2 months]. I recall reading somewhere that horses shouldn't be in more days of work a week than they are years old, so once or twice a week is ok for a two year old, up to 3 times per week for a three year old, and so on and so forth, until they come into full work [6 days/week] age six.

Young horses don't have very long attention spans, either, so shorter rides are better. My breaker doesn't get schooled for longer than 20 minutes at a time. She gets schooled, then trail ridden, then schooled again briefly so she doesn't get barn sour... presently three days a week or so, but once she's more established I'll drop her back to once or twice a week tops.

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post #9 of 13 Old 02-10-2013, 01:31 PM
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We usually very lightly start our three year olds if they're cleared by the vet, about 15-20 minutes, walk, trot, maybe some short trails 2-3 days a week. They're then turned out for the winter and not really messed with, and brought back as four year olds, worked up to walk-trot-small amount of canter, starting on circles and learning to transfer weight back onto their haunches. This is when they learn to neck rein as well since ours are ranch horses. Turned out again for winter, come back in the spring as 5 year olds ready for normal work. They're expected to work fairly hard at this point, and consistently.

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post #10 of 13 Old 02-10-2013, 05:28 PM
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Personally, I would turn him out for a few months. I can't imagine this horse has had much time to be a horse. Although I've never met the horse so I can't say for sure!

I would look into maybe a visit to the vet to look into the development of his joints, then you really know for sure.
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