Activities for Young Horses/Opinions on when to start riding? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 17 Old 10-15-2012, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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Arrow Activities for Young Horses/Opinions on when to start riding?

I'm buying a 1 1/2 year old. I know there's always ground work to do (teaching them to respect your space, yeild from pressure, etc), but what else can I do with my new youngster? I want to keep him and I busy. Any fun activities you've done? Games?

Also, where I grew up most people started riding their horses at 2 years old. I usually prefer not to start them until they're three. However, the examples around me are starting to get to me... THEIR horses seem fine... My horse is a QH/Mustang, so he shouldn't develop way late like some... I only weigh 110 pounds... surely simple walk/trot/canter and trail rides wouldn't hurt a two year old, they do all that in the pasture! What do you guys think? Should I start light riding as a two year old, or stick to what I normally do and wait?

Thanks
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post #2 of 17 Old 10-15-2012, 03:32 AM
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I have no hands on experience with that cross, but believe that regardless of breed, 2 years old is too soon to start riding them. They are still just babies. You have many years to work with him under saddle, so why rush things and risk the physical and/or psychological damage? I would not even sit on a 2 year old, but maybe that is just me (though I know many others will agree). I currently own a 3 year old TB, and the only reason I ride him is because he is an OTTB and has already been under saddle (unfortunately). Even at that, I am taking things slow with him. We are working on walking and trotting under saddle to work on relaxing, bending, contact, etc. Once his trot is better, we will go back to the canter. He will be 4 years old in February and I am not even thinking of having him go over any type of fence until then, and at that, I am talking small crossrails once in a while. I know of somebody who has a 4 year old jumping over 3 feet on a consistent basis, which I don't agree with. At a young age, give the horse a chance to be exactly that... a horse.

Also, yes, you may be light in weight, but balance is also an issue. A 2 year old needs to work on balancing themself, and not having to worry about balancing an extra 110 pounds in which they have no control over the movement of that extra weight.
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post #3 of 17 Old 10-15-2012, 06:59 AM
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I am also one that wants the babies to grow up. I had qh years ago that was not ridden till he was 4. Best horse, his mind was there as well as his body. I like to see 3-4 personally for riding.
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post #4 of 17 Old 10-15-2012, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for both of your replies! I agree with both of you, I think I just needed that reminder. Thank you so much!!!
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post #5 of 17 Old 10-16-2012, 02:29 PM
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With our young horses we do a few ground work sessions and they absorb it like a sponge so it doesn't take long then we turn them out till they are 3yr and start them at 3. Bring them in during the fall of their 2yr old year and then start them in the spring.

Ya you need to do some work with them but I think it is better for them if you let them be horses and grow up some before doing so. We can tell which horses we kept in and worked with vs the ones we did little working with and turned them out in the mountains. And I like the ones we turned out and let them grow up and be what they are.
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post #6 of 17 Old 10-17-2012, 10:21 AM
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I started mine This year the week it turned 2 and rode her for 30 rides. Put her away for 1.5 months and just started working her again a week ago. She is one that loves her job and wants to work.
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post #7 of 17 Old 10-26-2012, 09:10 PM
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The growth plates in a horses legs do not seal untill they are 3yrs old (no matter what breed it is or how mature it is)

Breaking a horse before the plates have sealed is risking permenant long term damage to thier legs, it may not show up untill the horses are older but it will be there.
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RIDE your horse FORWARDS and keep him STRAIGHT

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post #8 of 17 Old 10-26-2012, 11:00 PM
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I ride mine at 22 months -2 if they are mentally ready for it. I've broke many a Colts at that age, and they were fine. The last 2 yr old I rode was far from being mentally mature enough to ride, and me and the owner had a falling out about it, which caused me to find another barn to board at. I Will take them on trails and get them used to things, then leave them be through winter, and start them back spring of thier 3 yr old year. As far as putting them in a dicipline, I like to wait till they are 4 -5
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post #9 of 17 Old 10-26-2012, 11:05 PM
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I don't do much with a horse riding wise till it is a 3 year old. At the age of 2 I just like to sit on their back bareback. Maybe do a circle or two around the yard nothing major. As far as things you can do with your young horse your can start putting blankets and do some desensitizing and respect work just keep your sessions short no more than 30 minutes.

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post #10 of 17 Old 10-26-2012, 11:40 PM
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Alright everyone be ready to attack, Sorrel's back to defend starting two year olds again...

I start my horses at two. Maybe not the second they turn two, but when the weather gets warmer they are started. Why? Because that's how I've always done it.

Tell me more about growth plates knee, joints, etc...But my horses are incredibly sound.

I'm not saying at two years old they are good to go run hard and do hard jobs. I'm just saying it's a good time to put thirty days on...Thirty days getting some buttons on. What we generally do is actualy 60 days as a two year old, then trail rides with the big horses for awhile. Most of the time they will get a fall or mid winter with just a ride a week or so, if that. When they are three you would be amazed how beyond ready they are to step up to the plate.

People think starting a two year old means hard work; It doesn't. There is SO MUCH you can do at the walk on a colt it's not even funny. Then trot, then lope.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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