Age to Break a Horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 42 Old 05-14-2010, 01:27 AM Thread Starter
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Age to Break a Horse?

Debate board.Please, be very kind to each other, and respect others opinions even if you don't agree with them.


I haven't seen this type of thread..Unless am completly blind or something.
I feel the best time to break a horse is at age 4 at the youngest. 3 in my book is acceptible (eh) but not desirble. 2 is way to young in my own opionion. It's too stressfull mentally and physically to the horse.
And with draft horses since they mature slower am thinking 5 is about the right age.

Also am curious to know at what age your horses were broke at.
My horses were broke at age 4, 3 (possibly 2), and my mare I have no idea at what age she was.

Last edited by LolHorse; 05-14-2010 at 01:32 AM.
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post #2 of 42 Old 05-14-2010, 01:31 AM
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3.5-4 year minimum, in terms of riding.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are certain and the intelligent are full of doubt"
-Bertrand Russel

Last edited by roro; 05-14-2010 at 01:35 AM.
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post #3 of 42 Old 05-14-2010, 01:34 AM
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I have a 2.5 y/o that I have been doing some basic ground work with. Nothing too stressful, but I am certainly preparing her for whats to come.
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post #4 of 42 Old 05-14-2010, 01:42 AM
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2 for light riding.

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post #5 of 42 Old 05-14-2010, 01:56 AM
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I think that when they are weaned they need to be handled, broke to lead, have vet/farrier work. Then left in the field (except for vet/farrier) all winter and summer, and the next winter. At 2 they should start to be handled again and if they are good, perhaps have a saddle on and some light lunging. Again, put in a field for the winter and at 3 they should start with a saddle and light lunging for sure. They should be worked maybe 2 times a week through the winter if possible and eventually broke. Some horses will take until the spring of their 4th year to be sat on. It shouldn't be rushed.
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post #6 of 42 Old 05-14-2010, 01:56 AM
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Anywhere from 2/2.5-ish to 3, maybe 3.5. Obviously depending on the horse. Ive never fully broken a horse by myself, but the ones ive had anything to do with have, most of the time, been broken in then left for a while. Which i think works quite well, especially for the younger ones.
ETA: I think it depends on what discipline the horse will be used for as well.
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post #7 of 42 Old 05-14-2010, 02:00 AM
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I think the best age is 3-4 any younger than three and their bones haven't fused together correctly. Of course this is keeping in mind all horses are different and some mature faster than others.
My horse was incredibly well handled when I bought him unbroken so I started breaking him to saddle just before he turned 4 and that seemed to be an age where he was able to metally and physically cope with it.
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post #8 of 42 Old 05-14-2010, 02:29 AM
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I think it depends on the physical and mental maturity of the horse and how much previous training it has had. When we were raising horses, we started them late summer/early fall when they were around 2.5 or later. We would get them to w/t/c both directions, and introduced concepts that would be used later, like moving off the leg. We've had some that we didn't start until they were three or four because they didn't have the physical and/or mental maturity yet.
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post #9 of 42 Old 05-14-2010, 04:16 AM
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It definitely depends on the physical and mental maturity of the horse. My current horse is 17.3hh and I love the fact he was allowed to maturity physically before being started as a 5 year old. So many injuries and disorders can be avoided by waiting until the crucial stages of growth.

There's a lot of talk right now about European Warmbloods being started at 3 and jumped heavily, when they break down in a few years they're imported to North America as 'dressage' horses. However, I have no first hand knowledge of this, just heard it in several conversations in different horsey circles.

I had an Appendix filly that was left to mature to 3.5 before she started under saddle work. She was easily to sell because she was left and not started at 2 and burnt out. The lady who purchased her obviously liked other characteristics about my girl, but she really appreciated getting a horse that didn't have a higher risk for joint issues, etc.
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post #10 of 42 Old 05-14-2010, 09:25 AM
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I start all of my horses as 2yr olds. With the exception of my current colt...I was starting him and then found out I was pregnant so quit with him. Anyhow, I think if you are reasonable with them it's OK. I find there is a huge difference in how and when people start horses depending on discipline. English/dressage tend to start later, and it's pretty common for stock horse folks to break out their horses as 2 yr olds. Futurity horses get some education put on them even before that in some cases. Either way, I have stock horses so they are all started at 2 and generally start to show mid way through the 3yr old year.

~Lindsay~ Mom of 2, wife to the goldsmith, doula and childbirth educator in training, life-long horse dork
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