backing my youngster

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backing my youngster

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    05-30-2013, 07:31 PM
backing my youngster

At what age is best to start backing my youngster, he is a Fell X Dales X Clydesdale to make around 14-15hh
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    05-30-2013, 09:24 PM
Preferably around 2 1/2 - 3, maybe later. No earlier than 2, for sure. I prefer to see a youngster started lightly at two, ridden 2-3 times a week for no more than 10-15 minutes at a time and then turned out for the winter to grow up a bit more. They get restarted as a three year old, and generally I've seen this work well.
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    05-31-2013, 12:26 AM
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Actually since your boy is mostly of heavy blood (heavy ponies/draft) and they mature slower, I wouldn't start him until he's three at all.
    05-31-2013, 01:03 AM
Look up Dr Deb Bennett's site for info on developmental stages for horses. If you're quite light & 'backing' is only sitting/walking on him for very short spells, I wouldn't expect that to be a real prob for a 3yo but I wouldn't start any high impact or serious riding/weightbearing with him until he's around 4-5yo at least.
    05-31-2013, 06:24 AM
Every horse I've ever known(stock horses ans thoroughbreds, some arabians) has been started at about two, and I know almost every single one of them is still sound(barring injury) and some are nearing their 30's. Though like endiku said, being drafty/cobby I would probably wait.
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    05-31-2013, 04:47 PM
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Its not just physical soundness that must be taken into account though. Two is pretty young for just about anything, and they don't seem to retain much more than the very basics at two anyways.

Drafts and heavy pony breeds are notorious also, for really not being done growing until they're 5, 6, and sometimes even 7. Therefore a young draft's body is still in the very fragile stages of development as two and three year olds. As Loosie said, if you're light and have a light, well fitting saddle (bareback is not good for youngster. I never ride them without a saddle until 5+) hopping up to give him a quick starter course in 'walk' 'woah' 'left' and 'right', it probably won't hurt, but you can do just as much ground driving, both at a walk and a trot at that age, without worrying too much about stressing their bones.

Either way, let your horse be a baby while he is a baby. There is so much besides riding that you can do with one, two, and three year olds- so don't feel like not being able to ride your horse let means you're missing out!
loosie likes this.
    05-31-2013, 04:56 PM
Green Broke
Every horse I've ever known(stock horses ans thoroughbreds, some arabians) has been started at about two, and I know almost every single one of them is still sound(barring injury) and some are nearing their 30's.
It depends how they are started. If you are getting them used to bearing weight for 10-30 minutes of light w/t, mostly in straight lines, the likelihood of soundness issues from over work is slim to none. The harder you ride them at a young age, the more the chance of future soundness issues.

For the average horse, I start at 3, for a draft, 4
    05-31-2013, 07:14 PM
My filly is 2 and I have just started getting her use the saddle and bridle and stuff. So I am going to say for yours, wait until 3 years old to actually get on, but you can do a ton of ground work and saddle break him and get him so use to everything, so when you get on, it is nothing new to him. Today I was even laying on my girl as she laying down, just to see what she would do with a little weight on her back, and she didn't even blink.
    06-10-2013, 05:59 PM
Thanks for all the information it's very much appreciated, I have many horses to ride so it isn't an issue for me to rush anything and I wish to do the best for my little star, I regularly take him for walks in the country parks, on short road walks and show him many different objects and obstacles to get him use to as much as I can, I actually enjoying ground work and strengthening the amazing bond we already have, I have just heard so many different view on ages for backing youngsters.
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    06-10-2013, 06:03 PM
Originally Posted by Endiku    
Actually since your boy is mostly of heavy blood (heavy ponies/draft) and they mature slower, I wouldn't start him until he's three at all.
Would you say three for light backing then turn out to graze till bringing on at four or light backing at 2 1/2 then bringing on at three?
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