Best time to saddle break? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-31-2012, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Best time to saddle break?

Not to long ago I bought a 8 month old Mustang colt. He is now 11 months (or at least almost), he will be a year in March. The question is, What do you think is the best age to start full on saddle breaking? He has had a saddle on but I didn't do anything but walking him around with it to get him use to the weight. He's a pretty big boy. When I bought my mare a year ago she only had 2 rides on her and I had to finish breaking her.. Not to mention she was 7 years old. Perfect now. So, Leave me some suggestions when it would be a age/time of year to start saddle breaking. Thanks.
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-31-2012, 08:42 PM
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A good age is 3 years, it never hurts to wait longer for horses who aren't yet mature, and it can save some lameness actually, as their joints aren't as developed when they are younger... I would say 4 would be ideal, the horses are emotionally and physically mature.

“Good things come to those who wait… greater things come to those who get off their ass and do anything to make it happen.” - Unknown

Last edited by caseymyhorserocks; 01-31-2012 at 08:49 PM.
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-31-2012, 08:51 PM
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Add- for example, the Icelandic Ponies are very strong and almost never go lame (I am talking about in their home country) and, they are usually started at around 5 years old. Of course there is a number of other things also, but I am sure that is an important role..

“Good things come to those who wait… greater things come to those who get off their ass and do anything to make it happen.” - Unknown
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post #4 of 5 Old 02-01-2012, 04:59 PM
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Definately not before the horse is at least 2 years of age - and if you want to start earlier ask the vet to evaluate horses physical maturity. Even lunging a horse in tight circles before their knees (and legs) are ready can cause lameness down the road.

It is not height that determines when to start saddle work, it is the horses physical and mental maturity. In the interim work on the in-handwork - horse should tie and stand quietly (no pawing), pick up hooves and stand quietly for farrier and vet, stand, lead (not brage ahead or lag behind), back and turn towards and away from handler.

You also need to get wolf teeth removed and teeth looked at in general before ever putting a bit in their mouth.

Dressage is for Trainers!
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post #5 of 5 Old 02-01-2012, 07:13 PM
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You've already done one of the items I usually recommend and that's getting them to accept the saddle :)

As Casey pointed out 4 is a good age for getting on them. All the weight bearing portions of their leg joints will have finished growing by 3.5. Their vetebrae and especially the lower neck will finish about 5. Long necked horses take a little longer on the lower neck, but Mustangs aren't noted for having long necks so that shouldn't be a problem.

Personally (and every one has their preferences :) ) I would keep the riding resonably easy until 5, but if the horse is sound and doesn't have any problems you should be able to ride and train successfully at 4 without a problem.

I start riding mine at about 54 months and have never had a problem. I don't start any lengthy riding until they're over 60 months. There's a lot of training that can be done from the ground while the horse continues to grow.

Having them young can be a real bonus too. All the young (under 1 year) horses that I've had ended up with a very stong bonding from all the training time I spent on the ground with them. When I started the riding work after 3 years of gound work they were willing to do pretty much whatever I asked and their training under the saddle was some of the easiest I've had.
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colt , mustang , saddle breaking

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