Breaking in - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 01-09-2013, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
Foal
 
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Breaking in

Whats the earliest you can break in a cob. Mine is quite stocky and built already, he is only 8months was thinking of doing it at 1 1/2, too early? Originally we were going to wait until he was 2years old, but he is growing very fast :)
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post #2 of 11 Old 01-09-2013, 12:28 PM
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2-2 1/2 at the very earliest. Anything before that is asking for problems.
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post #3 of 11 Old 01-09-2013, 12:31 PM
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Regardless of his size, 1 1/2 is still a baby.

The longer you wait, the better. There are plenty of ground exercises you can do with him. Don't rush to get him under saddle.
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post #4 of 11 Old 01-09-2013, 12:52 PM
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My personal preference is three, and I consider anything under two to be ridiculous. It isn't about how fast he's growing - regardless of how large he is or isn't at 1 1/2 he still won't be as physically mature as a horse of 3 or 2. Being equal in physical size does not mean being equal in physical and mental maturity.
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post #5 of 11 Old 01-09-2013, 07:32 PM
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I've never started a horse sooner than 3, and several as late as 4. IMO even 2 years old is too early for more than maybe a tiny bit of saddling and ground driving, anything younger than 2 is completely out of the question.
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post #6 of 11 Old 01-15-2013, 07:06 AM
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Two is ok to start a foal, as a natural progression of your ground training program, but still too young for any amount of time in the saddle, other than for simple, short (time-wise) exercises a couple times a week. No hard stuff, no jumping, no barrels, etc. Their growth plates are still soft and spending too much time with a load on their back can leave them with physical problems for life. Don't put a 200+ lb person on them for any amount of time at all.

Three is a good age for a breaking and little more riding, work in the arena, and maybe a short trail ride or two a week. They are ready for a little tougher exercise, maybe starting in their projected discipline. Still as a natural progression in the training program. Some horses mature a little faster than others, so it's still a matter of the individual horse's physiology. Unless you are a trained vet, you're not going to be able to tell, so it's best to go easy. However, there are a lot of 3 year-old race horses that seem to do fine, physically.

By four, pretty much all horses are physically mature enough for hard riding and tough duty.

Ranches often bring in horses from the range and break them in their fifth year. They break them pretty quickly and train them while working them, so they start right off working hard. Wouldn't work with a 2-3 year-old.

It's also good to keep in mind that horses generally are aged by birth year, not by birth date. So unless you know the actual date of a horse's birth, A "two year-old" could be anything from 13 months to 35 months old. When a rancher brought in horses from the range to be broke for ranch stock, If he took horses that were in their 5th year, he knew they were at least 3-5 years old and were physically mature enough for hard work.
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post #7 of 11 Old 01-15-2013, 07:55 AM
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Had another thought that might help the understanding:

I would relate horses' physical maturation to the human maturation process as follows:

A two year-old horse is like a 12-14 year-old person. Just past puberty, getting strong, but still growing. Musculature and coordination are still a bit out of sync, because the skeletal structure is growing so quickly. Able to do hard work for short lengths of time, but be careful. Willing, but lacks the mentality for serious work for more than short time spans.

A three year-old is like a 15-18 year-old, whose skeletal structure is now sound and just about as physically sound as it will get. Coordination is getting good now, but there is a lot of muscle yet to be built. Still has a tough time staying focused on the task at hand. Likes to test the limits, very impressionable. Here is where training and discipline can make or break both horses and humans.

A four year-old is like a 19-22 year-old person, who is now college-age and is fully capable of handling anything a human should be able to handle, as far as skeletal structure is concerned. Now the task is to build muscle, continue to train coordination, but mostly to train the mind.

A five year-old is like a mid-twenties person, who is now fully capable, both physically and mentally, of being a contributing member of society. Physically capable of doing whatever the gifts/limitations God gave them will allow. Mentally, they should now be able to focus on whatever task is at hand for whatever amount of time is required. Of course, in both horses and humans, their individual personality, prior training, discipline, and circumstances will have a lot to do with their physical/mental/emotional health and maturity, and personal happiness, from here on out.

One thing I know: Proper discipline and training at all stages makes happy people and happy horses (ergo happy horse owners).

Make sense?
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post #8 of 11 Old 01-15-2013, 12:22 PM
Started
 
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I find there to be no valuable reason to start a horse before his or her third year. Prior to two they are babies. They are still growing, maturing mentally and physically as we as fusing throughout their entire second year. So three it is. With an animal that lives to be 30 years old and offers you as many as twenty usable riding years, I think that there is nothing they benefit in being started even lightly in their second year. Why push it with "careful riding" when you can just start a more mature horse at 3 and keep going from there? That said, my 9 month old filly is "growing fast" as well, already 14.3hh but there is NO way that anyone will be on her in six months. Growth rate does not justify starting a horse early.
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post #9 of 11 Old 01-15-2013, 12:50 PM
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Do not even think about getting on that horse till he's old enough. Would you put an adult on a 6 year old child and tell that kid to hold that person up? I sure hope not. It doesn't matter how big the horse is you must wait for the growth plates to mature so they can even support a person. You could do serious irreparable damage to this horses legs, joints and spine if you rush this. This question shows a serious lack of education on your horsemanship I hope you learned something. I think you need to read more threads, articles, and books about horses and young horse training.
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post #10 of 11 Old 01-15-2013, 07:51 PM
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Please wait until at least three. I know the thoroughbred and some other horse industries break them early, but breaking later is one of the best things you can do to ensure your horse's long term soundness so he can be a happy partner for you for years to come.

My current pony was not broken in until age five (he was unstarted when I purchased him) and I did not find him more difficult to work with than the 3/4 year olds I have ridden. In fact, in some ways he was easier!
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