Can I get on him?

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Can I get on him?

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        12-22-2011, 08:35 PM
    Question Can I get on him?

    Flash is my 19-mo-old AQHA palomino and a very eager learner. I bought him a little over a month ago and started training him using clicker training. I've trained all our other horses (all AQHA and one APHA) since I was about 10 years old, but this is the first time I've done clicker training. Now, a month later, he's doing everything I could possibly want and then some of from the ground (if you're curious about what I've been able to do feel free to ask - I've got to admit I'm going to be a clicker trainer for life now!) - including saddling up and flexing with a minimal amount of pressure to both sides and vertically. So now what? Mentally he's ready for it and I've actually sat on him with the kids saddle a couple times for less than 5 minutes each time, then today I rode him twice bareback (to minimize the weight) for less than 5 minutes each time.

    I know I can't really "work" him until he's at least two or three years old, but can I just ask him to walk and turn/flex for 5 minutes or less maybe 2-3 times each week? I'm 21 and weigh a little less than 130 and my saddle (if I did get on him with a saddle but like I said he did fantastic bareback) is on the lighter side. Flash is very well built, wide, muscular, will be about 15.1 hands (though he still has about 8 inches to grow), and has excellent confirmation - his only flaw is that he's toed out a little in the back - maybe he will grow out of it? '

    Just to give some perspective, he's my only horse so I'm not spending time working with other horses. My dad had me ride and break our other family horses between 18mo to two years old, but then again I was around 10-15 years old and 80-100lbs at the time. Flash is my baby and his health and safety are my first priority. Thanks!
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        12-22-2011, 08:43 PM
    No. 19 months is far too young to expect a horse to carry any kind of weight at all. It happens a lot in the show horse world but many of those horses end up with arthritis and soundness issues fairly early on in life. Why not wait so that he'll sure be ready for a rider and you won't have to worry about hurting him?

    Why not work on other things like further desensitizing, ponying across country and through town, work on his body control from the ground, etc? There will be plenty of time for riding later, why risk shortening his riding career by years just to get started a few months early?
        12-22-2011, 09:00 PM
    That's what I was worried about - I don't want to worry about problems later in life. If you have any specific suggestions for what I can work on from the ground, I'd appreciate it. The only other thing I can think of is to work on stopping - but would that put too much stress on his legs? I can already lead him comfortably along roads (someone even honked at us and he didn't pay any attention), have him trot alongside me, etc. I don't want him to stagnate in his training, especially because he's so eager to learn - he even nickers at me every time I walk by him or he hears the clicker!
        12-22-2011, 09:04 PM
    Heck at this age, he would probably do best with ground driving. That way, you can get him stopping/turning nice before you ever set foot on him.

    I know how hard it is to wait until they are old enough, but sometimes we need to take a breath and realize that we may or may not have done pretty much everything we can with them for the age they are. For me, if it comes down to a choice between doing the exact same thing every session and risking a bored horse or just turning him out with minimal contact, I would choose to turn him out.
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        12-22-2011, 09:15 PM
    Thanks for the suggestions and advice - I'll start driving him and perfect the skills we're already working on. What is the soonest you would say he's ready for very short rides?
        12-22-2011, 09:15 PM
    What about working on trick training? Some things, like "bowing" help the horse with other maneuvers later on! Or "teach" him the alphabet (target training)... etc. The sky is the limit, especially if he is learning so well! Good luck!
        12-22-2011, 09:21 PM
    Me, personally, I wouldn't really put any kind of ride on him at all until he's at least 2.5, and then take it pretty easy on him.
        12-22-2011, 09:22 PM
    I was thinking about trick training, but I didn't want to confuse him - he's learned everything so fast I'm going to reinforce those before I start on ticks. However that gives me something to work toward! I'm going to repost for suggestions on what we could work on. Thanks again!
        12-24-2011, 12:27 AM
    Definitely agree on the driving part :) I drove my mare for months before I started riding her because we started driving her around 2 and had a lot of time to do it. We would drive her around my neighborhood and over logs and bridges.... basically just riding her except from the ground!

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