Ground Exercises for a 2 yr Old - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 03-21-2011, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Ground Exercises for a 2 yr Old

We are bringing home our new filly (Luna) on friday. She is only two, she loads, ties, stands for the farrier, and has had a saddle on her. The previous owner has even been on her a few times and she did good.
Now Im no expert but is 2yrs too young to be backing them?

I was also wondering what can I start to teach her from the ground?
Can I lounge her?
Teach her to drive?
Can I introduce her to a bridle and bit? Etc Etc..

Any suggestions would help, NOw just so you know we are going to have a trainer help us because we haven't trained a horse before but I would like some information from HF please...

Here are some pictures of Luna
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-21-2011, 10:12 AM
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I back all of mine at 2. Unless the vet advises against it. But by 2... my babies already lounge tacked up (Saddle, Bridle, Boots... the whole 9 yards.) and know voice commands. And how to move off pressure. So I say No she is no to young to be backed (but it needs to be taken very slow. Mostly walking and a little trotting till she is about 2.5!) and yes you can lounge her and line drive and introduce tack. Thats my opinion. But this is a VERY controversial subject.

Many people have sighed for the 'good old days' and regretted the 'passing of the horse,' but today, when only those who like horses own them, it is a far better time for horses. ~C.W. Anderson
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post #3 of 11 Old 03-21-2011, 12:37 PM
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I took lots of 'dog' walks with mine this summer to help him manners and introduce him to things in the woods and around the yard. I also introduced him to the bridle and bit but I didn't put the reins on. I just let him get used to having it in his mouth without have to worry about pressure yet. Now he is really doing well learning how to respond to the bit, because I didn't make a big deal out of it when it was new. I like the "porcupine' game, I think its parelli. But basically it is just teaching the horse to move from pressure, all over the body. Now if I touch his hip he moves it, no question. It has helped a LOT!
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-21-2011, 12:48 PM
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Mine is coming 3 & can do everything minus having a person sitting on him, but that's due to size. He longes, bridles, bits up, has a good head set with the surcingle and side reins, and we can last across his back. Long lines are starting this week, but we've been working with that already. There's plenty to do and work toward at 2.
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-22-2011, 02:17 AM
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Personally, I would not even think about getting on a horse until they're 3 - a horse's joints are not finished forming until they are fully grown, and working them too hard early in their lives can mess up how their legs develop. You wont see problems for years down the road, but if you plan on having this horse for a while I would wait.

Plus, now you have plenty of time to do lots and lots of groundwork! This is the most important piece of training a horse and is what will build your horses trust in you.

Again, too much can be bad for her baby joints, so take it slow. Three 15 minute training sessions per day is worlds more valuable than one 45 minute session, especially for a young horse. Just like kids, they have a short attention span and get frustrated easily - so keep that in mind.

I am a fan of free lunging (or round-penning) so I would look into that, also this is your chance to desensitize your new girl to all sorts of things! Get her to wear a tarp aon her head, lead her along the road (safely) so she is used to cars going by, put that saddle on every day, have her work with a bit in her mouth (no reins)

I'm not saying you can't get on her and even walk around, but keep it at that for now and don't do it very often. When you do - go crazy with praise. Make her feel like the most amazing horse in the world while you're sitting on her. Save a special treat for that occasion even? This way, she will forever associate you being on her back with wicked warm fuzzies. Remember to keep this going later in her life.

Have fun with her - what a cutie!
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-22-2011, 03:52 AM
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I am a fan of starting them under rider as late as possible. If I had an untouched horse, I would wait to at least 4. However, that is just me, and should in no way be taken as preaching. I know plenty of people who start theirs at two. Does that make it right? Perhaps not.

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post #7 of 11 Old 03-22-2011, 07:37 AM
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The knee joints are the ones that take longest to mature. Lots of ground work is important to teach patience and respect of the handler. I don't think there is any harm in backing/riding for short periods of time as a two year old, but definitely no trot or canter work. As a three year old more serious riding training can be started.
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-22-2011, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the replies. We will probably just work with ground exercises and getting her used to the tack and desensitizing her. We are in no rush.
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-23-2011, 01:34 PM
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Well, you should just work on thing like ground manners and get her leading very well. Ground driving would be another thing, and since she's had a saddle on it might be a little bit easier. (The reins can go through the stirrups rather than just dangling.) Lunging is also something to work on. Giving to pressure on all sides, butt and shoulder. Desensitizing is a good thing to work on, too. By the time she is old enough to ride she will have done it all. And you have a few years to work on all of that seeing as she is only 2, so there definately shouldn't be any rush. ^^

But for driving, I would suggest not having her pull anything if you are going to go farther than just halter and reins. Well, not untill she is older, for the sake of her young joints. I don't think she should be ridden yet, definately since she is so young. I've heard a horse isn't completely done devoloping untill they are about 4 or five. But around 3 she should be able to start being ridden. I wouldn't at age 2, though.
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-23-2011, 01:54 PM
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Desensitize, desensitize, desensitize. That is what I start with ANY horse I train. Some don't need as much, but its a good place to start. You can pretty much do anything with them at this age except get on them. I usually use a bareback saddle at first to get them used to a girth strap. Then a LIGHT saddle once they used to it. Remember not to do too much cause it can cause their brains to go into overload and they won't be as willing in future when you try to work with them. Keep it easy and slow. Ground work is a big one. You can never do too much of it. I always start my workouts with ground work. No matter what level the horse is at, it just get them thinking and remembering, oh, ya when she puts pressure there I'm supposed to move over. It gets their thinking caps on so they're in training mode and not pasture mode. I also recommend x-rays if your trainer wants to hop on her soon. It's not that expensive and is well worth it in the future health of your horses legs. GOOD LUCK
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