Join Date: May 2011
Location: Asherville, Indiana
I am so glad I found this! I only trail ride except for showing in the 4H fair, which I am currently in my last year. I've only had horses for 2 years. My first was a crazy Appaloosa given to me for free because she was going to go to the sale barns and they knew she would go to a good home. I'll just say that she was not a good horse to start out on. I of course still have her, and I love to her absolute pieces. I rarely ride her though. My mom or any men I ride with who need a horse (they have the strength to make her do what is needed) are the ones to normally do that. And it's weird, I refuse to ride her in a saddle. I will only ride her bareback. But anyway, last year at the end of summer I rescued a yearling. Terrible, horendous shape. My mom didn't tell me but while I was a school (2 different times), she thought the poor girl was going to die.
The original owners (monsters) told us she was 2, but when she started declining in health the vet told us during a check up that she had just then turned 2, after having her for about half a year. This was at the end of spring this year. Turns out she was just losing her teeth and that's how he knew. So we ended up with a very sick baby girl. Got her back up to health again pretty fast, though. My mom and mentor told me it was time to start riding her when she finally got strong enough, so I did. And trust me I was not a heavy load I only weight 95 pounds! Over the summer (within 2 months) I had her trained as a green trail horse.
No heavy riding, just until they said she'd had enough for a day. I'm proud because I did it myself, even if my "trainer" (I usually just say mentor!) told me what to do. No one else has ever ridden my filly. My mom and her have only ever longed her. So then I showed her in the fair, which I really don't enjoy, but she blew everyone out of the water in the trail class. That definitely made me smile, seeing how she was by far the youngest horse at the show.
Then my mom and I went on a charity ride in October. 14 mile round trip, which was new to me and my baby girl. She did splendidly, for only being 2 and never having done anything that big before. The next day on trails in a heavily wooden area of nothing but hills was amazing too. I'm just so proud of her that I could cry. The fact that I was blessed enough to have such an amazing horse at such a young age makes me feel wonderful.
What I was getting at by typing this mini story is that on this website, any time I mention my horse's age, I get a lot of grief over it. Some of the people that have scolded me for riding a 2 year old have really made me feel bad. At one point I was scared to get on her because everyone had me thinking I was going to cause permanent damage to her, even though my vet gave me the 'OK'. But after reading this it gave me some new confidence for next year (I've put up the saddle for the winter). Especially since by the beginning of summer she will be 3, I feel that everyone else can kiss my filly's pretty little flanks!
I DO NOT ride my horse into the ground. She has an amazing home, gets everything she needs, and probably more. I love her to absolute pieces and if anything were to happen to her I wouldn't be able to live with myself. I sometimes wonder why people think I would hurt her after saving her life and taking the painstaking time and work to bring her off the verge of death. I take amazing care of her and my Appaloosa, and Lily (my filly) is the best horse I could have ever asked for. Next year is going to be the start of some serious training. I'm wanting to buy an Australian saddle because my western saddles are just lacking. I feel unsafe and uncomfortable, and know that I'm sitting right and that they fit the horses. They're just not right for me.
So Cherie, I wanted to thank you for making me feel better about riding a 2 year old. From now on when I get grief over the age of my horse and people saying that there's no way she's trained very well, I'm going to link them to this post and think "Na-na-na-na boo-boo!". You really don't know how good reading this made me feel about myself and my horse. And I'm going to apply these techniques more firmly next year than I did this year for sure. Lily is going to be the most amazing horse a lot of people around here have ever seen. I can feel it in my bones.
Thank you so much for this thread, Cherie!
Whoever said a horse was dumb, was dumb.
If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question or asked the question wrong.