It's not too late... right? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 18 Old 06-20-2010, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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It's not too late... right?

I just bought a 5 year old paint mare. She's barely halter broke and has had nothing done with her which I guess I can at least chalk up to no BAD past training. Now I have a million people telling me that she's too old to train and too old to break. What?!

I understand we're behind due to no handling but I as far as breaking I know plenty of people who refuse to break their horses until 3 or 4 years old so what difference is a 5 year old?

Do any of you have any experience starting older horses from scratch?

I looked at about 20 mares at this guys house before choosing her. I chose this guys place over others since you can walk into his pasture and any of his mares will follow you anywhere you go, let you rub them down anywhere, play with ears, check their teeth, and mess with their newborn babies even though the mares have no training. This mare I got was a little shy when I first got to her but after a half hour in the pasture she was beside me rubbing on my back and acting like I've always known her :)
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post #2 of 18 Old 06-20-2010, 08:40 PM
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She's gorgeous.

And no, 5 years old is not too old to break. We have a 4 year old at our barn who was broke as a 3 year old, and hasn't done anything since. She'll need a refresher definitely. We also have two geldings, one 4 and one 7 I think, who will need re-breaking as well.

I would consider a 5 year old still very much a baby, anyway.
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post #3 of 18 Old 06-20-2010, 08:44 PM
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There is no such thing as a horse being too old to break to ride. Though sometimes an older horse can be a bit of a challenge, it isn't impossible. I have a mustang named Koda that I didn't train him until the fall of his 5 year old year. He never offered to buck and he was pretty easy to train. The good news is that there is no risk of damaging her joints or bones from riding her for extended periods of time .

She's a pretty girl, good luck with her.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #4 of 18 Old 06-20-2010, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks you guys. I don't consider her old really. My first horse I ever got was in his teens when we broke him and he turned into a beginners horse within months! It just irritates me that people assume a horse that has not be consistently handled all its life and then ridden by the age of 3 can't be trained and will be permanently wild.
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post #5 of 18 Old 06-20-2010, 08:52 PM
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Absolutely not.


We have a nine year old stallion just starting training and besides a few bucking rampages the first times, he is doing great. If he can do it, any horse can.

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post #6 of 18 Old 06-20-2010, 09:09 PM
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I had to get a two year old 16+ hand draft horse used to halters and any sort of leading/ground work. That was quite the chore. I also taught my 18 year old 4-H cow pony to jump which my Gramps swore up and down would only happen when hell froze over. And we were able to git 'er done!

Just be patient and you'll get where you need to go!

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #7 of 18 Old 06-20-2010, 09:22 PM
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Latte is 5 and was hardly handled (Halter broken and that's it) and is coming along really well, and not as good as she could do to my lack of time!

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post #8 of 18 Old 06-20-2010, 09:23 PM
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I've never backed anything under 4 years old. I don't like riding babies. 5 years old is perfect to start working with her!

Spent a whole hour today laying in a pasture, waiting for a sparkling vampire to show up. Alas, I woke up and looked over, only to find a mound of horse crap. Sigh.
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post #9 of 18 Old 06-20-2010, 09:26 PM
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It's never too late to teach anything - and if you progress in a way that the horse always feels "safe" and comfortable then you should have few pitfalls.

I've been far happier with the horses I've chosen to wait with than those I started at 2 or 3. Not only do they seem to be easier to train (more focused and confident) but they are also physically ready to move on when their training reaches that point - so no "stalling" or staying at the same place while we wait for them to grow up.

I no longer will start anything under 4 years old.
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post #10 of 18 Old 06-21-2010, 01:00 AM
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I was always taught that a horses knees are not fully mature until 4-5 years of age. Also, they just aren't psychologically mature until later. Would rather start an older horse than to ruin a baby.

Spent a whole hour today laying in a pasture, waiting for a sparkling vampire to show up. Alas, I woke up and looked over, only to find a mound of horse crap. Sigh.
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