Join Date: May 2007
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Personally, I would save lunging as a regular form of exercise until well after age three...I would ride regularly before I lunged regularly. This preference is based on what I have read and heard about the impact lunging has on developing legs. I think you could probably free lunge in a large round pen earlier as long as it was not to fast or repetitive.
Also, a lot of this comes down to personal choices on how we should raise our babies. Some people start jumping horses young (around 3), whereas I would prefer not to start this until age 5 or 6. There are futurity horses out there being ridden at Nat. Level shows heavily at age 2, where I prefer to saddle break at 2, but really start at 3.
For my baby (who is six month now), as a yearling I plan on introducing him to the bridle. I plan on ponying him on trail rides, teaching him to yield to pressure at all the key riding spots (from the ground), teaching him to ground drive in a bridle, continuing to develop his in hand manners, and exposing him more (started this kind of stuff from day one) to clippers, bathing, farrier, banding, braiding.