Saddle Breaking horses REALLY young........ - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 218 Old 06-27-2012, 11:55 AM
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A couple of the above posts said that they wouldn't back horses before the age of 3. What do you mean by that? Under saddle or in hand? 'Cause I recently taught my will be 2y/o in July to back in hand and she's quite good at it.
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post #22 of 218 Old 06-27-2012, 12:02 PM
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I'll admit that I've never worked with a young horse and so have never experienced the "when to ride" dilemma in real life.

However, I have been around horses that were constantly "broken" and ridden hard by the age of 2 (the horses from the summer camp I worked at for 4 years) and I can tell you that nothing about their attitudes or how sore their bodies constantly were by the time I was working with them (10-15yr olds) makes me want to condone riding a horse that young.
Those poor horses, the "oldest" one I have got to be around was 20 - lame as all get out and HATED humans. She looked about 30 and there was nothing about using her in our riding program that I really liked. She was super broke and a really easy ride, but at what price? Just carrying small (under 100lb) kids all day obviously made her tired and sore.
The 15yr olds were, as a group, unreliably sound and were constantly playing up because they stepped wrong/twisted something/etc and most of those horses had to be given a week off every couple of weeks if I wanted the kids riding them to survive. Swollen joints were par for the course and it was very unusual to have a horse that wasn't obviously in some sort of pain - joint pain or otherwise.
I just couldn't handle it anymore so that's why I'm not working there this summer, before anyone asks. :)

Anyway, I think that if a person is able to accurately pick out the broke early horse from a group of 15 year old horses after seeing those horse interact with people and move around - you have a problem.
The difference may not be in the lameness or not of the horse but there's just something about a horse that wasn't allowed to have a "childhood".
I liken it to teenage girls having babies or not. Sure, a 14 year old can get pregnant, keep her baby, and care for it as best she can, but, we all know the answer to this, how well is that young mom and her baby really going to fare in this world? That girl "lost" her teenage years when she was going to be truly developing who she is and what she stands for. Now, she's a mom and she stands for raising her child. She's going to have a hard time going to college and she might even have difficulty finishing high school. It's possible for her to do those things (just like it's possible for a horse that was broke early to end up fine) but it's going to be about a bazillion times harder for her.
A 2 year old (or younger) CAN be ridden but is it reeeaaalllllyyy the 100% best option for that baby?

For me, I like my horses old and sound. Take Lacey, for instance. She's 27 and still going strong. No lamenesses, never been injured - no swollen anything ever even though I ride her hard for her age, does get sore sometimes but reasonably so, still loves to run - runs around the pasture often, etc. Right now, the only thing changing Lacey's way of living is her failing eyesight. If she could see 100%, there'd be no telling her apart from a 10 year old. Depending on the 10 year old, you might even be tricked into thinking she's younger than the 10 year old!
She was started late, retired at 12ish for "behavioral issues", and only brought back at 23 when I got her. Now, I'm not saying that all horses should be retired at 12 to have active senior years (though I'm sure it helped us) but I think that breaking a horse at 4 or 5 is the key to creating a horse that'll do well as a senior horse.

That's just me though, I figure wait now to get ahead later.
It probably depends on the person. I personally don't see the logic to it, but people sometimes seem to think 20-somethings are plugs and therefore don't want to ride them. In that case, I can see twisted logic in risking "using up" your horse young because if 15-19 is "the end" of when you want to be riding horse, why does it need to be riding sound after that?
I really don't like that logic because I adore old horses, but I can see that being reasonable in someone's mind.

Just my thoughts. :)
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post #23 of 218 Old 06-27-2012, 12:12 PM
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I'm just a hobby rider, but personally, I believe in starting horses at 2 years if they are mature enough mentally and physically and getting a good walk, trot, and canter on them, then let them be a horse until their third year. That's basically when I did with my gelding and he's turned into a great horse.

Some horses, though, need a while longer. My stallion was nowhere near mentally or phyciall ready to ride when I got him at two and a half, but he was at three so I started him, and he's four now and still greenbroke, but well trained enough that I can let my youger family members on him and they walk, trot, and canter him.

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post #24 of 218 Old 06-27-2012, 12:22 PM
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I put a pony saddle on my yearling, (not really tighten) and walked her around (nobody in the saddle) and then as a 2 year I started sitting on her...
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post #25 of 218 Old 06-27-2012, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostwindAppaloosa View Post
I breed mares at 3 and break at 4. My stud colts dont start under saddle until a minimum of three years old.
Why whould you breed a mare before it is broke. You dont even know if it will be good enough to prove itself.
I start horses at 2, but wouldnt breed till 4.
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Last edited by cowboy bowhunter; 06-27-2012 at 12:27 PM.
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post #26 of 218 Old 06-27-2012, 12:24 PM
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The Link I posted talks about the rate a young horses joints fuse. Everone is really focused on the knees, but a horses back fuses last(5+ years) and being horizontal takes alot of stress(noticed how many equine acupuncturists, massage therapists and chiro's are popping up for back problems??)

Also, ever wondered why hocks of performance horses need so many injections, etc to stay sound? the hock growth plates dont fuse untill 3-3.5.

The whole world is in a rush, we all just need to slow down.
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post #27 of 218 Old 06-27-2012, 12:28 PM
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Whelp. All I can say is that it's my horse, and it's my rules.
Plus, if you are a light rider that doesn't bounce around like a sack of poh-tay-toes, it makes a world of difference.

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post #28 of 218 Old 06-27-2012, 12:45 PM
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Journey .. backing a horse in this text means "getting on their back" .. riding.
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post #29 of 218 Old 06-27-2012, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by horseandme View Post
that is your oppinion. but professionals have more experiance than us. If a horse is matured,which they can be with a very sertain amount of protein and excercize,then they can be rode lightly.if there knees are closed on the inside they are fne some horses mature at 4 some at 1. they know wat they are doing,especially if alot of them r doing it.
Yes, a lot of professionals do it because of the money involved. To show in futurities, the horse almost has to be started as a yearling.

And no, protein and overfeeding does NOTHING to mature a horse. If anything, this can create more problems with their joint development than help.

Personally, I think futurity competitions are the worst thing that has happened in the horse world. Sadly, even dressage is starting to push young horse competitions.

Too much of a rush to produce "marketable" horses, in my opinion.
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post #30 of 218 Old 06-27-2012, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by horseandme View Post
they know wat they are doing,especially if alot of them r doing it.
It has nothing to do with 'a lot of them are doing it', so it must be okay.

Those types of professional trainers are in it for the money. They're NOT in it for the best interests of the animals in their care.

Don't urinate on my leg and tell me it's raining; baby horses are baby horses regardless of nutrition, or when some 'professional' decides to put them under saddle in order to make as much money out of them as possible before they break down.

My TB is an ex-racer. I look every day for signs of him breaking down due to him being trained to race so young, and he's only 8 y/o. Hopefully, since he was taken off the track at 5, he'll have a long, healthy life under my care.

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