Starting a 2 yr old Perch/Holsteiner Colt - Ideas, Suggestions, etc?

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Starting a 2 yr old Perch/Holsteiner Colt - Ideas, Suggestions, etc?

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  • When can you start riding a holsteiner
  • Training a young holsteiner

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    06-02-2011, 09:53 PM
Starting a 2 yr old Perch/Holsteiner Colt - Ideas, Suggestions, etc?

I'm getting in a just 2 yr old Perch/Holsteiner colt from a herd dispersal. The fact that he is intact is a non-issue as he will shortly be a gelding and is currently turned out in a herd of geldings/colts and will be here as well. Just to clarify so we can get the ball bashing out of the way...

My question is that I'm not sure what is appropriate to do with him and what is not. I've never started anything under 3 because I specialize in taking in problem/older horses that need retrained or started so I'm not sure where the line is with a 2 yr old, and I've heard conflicting stories about draft crosses and how they mature.

He is not a hot house flower and has been in 24/7 turnout with a rowdy group of geldings/colts ranging in ages from 1-5. He is well proportioned, a good weight and has great feet and legs. The owners tended to not cut them until they started them and they didn't usually start them until 3-4 because they easily had them separated and it was an extra expense/hassle they didn't want to deal with until they had to. None of their colts or geldings are studdish or even realize that they are intact, as we walked him past mares in heat and he had not a care in the world when I went to look at him. I plan to start him lightly under saddle this summer/fall and work on some in hand things to strengthen his muscles and coordination then turn him out for the winter to grow up some more. I'm curious what other people do with their babies to keep them interested, learning and motivated while not pounding them into the ground. Also any info on things that might be different in starting a draft cross baby versus a TB/QH baby and/or things that they can and can't handle physically would be greatly appreciated. He's my first unbroke 2 yr old and draft cross so I look forward to the challenge. I attached a picture of him, not very good but I will get better ones this weekend so you could put a face to the post =) His name is Ozzy.
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    06-02-2011, 11:26 PM
Green Broke
I think the biggest thing to remember with these types of crosses and breeds in general is they tend to mature very slowly mentally in comparison to say a stock horse. Jynx and Eve are the same age, and yet the mentality is decades apart.

I would keep things interesting and slow, and expectations not overly high. It's very possible you may be doing the exact same repetitions of something with him in 6 months and he's still acting like it's the first time you've asked him to do it. Patience is definitely key.

However, this is really mostly a generalization because obviously not all horses fit the same mold. I've just worked with some Drafts in the past, and although they may appear physically ready to ride at 2, often times it's the mentality that's the problem. They also tend to take a lot longer to find their balance which can present training problems - Eve is just finally starting to straighten out and be able to trot and canter without being everywhere at once.

He's a good looker, and nice he hasn't been handled, I like working with horses who haven't been messed with by idiots!
    06-03-2011, 12:04 AM
Honestly, if you're going to market to the English crowd, wait till he's 3 to start under saddle. A lot of English riders will balk at a horse started too young.
Till then..... desensitize! People love a youngster they can do anything with - including walking over tarps, having tarps draped over them, clipping, bathing (no fuss), flysprayed.... etc. calmly.
Other than that, you can do everything but put a person in the saddle. Long line (surcingle and saddle), and get the horse used to voice commands.
    06-03-2011, 12:55 AM
I've worked with full drafts (Belgians) and I always did the ground work at 1-2 and didn't start them doing anything real until 3 but they were mostly driving horses I didn't really start the babies under saddle, just tooled around under saddle on the broodmares and studs to keep them fit enough for breeding. And I know the crosses can get kind of stuck in between and can take a while to mature. He really impressed me with his brain and his disposition and I got to see the parents, he's a home bred. Both were athletic, smart and very personable so I have high hopes that he's going to follow in their footsteps. I'm also working with his half brother, a 4 yr old gelding but he's already had some ground work and been sat on and he's old enough that he shouldn't be a problem developmentally.

Interesting JDI, around here people are selling 2-3 year olds that are jumping and have flying's insane! Our area has a weird combination of stock type show trainers, wannabe hunter trainers and some bigger Hunter/Jumper trainers and they all seem to push their babies harder than I would think is healthy. It's good to know that's not the norm in other parts of the country. He will probably be lightly started and hacked out this summer if he's ready and then he'll have the winter to grow up and be a baby. I'm hoping that he will be a good candidate for the Young Event Horse series his 4 yr old year. He's a definite project and a possible resale unless he turns into exactly what I'm looking for. I'm not planning on pushing him though.
    06-03-2011, 01:27 AM
Originally Posted by JustDressageIt    
Honestly, if you're going to market to the English crowd, wait till he's 3 to start under saddle. A lot of English riders will balk at a horse started too young.

I was always taught that a horse shouldn't be started lightly until they are three and start to get into the heavier (as in anythim more than a simple walk, trot, and canter) at four. Just from someone who has only been around the "English" people.
    06-03-2011, 10:10 AM
I like that method too, Arksly. I hate seeing horses pushed too hard so young. Jumping, in my opinion, should be reserved for 4-5 years for crossrails, and progressing slowly from there. I hate seeing 3-6 year olds doing 3'+
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    06-03-2011, 11:59 AM
Ground on ground manners. My 4 year old is rude. He crowds, muscles around and generally is a snot. His status as pet in his first home did me no favors. He thinks he is an oversized Schnauzer.

For your own sanity, really work ground manners.
    06-03-2011, 09:38 PM
At my barn there's a trainer who is working with a 3 year old (actually, I think he turned 4 this year) that is about half Percheron, one fourth Belgian, and one fourth Thoroughbred. She has sat on him several times, but compared it to "riding a baby elephant" and has gone back to doing ground work with him until he matures enough to carry his own body around and then hers. It is very misleading because he is so big (almost 18hh) and looks like a full grown horse, but his mentality and balance is still that of a young, growing horse.

As JDI said, do lots of desensitizing and make him the perfect gentleman for the farrier and vet.

When you do lunge him, try to do it on the largest circle possible. I like introducing an unbroke horse to side reins before I ride them, mostly for submission, but in this case, I would also lunge without them so that he can find his own balance and not learn to lean on the side reins for support.
    06-03-2011, 09:53 PM
Originally Posted by coffeegod    
Ground on ground manners. My 4 year old is rude. He crowds, muscles around and generally is a snot. His status as pet in his first home did me no favors. He thinks he is an oversized Schnauzer.

For your own sanity, really work ground manners.
I second this!!!!! And third it...and fourth it.... can you tell my horse is the same way?!?!

Seriously though, ground manner are great, as well as just taking him for walks on the line. That's what I did when I got my 2yo. We learned a lot together about each other. He learn to respect my space and I learned his personality and fav spots. :) I also got him ready for saddle work, but teaching him to give to pressure on his body. I think parelli calls it porcupine or something. But basically when you put pressure on a part of his body, he moves it away. This makes a HUGE difference when you start riding!

Have fun, can't wait to see more pictures.

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