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post #11 of 18 Old 05-26-2009, 11:08 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: SW Michigan
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I have 2 horses that need to be started right now. First is a 3 year old QH. I wait til 3 on them just to be sure their joints are strong, and ready to handle everything, and also for them to be mentally ready. There are 2 year olds that are big enough and strong enough, but mentally it can be damaging to start too soon. The other horse is a 4 year old Arab. He is showing all signs of being ready to start now at 4, but it would not be a major issue if he has to wait until next year. Arabs are incredibly smart, and fast to learn, but emotionally may need a little longer to be ready for all that is asked of them with riding. Personally, I would wait, however you're in a tough spot as it isn't your horse just yet. You may need to bite the bullet and buy the horse to ensure it is started when it needs to be (can't remember if you said it was a mare or gelding, sorry.) Looks like this guy just wants to rush things along so he can move on to the next project.

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post #12 of 18 Old 05-27-2009, 07:58 PM
Green Broke
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Originally Posted by luvs2ride1979 View Post
Another good article by a vet on the topic.
And They Call Us Horse Lovers - Articles
I absolutely LOVED that article. And I agree 110%. I will never in my life understand this obsession with starting horses so young when we KNOW it cripples them. How does human logic possibly justify shaving 10 years of useable riding life off a horse just so they can start them a year or two to early? I guess I know the answer - money.

I trained my Arab mare from the ground up, and by the time the day came for me to ride her as a 4 year old, I was able to walk, jog AND lope her the first day with no bucking or resistence. I'd spent so much time on groundwork and voice commands and tacking up, that me being on her back simply didn't concern her. She spent her 4 year old year mostly as a trail horse just getting used to sights and sounds. She was so darn quiet, my cowboy friends practically called me a liar for saying she was a 4 year old greenbroke Arab. Well into her 5 year old year is when we started more serious English training and I started her over jumps. We spent six solid months on ground poles and crossrails. People thought I was nuts.

The result? I now have a 10 year old Arab who absolutely loves to be ridden, will leave the herd at my call, actually SLOWS down when we ride towards home (she wants to keep going!) and adores jumping. She's versatile and smart, and I truly believe it was all due to a proper upbringing. She's never taken a lame step in her life, and aside from the occasional cold, I've never had health issues with her.

So that's just my personal story. You couldn't pay me to ride a 2 year old Arab, my girl was so gangly and lanky at 2 years old that the idea of actually riding her was just outrageous to me. However, in that sense, IF she's going to be "ridden anyway", then I WOULD see justification in you accepting the job. If it's going to happen to her anyway, at least you can bring her up slow and do your best to prevent problems right?

I just bought a 2 year old Paint filly who was started under saddle at about 22 months old. I find it completely unneccesary. I don't even care that she's a "Paint" - it's just to young for me. I tacked her up and sat on her once to see what she knew (absolutely nothing) and I've sat on her bareback once while she was grazing, but she's so juvenile in both physical build and mentality that I see absolutely no purpose in starting her under saddle this year. I'll see how she fills out as a 3 year old and MAY start some light walk/jog year next summer but it all depends on her.

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

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post #13 of 18 Old 05-27-2009, 08:05 PM
Green Broke
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I did the same thing with my draft. Got him at 2 he was over 16 hands. Vet said stay off him until after he turned 4 so I did. We did two years of good solid groundwork/bonding. I got a lot of crap for not riding him at 2 because he was so big. He had his last growth spurt after he turned 7.

If people want to ride right away there's always the option of buying older horses.
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post #14 of 18 Old 05-28-2009, 07:10 PM
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In my opinion, two is always too young, regardless of the breed. They're not anywhere near fully mature, both physically and mentally. Their legs and backs are still growing, and the last thing they need is the stress of a rider on top of that. I would never start a horse under three, and wait even longer for Warmbloods and drafts. Riding a horse while he's still growing predisposes him to joint problems and potential lameness. It pays to wait until they're fully developed to start putting a rider on him. The horse will be much healthier and sounder in the long run.

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post #15 of 18 Old 05-28-2009, 07:31 PM
Green Broke
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Great article! I wholeheartedly embrace it. I took my time starting Walka, training for longevity. Started him at 4, started riding him seriously at 5. Have never regretted it. He's good and solid on the ground and very calm in the saddle. Let his skeletal frame and brain develop without pressure.

Of course, I plan on keeping him till the day he dies, like his mother T, so I was in no hurry to saddle train him.

T was not started under saddle till age 6 and she at age 20 is fit as a fiddle. Never an unsound day (crossed fingers) and hope to have her for many years to come.

When in doubt, always lean to the cautious side. That's my advice.
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post #16 of 18 Old 05-28-2009, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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im sorry for the delayed response, everyone!

im really hoping to stay off of her till at least 3. its a bit difficult in my situation, being that i do not own the horse. :\ there is a possibility i may be moving my TB mare, i might just snatch up this little one and take her with me.

i really love the horse, and i want to keep her being ridden happily and healthily as long as possible. thank you all for your input! and thouse artilcles are fantastic! hopefully i can convince the owner about it. till then, more ground work!
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post #17 of 18 Old 05-28-2009, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Im sorry for the delayed response!

I was not planning on riding her until at least 3, but its a bit difficult in my situation. i might be moving my TB mare, i may also snatch this little one up and move her as well, just whats best for her. shes a nice little mare, and i really want to have as much happy, healthy, riding time as possible with her. waiting can be better in the long run. also, im not being paid to be with her, that is my payment for doing all sorts of barn work- is her. shes sort of a gift. im just hoping i can convince her owner that i need to stay off of her for a while. :\

thank you all for your input!
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post #18 of 18 Old 05-29-2009, 04:12 PM
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People are right... It's a touchy, very opinionated subject because think and train different ways all the time and there's really no right or wrong way if you always keep the best interest of the horse in mind.

That being said, this is my opinion on the whole situation.

Would I start riding her? Absolutely not.
Check her knees. I can guarantee that they are not closed.
Riding a young horse like that, especially an Arabian as they develop much later than other horses - some taking as long as five years old to finish developing completely - it puts a LOT of strain on their muscles and bones.

Their leg and back muscles are not fully developed, nor are the bones. By riding and starting a horse as young as 18 months to 2 years old put an enourmous amount of stress on their musclar and skeleton system and causes damage. The bones can get deformed, the muscles pulled and stretched so nothing is quite as it should be.

This is why at seven years old, you can see horse that look like they are twenty. Or you have a lame five year old reining or cutting horse. Too much stress put on them physically when they were too young.

I don't think there is anything wrong with saddling her, bridling her, doing some lunging, pony her on trail rides, all that sort of stuff.
But if she were my horse personally, I wouldn't ride her yet.
I've got a four year old that I'm just going to be starting this fall because her knees have finally just closed and everything is coming together for her.

The Arabian show circuit has the Arabian Futuries for the two year olds which are all halter classes because they don't expect them to be rode and broke as a two year old.

Lots of people do ride two years olds. Lots of people show two year olds.
I'm not one of them. I'm too worried about what the long term problems are. I keep my horses around for a long time and I don't want to ride a two year old to have a useless six year old, you know?

But that's not saying it will always happen.
You CAN ride her carefully, and you might never have any problems with her.
It's just not something I would do personally.

Use your best discretion, I suppose I would say.

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arabian , breaking , mare , riding , young

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