02-19-2013, 05:34 PM
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There's nothing wrong with getting a young horse used to the saddle at an early age. Just make sure you have indeed done the proper desensitizing work with him before, so you don't get a blow up and a wreck.
The things you can do with a young horse are endless. Most of the day-to-day things are the most beneficial.
For example, 4-wheelers are used daily on my parents farm. Thus sometimes we'd go get the horses in the far pasture, and lead them behind the 4-wheeler on the way home.
Or I discovered one day a filly I was training (and not scared of anything) was scared of my little brother riding his bicycle. So I rode a bike in the round pen with her to start, and eventually led her beside me going down the roan on it.
For my current 2-yr-old I had my husband bring home some Tyvec (he builds homes). It's extremely noisy and scary. My colt didn't so much as bat an eye, but it was a great desensitizing tool.
I have made a full-size flag, like the kind you'd see carried in the rodeo arena at grand entries. Also makes a great ground work tool.
You can work on showmanship (stopping, trotting, pivoting, etc) as if you were going to a show. I'll be doing that over the course of months because I plan to show my 2-yr-old at the local level. The exposure will be great for him.
I routinely load and unload my 2 yr old and he comes with on all trailer rides.
And I could seriously keep on going all day long on things you can do with a young horse!!!