I prefer no earlier than 3, better 4. Ground driving and groundwork (appropriate for the age and physical maturity) until that to get the horse accepting to human interaction and responsive to cues that can be later used when ridden. There is no need to rush anything and to get on their backs as fast as possible - the longer we take, the longer we let them mature at their own pace, the longer we will have healthy, happy, long-living horses that will be glad to give us a ride even after their twenties. A horse that is backed too soon has more risk to break down sooner in life...
I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.
Last edited by Saranda; 11-28-2012 at 07:19 AM.