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at what age can you back a horse?

This is a discussion on at what age can you back a horse? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        12-01-2012, 04:22 AM
      #41
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Army wife    
    She got hung up in panels. On the ground, in the rain most the night. She almost didn't make it. I think I would've died if she had died. That's how close we are.
    Oh gosh, that must have been so traumatic for both of you so glad she survived!!
         
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        12-04-2012, 02:23 AM
      #42
    Yearling
    Well actually evil horse...i wasn't there. Talk about the guilt trip of my life!!
         
        12-04-2012, 04:51 AM
      #43
    Banned
    If it were a horse I was raising, I wouldn't back it until 4.
    EvilHorseOfDoom and PunksTank like this.
         
        12-04-2012, 05:02 AM
      #44
    Started
    Was just chatting about something similar with a friend - her STB was (harness) broken at 2, is now 25 and has dreadful hock problems as pretty bad joints all over. Vet says he's the physical equivalent of a 95yo man, and he's unlikely to make it through the winter. Contrastingly, her 20yo Lipizzaner mare, backed at 4 and slowly trained, is problem-free and schooling advanced dressage - and looks more like a lively 10yo in the paddock.

    Obviously anecdotal but I've seen a lot of this. One of my favourite school horses is an ex-racer (raced til he was 4 or 5), we all thought he was 20 (checking brand, not teeth) but turns out he's 10. Has a bowed tendon and generally dodgy legs, poor boy. On the other hand, the 35yo QH there (started at 3.5) is still teaching beginners and racing other horses while out hacking.
    PunksTank likes this.
         
        12-04-2012, 05:22 AM
      #45
    Super Moderator
    I also have an example of an early started horse. Recently our BO had a horse given to her - 9yo, beautiful bloodlines (sired by the best Dressage stud of our country), but had somehow spent his life mostly in a countryside family where he was a trail horse and seemed a bit too flighty a character for their needs - they just couldn't fix his sudden bolts, bucks and other reactions that seemed to come from nowhere. He was very overweight from excessive haylage and sugar beets he got in his previous home, but then he started droppiing weight rappidly and we noticed other problems... After many vet checks, this is what has become of him - severe scoliosis, an intestinal disorder (his intestines cannot absorb almost any protein), also legs prone to arthritis and hoof problems.


    The BO dug up his history and it turned out that he had been born in a breeding farm where he seemed to be a promising dressage prospect, so he was backed at the age of 2 and was already passaging and piaffing when he was 3 - because he could be pushed to do it. That's the result. A completely broken horse who can be ridden at a walk on his best days - at the age of 9.
         
        12-04-2012, 05:43 AM
      #46
    Trained
    The problem is people don't start young horses right and it makes me SO angry to see it. At our barn, we have nearly every horse started at two and I remember being little tiny riding those horses, and now those same horses are still here being used as lesson horses. I can name at least four, would be six or seven but unfortunately horses are horses and have unrelated accidents.

    My two year olds get BUTTONS before WORK. Hell I can walk around the rail and get buttons. I don't even have to trot to get buttons. In fact the three year old I'm starting now for a friend has only been trotted twice and loped once (Mainly due to bad ground), I've ridden her for awhile now, and she can side pass/haunch turn/forehand turn, stop, backup etc, drive into the bridle at the walk, understands the concept of moving the body parts while walking, etc. That's not because I'm a good trainer, the concept isn't rocket science. She's pretty much learned what she can and will be asked for more work now, increased speed, etc. I don't need a young horse to lope circles for hours. Hell even my finished mare won't get loped in a ride until I get all her other buttons pushed and functioning first.

    Okay rant over. XD So much for no speech, huh?
    Army wife and EvilHorseOfDoom like this.
         
        12-04-2012, 07:12 AM
      #47
    Weanling
    I'm in the start when the horse is physically and mentally mature enough crowd, some show it closer to two, others closer or over 3.

    As a general blanket statement, I would back (as in, used to weight of rider, accepting and responding to basic ridden cues) a horse at around 2 1/2 then turn it out and let it mature some more. And bring it back in at around 3.


    OP, I know how eager you can be to get serious with a horse, my mare had her foal 17th October this year and I am already excited for the future and can hardly wait for us to be able to start more serious stuff. But it is crucial to work to the individual horse, get a trainer or experienced broker to give you some advice, even if it is just chatting about what they personally do. You WILL NOT regret giving a horse an extra year or half a year, or even two years to mature, by doing this you can help ensure your horses longevity, horses are accident prone enough on their own, without us pushing them when they aren't ready.

    :)
    Best of luck with your pony.
         

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