what age can you start riding a horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 62 Old 01-16-2012, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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what age can you start riding a horse?

my filly is turning 2 in april and i was wondering when i could start riding her.
i know that 2 is still too young but when is a good age?

ive sat on her 2 times(just getting on and right back off),she did very good.
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post #2 of 62 Old 01-16-2012, 01:33 PM
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You have to consider their skeletal structure to make a good determination. Leg joints typically don't fuse before 2.5 to 3 years old. These are the joints you have to worry about if the pressure is to much for her and she blows into a bucking fit - slamming down hard on those front legs with your added weight can be extremely dangerous to fragile joints.

The back and neck won't finish completely fusing until at LEAST 6 years old and that's about as young as it happens. Usually between 3 and 5 the back is strong enough that you're not going to do any damage. Horses fuse from the legs up and from the tail forward. The neck will be the last thing to fuse, which is why it's considered not wise to let a horse "fight being tied" before they're a true adult because they can seriously damage their neck.

History has shown that horses being started by around 4 usually fare the best in terms of not being injured due to stress on unfused joints. By this age, you KNOW the legs are done, and are as solid as they're going to get, and it's likely the back has fused enough that even if they jump a bit, you're not going to cause damage.

Based on that information, most people think 2 is too young, however it CAN be done safely, as history has also shown that not every 2 year old horse breaks down by 10. Quite the opposite actually - as long as they're started slowly and not worked hard until 3 to 4 years old, it's fairly unlikely you'll cause any damage.

At the end f the day, it really has to be your own informed decision as to when you think is right for you horse! Sometimes it all just boils down to mentality - are they mature enough to handle this or still acting like a big baby? Good luck!


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post #3 of 62 Old 01-16-2012, 01:34 PM
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Hi there, I personally think that 2 is to young, and even sitting on her at 20 odd months is just to much to ask of her.

I prefer to spend their second year walking in hand, getting used to wearing tack, starting to be led through obstacle courses, making sure they are solid at being tied, and standing patiently, etc.

I let them rest over the winter, then in the third year pick up from where we finished, then build in long lining, gentle lunging some quiet round pen work. Then depending how they are developing both physically and mentally, I may, or may not back them out in the fall.

Once again leave them to mellow over winter then start them again in their fourth spring which is when I start asking them to carry a rider and work properly.
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post #4 of 62 Old 01-16-2012, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Golden Horse View Post
Hi there, I personally think that 2 is to young, and even sitting on her at 20 odd months is just to much to ask of her.

I prefer to spend their second year walking in hand, getting used to wearing tack, starting to be led through obstacle courses, making sure they are solid at being tied, and standing patiently, etc.

I let them rest over the winter, then in the third year pick up from where we finished, then build in long lining, gentle lunging some quiet round pen work. Then depending how they are developing both physically and mentally, I may, or may not back them out in the fall.

Once again leave them to mellow over winter then start them again in their fourth spring which is when I start asking them to carry a rider and work properly.
we walk them almost everyday and she has already had a saddle on and everything,shes used to it all. shes not the type of horse i can leave in tha pasture not being messed with for more than a few weeks.im not planing on riding her until shes 3.5 or 4 years old.
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post #5 of 62 Old 01-18-2012, 10:40 AM
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if bone structure is good and your trainer is not 300 plus lbs,start at 2.one secret to starting that 1100 lb muscle with a mind of its own is keeping him confused and relying on you to show him what to do.if you want an older pet that can start setting his ways,then buy a goldfish,he will be less likely to hurt you later.
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post #6 of 62 Old 01-18-2012, 10:53 AM
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if bone structure is good and your trainer is not 300 plus lbs,start at 2.one secret to starting that 1100 lb muscle with a mind of its own is keeping him confused and relying on you to show him what to do.if you want an older pet that can start setting his ways,then buy a goldfish,he will be less likely to hurt you later.
Two years old, as mentioned before, is actually a really iffy thought and probably not the wisest. While I've noticed that some people can get away with it, it's a big risk if they don't have good structure at a young age. I'd definitely give your horse that extra year of growth. However, if you want her used to a little weight, fill up jeans with something a little heavier and have her walk around with it tied in the saddle. It's the most I've ever known people to do at the age of two.

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post #7 of 62 Old 01-18-2012, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Two years old, as mentioned before, is actually a really iffy thought and probably not the wisest. While I've noticed that some people can get away with it, it's a big risk if they don't have good structure at a young age. I'd definitely give your horse that extra year of growth. However, if you want her used to a little weight, fill up jeans with something a little heavier and have her walk around with it tied in the saddle. It's the most I've ever known people to do at the age of two.

im definitely going to wait till shes 3 to start riding her.she wont have to worry bout the weight of a saddle either,im planning on just riding bareback..i rode that way on my first horse...the only people ive known to ride a horse at that age was people riding racehorses lol and maybe 1 horse at the barn i used to ride at.
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post #8 of 62 Old 01-18-2012, 11:02 AM
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well i am 125 lbs and i slowly start them into a exercise program to make sure they are structually fit and if so,i go on with my training program.
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post #9 of 62 Old 01-18-2012, 11:07 AM
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correction,cutters start at 2 because they are showing in futurities at 3.wp has a 2 yr old snaffle bit class also.
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post #10 of 62 Old 01-18-2012, 11:18 AM
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Futurities in all Western disciplines start at 3 years old which is the reason why breeders want foals on the ground by February if possible - since they determine a horse to age a year on January 1 regardless of when they were actually born.

One of the reasons that I never recommend someone buying a yearling as an only horse is because of the temptation to over train the horse when it is young.

As for riding bareback vs a saddle when they are young, IMO, the saddle is more desirable since it distributes your weight much better then riding bareback does.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

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