Young Horse Training Timeline - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 12-25-2012, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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Young Horse Training Timeline

I want to make a kind of "timeline" for training my weanling. Right now he's about 9 months old. When should I longe, start training for under saddle, and start doing under saddle work with him?
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post #2 of 9 Old 12-25-2012, 04:18 PM
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All that depends on the horse
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post #3 of 9 Old 12-25-2012, 04:25 PM
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I don't remember when I started "lounging" my youngster honestly, but we did a lot of groundwork and in hand work in the round pen first. I think he was 1 1/2 maybe when I started introducing him to verbal cues in the round pen, walk on, trot, stop only. And this was very short sessions and was not about exercising but listening. I think he was about 2 - 2 1/2 when I introduced canter and used the verbal cues that I had introduced and again it was not just running in circles for the sake of running around and around. It was about communicating and listening. We also worked on join up throughout this whole time as well. He had a very light synthetic saddle on his back which weighs about 5 lbs at about 2ish and introduced him to the cinch and going for short handwalks with the saddle on. I also introduced him to the bit for short periods too. We also did a lot of ground driving in the arena and on some quiet roads and trails. At about three I was leaning over and putting some weight in the saddle and getting him used to me standing in one stirrup and really moving around. I backed him a few times at three this summer, but I really felt that he needed a few more months to develop. I don't go by an AGE per say, as it is very individual for the horse, for when he is ready for saddle training, but when they are ready mentally and physically. He has been slow at maturing. Right now he is 3 1/2 and he is pretty well developed and now ready for the trainers. I see no rush as I want to keep him sound and healthy for many years. I have a training blog if you are interested that I kept over the years I could send it to you.
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post #4 of 9 Old 12-25-2012, 07:13 PM
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google horse agility or equine agility on you tube. There are things to do that will hone yours and his groundwork skills. No timelines as each horse is individual in how ready it is to move on.
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post #5 of 9 Old 12-25-2012, 08:00 PM
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Mochachino, care to share your blog? I'd love to read it as I'm working with a 3 year old...
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post #6 of 9 Old 12-25-2012, 10:54 PM
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I wouldn't lounge a horse at that age. It is very hard on their growing joints. Later on in life, they will be more prone to joint problems. Go on walks. Get a bond going, introduce water, tarps, ropes, light saddles, small obstacles etc. but dont lounge yet, there are long term side effects at that age. Just put that off until the horse is at least two. But start ground driving! Ground driving is great for babies, they learn manners and under saddle basics all in one shot.
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post #7 of 9 Old 12-26-2012, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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That was very helpful Mochachino! I know it depends on the individual but I was just looking for a general guideline to get us started. Right now as a 9 month old, we're focusing on leading, trailering, and taking him farther away from the barn and his big buddies and walking him on the trails and fields behind my house.

We asked my farrier about this (he's also a reining horse trainer) and he said that starting him under saddle the summer of his 2 year old year (he was born in March so he would be about 2 years and 3 months old in the summer) would be beneficial for short intervals and then give him a break and start back up when he's a solid 3 year old.
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post #8 of 9 Old 12-26-2012, 02:06 PM
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If the horse is under 1 year old I like them to live life as babies. The weanling should be easy to handle, easy to catch, friendly, accept being touched anywhere, stand tied patiently for a short time, lead well, be used to a routine grooming, accept de-worming, pick up all four feet and be learning to have good manners with the farrier. They should know that humans are not chew toys and not be allowed to develop bad manners but receive plenty of hugs & kisses :) This is all easy to accomplish and does not require "daily work" by any means. I go weeks in between haltering my foals and when I do go get them they are happy to come in, stand, be groomed, tolerate a farrier etc.

I feel that a yearling's brain is a little better equipped to have a job but still, its one more year of baby time for our yearling's. Living in a herd environment is very important to the youngsters! The first two years of life are beneficial to spend learning from their elders rather than having a human formulate an agenda for them. During the yearling year I expand what I wanted from the horse as a weanling. Stand tied longer, for example. Loading into trailers, walking through puddles, stepping over logs or ground poles, clipping, bathing, fly spray, pony down the trail, lead away from the herd, wear a blanket, halter class and show experience, accept cold hosing on legs for that day they injure themselves, stand with your foot in a bucket of water for the day they need to do so due to an abscess and anything else that you can think of that doesn't require "work". I have typically done half of this once or twice with my horses as weanlings, I just make sure that they know it as yearlings.

Once the horse is two years old I would introduce the bridle (after his/her first dental visit), ground driving and light lounging. I do not do much on the end of a lounge line with a mature horse anyway but I feel that it is especially best for young joints to wait until a horse is into their two year old year. A horse will learn to walk, jog, trot and canter in a circle just as easily as a late two year old as he/she would have any earlier. It is so, so, so much better in the long run health wise to give your horse that extra year.

I do not get on a horse reguardless of its breed or size until the horse is a full three years old. Any sooner and you are pushing your luck IMO. So age three is when I begin workouts, wearing a saddle and undersaddle training. Three years old is considered their light work year (limited stress on the joints, no tight circles, shorter workouts than a mature horse) while they are green broke and still maturing.
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post #9 of 9 Old 12-27-2012, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much New image!
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