How young is too young to start jumping/pole work?

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How young is too young to start jumping/pole work?

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  • Starti g a green horse over poles
  • Is 3 and a half to young to lungr a horse over a jump

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    05-16-2013, 09:35 PM
How young is too young to start jumping/pole work?

I have two rising three year old ponies (13hh) arriving tomorrow for me to break in/train. I am wanting to give them a basic jumping start as well but to me three seems too young to start jumping, even over little jumps on the lunge.
However, I have seen photos of horses as young as 18 months free jumping over jumps around 60cm high!! Surely this is not right? Also TBs start racing at two so presumably they are broken to saddle around one and a half at least and the OTT TBs I have seen have not had joint problems.
On the other hand, a friend told my to wait until the horse is 7 before jumping, I don't really want to keep these ponies for 4 more years!!
Surely 7 is extreme?
5yr old horses compete in show jumping over huge fences, this doesn't seem to hurt them either, is it ok to jump little jumps if they are well booted/bandaged up and are on a good surface?
What about lungeing over poles?
Thankyou for your thoughts.
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    05-16-2013, 09:47 PM
This is a link to an add for a 3yr old horse with the photos showing the horse free jumping a reasonable sized jump without any issues.

Holsteiner X T.B 3 years old. | Trade Me

Hope the link works.
    05-16-2013, 10:20 PM
For me personally I think 5 is the absolute youngest they should be to start jumping..
Corporal and EthanQ like this.
    05-17-2013, 02:44 AM
I agree that 5 is a good age to start jumping.
Corporal likes this.
    05-17-2013, 12:56 PM
As long as the horse isn't doing more than 18 in. Once (at most) a week, I have no issues with a 3 y/o doing a little bit of jumping. Just take it slow and listen to the horse. They'll let you know what they're ready to do. Just don't be tempted to push them. It'll be hard, especially if they enjoy it and show some talent for it, but keep it little and infrequent. As long as you're not jumping them all the time at larger heights then it won't do them any harm. It'll be a good mental break for them, at the very least.
gypsygirl likes this.
    05-17-2013, 03:41 PM
Thanks for all your ideas!! These ponies are kaimanawa/welsh so they will probably make quite good jumpers when they are a bit older.
    05-17-2013, 03:50 PM
LOL, ponies know how to jump, it's refining that ability that is the fun part

At rising 3 I wouldn't want them making much jumping effort, but I would be happy with them working with ground poles, and poles at all different spacings, so they get used to working over them, and at being careful and being aware of their footing.

Rising 4 I would have them working over very small cross rails, again playing with ground poles, and difficult distances, again, not teaching them to jump, but to think, and to be able to lengthen and shorten as they need to be clearing the pole.

Rising 5 is when I would start introducing actual jumping. Good luck, I want to see pics, and what is a kaimanawa
albertaeventer likes this.
    05-17-2013, 05:02 PM
Doing some very light work over some very small jumps shouldn't be an issue with a 3 year old. I like to start young horses over poles and things early, starting by incorporating it into ground work, but the key is to keep it very simple and easy, in short sessions. Popping over a little cross rail now and then is fine. If they're being really good, do it once or twice then stop. Leave the courses and multiple jumps for when the horse is older. Less is definitely more with a young horse.

I like to incorporate a lot of poles into my flat work with young horses, it keeps things more interesting for them and they gain a lot more awareness of their body and where to place their feet. Then when it comes to jumping later, it's easy peasy because I've already laid the ground work. Jumping is just flat work with stuff in the way!

At 3 I would just do pole work with the odd cross rail here and there. At 4 you can start introducing low fences and small courses, and slightly more intense work. By the time they are 5 you should be pretty well good to go if you've laid the foundation right.
    05-17-2013, 05:45 PM
Agreed about 5yo. Your ponies aren't tall enough to wait until they are 6yo's and their bones are set.
    05-17-2013, 06:04 PM
Your ponies are still two year olds if they are rising three year olds.

I can't think of any need or reason to teach a two year old to jump but I can think of a lot of good reasons to wait until next year or the year after.

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