At what age do you like to start riding your horse?
Cody, my Friesian/Paint cross will be three years old next week. I've been riding him since a week after he turned two. He was ridden for a few months, given the winter off (4 months), and it's been back to work this spring. We trail ride and work in the pasture on patterns. I've always also done a lot of ground work with him.
The decision to ride him at two only came after discussions with two farriers and my horse vet. All three said go for it, but don't overdo it. I keep a very close eye on him before and after our workouts, and he's been extremely sound.
This is the second horse I've started at two, and neither have had any lameness issues. The other horse is now 16 yrs. old.
Now, I'm not trying to start a debate, but I'm interested in hearing from people who've had experience, good or bad, with starting horses at various ages.
I know the arguments that are out there against starting a horse before 3 or 4, and I know the opposing point of view.
My personal belief is that a lot depends on the horse physically as well as the training done before a rider is ever put on its back. There are some two year olds out there I would never dream of backing until they were three or four.
My preference is to do ground work for up to a year before backing as it helps build muscle and bone density (not to mention respect!)
I have also seen aged horses that were started at two and competed heavily at that age, and they were nearly crippled in their teens.
Again, I'm not trying to start a debate--I'm interested in people's experiences.
I think it depends on the horse. Though i personally would not ride the horse until he was over 2 years of age, and even at that, i'd just walk and practice our whoa and turns. Then i'd let him be a horse again for atleast 6 months and then get back into work.
Edit: i selected 2 years.
I said "2" but I want to qualify that. I'm talking about a late two year old and measured by their actual birth date not the arbitrary January 1st that is typically used. The second thing is not only do I want to consider their physical condition but their mental as well.
I think it depends on the horse and the discipline. I think between 2 and 3 depending on the mind and the build of a horse.
I picked three. If I were to start a horse under saddle, it would be closer to the age of 3 than 2.
i broke lady in to ride at the age of 2 years old as i have had her since she is born and now she is 8, we do loads of eventing and everything now we have the bond that i cant explain. it is just that great and it is fun also knowing what she can do. i broke bobby in when he was 3 and i have had him since he was born aswell and he is also broke to cart and i also compete with him and megan she is 18 and she has been diagnosed with laminitis, i dont know when she got broke in as i bought her 4 years ago due to me seeing her and i had to buy her because of the state she was in and also i did start training her to jump really high.
It definitely does depend on the horse, but I chose 4yrs. :D
How Young to Start?
I wouldnt start a horse under saddle until it is three, and then no real hard riding till it is four. Just doing basic walk trot canter and getting it used to going places with trailering, with other horses, by itself, ect. Of course, I would get it used to being ponied, a saddle and a saddle pad when it is two but not before that and no mounting it before it is three. :)
I generally start horses under saddle at three. However, there is a lot that goes into that decision. We check the horse's maturity both mental and physical as well as where the horse is at in its ground work & respect of humans. If there is ever a question with a youngster, the vet is called to check growth plates. Mental maturity is frequently more of an issue than physical maturity though. Some horses just aren't mentally ready for riding until they are a bit older.
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