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ChristianCanters 10-21-2012 08:14 PM

3 year old Quarter Horse
Hey guys! I just had a quick question, but first: I'm not a naive beginner or anything. I've been riding for a very long time. I work with all of my trainer's young, green horses. But i've never bought one of my own. I'm not doing this alone. My trainer lives where i ride, so she's always on hand for any advice. I just had a quick question i wanted to get answered before my next trip to the barn.

I'm looking at getting a 3 year old, 14.2 h Quarter horse. I want to really take my time with her. I don't mind if I can't ride her until she's 5 (i'm very patient, and i want a solid healthy horse). My only question/concern is that her owners now have already put a saddle on her. Is that okay for her back? What are some thoughts about what age i should continue with putting a saddle on her? Or if she's okay to go ahead and continue?

ChristianCanters 10-21-2012 08:28 PM


tinyliny 10-21-2012 08:41 PM

I dont' think it's a big issue to back them at 3, is it? Seems more like folks worry when it's two. But, of course, even at 3 , th horse 's back and joints are still developing so must be treated with respect and eased into riding. I dont see this as a big issue for your knew horse.

themacpack 10-21-2012 08:43 PM

Do you know when the current owners started backing her? Did they start only recently or is this something they have been doing for some time with the horse?
A PPE will be beneficial - you can specifically ask the vet doing the exam to keep your concern in mind whilst evaluating the horse.

Muppetgirl 10-21-2012 08:46 PM

Shouldn't be an issue. 3 years old is a pretty typical age for backing a horse. Some people like to wait until 4 years, and 5 years is a real stretch. In a perfect world everyone would wait until the 'right' time........I like the age of around 4 years.......however the horse I recently purchased was backed at 2..shown at 3 didn't put me off because I knew the breeder and both the trainers he had.......he spent more time being a pasture ornament than showing or in training...he is five now....

ChristianCanters 10-21-2012 08:51 PM

I'm not sure when she was initially backed, but i'm definitely going to get a vet check before any final decisions. Thanks so much everyone. I'm trying to remind myself that physical maturity + mental maturity = no exact time frame.

BarrelRacingLvr 10-22-2012 01:49 PM

I wouldn't be to worried, most horses are started as 3yr olds and live long and healthy lives. We star saddling in the late fall of their 2yr old year and let them stand around tied up and maybe some free lunging with the saddle on. But we usually don't get on them till the spring of their 3yr old year and they are all sound and happy.

It is all about how you do it...if you push the horse and ride really hard that is where you get into trouble. We start out with the foundation work and ride them out (don't like keeping them in the arena to much) and just focus on getting them a solid foundation as a 3yr old.
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Elana 10-22-2012 07:38 PM

I started all my horses at 2.5 years or so. We didn't do a lot.. just had to get 'em started. Then they were put up for the winter and started in again at 3 years in the following spring. Again.. not lot of hours but lots of stuff horses need to know. By age 4 they were in serious training.

Your horse will be fine if all he did was wear a saddle. OTOH if he wore a saddle and was ridden 5 hours a day by someone over 200 pounds.. then you might have something to be concerned about.

Get a PPE.

Army wife 10-23-2012 05:45 AM

I put a saddle on my filly twice as a two year old, and a bareback pad once. She's only about 14hh and still has a lot of growing to do. That was back in May, she got put back out to pasture after that. I'll be going home for Christmas and I'll probably put a saddle on her again. I've laid across her back for a brief moment, but I've never really been on her. I only weigh about 100 lbs so I doubt I would do any damage. If you start them slow, they are usually fine. Walk/trot till they're past 3yrs, and only for short periods of time. I think of that first year as more for steering and softening to the bit and working off leg pressure. Simple stuff that doesn't take long to get through. She should be just fine, I wouldn't worry about it too much if I were you. I'm like you, I waited till my mare (dam to my 2yr old) was 4 before she was started. Partially b/c she's 1/2 arab and they tend to be slower when it comes to closing joints.

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