Breaking 2 year olds
A really good trainer down the road from me Breeds, trains and breaks and shows her horses and other peoples horses. She breaks all her colts and fillies at age 2. I have seen a lot of horses on Kijiji in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia (Only places I look) that are already broke to ride and some even barrel racing, reining and doing cowy stuff. There was one filly, a quarter horse that was 2, just turned 3 and was already in Barrel racing competitions.
I was thinking, a horse has no be sound and physically and mentally ready to be broke. So I have made the decision to, in the spring or early summer, get the vet out and get Breeze in for an Exam, if her teeth are good, her knees are closed, and her back and everywhere else is good, and the vet says its fine, I am going to put a few rides on her. I will break her in mid summer if everything if fine. If not, I will wait until the summer of 2014 to have another vet check to see if she is ready then.
I believe it is okay to break at 2 IF the horse is physically and mentally ready. I believe that Breeze is becoming mentally ready and we will be working on groundwork until it comes time to break, and if I do break Breeze, I will only ride her enough for her to learn, but not over doing it.
What are your thoughts on breaking at 2 years old? By Summer Breeze will be close to 3 years of age, so over 2 and a half years old.
Opening a can of worms here lol, people have some strong views on this. Personally I'd never break a 2yo, they're just too young IMHO.
I was debating this too, and I am taking my time with Breeze, but I believe if a horse is physically and mentally ready, it is okay for short walk trot rides, maybe the occasional loping.
Mine is 3 1/2 right now and going to a trainer. People thought he was fine to get started at 2 1/2, but I didn't want to chance anything. I'd rather wait to be sure than push it, so now I feel comfortable that he is ready physically and mentally and I feel ready for him to be started too.
I understand that, I feel as if Breeze is mentally ready, and the vet will tell me if she is physically ready. If I were to send Breeze off to the trainer I was talking about in my first post (the only professional one around here) She would have her reining by 3 years old, maybe barrels if I told her what I wanted to do with her. She also accepts no horse over 4 for training.
If I do break breeze this summer, we will not be going anywhere to ride, it will be in a smaller pen for around 15 mins every few days until she is 3 and a half years old. (turns 3 in winter, will not break in winter, too icy) I may take her on a short 10 minute trail ride to my house (farm is 2 mins drive) and 10 mins back once I feel confortable on her riding in the farm yard (out of a pen)
A horse that just turned 2 is definitely not ready. Almost turning 3, should be ok to start but nothing hard, extreme or for a long period of riding. Definitely not jumping or barrels. Their joints don't close until about 5.
A lot of people will say it is better to wait until they are 4 or 5 before starting.
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I know that a lot of people wait a long time. If i don't start her this summer, I will next summer, when she is well into her 3rd year. She is 14hh last time I measured her, She is growing a lot. She grew 4 inches in 4 months. When I got her she was 13hh, I measured her 4 months later and she is 14hh. I am measuring her again soon, I am thinking she is closer to 14.1 or 14.2hh now. She is almost as tall as the 14.3hh mustang she is in with.
Breeze is also filling out really good, she is getting more muscle and getting wider in the chest area. She has a big butt and her whithers are coming up more. Since she had the farrier come, she does not have pig toed anymore (or whatever you call it when the hooves point outwards)
I am just taking my time with her, but if everything goes as planned she will be getting ridden a little bit this summer, off of riding for the winter, then real training next spring.
This is a big subject. I know tons of horses that were started at 2 and had no problems throughout their life what so ever. I actually know a futurity Reiner who was started at 1 1/2 I believe and still kicking it at 18 (she will be 19 this year I believe) however I do not reccomend starting a horse at that young of age.
I started my filly at 2 1/2 with 10 minute rides every so often. I wasn't really consistent with her sometimes riding her once a week and riding her three times the next. Depends how well she was.
She's 3 now and I somewhat kicked her training up a bit. About 20 minutes maybe 30 minutes every so often. And in the dead of winter, I won't be riding much so she pretty much gets the whole winter off.
Luckily for me though she's a smart cookie and if I did one thing to her today and come back in 2 weeks and rider her again she'll remember it like we did it yesterday. So I am not too worried about that...
Anyways I would see if she's physically ready to ride and see how far her knees are closed, etc. hope that helps.
When I was looking for my horse any horse that was for sale that I even smelled being backed before 3 I walked away from. If the ad was at least honest enough to say it I never called.
Can you do it without issues? Possibly. Is it worth the risk? IMO no. Good horses have lots of years a head of them. There is no reason to rush. Waiting isn't going to hurt them at all. NOT waiting could. So why take a chance?
It really isn't the walking and trotting that does them in, it is the weight they have to carry and the way the must compensate to balance themselves. IMO it is way to early to start a horse, even if they seem ready or if it is common for that breed. There are so many things you can do on the ground from the moment they are born, that even if you only have the one horse to break, you could spend years just perfecting and preparing them. Horses that are rushed into the saddle with gaps in even basic groundwork can be quite the hassle once you start asking different things of them. From what I've observed, usually once people start riding a very young horse, and if it doesn't go entirely bad, even if they planned on giving that horse a break, they keep with it. If you are going to start a horse young, it is best to get the basics through their head, then give them a long break. Once you pick them back up at three or four, you can 'restart' them to see what they remember, but if you did good work with them, it shouldn't take very long.
I've seen young horses rode into the ground until they are sweating and shaking and then asked for more. Not much of a good impression to be left on a horse if you want to quick drill everything into their heads. Good things take time, and the less experience you have, and depending on the time you are willing to commit, a year's worth of groundwork might not be a bad idea. I was started on a green three year old, and after getting bucked off a few times, he got about a year and a half of ground work because I was too afraid to ride him. By the time I built up the courage to get back on he was a very good horse barring the saddle fitting issues and bad teeth. Once those issues were resolved he is just a stellar horse who needs more miles. I've rambled quite a bit, but the point is take the time it takes! Good luck.
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