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snoggle 09-23-2009 01:17 PM

age to start riding a young horse
I'm sure this has been covered before, but I couldn't find it, so I'll throw it out there.

My neighbor has decided that its time for his young horse to start being ridden. He's done some ground work with him (I don't know to what extent.) My husband volunteered to be the first rider since he weighs less than their other friends. He got "thrown off" 3 times yesterday and now is quite sore.

The thing I have a problem with is that the horse isn't even 1 1/2 years old. I think that is way too early! I didn't think that he should really be ridden, and even then only lightly, until he is at least 3. Is this correct?

I know that they won't listen to me anyway (my being a dumb girl and all :-x), but I guess I'd like to know for myself.

Spirithorse 09-23-2009 01:20 PM

That is WAY too young!! Personally I wouldn't start riding a young horse until he is 3 or 4, depending on the horse and the breed. That doesn't mean the horse can't get used to the saddle and all that, but he doesn't need to be carrying my weight around.

JustDressageIt 09-23-2009 01:28 PM

*shakes head*
1 1/2 is much too young, both physically and mentally. I don't like to do anything past groundwork until the horse is at least 3, 4 if the horse is a slow developer.

FjordFan 09-23-2009 01:28 PM

FAR too young! If your neighbour wants a horse to ride then he should buy a more mature horse. The damage he could be doing to this horses future is great.

Personally I don't back my horses until they are 4, but 3 is more acceptable than 1 1/2 at least then they are more physically and mentally able to cope.

TroubledTB 09-23-2009 01:45 PM

Poor thing

snoggle 09-23-2009 02:14 PM

Well, at least I know that I'm not crazy. I'll see if I can kinda mention it to "the boys", but I have a feeling it will get me nowhere.

My horse wasn't been ridden until I got her at age 3 which seems to make more sense to me.

I'm dealing with a bunch of "wanna be cowboy" neanderthals who just do things the way they've heard or learned over the years ("that's how we've always done it"). None of them have had any formal riding classes or would consider reading a book on training. I've mentioned the idea of sending my horse to a professional trainer for little bit, but I've been treated like I'm crazy (I will probably be sending her anyway, much to DH's dismay.)

I love the neighbor's little horse - he's a real sweetie. I'll try to intervene, but I'll probably just tick his owner off if I say much. "Poor thing" is right.

mls 09-23-2009 02:37 PM

We start our stock horses at two if they are physically and mentally ready. "ride" a couple of times a month until they are closer to three and then start working more often.

We NEVER putz with saddle and bridle until we start riding. The vet should always check for wolf teeth before a bit is introduced.

Prodomus 09-23-2009 06:15 PM

way to young - 3 yrs is the minimum in my opinion - I have a 17.2hh 2 yr old - he won't be ridden until he is 4 - but he is long lining, wears tack and shows in hand.

MacabreMikolaj 09-23-2009 10:14 PM

Agreed. I don't see a huge issue with backing by late 2/3 years old, but actual riding should be saved for at LEAST 3 years old in my opinion. Even then, I never ask my horses for more then the very basics until closer to 4 years old. I backed my Arab a few times as a 3 year old, but didn't actually step up onto her and ask anything of her until she was 4.

Maybe you can compromise with them? I hate seeing any weight on a yearling, but maybe they'd be willing to JUST back her instead of starting to actually ride her? It's a lousy compromise but any amount of grief and health you can save this horse will be worth it in the end.

snoggle 09-23-2009 11:50 PM

One good thing - so far only my husband has tried to ride him - he's like 150 pounds or so. The horse's owner is probably a little over 200 pounds. When he said something about riding the horse himself, I about had a heart attack. Fortunately, that won't happen for a while. I think my husband is bruised up enough that they'll leave well enough alone for a bit. Hopefully. I'll keep hinting around about it.

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