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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Debate board.Please, be very kind to each other, and respect others opinions even if you don't agree with them.


I haven't seen this type of thread..Unless am completly blind or something. :oops:
I feel the best time to break a horse is at age 4 at the youngest. 3 in my book is acceptible (eh) but not desirble. 2 is way to young in my own opionion. It's too stressfull mentally and physically to the horse.
And with draft horses since they mature slower am thinking 5 is about the right age.

Also am curious to know at what age your horses were broke at.
My horses were broke at age 4, 3 (possibly 2), and my mare I have no idea at what age she was.
 

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3.5-4 year minimum, in terms of riding.
 

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I have a 2.5 y/o that I have been doing some basic ground work with. Nothing too stressful, but I am certainly preparing her for whats to come.
 

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I think that when they are weaned they need to be handled, broke to lead, have vet/farrier work. Then left in the field (except for vet/farrier) all winter and summer, and the next winter. At 2 they should start to be handled again and if they are good, perhaps have a saddle on and some light lunging. Again, put in a field for the winter and at 3 they should start with a saddle and light lunging for sure. They should be worked maybe 2 times a week through the winter if possible and eventually broke. Some horses will take until the spring of their 4th year to be sat on. It shouldn't be rushed.
 

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Anywhere from 2/2.5-ish to 3, maybe 3.5. Obviously depending on the horse. Ive never fully broken a horse by myself, but the ones ive had anything to do with have, most of the time, been broken in then left for a while. Which i think works quite well, especially for the younger ones.
ETA: I think it depends on what discipline the horse will be used for as well.
 

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I think the best age is 3-4 any younger than three and their bones haven't fused together correctly. Of course this is keeping in mind all horses are different and some mature faster than others.
My horse was incredibly well handled when I bought him unbroken so I started breaking him to saddle just before he turned 4 and that seemed to be an age where he was able to metally and physically cope with it.
 

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I think it depends on the physical and mental maturity of the horse and how much previous training it has had. When we were raising horses, we started them late summer/early fall when they were around 2.5 or later. We would get them to w/t/c both directions, and introduced concepts that would be used later, like moving off the leg. We've had some that we didn't start until they were three or four because they didn't have the physical and/or mental maturity yet.
 

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It definitely depends on the physical and mental maturity of the horse. My current horse is 17.3hh and I love the fact he was allowed to maturity physically before being started as a 5 year old. So many injuries and disorders can be avoided by waiting until the crucial stages of growth.

There's a lot of talk right now about European Warmbloods being started at 3 and jumped heavily, when they break down in a few years they're imported to North America as 'dressage' horses. However, I have no first hand knowledge of this, just heard it in several conversations in different horsey circles.

I had an Appendix filly that was left to mature to 3.5 before she started under saddle work. She was easily to sell because she was left and not started at 2 and burnt out. The lady who purchased her obviously liked other characteristics about my girl, but she really appreciated getting a horse that didn't have a higher risk for joint issues, etc.
 

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I start all of my horses as 2yr olds. With the exception of my current colt...I was starting him and then found out I was pregnant so quit with him. Anyhow, I think if you are reasonable with them it's OK. I find there is a huge difference in how and when people start horses depending on discipline. English/dressage tend to start later, and it's pretty common for stock horse folks to break out their horses as 2 yr olds. Futurity horses get some education put on them even before that in some cases. Either way, I have stock horses so they are all started at 2 and generally start to show mid way through the 3yr old year.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It definitely depends on the physical and mental maturity of the horse. My current horse is 17.3hh and I love the fact he was allowed to maturity physically before being started as a 5 year old. So many injuries and disorders can be avoided by waiting until the crucial stages of growth.

There's a lot of talk right now about European Warmbloods being started at 3 and jumped heavily, when they break down in a few years they're imported to North America as 'dressage' horses. However, I have no first hand knowledge of this, just heard it in several conversations in different horsey circles.

I had an Appendix filly that was left to mature to 3.5 before she started under saddle work. She was easily to sell because she was left and not started at 2 and burnt out. The lady who purchased her obviously liked other characteristics about my girl, but she really appreciated getting a horse that didn't have a higher risk for joint issues, etc.
My Appendix gelding was started at age 4 (and he is 5 this year), and you would never known he was a "late starter", he grew 2 inches in the last 3 mounths. So that slightly worries me, but am sure he'll be ok he's only lightly ridden.
It's sad seeing a lot of horses just burnt out because the age they were broke (and other things). I have many friends with top show horses started at age 2, and now those horse are 7,8, and 6 and they have arthritus, and are just plain lame.
 

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It think it depends on the individual horse/breed/maturity rate. I've ridden a lot of 2 year olds. My own colt is 3/4 draft so wont be started under saddle until tail end of his 4th year in into his 5th year at the soonest.
 

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My horses are halter broke at about a month old. Weaned then turned out till they are a year. Then they learn to lunge w/t/c/whoa. Then they get the saddle and learn to lunge with it. Then I tie a bag on the saddle, let them lunge with it. During this time I also teach them to sidepass, pivot on the front and backend. Then when they turn 2 I get on. I ride them for about 10-15 mins at a walk, and work on sidepassing, pivoting a step. At about 2.5 I start trotting and spins, then at 2.75 I start cantering. By the time they are 3... they have the basics to go into any western disciplin.
 

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I stumbled across this but must admit I loved reading the responses.

I have a 2 year old filly to which when I got her a year ago was not even halter broke. She was a wild child... I was told put her in a rodeo, she was crazy. Nobody would handle her. My husband and I worked everyday with her and well now she is a wonderful horse.

I have never broke a horse before her but I have been doing basic ground work, I have lunged her in a saddle (which needs work) and my 11 yr old daughter this past week sat on her bareback for one minute. The horse stood there perfectly still not knowing what to do. I am not pushing her at any length but working her slowly. I do not think she will be aggresively worked with until at least 3...but we do things here and there.
 

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I think it really depends on the breed. If I had a warmblood or draft I wouldn't start them until they where 3-4 but I start all of my QH's and Morgans at 2. They grow differently so can be worked at different times.

When we have a baby we do a lot of handling in the first two years. Teaching them to lead, stand, back, tie. When they are two then we start lunging and working from there. They are ridden as soon as they are able to willingly except a rider. I don't beleive in leaving the babies out in a field for a year or two without having regular contact and lessons on leading and basic ground manners.
 

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None of the horses we started at two burned out, at least n ot while we owned them. I'm a firm believer in balancing work and play. We always got them out of a pen as soon as they were ready. It's amazing how much you can teach one out on the trail or going down the road. The key to our program was to keep them from getting bored, and to be able to read them.
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As for just training the day they hit the ground they start getting trained.

For under saddle work. The beginning of their 2 yo years.
 

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None of the horses we started at two burned out, at least not while we owned them. I'm a firm believer in balancing work and play. We always got them out of a pen as soon as they were ready. It's amazing how much you can teach one out on the trail or going down the road. The key to our program was to keep them from getting bored, and to be able to read them.
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I really like this post cause that is my way of thinking too. Though I usually try to wait until at least 3 before I start any real riding work with mine, I am comfortable starting a 2 year old. It is all a matter of knowing when to quit and knowing how hard you can push them and what is hardest on their joints. Younger horses, I will spend more time out on the trails with them and older horses I will spend more time doing circles at a lope. One way isn't better than the other, it is just different and teaches them the same things in a different way. I currently have a 10 month old that would probably fit my saddle better than the 3 year old that I just sent home but more than likely, he will get to wait another 2 years or so before I really start riding him.
 

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In my opinion, no younger than 3 for light saddle work, and preferably 4. If I ever get another baby, I won't break him out until he's 4. There are plenty of things you should be doing with a youngster prior to riding, like ground manners, desensitizing to things like tarps and water, ponying on trails, loading, learning to stand, tie, clip, put his head down, yield his fore and hindquarters from the ground, etc. I also don't believe in doing any serious work (jumping, barrels, whatever) until the horse is at least 6 years old. Some horses don't even grow out of their obnoxious, attention span-less baby phase until they're 8 to 10 years old.
 

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I think lots of this depends on the type of horse, what sort of training it's getting, what it'll be used for, and how long you want the horse to last.

I've got a three year old that stands just a hair under 15hh. He'll be started under saddle this summer if he doesn't sell first. I've also got a two year old (in April) who'll be starting this saddle work this summer (Lunging, collection, flexion, etc) but there's a possibility he'll be rode by September if he's ready for it.

I also believe it makes all the difference in the world if you know how to train a horse.
 
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