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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so for anyone who doesn't know, Gracie is a 16-month old Quarter Horse filly. I got her as a 7 month old, and mostly, we've been doing a lot of grooming, handling her feet, and basic leading. A few months ago, I upped my expectations a bit, working more on working in-hand. That is, walking, trotting, backing-up, and side-stepping. I also taught her how to bow. She ties, cross-ties, trailers, and bathes. She can pony, we've walked along by the road and she barely flicks an ear at traffic. We are also working on yielding to me and keeping out of my bubble. That's what she knows now.

Now here is my plan for the future. I'm giving us a lot of time, so I think it will be unlikely that we can't finish a step in the time I'm allowing. That being said, I wouldn't mind pushing things further back if she does need more time.

I want to continue working her in-hand throughout the winter. Next summer [2010], when she's almost two, I want to start teaching her how to lunge and actually get her to excercise [not to much, just some controlled excercise] as opposed to lounging around in the pasture and having the occasional run and buck and fart moments.

Next winter [2010], when she's about two and a half, I want to start introducing tack and equipment. She blankets just fine, so the saddle pad will be a piece of cake. But we'll be working with my surcingle, then saddles and girths, then bridles and bits. I plan to keep putting them on, taking them off, for a few months.

The following Spring [2011], she'll be almost three, and then I'd like to start lunging her under saddle. I'd like to gradually include lunging with a bridle and bit on, maybe do a little work with super long side-reins, I'm not too sure about that part yet though.

After she turns three that summer [2011], I want to start getting on, getting off, doing basic stops and walks, turning, just the most basic of the basics. I'd like to gradually work her up to cantering under saddle.

THEN, the following summer [2012], she'll be four, and I want to get down to business and really start riding her. Going on trails, and actually working.

So that's the ballpark plan. I'm in no hurry, and I have no intention of getting on her before she is three, and I have no intention of working her hard until she's four. I want to take it slow, because like I said, I'm in no hurry whatsoever. Any advice, or anything you'd like to add, and especially any encouragement that I have a good plan would be greatly appreciated! Please and thank you!
 

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Ive ridden with a trainer who lungest a horse in side reins with a saddle before anyone gets on. She likes them to be balanced first. The same trainer told me she dosent tie a horse untill 2 or three because they can cause major injury to their neck if the get upset. I am planning to do something simmilar with my weanling (same time frame.) Ill probably introduct my weanling to tack next spring though, because I want to show him in hand. With a bit/ bridle.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well she had to tie. There's no way I can have a horse that doesn't. She tied before I got her, and I taught her to cross-tie. She was tied to one tree, and I had a lead rope wrapped around the other tree so I could release when she freaked out. And I don't think a baby would cause any more damage to themselves being tied than a full-grown horse would. I could be wrong, but 300lbs of pressure on a weaker neck can't be that much worse than 1100lbs on a stronger neck, can it?

And I have no intention of getting into the show life, except maybe schooling shows in the way far away future, so it won't be a problem for us to wait, lol.
 

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Babies joints and ligaments and muscles arent fully formed yet, they're still growing. They might even be a little weaker, but i think they also heal faster. Her arguement was that they are more likely to have neck injury then a full sized horse. She said something about ligament tares.

Im not sure if I agree with her, but I dont want to risk it.
 

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Thats almost the same sort of plan I have for Hunter, although he was 2 in August and he just got off 8 weeks rest from hernia surgery. Over the winter I am exercising/lungeing him and introducing to saddle etc. Was going to borrow my friends surcingle but even with punching more holes its still way too big, so I am in search of a smaller one.
I don't plan on backing him until he is 4 as he was undernourished for most of his young life and I want to make sure he is in tip top shape before I go there. He is slowly growing, lol

Good luck in your training
 

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I think you've got a good thing going.

I have two 20 month old babies I'm training as well, and they are leading, ground tying, tying, picking up\trimming feet, stepping up on a step, light round penning, and light longing (walk\trot only). They've also been bathed. They've had a light english saddle on, and have had syrcingles on. I've also put a bit in their mouths. This has all been done since August this year; prior to that, they barely lead, and didn't know any of the other things. They probably won't be backed until late next year, when I feel they are strong enough.
 

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Oh, I just hope everything goes as you planned! There is not one thing wrong with taking it slow, I would do the same thing, GOOD LUCK GIRL!! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone! This is my first time with a baby and starting a horse. I just want to make sure I'm not planning on something that's going to screw her up, haha. Your reassurances are definitely appreciated. =]
 

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I don't like overhandled babies. To me a family pet can become a real bratt. I want them to grow up first, handled very little and when they are old enough break them fast. I would not buy a 1 or 2 year old because I couldn't wait to get started.
In the old days we broke horses on their second birthday and they seemed to do just fine. You are not a heavy weight so I see no problem with you getting on her when she turns two.
As kids I rode yearlings without any problems and the arabs use to believe in breaking them as yearlings.
If you overhandle a baby as one famous trainer said "they become to resistive"
 

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In the old days we broke horses on their second birthday and they seemed to do just fine. You are not a heavy weight so I see no problem with you getting on her when she turns two.
Obviously you aren't up to date on any kind of current literature. Two year olds LOOK full grown, but their bones are still forming. Even light backing on a two year old can lead to problems down the road. Unless she knows a ten year old who can successfully break a horse, Waiting until shes three seems like a good option to me.
 

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Obviously you aren't up to date on any kind of current literature. Two year olds LOOK full grown, but their bones are still forming. Even light backing on a two year old can lead to problems down the road. Unless she knows a ten year old who can successfully break a horse, Waiting until shes three seems like a good option to me.
With arabs I break them at 4 but quarterhorses mature quicker and we use to break them at 2. Thoroughbreds are broke as late yearlings, sure alot of them break down but that is due to their strenuous training.
As kids we rode years and as 4 and 5 year olds they were fine.
Are horses today any different they they were 50 years ago?? Do horses now mature later?? What has changed??
My big jumper was broke on her 2nd birthday and at 4 she started a show jumping career. She seemed to do fine.
A light girl riding a quarter horse mare will not hurt it.
The arabs believed that young bones could be shaped by work and they beleived in breaking them really young, but they used light boys for the job.
 

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As kids we rode years and as 4 and 5 year olds they were fine.
Well, depending on how old you are as a kid, you can weigh anywhere from 50 to 80 pounds. That's featherweight for a horse. 4 and 5 year old horses are also fully grown, even in the draft breeds, and have at least a good foundation under saddle.

Are horses today any different they they were 50 years ago?? Do horses now mature later?? What has changed??
Yes, actually. Most of them are over bred or inbred, especially if their from big name QH lines.

A light girl riding a quarter horse mare will not hurt it.
The arabs believed that young bones could be shaped by work and they beleived in breaking them really young, but they used light boys for the job.
Well, from the looks of her picture, ricci is not an arab. Nor is she a boy, and her horse is not an arabian. You also used past tense....in 50 years, have their beliefs changed?
 

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I don't like overhandled babies. To me a family pet can become a real bratt. I want them to grow up first, handled very little and when they are old enough break them fast. I would not buy a 1 or 2 year old because I couldn't wait to get started.
That's just your opinion; I've handled young horses and gotten most of their training done before they are ready to be backed-the result being a horse who understands the fundamentals of being ridden, without even being ridden; They know everything from leading, to bending and flexing, are used to alot of other stimuli. I've never had a 'brat' baby just because he is worked with 4-5 days a week, for an hour at a time. And by 'worked' I am including groom time, as well. Their actual learning sessions will only last as long as it takes for them to 'get' the concept. While they are family, they aren't 'pets' in the same sense a dog or cat would be, and they are handled according to the fact that they will one day be 1000 lb animals. An hour or two in a 24 hour day is NOT overhandling a horse...he has 22 hours to do that, so I'm not asking 'that' much... We don't live in a day and age where training a horse "has" to be a quickly done affair, and I'd prefer take the horse along from the time he is a baby, than sit and watch him out my window for 2-3 years...why have it then? Ridiculous...
 

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Well, from the looks of her picture, ricci is not an arab. Nor is she a boy, and her horse is not an arabian. You also used past tense....in 50 years, have their beliefs changed?
No she certainly in not an arab, she certainly is not a boy but her weight can't be that much and since her horse is a quarter horse it matures quicker. Are you telling me that they don't break quarter horses as 2 year olds??? Do they not break thoroughbreds before they are 2??
I saw a rocky mountain horse that they were riding at 1 1/2 and I told the girl I thought it was too young and she told me they break them at this age?? Again in the old days it was acceptable to break a 2 year old. Why have things changed so much that we need to let them sit until 3 or even 4???
I think she would be fine getting on her quarter horse mare as a 2 year old.
 

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That's just your opinion; I've handled young horses and gotten most of their training done before they are ready to be backed-the result being a horse who understands the fundamentals of being ridden, without even being ridden; They know everything from leading, to bending and flexing, are used to alot of other stimuli. I've never had a 'brat' baby just because he is worked with 4-5 days a week, for an hour at a time. And by 'worked' I am including groom time, as well. Their actual learning sessions will only last as long as it takes for them to 'get' the concept. While they are family, they aren't 'pets' in the same sense a dog or cat would be, and they are handled according to the fact that they will one day be 1000 lb animals. An hour or two in a 24 hour day is NOT overhandling a horse...he has 22 hours to do that, so I'm not asking 'that' much... We don't live in a day and age where training a horse "has" to be a quickly done affair, and I'd prefer take the horse along from the time he is a baby, than sit and watch him out my window for 2-3 years...why have it then? Ridiculous...
If you handle a baby too much he becomes too familiar with you. He looses respect for you. If you let them grow up until they can really learn and then break them they learn more respect.. I guess it is just my way of doing things. FOR ME my way produces top quality trained horse, handy horses as Kevin puts it with impecable manners.
I have been around boarding stables all my life, some big ones with 40 horse and I watch the kids, the adults handling their horses, old stuff and just shake my head at what people do, the problems THEY create. Seems the gentler the person is the more problems they have.
I watched a lady last night, an older lady with an older horse and it just about bowled her over when see tried putting it in it's stall. Before that while on cross ties it kept trying to turn around while she brushed it. I watch her pick the feet and it kept taking it's foot away from her.
Meanwhile my 4 year old guy is standing untied but hobbled in the same alleyway and you would think he is rooted to the spot, I brush, reblanket, unhobble, pick the feet and when I SAY the turns turns and heads to it's stall, no rope, no halter, just a verbal command to go???

As for happy my horse with it's guidelines, it's set of rules seems the more content of the 2??
Strange.
 

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If you handle a baby too much he becomes too familiar with you. He looses respect for you.

Meanwhile my 4 year old guy is standing untied but hobbled in the same alleyway and you would think he is rooted to the spot, I brush, reblanket, unhobble, pick the feet and when I SAY the turns turns and heads to it's stall, no rope, no halter, just a verbal command to go???
Again, this is only your experience and opinion. I have handled young horses (foals, yearlings, etc) for as long as I can remember; I've never had one "lose" respect for me...so that in my opinion is ridiculous. Yes, SOME people will lose the respect of a horse who's bonded with them, but for a person who continues to work with a horse in a way that he HAS to maintain his respect for your handling...that's just not going to be the case.

I DO agree with you that people are often the horses main problem when they develop an issue, but it's not a direct indicator that the horse was handled "too much" as a baby. What that's an indicator of is a handler who just doesn't know how to properly handle a horse.

My two, well three counting my own mare (but she's 10), horsey pupils are just 19 mo old, and from the time I got here when they were 15 mos, they have had alot of training done at that time (they had no real training prior). They will stand untied, no hobbles for everything I do with them; they do the same with the students that come out to 'work' with them (they mainly groom and take them out for walks). They will follow me across campus to their pasture unhaltered, but in perfect walking position, one on each side. Young horses don't have to lose respect for their handlers, IF the handler knows how to properly gain and maintain respect. Oh, and my methods are usually pretty soft...yes, I get 'harsh' if I have too, but for most things I use as little pressure as it takes to get the job done.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Okay, folks. This thread is NOT in ANY WAY about whether it's okay to break a Quarter Horse, or any horse for that matter, at age 2. I have decided it's not, I don't believe that some horses mature faster or slower, and there is nothing at all wrong with waiting until 3 or 4. It's my PERSONAL choice. I asked if there was something wrong with my plan. Deciding to wait until she's 3 is not WRONG, so please stay on topic.
 

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Like I said before, your plan sounds great.

I know some people talk to their vet and even get x-rays to see if their knees are healed before getting on. Im not sure how many people do that (it can be expensive.) Have you thought about xrays? I dont know any other way that you can know for sure. If these is someone let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Like I said before, your plan sounds great.

I know some people talk to their vet and even get x-rays to see if their knees are healed before getting on. Im not sure how many people do that (it can be expensive.) Have you thought about xrays? I dont know any other way that you can know for sure. If these is someone let me know.
Thanks! And no, I haven't considered x-rays because I'm pretty positive she'll be good to go at 3. I have no intention of starting her any earlier, or any other horse in the future before 3. Plus, we're only doing super light stuff until she's 4.
 
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