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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey y'all!!

I'm going to be starting my almost 3yr old Filly this summer! And I thought I'd see what tips y'all have? This will be my first time Colt starting! I'm super excited to do this with my wonderful trainer.
What have you found to work for you when starting your young ones?
What are some things I need to be ready for?
~
I've worked with lots of green horses, but never actually started from the ground up. What should I expect??

Thanks so much!!

P.S
My filly is a Appaloosa/Quarter Horse cross, almost 15hh, and a complete doll! But she does have some sass.

:gallop::gallop::gallop:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@Clava

She know's all the groundwork basics.

Leading, backing, lunging both directions at the walk, trot, canter.
Loads into the trailer, yeilds to the front and back.

Stands tied to be groomed, and saddled. Picks up hooves, stands for farrier.

She'll even take a bit, but I want to start her bitless.

I have fully tightened the cinch twice with no issues.

and she has been lunged fully tacked twice.

She's gone through basic desensitization.
Not scared of tarps, bags, popping noises, umbrellas, dogs, tractors, moving vehicles, etc.
 

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Sounds great. With mine I get on bareback first when they are just standing and chilling, then gradually move to walking a few steps. Then it is getting on with a saddle and going from there. I school in an area first gradually building up to a few canter strides and then move into my field so I know ok in open spaces. Then I start hacking out on quiet roads to meet some traffic before moving on to busy roads (in company with other horses). Roads probably are not your concern, but in the UK we have to have quiet horses with double decker buses and huge tractors passing close by.
 

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Every horse is different and regardless of ground preparation you never know what to expect on the first ride. I do just enough ground preparation to prepare the horse for success on the first ride. How much ground work depends on a trainers experience and the individual horse your working with. I want a colt to accept the saddle & move out well at the W/T/C from a verbal cue. When I see a colt can carry the saddle at the walk/trot/canter in both directions & stay relaxed consistently then they are ready for me to make the first ride. Prior to this I also start introducing some weight to the stirrup each day & will build up to leaning across the off side to get them ready for my leg swinging over the saddle. This way it’s not completely new to them the day of the first ride. Even with significant ground preparation you really don’t know how a horse might react with a rider on their back for the first time. To be a good colt starter you need to be calm & confident in the saddle. If you are nervous or tense the horse will pick up on it.

Best luck,
 

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I just started my new 3 year old filly and we took it nice and slow. The first time anyone got on her, was at the beginning of November. I started basic ground work training with her, like you have done and she was amazing. A method I swear by when starting a horse, is long lining. It is basically two lunge line attached the the bit, or a buckle on a bitless, and goes through the stirrups of the saddle. I would recommend starting this in a round pin so they can get the hang of it. This helps them get the feel of the bit in their mouth and the pressure with contact. It is basically riding your horse, but from the ground. After a couple of weeks of doing this with her, I would walk around with her while I was on her, and then I would long line her for a bit after. This helped her understand how how to steer and halt, etc. I then began regularly riding her alone in an arena, and she loved it. I started trotting her and doing transitions from walk to trot, to trot to walk on the long sides and circling in the corners, and she picked up very well. I then began to canter her under saddle and do the same thing as I did with trotting with the transitions, circles, serpentine's, figure 8's, poles, etc. I did a lot of these exercises so she can get a feel of training, contact and so she didn't get bored. I spend about 2 hours working with. For the first 20 mins, I trot and walk her in circles and figure 8's, then I go onto cantering to trotting and trotting to cantering and then to walking. It helps her listen and staying connected with you. After she works and I can tell she is starting to breathe heavy, I walk her on a loose rein and let her stretch her head, after she cools down a bit i continue to trot her on a loose rein and repeat the same exercises, with a lot more walking and stretching after the first hour. She absolutely loves it, she wants to go and she always want me to take her for a ride or for me to groom her. I just recently started jumping her very small cross rails. And she does not want to stop at the end of training. I took me 2 and a half months to get a horse that has never been saddled to been able to jump on a loose rein and activate her hind when told. It honestly depend on the horse, but do not rush it. I knew my horse and spent a lot of time with her to understand her. I knew she was ready because she was picking up simple commands with easy and wanted to do more. If you ever need help, I know i'm not a horse trainer, but I would love to answer any questions or just talk if you want. :))
 

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Not training advice exactly, but go easy. While I know full well people start horses younger too - and 'work' them very hard, such as racehorses - a 3yo is still quite physically immature and 'green' skeletally, which means that bones & joints can be easily & seriously damaged by weightbearing & 'high impact' type stuff. There's a reason(well, more than one) most racehorses don't have a long, sound life...

I'm not saying starting a 3yo *carefully & considerately* under saddle is necessarily bad. And exercise generally - the more 'low impact' the better - is a good thing. Just read up on their physical, not just mental development & consider all factors to ensure you don't do harm in starting her at that age.

Cheers!
 

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What Loosie said.

Growth plates at the ends of the bones of horses close at predictable rates, starting with the feet before a year of age, and proceeding upward through the joints. The last place horses' skeletons are fully mature and solid is their spines at between five to seven years of age. Exactly where you put weight on. It doesn't make any difference how mature a horse might look or act or where they are in their training, growth plates can be damaged as long as those bones are not 'finished'.

This is something everyone starting young horses should always bear in mind.

There is a reason why an old fashioned way of starting horses is to drive them for a couple before riding training. There is a lot you can do with a young horse besides riding.
 

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My mare was also 3 when I backed her for the first time.

I had the help of my trainer.

To get her ready to have a rider, we did a couple short sessions of me draped across her back to get her used to the weight without the scariness of someone sitting up on her.

I also ponied her a few times to get her used to a rider being up above her.

In addition to all the ground work, the first time actually sitting on her was a non event. She was lead around the arena and then we graduated to a lunge line.

I agree with starting them slow as well. I backed my mare when she was 3, but it wasn't until she was 5 that she was actually getting worked. She is 6 now and I still think she is pretty green, but I'd rather go slow than rush and end up with a lame horse.

I am hoping this year will be the year I actually get her into shape...LOL
 

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oh....forgot to also add mental maturity. My sessions with my mare were very short & sweet and always ended positively....she wasn't mentally mature enough to handle long, drawn out training sessions where she was being challenged the entire time.
 

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I too am starting my 3 year old filly. The first thing I want to say is that I am in no hurry to ride her. What I am wanting to achieve with her is a relationship where riding becomes a natural progression rather than first we do lots of ground work - and now it's all about riding.



My first 3 months with Apple were getting her to calm the heck down! lol. She was anxious and aggressive and paced and ruined my paddocks, there was no point doing anything with her but gaining trust and convincing her that she can relax into my leadership. Over the course of the last year I have done enough ground work to ensure that I can do her feet without a halter in the paddock, she knows to wait until I ask her to go through a gate and she waits when I give her fresh break of grass every morning she waits patiently for my signal to come forward to eat ( as opposed to when she used to run through me to get to the food).


I have to be honest, now that she is calm and happy I have had no issues moving into "riding mode". She has been saddled, the first time I saddled her I turned her out into a paddock, she grazed happily for about 45 mins before deciding she wanted the strange thing off her back, she had a couple of bucking fits and then made peace with the fact the thing wasn't coming off and has been happily saddled at least once a week and lead around the neighborhood which as a nosey Nellie she seems to enjoy.


For the last three weeks I have been teaching her to stand and be mounted at a mounting block. Because I spend a lot of time leaning all over her while massaging her these lessons were purely to teach her to stand for mounting. I backed her this way, easing onto her back one leg over with a little more weight each time until I was able to sit squarely on her and slide off the other side. I did this over a couple of weekends, the total time spent on this probably 30 mins. This weekend I was able to ride her around the enclosure with no issues in less than 15 mins so that was her schooling for that day.


I have decided to mouth her ( I was in two minds about this but my instincts are to do it so I will) sometime this week. I will introduce the bit and bridle and this will be my focus until she is comfortable being bridled and happy to yield to the bit. Once we have nailed the bridle I will go back to sitting on her back here and there plus saddling and leading.



When I know she is relaxed and comfy with everything she has been taught I will then hop on her while she is saddled, again I will only do this for a few minutes at a time allowing our progression under saddle to be slow and steady.



I don't really do things by the numbers. I do not lunge her, I prefer to just make sure that I can send her where I want her and that I can stop her when I want her to stop - ground tying is really important to me and I would rather we master this than do endless circles. I allow time spent with Apple to be organic, refreshing little things here and there as they need to be.



I know it is not fashionable but I won't do anything faster than a walk for at least two years. I didn't ask the first horse I broke in for a canter until she was six (started her at 3 also) - by then she was well muscled and well balanced and it was seamless.



My advice is do things at your own leisure, solid training combined with a trusting relationship will build a great riding horse. My rule of thumb with my youngster is if she doesn't want to leave me when I put her back in her paddock after "work" then I am doing things right.
 
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