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Old 12-07-2006, 06:09 PM  
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what age do you start riding a young horse?

hi out there...esp the folks who breed and train...at what age do you start riding a young horse? my thought is to buy a younger prospect but am not sure the best age to start them under saddle, as to what age to focus on buying ( I would not want to support a horse for more than a year till I could ride it) . thanks all!
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Old 12-07-2006, 06:57 PM  
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I start mine at 2-3 yrs old, I know alot of people on here disagree with that, but that's the way my family has always been and I am just a dumb old red neck anyhow don't cha know.
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Old 12-07-2006, 07:06 PM  
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I usually start them in the spring of their 2 year old year with light riding work. As each year progresses, they get more and more work.

I know of several old-timers that start them at 16-18 months under-saddle with light riding, and I know that Thoroughbreds often go to the track for their first warm-ups at 1.5 years.
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Old 12-07-2006, 07:16 PM  
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y'know, it all depends on the horse's breed, size and maturity. I like to start them very lightly under saddle at two (by lightly, I mean nothing over a slow jog and never longer than 30 minutes and never more than 2-3 times a week). I don't like to ride, or even roundpen, a young horse very hard until it's knees are closed and it is given ample time to mature. This means different things to different breeds of horses. You'd have to research it a bit, depending on the particular breed.
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Old 12-07-2006, 07:19 PM  
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We usually start ours when they are two, though most have already been saddled and ground driven before that. It's the we have always done it and we have never had any issues with health or injuries.
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Old 12-07-2006, 07:20 PM  
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I personally start putting a light saddle on their back at about 1 1/2. At around two I will sit and maybe have someone lead me around for about five minutes every couple of weeks or so. At 2 1/2 I start riding at a walk and practicing whoa and walk for about 15 minutes once a week or so which is the stage I am at right now with the guy in my pics. And at three I plan on getting serious with more riding and trailering to different locations to trail ride at first ponying then by himself. My goal is to have a good trailriding horse by age four that will get alot of experience and be dead broke by age five. These are my goals at least but we all know horses progress differently. If I have any type of behavior problems other than frisky bucks I plan on giving him a little time off and possibly sending him to a professional for 60 days. I dont see have any problems with my experience just training him as a trail horse though. He is a good mellow boy. I personally dont like seriously riding until they are three just my personal preference. As far as buying age I will never buy anything older than a 6 month old if I plan on training it myself just because I like to build a great bond by riding time. Some people dont like messing with them as weanlings but I enjoy it. I guess I just like getting pawed and beat up on before they are trained properly
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Old 12-07-2006, 07:25 PM  
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5 years.

Their spine is not fused and closed until that age as well as many other bones and joints.
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Old 12-07-2006, 07:28 PM  
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I start my Horses when they are around 3 Years old. I put a VERY light saddle on their back when they are around 1 and a half
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Old 12-07-2006, 08:37 PM  
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3 is the youngest I start them..

Until then , nothing but a surcingle or blanket goes on them...
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Old 12-07-2006, 10:18 PM  
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I started mine at three, sometimes four. By 'started' I mean with a rider. Before this they've had years of ground work.
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Old 12-08-2006, 03:10 AM  
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I start putting pressure (not weight!!) on their backs as soon as I can. I try to get them use to all sorts of sensations as early as possible. Some truckers that pass me while I am working with Liberty (my weanling) laugh about me hugging him. I just kinda lightly lean across his back and put pressure on both sides in the girth area. Riding I start lightly at two years old if I think the horse is ready. Copperhead, my two year old, had never been loped with me on his back. We mainly walk and I have done some light trotting for very short periods of time (no longer than like 5 minutes).
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Old 12-08-2006, 03:52 AM  
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Originally Posted by cascy
I start mine at 2-3 yrs old, I know alot of people on here disagree with that, but that's the way my family has always been and I am just a dumb old red neck anyhow don't cha know.
I don't know about the dumb part but we do the same - it really depends on the physical and mental maturity of the horse - and then it is only short sessions of walk/trot, stop, and flexing - big circles, figure eights and short trail rides... riding time in total is less then an hour a week - lots of tying, and round pen work though

At three, we ask for more and work the lope - and at four, they should be riding pretty well and pretty soft...

We do start round pen work at 15 - 18 months if they are big enough - case in point, we have two colts the same age - one has been saddled and round penned and will be backed next spring - the other has not been saddled yet - different builds and different minds...Each horse is trained as an individual - you get great horses that way
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Old 12-08-2006, 06:14 AM  
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I start riding them as weanlings....

Just kidding!!!! I couldn't resist...

Actually, I start in the round pen for short sessions as a yearling, work them up to getting a saddle on their backs a few times. If they are ready for it, I will start getting up there the summer of their two year old year. But, they never get ridden for more than 10 minutes and usually only bending and flexing exercises...some trotting. I progress from there, depending on the horse.

It all depends on the horse and their level of maturity, both mentally and physically.
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Old 12-08-2006, 06:26 AM  
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We start them at 3-4 years old...sometimes older depending on the horse. We like to hand them alot as weanlings then turn them out to pasture until we are ready to start them so they can grow.

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Old 12-08-2006, 06:26 AM  
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I'm with Range - saddle them up as part of their imprinting...

Seriously though, I desensitize them to tack during their second year with a light cordura saddle, but do not mount them till they are 3 to 3 1/2 depending upon their maturity and growth pattern the previous 6 months. I monitor growth monthly, and wait till I see a level back with little or no growth for several months.

Personally, I would never, never, mount a horse before the age of 3. Too many euthanized and gimpy thoroughbreds have taught me that much...
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Old 12-08-2006, 07:06 AM  
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If the horse is mentally ready and is of good size and bone, spring of 2 yr old year for me. Nothing strenuous, if they don't progress mentally or can't handle it, back to ground work until 3.
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Old 12-08-2006, 07:25 AM  
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this is so fascinating! and infromative, as my plan is when I am ready to buy a young prospect, 2-3 years ...perhaps what i should look for is if the horse has been handled a lot, lunged or round penned. I liked a young mare 2 years old but beyond being handled as a weanling and led around on a halter, nothing has been done with her, (she lives in a field with other horses) wondering if she would be more difficult to work with ( or a lot more time consuming, then a 2-3 year old where more ground work or like some of you do, lightly saddle them or at least put blankets on them so they are used to tack.
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Old 12-08-2006, 07:38 AM  
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Personally I would rather have a horse straight from a field who has had some contact with humans-but no training per se.
At least you will not have to undo someones possibly poor training on her. I would rather start out on a blank slate
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Old 12-08-2006, 07:42 AM  
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Originally Posted by ToveroMom
Personally I would rather have a horse straight from a field who has had some contact with humans-but no training per se.
At least you will not have to undo someones possibly poor training on her. I would rather start out on a blank slate
I agree completely! I look for horses that don't have any work done besides halter work. No training means no bad memories for the horse and no undoing someone's possible training mistake!
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Old 12-08-2006, 07:46 AM  
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interesting ! thanks yes, I can see ...if the person handling them were good at what they did prior training would be an advantage, otherwise like you said one could start fresh without undoing bad or clumsy training.
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