Thursday, April 11, 2013

Is there a "magic" age to start a horse??

At what age do you think it is appropriate to start a horse in work? Many conventional trains of thought believe 2 years old is the "magic" age to start and ride a horse under work. Personally, I don't believe a horse is ready developmentally, physically, emotionally, and/or mentally to be started that young. This isn't to say that you cannot teach a horse basic ground work and manners (that is always a good idea); it is under saddle "work" that you should hold off on (starting does not necessarily mean riding).

The included photo is of my "youngest" herd member (Leggo My) Fuego. On the left is a photo of him as a 4yo; on the right is a photo of him as a 6yo. You can clearly see a difference in maturity here that those 2 years afforded him, at the very least, you see the difference in his expression. ((He was 5, closer to 6 before I began his under saddle training and it is just now that I am getting him going and into riding "work."))

It's important not to start your horses in work too early. Give them a chance to grow up and "mature" a bit. What's the rush? The concept of time is a human construct after all. Set them up for long term health and thriving wellness. Check out the included article about equine growth and development. Do you know the approximate age at which the last growth plate (posterior physis) closes? 5 or more years according to this article by Dr. Deb Bennett. That's right 5 or older! Food for thought, don't you think?~**Inez

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