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View Full Version : Spin-off: What do you expect from a 2-year-old right now?



Tha Ridge
Jun. 30, 2009, 10:47 PM
What would you expect from a fairly mature January 2-year-old right now? Any under saddle work? Lots of "fun" stuff on the ground?

Thanks.

besttwtbever
Jul. 1, 2009, 09:53 AM
From a 2 year old I would expect that they stand quietly while being brushed, sprayed with the hose, and for the farrier. I would want them to pick up their feet when asked and stand nicely while cleaning them. I think things like fly spray and the vet should no longer be horse eating monsters but more of just another thing they have to stand still for. Also straight tying and cross ties should be introduced as well.

Starting light round penning and/or lunging. Maybe getting them used to a saddle pad on their back and even a bareback pad while leading them definitely couldn't hurt. Make sure ground manners are good, go when you do, stop when you do. Pulling on the lead rope from in front of them means go, not pull against me and stand there.

The word 'whoa' in my opinion is a very valuable tool. I think every horse should know it. Makes things a lot easier when you finally get to being on their back. If they decide to do something stupid and they know the word whoa, most will stop.

I wouldn't work with them in the round pen/on the lunge more than 1 or 2 days a week though, as you don't want them getting sour. Make sure that it's a fun experience for them though with praise and even treats when they do what you want, that way when you start training they will have good memories and think it is great fun.

Just some ideas. My opinion on younger horses (2 and 3 year olds) is that they should know how, or be learning how to do everything an older trained horse knows how to do minus the riding part. A friend just got a 4 year old Warmblood cross that has never been touched. It has been really hard working with her and we all wish she would have been taught these things as a 2 year old or even 3 year old. It's a lot easier when they're smaller anyway.

JenRose
Jul. 1, 2009, 11:05 AM
I have an April 2007 WB cross filly.

All the things below she is 100% broke about and acts better than my older horses for most of them....I guess I have gotten more strict!

tie/cross tie
stands for farrier & vet
mane pulling
clipping - ears, bridle path, whiskers, jaw, fetlocks
bathing/grooming
fly spray (even between the ears) ;)
proper leading at walk and trot
understands whoa

She also wears splint boots, a bridle/bit, saddle pad & surcingle for walks around the farm. I just put the halter over the bridle and lead her all over. We go to our pond, meet the cows, down the somewhat quiet road, etc.

I will start lightly round penning (once per week or so) her this fall. I would also like to learn how to long line. I think if you do all the above then the actual backing will be a piece of cake. When I do get on her I plan to do lots of trails and light hacking and won't start "work" until she is 3 1/2 - 4.

This filly will hopefully be my ammy hunter. She is soooo naturally balanced, jumps logs in the pasture with great form and has lovely lead changes. Sometimes waiting is hard! FWIW the 2 other 07 babies she was pastured with at her breeders are already being ridden quite regularly.

shawneeAcres
Jul. 1, 2009, 01:10 PM
My two year olds got LIGHT round penning this spring for about a week, tied up and left for a half hour or so in the stall, brushed etc. They are turned out for the summer. In the fall they will learn to carry a saddle, sometimes I back them late in two year old year, but the gelding I ahve is a june foal so he won't be backed before spring. The filly may be backed in fall.

HuntJumpSC
Jul. 1, 2009, 01:33 PM
I also have an April '07 filly that I just purchased in May. She had been turned out in a 200 acre pasture with other horses and cattle before I bought her. Comes from two extremely laid back, level headed parents w/excellent bloodlines and both did well in the hunter ring. Knew basic leading, tying & feet handling when I got her. She loaded the first time in my trailer & rode 4 hours home from Chapel Hill without a peep. Loaded the second time with no problem to go from my friend's farm to my farm when my barn was finally ready. Don't anticipate trailering to be an issue. If there's food, she hops right in. :)

We have been working this past month on just being a well-mannered citizen: lots of grooming, fly spray, aerosol cans, rub rags, working with feet, cross-ties & washrack manners, and introducing clippers. We've also been doing basic lungeing for about 10-15 minutes twice a week: walk, trot, & whoa. She's very laid-back & definitely knows "whoa"~ LOL! She's going very nicely on the lunge with no pulling or being silly.

So far, she's been an absolute breeze to work with, other than one instance when we first started working on the lunge where got confused & got away from me. (That session actually ended well), and clipping she's still not sure of, but she's coming around. She loves being brushed, bathed & believe it or not, fly sprayed. Follows me everywhere like a dog, and likes to rest her head on my shoulder. By far, she is the easiest 2 year old I've ever worked with and an absolute pleasure to be around, which is exactly what I want.

Right now, I'm looking for a good used surcingle to replace the one I gave away a couple of years ago. (Stupid me, thinking I'd never have a youngster again!) Planning to introduce saddle pads & surcingle soon, along with the bridle over her halter. Again, basic lungeing wearing that, and some walks around the farm. My goal is to back her in September (hopefully!) and to be doing just basic walk & trot under saddle, nothing demanding, probably not even riding in the ring, just the big pasture. This winter I plan to do more groundwork, and maybe a short ride once or twice a week.

I'm not wanting to push her, as she has a great mind and the potential to be a really nice horse. Mentally she's like a little sponge~ she absorbs everything and retains it. So far, we've managed to have good experiences with everything new (other than the first lunge lesson), and I want to keep it that way. Right now my aim is to keep her interested and happy by doing small, short sessions. I'm glad to be starting her now, as she's an April 30th baby and already 15.2.

We're in no hurry, and the show ring is a long ways away. Next spring I'll start taking her to some local shows to hang out & watch. But right now, I'm enjoying every minute spent with her, and using that precious time to form a bond with her that hopefully will make a great partnership. :)

Here's a couple of pics I snapped the other day~ she will not let me get far enough away to take a pic. Wants to play with the camera, be petted, everything but be still! :lol:

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll59/HuntJumpSC/Morepics043.jpg

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll59/HuntJumpSC/Morepics031.jpg

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll59/HuntJumpSC/Morepics037.jpg

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll59/HuntJumpSC/Morepics034.jpg

TKR
Jul. 1, 2009, 01:36 PM
All of the above, but I would skip any round pen/lunging/forced exercise until at least the fall and keep it simple and short then. So many of these youngsters are still growing and very uneven, their muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones are very susceptible to injury if you put any force or torque on them by asking them to be on a circle. What's the hurry?
PennyG

DMK
Jul. 1, 2009, 02:14 PM
I think as long as the youngster is sensible, balanced and relaxed, working them on a large circle for short periods is not an issue. If one or all those things are missing and you are making this more about training or getting them quiet or developing their balance, then you need to consider what your goals are and does lunging fit in with your long term goals. But you have to look at the horse in front of you, not the one in a how-to manual.

That said, my youngster gets ponied around the farm and on trails, goes to HB shows (sometimes in the same weekend) so he's very used to being hauled, groomed, braided, bathed and hanging around at a show doing a whole lot of nothing or getting longed 2 times a week. He's already been long lined, slowly working from halter to bridle and was fairly proficient at that so now I'm giving him a break from that for a while so he can just relax and absorb the lesson. Now he's learning how to wear a saddle which due to the surcingle lessons was NBD. Next he will get 60-90 days under tack and then nothing for the winter while he relaxes, has fun and thinks about the lesson. But except for some longer trail rides or days we get stuck at a show for many hours, most of his interactions are about 25-30 minutes from the time I pull him out of the stall to the time he leaves the washrack. The actual "learning" part of the day might be 12 minutes long. I'm not in a rush to get him to the ring, but I'd rather do all this stuff for very short periods now when he is learning so much faster than get into longer more emotionally tiring training sessions in a year that could also put stress on his growing body. But he's a very good boy and learns incredibly fast, so for him it is easy. If he was more resistant or worried about change, he wouldn't be as far along as he is, but either way, he'd still be getting about 10-12 minutes of some sort of learning experience 4-5 days a week.

WorthTheWait95
Jul. 1, 2009, 02:34 PM
My BO's 2 year old is doing quite a bit. We have no plans to put any weight on her (besides a saddle) until she's at least 3.5 and most likely 4 but we're doing A LOT of ponying right now off my retired hunter to get her used to lots of noises and also used to 'working'. She also gets ponied on trail rides with us so she can get some hill work and hopefully build up some good, strong musculature. She does all the things our adult horses do as far as bathing, grooming, clipping go and is expected to have just as nice manners. She goes to shows and pony's off an older horse just like at home with her bridle and saddle and has done a few classes just to get used to the feeling. We don't lunge her (although she knows how) but we do do some long lining excercises.

She's been super easy to train so far. We had a saddle/girth on her before she was even a year old to get her used to it and she never even batted an eye. We never did the surcingle or anything first and she really didn't care, not even about the stirrups. As long as we kept her 'babysitter' (aka my retired hunter) around when we tried something new and she could see he was relaxed she just took everything in stride. The big trick was limiting every 'training session' to a maximum of 15 mins at first b/c that was her attention span. As soon as we hit 15 mins she got groomed and put away with lots of treats/praise. She seems to really enjoy her lessons even now they have lengthened a bit.

HuntJumpSC
Jul. 1, 2009, 03:53 PM
I think as long as the youngster is sensible, balanced and relaxed, working them on a large circle for short periods is not an issue. If one or all those things are missing and you are making this more about training or getting them quiet or developing their balance, then you need to consider what your goals are and does lunging fit in with your long term goals. But you have to look at the horse in front of you, not the one in a how-to manual.


I agree, DMK~ my girl is going on a large circle without pulling or balancing on the lunge. She's carrying herself without any help from me, and I don't see where it's any more stress than what she might do while playing in the field. She also only lunges twice a week, and only for 10-15 minutes. Most of that is lots of "walk-whoa" with very little "trot". She's figured out she gets animal crackers when she's done, so she's very eager to please! :cool:

Fun Size
Jul. 3, 2009, 10:31 PM
what a breath of fresh air to see everyone on the same page on this one! I second everything above....I have seen and heard of way many "started too young" stories!!

So awesome that you guys are bringing up your own as well, that is my hope that I can have the funds, time and skill to do so someday!!

sfstable
Jul. 3, 2009, 11:12 PM
what a breath of fresh air to see everyone on the same page on this one! I second everything above....I have seen and heard of way many "started too young" stories!!

So awesome that you guys are bringing up your own as well, that is my hope that I can have the funds, time and skill to do so someday!!

I'm glad to see the postings to know I am not crazy. I have a "just turned" two year old Dutch filly -- obviously still growing. :) I have her posted for sale and I just got an email asking "has she been started". What ??? She is two !!! I am not going to put a "just turned" two year old WB under saddle and I am certainly not going to sell her to someone who wants to buy one under saddle.

Foxtrot's
Jul. 4, 2009, 12:48 AM
There is no hurry for any of this, but the younger they are the less they can put up an argument - my little guy has been a piece of cake and I took advantage of his ulcer period to get lots done while he had no argument in him.

I do caution about having a round pen person doing the round penning because they might not realize how easy it is to pop a splint if it is ot done very, very carefully.

The word Whoa: some people think it should be a religious word, and I rather agree. But a jump rider I am using uses it in a soothing tone to steady the horse before a jump.... and I can't ask him not to. I suppose the answer is to use "Ho" or something in a sharper tone of voice when I mean "whoa/STOP right now". As long as it is consistent, I don't suppose the horse cares what language it is in. But then what do we use to encourage a horse to jump when - say - on the lunge or shute, "Hup!" I use a kiss for canter depart, single cluck for move, oh heck, now I'm confused.

MintHillFarm
Jul. 4, 2009, 06:22 AM
All of the above, but I would skip any round pen/lunging/forced exercise until at least the fall and keep it simple and short then. So many of these youngsters are still growing and very uneven, their muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones are very susceptible to injury if you put any force or torque on them by asking them to be on a circle. What's the hurry?
PennyG

Lunging is tough on joints etc. It is all torque as mentioned above...so I would not do much of that, if at all. While I feel it's good for them to know how to lunge, it would never be part of my weekly schedule, nor would a round pen at that age...

With my most recent 2 yr old, I bought him already started. He had been ridden 12 or 15 times in the earlier part of the year by his breeder. I rode him once and did not sit on him again until April as a 3 yr old. I let him grow up with plenty of turn out with a buddy, an older OTTB.

However, we worked on all the other basics mentioned by other posters. When I did start him back that following April, I put him on the lunge line for about 5 minutes, trotted each way and then got right on. I think in total, now that he is 5, he may have been lunged while I've had him, 6 times total.

So, what you do is a personal decision, but frankly I would go easy!

VirginiaBred
Jul. 4, 2009, 06:34 AM
Too many people think having a youngster on a lunge line is acceptable, and it isn't. Regardless of the fact they are two or three, it's not good practice until they are older for reasons stated above.

BelladonnaLily
Jul. 4, 2009, 07:58 AM
I'm not big on lunging either...at least until 3. I'd rather sit on them at 2 and walk/trot around a bit, hack through the field, etc., than lunge. I think lunging is much harder on them.

That said, our 2yo WB gelding hasn't been sat on, and won't until at least this winter (he's a Feb baby) as he is still so immature. We're sending him away, but I do plan on discussing the lunging with potential trainers...I do NOT want him lunged to death. Drives me nuts when I see people lunging the crap out of quiet youngsters at shows because they are scared to ride them!

One of our ponies was started as a 3yo...he was lunged 4 times in the week before he was started. Hasn't been lunged since :lol:

fair judy
Jul. 4, 2009, 08:10 AM
first, i want to say it definitrly depends on the individual, and whether you have a tb/tbx or wb.

doesn't anyone line drive their young'uns anymore?

War Admiral
Jul. 4, 2009, 08:22 AM
first, i want to say it definitrly depends on the individual, and whether you have a tb/tbx or wb.

doesn't anyone line drive their young'uns anymore?

This one does. :yes:

fair judy
Jul. 4, 2009, 09:19 AM
i guess us old farts are sticking to the old ways.:lol:

Alterrain
Jul. 4, 2009, 04:27 PM
We have a june 07 filly at our barn! super cute! My trainer is going to do her in the 2 y.o. under saddle at showpark this fall, so in addition to all of the above, she W/T/C under saddle. She only gets ridden 3 days a week- maybe 10 minutes a ride. She did all the HB stuff too, so she has been braided, stood up in the ring, lunged and slept in show stalls. I would say she is a fairly advanced 2 y.o. though.

Go Fish
Jul. 4, 2009, 04:47 PM
Jeez...you people are ambitious. My two-year-old is hanging out in the field with the goats, two retired broodies and a pot-bellied pig.

He learned most of the handling requirements as a foal. I'll take him to the trainer this fall for about 60 sixty days to get him broke, then turn him out for the winter. He'll go back late spring/early summer of 2010 when he's three for full throttle.

VirginiaBred
Jul. 4, 2009, 08:57 PM
doesn't anyone line drive their young'uns anymore?


That's all we do and we'll never do anything other than that. Best way in the world to start one. :yes: