Not talking over the 4'+ inspection style grids, but... do you free jump your yearlings?
If so, how do you go about it? one session? couple short sessions? What grid do you use? I'm itching to see what my yearling does, not necessarily jumping style wise, but the attitude, but I'm not sure if it is generally frowned on?
I just jumped my 16 month old last weekend, first yearling I've jumped.
I set up a 9' pole to a vertical and then 22' feet to a vertical/oxer (she was reaching for 24' as a pole so we brought it in a little to help her)... she was very good about the whole experience... I think the jump was maybe two feet high.
I have seen her run faster and play harder in the paddock, and she really seemed to enjoy her "10 minute" adventure. She is now back to playtime in the paddock and growing out her winter coat...
Edit: Just wanted to add that I do normally wait until summer/fall of their two year old year to free jump for the first time...
that was going to be my observation as well. One of my colts jumped 4-5 times as a 3month old while I was riding mom over them but they were crossrail- 2ft. My other colt sought out a lone jump set up in the pasture (about 2'3-2'6) and flew over it for fun. Mine jump all the time and are only 6months now, so a few occasional ones in a controlled environment can't be too bad. They probably do so anyway on their own
I don't see the need unless you have a buyer that wants to see them. If they are not for sale.....breath, be patient!! For a serious buyer...I'd not have a problem doing a small amount to just show their inclinations. But certainly not anything physically challenging or that could stress them mentally. I'd probably do a pile of poles and move to a small verticle with a flower box or just the flower box that you can lead them over then let them do it on their own (but small enough for them to walk over).
I will do a little with mine as long 2 year olds...but more often, just wait until they are 3. At 3, they get started under saddle and maybe jump a little. Like logs out hacking or small bright stuff in the ring to keep it interesting. The real jump training doesn't start until they are 4.
** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **
I never do it on purpose, but I have an 18 month old that will jump anything that he seems reasonable. At first it was a pile of 5/8-minus gravel, 3 1/' tall x 5' wide the it was a trail bridge in the arena 6 inches tall x 4' wide x 6' long, a fallen dead tree trunk 18 inches tall or a set of cavaletties left in the arena.
I never ask, they're always just things that are there. I prefer not to, by some horses just think it's too much fun. In those cases, like for my boy, I'll turn him loose in the arena for some exercise, and set up a small 2' vertical in the middle, and what he does with that is his business. My job is to keep him safe while he does what ever that is.
Free jumping yearlings is not necessary and puts them at risk of popping a splint or incurring other injuries. Best to wait until they are closer to 3 just before they begin more formal training. A buyer who must see a yearling free jump is generally an unsophisticated buyer anyway.
We do it ONLY if customer asks for it, for a sales video or personal interest. They have to understand the risks, we do one session ONLY, the jumps are small. They get what they get. Some horses figure it out immediately, jump great and they get excellent material. Others, not so much. If it is obvious they just don't understand, and so can't give a true indication of ability, we quit. We have had only two out of maybe 50 that couldn't free jump. At all. Both were fine with a rider's help.
It is a simple fact that, as much as we dislike the process, buyers today want a video, even of young horses. If you can afford to say no and lose a sale, fine, but most people can't, and it is a rare buyer who will buy without this. Done right, it is not damaging.