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What are you doing with your 2yo's?

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  • What are you doing with your 2yo's?

    Hi, I thought I would put this here in dressage as you guys would have warmbloods...
    My boy was 2 in February, (Warmblood X TB, here's a link to his dad http://www.bellaequus.com.au/apache.htm) so he's 2 & 8 months now? I am working him very lightly and am worried about over working him. Everyone says don't worry about it, but I am surrounded by western riders, campdrafters and galloper trainers, who all start their horses early. He is responding well to work (if you can call it work, meandering around the property with a bit of arena work, mainly w/t, some canter) and seems to enjoy it. If I can take a nice pic of him I'll post it up. When I say he's a warmblood, he's Australian Warmblood, which seems to be anything, as I've found out. His grandfather (Chico D'oro) was actually QH/ASH and crossed with a part bred arab who had a lot of Stock Horse in her.

    Does anyone else start their horses at 2yo?

  • #2
    He is responding well to work (if you can call it work, meandering around the property with a bit of arena work, mainly w/t, some canter) and seems to enjoy it.
    If this is undersaddle, you definitely want to stay off his back & ride as lightly as possible, maximum 20 -30 min per session, 2-3X a week.
    Few dressage horses are started before the age of 3 as the back is still actively developing & growing.

    Everyone says don't worry about it, but I am surrounded by western riders, campdrafters and galloper trainers, who all start their horses early.
    Some of this is breed related, some horses are mentally & physically more mature (at least in outward appearance) than others, though Xrays are really needed to measure bone growth/fusion etc.

    Different groups have different aspirations for their horses, I know the odd barrel or reining horse that is still competitive at 15 - 20 (often "retired down" to a junior mount), most are out of the game long before ...

    This is a recent Young Horse topic.


    • #3
      I'll zip my flame suit on.

      Prior to sending him off for 30 days, my young guy was lunged and long lined maybe two days a week. He had a few saddles flop on him, he's worn a bridle, he's worn side reins.

      I decided to put the 30 days on him and chuck him out for winter because mentally and physically he's ready to do that type of work.

      Some horses are ready to do it some aren't, take it individually and one step at a time.
      It is rare to see a rider who is truly passionate about the horse and his training, taking a profound interest in dressage with self-abnegation, and making this extraordinarily subtle work one of the dominant motivations of his life.\"


      • #4

        forgot to say,

        Lovely boy!

        & his dad is pretty easy on the eyes too


        • #5
          I have Arabians and not warmbloods but at age two I am usually letting them mature, there is so much growing to do from two to three that I like to find other useful things to do with them until they are physically and mentally more mature.
          for more Joy then you can handle


          • #6
            Two year olds are like 7 or 8 year old children(Human kind). I see people try to get a 2 year old to do things they can not understand nor have the maturity to even learn.
            They have to take baby steps before they can do big horse things. There is lots of groundwork they can do and learn word commands but at 2 they are still babies. Too many are started way too early and they have leg and foot problems the rest of their lives. Even at 3 they are young in the minds.
            I have seen lots of promising young horses broken down by starting them too early. Most of the Old Timers start the babies on basics at 2 and then turn them out to grow up. Then they bring them in and they usually remember the basic stuff they learned at 2. By 4 their bones are hardening and they have a more mature mind.
            I know there are other opinions about this but this is what I have observed in my lifetime. So I do not need the negativity I have received at other times.


            • #7
              My 2yo Hanoverian is sitting in a field. He has never done a hard days work. We do a little ground work stuff (like leading, moving haunches over, etc.) just to remind him about rules. He is an April baby, and he is still very immature looking/acting. Will not be started until next year.


              • #8
                Bullet proof on..check!

                I have a QH/Paint who is 2yrs old.
                I work/board at a barn for TB, so to start him at 2 in their eyes is very delayed, lol
                We have done w/t in the round pen with full tack...started in western saddle, have progressed to english a/p...he prefers the a/p and so do I so thats what we are sticking with for now.
                He has cantered with full tack but only on the line....but I can hop on him bareback with nothing put a couple of lead ropes and halter and meander around like that for bit without him batting an eye
                I work on the manners/ground work once a week for about an hr, and tack work once every couple of weeks for 40mins.

                If you feel your boy is ready, then start! If he isn't then wait!

                Would you rather train a horse discovering their ability by helping them learn their potential...or break a horse who thinks they already know everything??

                ETA: My boy is only ever going to be trail horse/pleasure horse so going slow n steady is our motto...if you were training to be a show horse, I agree to hold of on the "hard" training until they are 3+ yrs
                if you havent fallen off a horse….then you havent been ridin long enough


                • #9
                  I started mine this year, her 4 year old year. She was a May baby, and as a two year old turning 3 last year, she wasn't ready physically--she's also a pony. However, as a two year old, she was introduced to tack and the lunge--walk only, to learn about "mommy's personal space". I think I put a bit in her mouth when she was three, but at 2 she was in a saddle and girth and we would graze in the yard for a couple of minutes. I'm glad I waited, because now that's she started, I don't have to take a break, she's pretty much done growing. There are plenty of things that they can be introduced to a young horse that doesn't require "work" that can set them up for the actual starting to go smoothly.


                  • #10
                    My 2 1/2 year old Arabian filly has been begging me to ride her for 9 months! LOL I keep her busy learning bits of longeing, wearing a bareback pad and I pony her a couple days a week when I trail ride on her mom. I'll sit on her at three, but only to walk around the yard. She's really growthy, so I'm going to play it by ear. I usually teach stop, go and turn, then hit the trail - usually at 3 1/2. No arena work 'till five years.


                    • #11
                      We have a 2 1/2 yr old TB gelding, he has had a couple of LIGHT round pen groundwork sessions teaching him to move forward, move away from pressure, desensitize to rattling plastic bags, walking over and trotting over a tarp, poles etc. We will saddle him and ride him a few times walk/trot in the next month and then he will have the winter "off", I won't say "turned out" since he lives out 24/7 anyways. I feel it is mentally good to do this with a youngster and then at three they are a little more likely to understand some light work.


                      • Original Poster

                        Wow thanx for all your help guys. It helps to hear other people's experience/thoughts. Jessiesgrrl I still can't believe they start TBs so early, even tho I worked in the industry & even rode the poor babies for years! And it rarely bothers the owners that their horses aren't going to stay sound past their 3rd birthday? Crazy hey.
                        Alto thx for your comment! I've never had a warmblood before & must say I'm warming to them yes the "work" he is in is under saddle, but probably for no more than 15-20 minutes max. & mainly walking around, having a graze etc. Def not on the bit, no circles etc.
                        I totally want to have this horse sound for the rest of his life. My Arab gelding I broke at 3 (or maybe 3 1/2? Can't remember) & he's still going strong & never had a lame day 10 years later, having done dressage, jumping & campdrafting.
                        I think I will keep riding him as I am for a month or 2, then he can have another break. He'll be 3 in feb. I pony him a lot out on the trails but he is an alpha horse & doesn't matter which horse I'm ponying him off they are always intimidated & it ends in tears!


                        • #13
                          I have 2 girls that are both 2 1/2. They are both on the larger side - both 1/2 han crosses.

                          While I don't lunge them per se - they have their lunging manners in place, have worn some tack - one has had a bridle on and both have had a little exposure to the jump chute - just rails on the ground and a tiny x.

                          I will start long lining them this winter. I will probably back them in the spring.


                          • #14
                            usually not much. I like to lead them off another calm horse on some short trail rides. Through water...up and down hills etc. Mostly walking but some trotting.

                            A few I have backed lightly...but most I don't bother. They might wear a bridle or saddle a few times....but really, just leading them out on trails or taking them along for the ride on a trailer (usually to a lesson or show, where they are just on the trailer and/or walk around...not being ridden).

                            They have a lot of growing still...and enough to worry about their own balance. No need to pack a rider on their back yet or go in circles.
                            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **