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Exercises for the very young horse?

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  • Exercises for the very young horse?

    I have a coming three youngster, he was sat on once in the fall, turned out all winter and I bought him in May. When I went to see him, my ride was his fifth time under saddle.

    He has an exceptional brain, very kind and smart and wants to please. I have been riding him about 4 times a week, keeping it short and sweet.

    What are some good exercises to promote softness, balance and bending? He is picking up on things so quickly, and is a pretty naturally balanced horse. He's a bit softer laterally than he is directly. When I am walking serpentines, he's really getting the idea of bending around my leg and giving to my hand around the turn left or right. But when I ask him to give to a little bit of pressure directly from my hand going straight, he wants to brace against it. Any ideas?

    I'm really enjoying taking it slow with this guy, just want to make sure we start off on the right foot
    Erin and
    Instant Karma "Sunny", ShineDown "Liam"

    "You can't control the wind, but you can adjust the sails."
  • Original Poster

    Certainly in 86 views someone has a suggestion
    Erin and
    Instant Karma "Sunny", ShineDown "Liam"

    "You can't control the wind, but you can adjust the sails."


    • #3
      A coming 3 youngster? I wouldn't be doing any "exercises" at all. I'd be out hacking in the fields, slowly developing strength, balance, and coordination on their own, not worrying about where his head is or what any body parts are doing specifically. At that age, they need to learn pace and direction: go, turn, stop. Basic obedience at walk, trot, canter. Learn how to go open/close a gate. Walk through a creek. See deer, birds, traffic, etc with a steady buddy. Deal with uneven footing and hills. Slowly building up bone and muscle, mostly just walking and trotting.

      That's what I'd do. Many people will say it's too young to start them that age; but it depends on what you do with them. I've broken a few TB yearlings, and honestly it was quite easy; but most of the work I did at 2 y/o was out jogging in the open fields, definitely not drilling them in an arena. At that age, they don't need to learn anything about "on the bit"-- just soft, guiding contact, and Go Forward. Standard for all young horses, whether they go to the track or not.
      “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
      ? Albert Einstein



      • #4
        I agree with Eventer AJ---even if the horse was coming 4.



        • Original Poster

          Good perspective AJ, I have not had one this young before! I wish we had more places to ride out, or access to some trails, but we do have some grass we could trot around on.
          I don't mean to drill him at all, I didn't mean that way, just not sure if even in our basic walking and trotting circles that I am getting the right ideas across. I am so blessed because he has an absolutely amazing brain and picks up on everything so quickly, just want to make sure I am doing everything right by him.
          But thanks for your insight, it hits the reset button in my brain as to what I should be thinking about with him
          Erin and
          Instant Karma "Sunny", ShineDown "Liam"

          "You can't control the wind, but you can adjust the sails."


          • #6
            I think it's easy to push the good ones too fast. One of our 3yo homebreds is just that way and I have to constantly keep myself from doing too much. I agree with the above posters about getting out of the ring, go over varied terrain, occupy their mind w/o drilling. Go to schooling shows and sit by the ring, school in the warmup getting used to traffic, trail ride. I do ground work/long lining/ and light lunging with side reins and I've found with that they come into the hand easily and on their own provided they understand forward. It usually just "clicks" one day when using a soft and steady hand pushing them forward into it.

            Best of luck with your youngster! This is such a fun time with the babies while they figure out who they are
            Nani Lio Farm, LLC


            • #7
              The Training Pyramid starts with rhythm and then relaxation before you can ever get a connection thought contact. So, for the young'un, get him forward and moving right out with energy (but don't get him rushy) so that he develops that rhythm and then the relaxation. ONLY then can you start affecting anything about him via contact.
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


              • Original Poster

                Thank you! I do look forward to getting him off the property to go see his buddies show, and walk him around like a big dog

                JB- that training pyramid is a great visual.

                Thanks all for the advice, it is truly appreciated!
                Erin and
                Instant Karma "Sunny", ShineDown "Liam"

                "You can't control the wind, but you can adjust the sails."


                • #9
                  I've been there! My guy was about the same age when I got him off the track. Spent some time on the basics and logged a lot of miles on the trail for his first year or so - he was gawky and immature physically but very quiet and mentally mature.

                  I'm not far from you at all, you are welcome to bring him to my place to trail ride any time. It did wonders for my horse to learn how to handle his body on different footing and hills.
                  ~ A true friend knows all there is to know about you and still likes you. -E. Hubbard


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks Mia I sent you a PM!
                    Erin and
                    Instant Karma "Sunny", ShineDown "Liam"

                    "You can't control the wind, but you can adjust the sails."