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Groundwork gurus: When do you get on the horse?

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  • #21
    Originally posted by Beverley View Post
    so he went on to a very successful rodeo career as a saddle bronc. Oops, sorry for the digression.
    I had a Paint broodie brought in who would lunge/longe/whatev, pick up hoofies, bend on the ground, back, whoa, whathaveyou...till the toe of your boot touched the stirrup, then she went sky high. I mean, like I was standing there with my leg in the air, my hands on the saddle horn and in her mane and the next split second, I was looking at the stirrup at eye-level. She bucked around the round pen for a time or two then she actually sucked out from under the saddle...left it on the ground in front of her! Yep, the cinch had been carefully tightened, it was enough to hold the saddle should I had stepped on. I'd heard my uncle talk about horses doing that but thought it was a windy story from the old cowboy days. Nope, there she was in the flesh and the saddle on the ground. I took one look at her, walked to the house, called the owner and said to come get her. They tried someone else after me and the mare hurt that guy. Then she was sold to a rodeo company and on her first trip out, bucked so hard, she went into the fence and broke her neck. If she could have held it together and not gone into the fence, I'm sure she would have been a h*lluva saddle bronc.
    GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!

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    • #22
      well, in general you shouldn't ride horses until they are 4 or so, so you have 4 years to do lots of groundwork. If you lay your foundation well with your groundwork, you'll have a well-behaved horse who readily and easily, with no fuss, accepts the rider on his back.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by wendy View Post
        well, in general you shouldn't ride horses until they are 4 or so, so you have 4 years to do lots of groundwork. If you lay your foundation well with your groundwork, you'll have a well-behaved horse who readily and easily, with no fuss, accepts the rider on his back.
        Well, in general, horses really should be started by professionals or someone under their direction and so, any one way you want to go about it, at any age, you will not have any problems.

        For some decade now, studies have shown horses started at 2 year old have better learning curve and stay sound physically and mentally than those started later.

        Makes sense, just as a human athlete or student, that starts early to learn, while is still a physical and metal sponge, especially with motor skill development and learning a good work ethic, tend to go further than those that start later and miss much learning time at the optimal, younger stage.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by Bluey View Post
          Well, in general, horses really should be started by professionals or someone under their direction and so, any one way you want to go about it, at any age, you will not have any problems.

          For some decade now, studies have shown horses started at 2 year old have better learning curve and stay sound physically and mentally than those started later.

          Makes sense, just as a human athlete or student, that starts early to learn, while is still a physical and metal sponge, especially with motor skill development and learning a good work ethic, tend to go further than those that start later and miss much learning time at the optimal, younger stage.
          I have found, through my trial and error, that the long yearlings and two year olds seem to do better than if I waited till later. I've not noticed lamenesses, even years later on the younger started ones. To me, it has more to do with genetics (was the dam or sire broke down from doing something physically hard and, well, h*ll, let's breed them because of great blood) and what kind of weight the young'un is carrying around. Overfeeding does a lot of damage too. What kind of riding is done on the colt? To me, a 15 minute ride is better than an hour of roundpenning. Keeps the mind and body fresh, those short rides.

          ETA: Someone once told me about micro-fractures in the bone. A young horse needs them to produce even stronger bone. That was why a lot of young racehorses were walked on paved roads, to strengthen the bone. It's something like walk one day and have the next day off.
          Last edited by goneriding24; Apr. 28, 2013, 12:16 PM. Reason: .
          GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!

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          • #25
            I don't train anything anymore. Ours always started in long lines as 2 year olds. They learned some basic work on the lead prior to that: walk, whoa, etc.

            I usually kept them in long lines for about a year. We'd go all over every where, up and down the road. I'd take them to shows and ground drive all over the show grounds. I wanted them to be exposed to a lot of stuff before I got on them.

            Once they seemed to be a little blaze about that, had a confirmed WHOA and a sold stand, we started the mounting process. Slowly. Introducing the mounting block first, then leaning, then weight in the stirrup, then sitting. And the first few rides were on the lead line. I'm cautious. We never had a rearer or a bucker.
            Ride like you mean it.

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            • #26
              You can really start horses at any age, I've known of 8 and 9 year olds started under saddle. But my own preference is to start 'em at 2. That is not to be confused with overworking them at 2. I've just found them better on the whole, for the long run, than horses started later, recognizing that there are many, many variables that affect how easy or hard a horse is to start at any age.

              But we digress.

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