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Thread: What age would you back a horse?

  1. #11
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    We saddled and sat on River last summer, aged three. In total we had about three sessions of walking with OH at her head for about ten minutes at a time.

    She then had the winter off work altogether (not even ground work), and we're just now starting to lunge and long-rein again. I would have started sooner, but I was paranoid about injuring myself before the wedding! She'll be four in May, and it will probably be around her birthday that I start saddling her and sitting on again, so after about six weeks of ground work. We'll start hacking out when she's got the feel for walking on, standing (her best thing!) and has a better handle on steering without looking to a foot handler for so much reassurance. I don't plan to start schooling her until late summer/early autumn, but I'm quite happy to hang fire until next spring depending on how she gets on this summer. I see it that we've waited three years to get to this point, and potentially have another 20 years plus of riding her (she will almost certainly outlast my own riding ability!) so there's no need to rush anything.
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  2. #12
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    I'd wait until 4
    "The past is only the future with the lights on" - +44

  3. #13
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    I plan to maybe have a sit on Alfie next summer (as is June/July/August time) IF he's mature enough and I think he'd be ok with it as he's 4 in September and we'll be doing bits of groundwork. Then depending on how that goes maybe start some more 'proper' stuff over the winter/early next year (that'd be 2014 for anyone who's lost! ). If not it's not a worry, i'l just put everything back and see how he goes.

    In general though, no matter how mature the horse was absolutely no younger than 3 and a half is just my personal opinion. And even then I just mean sitting on and few hacks in walk, not proper stuff until they are 4 + .
    If I had nothing but I still had my horse and my Teddy, I'd still have everything I ever needed.

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  4. #14
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    It depends on the horse but no earlier than 3.

    Dandea I backed at 3 1/2 - just hacking, all straight lines, for 15-20 minutes per time 3-4 times per week mainly walk with bits of trot. I didn't do any school work (circles) until she was almost 5 as she was still growing and maturing. I did plan to do pretty much the same with Freyja starting this year (she will be 3 in June) but looking at her at the moment she is still very immature so I'm leaving it for now, just doing in hand work, and I'll see how she is looking by September. I may do something with her then or I may leave it until next year.

  5. #15
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    My Clevies have all, and the babies will be, backed at 4 ish and left to mature, IF they are ready for it in themselves.. Jack would happily be done now he's so chilled and mentally settled but is far too young.. Iggy will probably be later.. He's 3 next month but is immature and quite backwards when it comes to humans (bad times from birth to 2) so whenever he's physically and mentally..

    I backed Maje at 4 then left him til his brain engaged at 5.5 to start riding properly.. His sister was backed at 6 and ridden lightly from 7..

    Sis was 3 and imported at 4.. No idea about Mysti..

    Sammy was ride and drive aged 1 at least.. Bear in mind he is welsh A and they were big men.. Not done anything since other than inhand walks and a tiny bit of long reining since he was taken off the pikeys.. He's 4..

  6. #16
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    Levi was backed and hacked out on when she was 3, then had the winter off. Then took her back into work age 4 and started doing light schooling, just walking & trotting & poles. Shes mostly still hacked out more than anything cause I've not got round to getting lessons on her yet, and shes 5 next month. Hoping to get more down with her flatwork this year, cause shes ready for it, I'm just being lazy!

  7. #17
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    Oct 2009
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    Mine was sat on as a 3 year old, but literally just that. Then as a 4 year old he was very lightly backed but without a saddle, just a bridle and learning the basics of the aids in walk with a couple of tiny trots. I left him then all winter to have a think about what we did.
    I only feel comfortable to properly start work with him now as a rising 5 year old. He'll be starting in hand work soon. He was mature enough mentally a couple of years ago, but horses' bodies just aren't developed until they are older and I truly believe the reason there are so many joint problems these days is because babies are not being left to be babies.

  8. #18
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    Annie will be sat on and a tiny bit of work in terms of w&t for 15mins next Aug, when she'll be 3y3m. Then I'll leave her until the following spring to do anything more when she'll be 4. I'll probably give her that winter off (or at least a couple of months) as well, so she wont be consistently in year round work until age 5.

  9. #19
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    Annie must be about the same age as mine then, give or take a little bit. I will be getting on him at the end of next summer as well, all going well.
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  10. #20
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    Sep 2010
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    Definitely not before 3, ideally 3.5. We're backing RI's new baby at the minute, he'll be 4 in June and was sat on for the first time a couple of weeks ago the aim is to have him lightly hacking by the end of the summer and then turn him away over the winter to grow up a bit more, but hopefully not too much, he's a shire xID and 17.2hh already!!

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