have a yearling Quarter Horse colt that is approximately 14 hands and
pretty stocky build...when can I start to break and ride him? B
yearling should receive a thorough ground training program including good in-hand
manners, longeing, trailer loading and good behavior for all grooming (including
bathing) and health care (including hoof care.)
you have accomplished all of that, you can saddle and bridle the horse in his
two year old year and continue the longeing training and even add long-lining.
generally don't ride young horses until they are 2 1/2 years old (usually the
fall of their two year old year) for only a few rides just to give them the idea
of what will come later.
I resume riding training in their 3 year old year.
trainers start horses under saddle as "long yearlings" which means about
18-24 months and others routinely ride 2 year olds to ready them for futurities
I have found that horses stay sound longer if they are not worked too early or
too hard too early.
you start your horse will depend on many factors which you will have to weigh.
In my situation, I always have plenty of mature horses to ride and am not preparing
young horses for futurities and I have had great success with long-term soundness
by using the program outlined above. In fact, in some cases, I don't
start riding horses until their four year old year (but they have extensive ground
training) and things still go very well and the horses are sound as very old horses.
Be sure to read my books How to Think Like a Horse, Making Not Breaking, Longeing
and Long Lining the English and Western Horse and 101 Longeing and Long Lining
Exercises. They describe my entire training program in detail and give you many
useful exercises you can do with your horse.