The Art of Natural Dressage

Age to start Riding/Working with a Young Horse
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Author:  xxSonnyxxandxxRedxx [ Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Age to start Riding/Working with a Young Horse

I've tried to search the site for answers to this but happen to have had no luck :/ So, I have a quick question, What age do you suggest I could start riding my young horse, Toby, and really working with him? He's 4 (5 in May) but is still really uneven and growing like a weed. He loves being played with, but I don't want to mess up his back like I did with Sonny (rode him at two because my trainer told me it was OK. I was only 11. Now I wish I had waited and researched it He really needs some hill therapy to get anything resembling a topline) and etc. And suggestions as to what we could play with now that can makes him think as well? Would all of the 'Level X' things be OK to play with him with? I just know he is bored out of his mind :) And, I hope that this was the correct forum to place this in :)


Author:  Josepha [ Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age to start Riding/Working with a Young Horse

The plates close with 6 to 7 years. I myself do only gymnasium play from 2,5 to 3,5, then careful work on hand from 3,5 to 5,5 then, if the horse is enough developed carefully start with groundwork in hand with a light rider with a good seat for 1 to 5 minutes, 1 tot 3 times a week. building that up in maximum 3 x 20 minutes a week by the time the horse is 6,5. Then daily work of 20 to 30 minutes, if preparation was correct and horse is normally healthy, should not pose any problems to my experience.

Author:  xxSonnyxxandxxRedxx [ Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age to start Riding/Working with a Young Horse

Thanks Josepha :)

Author:  Josepha [ Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age to start Riding/Working with a Young Horse

your welcome :)

Author:  Volker [ Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age to start Riding/Working with a Young Horse

I really like your timetable, Josepha :thumleft:. That´s what I call considerate and gentle training! It´s so rare today. I´m probably a total freak for most people, because I haven´t started riding my horse properly, although he´s already 4.5 years old :ieks:.

I just read the other day, that Guérinière recommended - at the beginning of the 18th century (!) - that a horse should be started at 6-8 years!

Author:  Josepha [ Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age to start Riding/Working with a Young Horse

De Pluvinel started groundwork only at 5,5.

This was all normal before 1830, from then horses only received kanon-meat training and did not need to last long, only be braindead and run hard in told direction (low school training of which modern sports and riding school developed)...
Just say to those people that you do not desire to train kanon-meat but a Riding Art horse that will remain an intelligent, loyal and above all healthy partner for at least 28 years...

Author:  Leigh [ Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age to start Riding/Working with a Young Horse

This is lovely to read!

Circe is coming six and we did a little bit of few minutes at a time passenger riding last year, and then took a break. (I felt that

i've gotten on her once since we got here.

This wasn't specifically calculated -- it's taken me a while to get over my fear after the big toss by Stardust (still having dizziness from the concussion all this time later), and I was here alone all winter with no arena -- it would literally have been days before someone found me if something had gone wrong.

But this has given me an unanticipated gift -- she's now beginning to understand the world through adult eyes. As I've mentioned in my journal, we've been working on self-discipline in a new way and she's getting it, feeling rewarded by doing it well, and not finding it simply a burden, which she did even last year.

(She still is a force of nature -- don't think we'll ever completely lose that! :yes: )

Because she's been able to start to do this differently, I'm realizing that our process beginning riding again is actually going to be very different -- I'm very excited about it, actually, because I'm beginning to understand how much more ready she is to be okay with and aware of having a person on her back.

I'm sure different horses mature emotionally at different rates, but this has gotten me much more aware of the emotional elements of being ridden than I'd ever been.

I don't think we're going to start to do anything that looks even vaguely seriously like riding until next spring -- Mark is about to leave for another two months and then we're going to be in the thick of winter again, so we will continue to play lightly a little...

Hope this is helpful!


Author:  iidala [ Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Age to start Riding/Working with a Young Horse

I too have took the first babysteps with my 4.5y.o. mare in the art of riding....we are, khm, walking..slowly...mostly in the direction she wishes to...and/or following another human along the arena...3 minutes twice a week at tops...
And that we do without a saddle. So she either gets the saddle or me on top, not both, not yet...I don't know even, why I find it somehow better. But yeah.

This topic is really calming...cause i just read how a trainer i know did all kinds of circles and serpentines and also started with ridden canter with a horse on the 8th time of riding him..and i was like. Yeah, well, i am up here for the...15th time? Or so...and we are still slowly walking in an undefined direction... So thank you, Josepha, for this input.

Author:  TansyToo [ Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age to start Riding/Working with a Young Horse

Hi Josepha,

What do you call the gymnasium games? I would like to start picking things up a bit with Maisie as she will be 3 in November and needs to learn some manners, as she still has a tendency to crowd. Not nearly as bad as this time last year, but still in need of refinement. She has a lot of can't, shan't, won't which I think is mostly stress working out of her system.


Author:  Romy [ Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Age to start Riding/Working with a Young Horse

Hi Maria, as Josepha might not read your question, I'll just give you a link to a post in which she has explained how she structures her ridden work and the preparation for it: The 5 step plan for healthy riding :f:

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