Many people like to start a young horse’s formal training and show careers at two years old.Â But in my opinion, it is critical to consider developing a training time frame according to maturity, growth stage and the mental capacity of the individual.
I think so many young horses fail, or are disappointments, due to starting training too soon and too hard. It is important to look at the overall factors as to the time to begin formal training.
First of all, the breed. Some breeds of horses are very early maturing and others are not. It is still important to look at this aspect on an individual basis. It takes an experienced eye to pick out an individual that is ready for training.
Secondly, the type of training work to be performed. For example, jumping, galloping and similar impact types of work need to be carefully considered. Bone growth plates that are not completely formed can lead to injury and soreness.
Personally, I like starting formal training at three years of age. Usually, 60 to 90 days of training with a break of 30 days is really beneficial to a young horse.
Jackie Brittain, Merriewold Morgans Trainer