Your Two Year Old, by Jackie Brittain

Your 2 year old Morgan

Many people like to start a young horse’s formal training and show careers at two years old.  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.

2 yr old Morgan, HanahSecondly, 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.

Thirdly, a time frame that allows the young horse to gradually gain strength and fitness for a particular type of work. It is a fine balance between physical fitness and mental fitness to perform work with confidence.
2 yr old Morgan, LuckyIf the training program fits the individual, then you can rest assured that the time is right for the best effort that your horse can produce based on talent.

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.

Remember the goal is to have a well mannered, sensible and confident horse to ride and show and own.

Jackie Brittain, Merriewold Morgans Trainer