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At what age do you start training for Jumping and Driving

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#1 christina_ski


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Posted 24 May 2009 - 08:14 AM

Hi all,

I have a 2 yr old filly, that I have trained since birth pretty much. I started her in harness as a yearling, now wait before you yell at me lol. I just put the harness on her for a few minutes every now and then, to get use to everything being on her and something in her mouth. I started some light (5-10 min tops) Grounddriving her yearling year in winter. This spring she turned a full 2 (April 25th) and I started putting her in a bitting rig and trotting her in the round pen, and also taking her out and grounddriving asking for turns and such. I know some people will break them to carts as 2 yr olds, but I have no plans on putting her in the cart til this winter, and then none of me getting in until the beginning of spring. Or am I being too cautious? She is a big filly, 34.5 and is what I would call medium build. She looks very mature for her age, but mentally she is a 2 yr old. She has never had any problems with her legs, and I have always been real easy with her (She's my baby!) Just looking for some tips as to if I am going about this right or not?

And jumping, what age do you start them out? How high at first? Work them up to? When do you start using barrels and confusing looking jumps with them? Is it ok to do jumping and driving at the same time if you space them apart and the horse can handle it ok mentally? Just looking for any opinions that will help me out.

Here is a recent pic of her to show you her current build:

Christina Hensley

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#2 targetsmom


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Posted 24 May 2009 - 08:48 AM

I am not much of an expert, but I show at the Pinto shows where it is very common to drive and jump (and do everything else!). I know some "real" drivers cringe when they hear you want to jump and drive the same horse!!! But certainly many can handle it. BTW, the Pinto shows allow 2 year olds to drive AND jump, but I took things about like you are and waited until 3 or even 4 to show them. I have trained a couple of minis that we got as weanlings to drive and jump and both have been pretty successful. I have been pleased with them anyway!!

Some jumping tips: I start everyone over logs or fallen trees (we seem to have a lot of those, and they are poplars so have nice long trunks about a foot high). This teaches them to respect the jump. I would do this the fall of the 2 year old year. Also work with ground poles, cross rails and low jumps. I trained them the same way I would train a big horse to jump. I also do halter obstacle/trail, so I just naturally added things like flowers, towels, fake walls, and scary (but safe) things to the jumps. I happened to know how the Pinto shows are run (and how high the jumps go) so I trained with that in mind. Our minis don't need to jump higher than 30" which I work up to gradually. My goal in the ring is to get around the course and not get DQ'd and it is amazing how far that can take you!

Driving: I worked with a trainer for the actual hooking of the first one, which we tried in March of the year she turned 3. She proved to be somewhat of a problem (too smart for us!!) so it took until July of that year to actually get her hooked. Once she was hooked she was fine and is a wonderful driving mare. While we were waiting for her to come around (lots more ground driving) we started AND hooked a second 3 year old.

Good luck!! I'll bet you would love the Pinto shows...


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#3 christina_ski


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Posted 24 May 2009 - 09:11 AM

Thanks for the help, I too trained her for Halter Obstacle so I like to throw in tarps, flags, puddles, flowers, logs anything and everything around the yard. I would LOVE to come to the pinto shows. I am planning on getting all my pintos in the PtHA so I can show them there. I was waiting till this one turned 3 to take her over there. She has always been a real easy horse to train, and loves to learn new things. She training to be my all around. She already does halter, halter obstacle, color, and liberty. And I am working to add on Country Pleasure driving, Obstacle driving, and Hunter. With time of course.

Christina Hensley

#4 Matt73


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Posted 24 May 2009 - 09:26 AM

I wouldn't start jumping until at least 3 years of age. I know with big horses, when I was training, most didn't start jumping until 3 or 4.

#5 rabbitsfizz


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Posted 24 May 2009 - 09:58 AM

I'm sorry but, IMO, all that work with her as a yearling is a big waste of time.
You would have been much better off teaching her things she was mentally able to take in, rather than trying to teach her things she had no need to even think about until she was three, at least!!
Putting a blanket on will teach her almost as much as putting harness on her.
Christina, you have no need to do it this way, believe me, simple handling and leading etc is plenty.
Ground driving as yearling???
No, no way!!
I have never, ever had any horse I have started in harness object to having the harness put on it, there is no reason why it should, really, so what is the point of putting it on a baby??
I do not start a horse until the spring of it's third year, not actually in harness.

And I would never, ever mouth a yearling, as it is just not mentally able to take any of that in.
So if you are thinking of doing this, please don't!!!
I would not jump a horse under four years old, either, that is the generally accepted age of mental and physical maturity, although some big horses need longer to mature than even that.

The less you do, workwise, with a horse before it is four, the longer the horse will be able to work after it is four.
You can play and muck about as much as you want, handle, pick up feet, groom, clip and even, if safe, traffic proof, but leave the adult work until they are adults.


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#6 MiLo Minis

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 11:20 AM

I will start a Miniature that is mature driving at 2. I usually do the groundwork and harnessing in the spring of their second year and hitch them up in the fall. They get laid off over the winter and in the spring of their third year they go to work. There aren't many that aren't mentally, physically mature enough for this at that age.

Jumping is another thing. There is more stress on them physically as well as mentally when it comes to jumping. At 2 I will work them over ground poles and that is it. Groundpoles and small cavelletti at 3 working gradually to a short course of jumps no more than a foot high. At 4 I will start them really jumping with different types of jumps - oxers, verticals, coops, walls, etc. Teach them how to work a line and do a combination. Miniatures actually mature physically a bit quicker than full size horses and they don't have the same stress on them as they don't carry the same weight that a full size horse does. I wouldn't necessarily start my full size horses actually jumping anything other than cavelletti till they were as much as 6 or 8 years old.
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