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When should you begin to brake minis to drive?

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Secret Hills Ranch

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I've heard all different ages, but I'm not sure... My 2 colts are 2 and 1/2 some people say go ahead and start them, wile others say wait until they are 3, while others say start them very lightly like ground driving progressing into actually pulling once or twice a week. What does everyone think? I'm kind of leaning towards starting them slowly, I think that may be the way to go. I don't want to start them to early and have them get hurt or burnt out, I just don't know what to think... What's everyone else's opinion on this? Thanks in advance.
 

rabbitsfizz

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You know your horses, so you know their build, their mental state, etc, far better than anyone else. Myself, I might teach a horse this young to long rein and even pull a tyre. If it were mentally mature enough I might even put it to the cart, and then that is about it until next year. I do find, whatever age they are, they do better for having been "started" and then left a while to think about it. I never count an animal as a "driver" or a riding animal for that matter until it is a full four years old. Old fashioned, I know, but I am presuming you have the rest of the horses life, so why hurry??
 

Jill

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Many of my driving minis have been started as 2yo's. If you think yours are ready, I'd go on and start one or both now. Just take it slow and easy.
 

Fred

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I generally start mine late in their 2 year old year but I also take into

consideration their mental maturity. I have one I tried to start at 2 and he almost

killed me, but at 5 he was ready to go. I also do not consider a horse "broke"

until after a full year of solid driving with lots and lots of miles. Linda B
 

Miniv

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One of the finest nationally known trainers for driving miniatures I know (IMO) would probably advise you to go ahead and ground drive a 2.5 year old if it was mentally ready. But finish off with a cart at age 3.....IF it was ready. She always stressed that each horse was different in mental maturity. I am speaking of a lady named Portia Sue. I can't remember her new married name, I'm embarrassed to say.

MA
 

hhpminis

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I agree with the advice already given.

Each horse is different but most can start with ground work at 2 - 2 1/2 yrs old. They may even drag some poles around and such but they really should not bear much weight until they are 3.

I like to have a lot of ground miles on before I ever hook a horse so I do start mine in there second year.

My first mini I had long lining as a yearling. She was my only one, I had lots of time and she seemed to enjoy it, but I never had her pull any weight or even hook her until she was 3.

My young ones start in the round pen with the eventual intention of driving so I work on the "engine" from an early age, it is just a natural progression for me from regular conditioning into long lining, ground driving, poles, eventually hooking and then that long awaited day of getting in the cart for the first time.

IMO you are fine to start him.
 

justaboutgeese

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You can start their training at any age. Start by teaching them to walk, trot and whoa by voice command before you move onto long lines and eventually a cart. Hold off on heavy work until they are three year olds.
 

Secret Hills Ranch

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Thanks much guys! I really appreciate the advice! I'm going to start ground driving and lots of round pen work! Thanks much! I'll post pics when I can!!!
 

billiethekid40

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This is a good time to start ground driving. Introduce harness, learn round pen work, ground drive. By late fall you should have some nice ground work done. I agree with 'fizz here. Work them till Oct-Nov, then give them the winter off (keep up leading and manners though!)

Start up again in the spring when they are fully 3. Do some more ground work (as much as it takes until you feel they are mentally and physically mature enough), then introduce pulling the cart.

Over the winter you can work on other things- halter, halter obstacle, take them new places, introduce them to things they might see while driving, etc. This is how my horse was started, slowly with lots of ground driving then a winter break (who really wants to ground drive in the snow anyway
) before resuming work with a much more mature horse (debatable for some, I know
)
 

Secret Hills Ranch

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Sounds great. I think that should give them a really great start. About how much time off should I give them. And should i expect to show them in driving at all next year?
 

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