||Ohio Icelandic Horses, 3 1/2 months old being
handled by an Advanced Beginner
Question: I have two Icelandic foals, both were just weaned within the
last few days. One is a colt 15 weeks old the other a filly 17 weeks old.
I would like to know what type of training I should be doing with
and at what age to start them to saddle.
From Panelist Lukka
The icelandic horse is not started under saddle untill 4 years old,
only asked for light work untill it's getting 6 years old. But
then you can
also often ride them untill they're 25 years old or older.
It is important not to work youngsters very hard, and the young weanlings
have do only need the basic training to be easy to handle. They
need to learn
to be haltered, to be led, to trailer-load, to have their feet trimmed,
tolerate fly spray and baths and other such basic things. Otherwise,
need space and time to be allowed to be youngsters and have fun.
that they are two together, so they can play together.
From Panelist Laura
Remember that these two horses are babies and keep their "work" sessions
short. Just work for a few minutes each day. You can increase
the time you
work with them when they are older. You should probably work
on such things
as leading, stopping, picking up their feet, grooming, leading over
obstacles (poles, plywood, tarps, etc), and get them used to getting
trailer, fly spray, clippers and blankets.
You should wait until they are at least 2 or 3 years old before starting
under saddle. When they are ready to start depends on their physical
mental maturity. I feel it is better to start your horses later
earlier. You will have your horse for many years and an extra
year or two
delay at the beginning of their lives is a small price to pay for a
happy horse for the rest of their lives. Waiting until
your babies are 4 or
5 is not unreasonable if they are "late bloomers."
From Panelist Christine
I wonder why you weaned your foals so young? Unless the mares are in
poor condition most breeders with Icelandics leave the foals with their
mothers until they are 6 months at the earliest, but usually 8-9 months
As a breed that matures more slowly the foals thrive on being with
their mothers a bit longer, not only physically, but most importantly emotionally.
It is ideal for the young horses to grow up in a herd to learn respect
from the other horses. A lot of room is needed to allow them to develop
their muscles and lungs and learn about coordination by playing, running
and climbing hills.
As Lukka said they won't be ready to be started lightly under saddle
until they are 4 years old and then ready to work more the following year.
It is a long wait, but you will then have a useful riding horse well into
his twenties or even 30's.