This Is The Right Way To Start A Young Horse Under Saddle


I love seeing young horses started this way. Makin Chic Shine is obviously an incredibly talented reining prospect. Her rider has allowed her to remain soft, supple and sane! This mare obviously has a lot of natural talent & willingness to learn.

I have seen so many great horses like this, with loads of talent that are already burned out. It’s easy for trainers to take advantage of natural talent and a willingness to learn and push it too far too fast. They end up mentally and physically fried.

I’d much rather buy a horse that has been started this way, than a horse that’s sliding farther and spinning faster because there is a big chance they’ll also burn out or break down faster!

Do You Think This Is The Right Way To Start A Horse Under Saddle?

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I know there will be critics that don’t believe a 2 year old should even be ridden and think this horse is also being pushed too hard. I understand their point of view. Let us know – Do you agree that this is the right way to start a horse under saddle or do you think this horse is also being pushed too hard?

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17 Responses

  1. Rick Gates

    This filly is obviously far past just being started. This trainer is also obviously a very good trainer. I just don’t like getting a horse to this point before at least 3 yrs. old. What is the exact age of this one? She has had a lot of riding before this video was made. Very good trainer.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      She had about 60 days at the time of this video. She is a very sweet, soft horse. Nothing has been forced on her, she has wanted to go around like this from the start.

      Reply
  2. Kim Hice

    Why is her head so low.. I don’t understand why it’s ok for a reining horse to carry their heads lower than their knees but everyone raises hell when a western pleasure horse does the same thing .

    Reply
    • Kimba

      When my mare was just being started, she carried her head this low, too. Was sort of disconcerting to me, since the horse I had before her was a Morgan and carried her head much higher. I discovered the head carriage was natural and normal for Quarter Horses at this stage of their training. It helps with balance. Now that my horse is a bit older and more used to carrying a rider her head is higher naturally. It will always be lower than a lot of horses because she is a QH and that’s the way she’s built, but the more balanced she is, and the more experience she has, the easier it is for her to carry her head a bit higher. I’m sure this horse int he video will also raise her head a bit as she becomes more experienced.

      Reply
      • Kathy

        Yes, she has wanted to carry herself this low from the beginning. This was when she had about 60 days of riding.

      • Anonymous

        THanks for the explanation I hate to see horses with this low of a headset

      • Anonymous

        Being a Quarter Horse has nothing to do with the head being that low. ( as in the video). Some QH’s have conformation to carry a level head set but most do not. It is not natural and the horse in the video has to have had its head trapped for lots of hours to be that fluid and off the bit, with it head that low. Would much rather see a horse with a natural head set than this, they move better and look better.

    • Elk River Rancher

      I would never feel comfortable or confident with a youngster’s head this low … as mentioned by others, it does not appear ‘natural’ at all, and it puts the horse way ahead in the game of dumping its rider at its leisure. Aside from the absurdly low – for a youngster – headset, I also am astonished that the rider has spurs on her heels, particularly long-shanked roweled spurs, on a rider whose foot position is very noticeably heels turned in, toes turned out

      Reply
  3. LBadj

    Pushed too soon. I don’t believe in putting a horse to work until 3.5 – 5 years when they are physically mature. The only reason to push harder is for human vanity, futurities, to profit financially at the expense of the horses health.

    Reply
  4. Cassie

    I think she’s really nice for a 2 yr old. However, I don’t like how far the head carriage is, because when they carry their heads this far down they begin to move downhill. I have a stud colt that carries his head naturally low, as in level. One of the big things I don’t like about the AQHA reining circuit, most NRHA horses don’t carry their heads like pleasure horses.

    Reply
  5. TB Training Stables

    Third option, not pushed far enough? Not that I would agree with that, but it should be there. I can’t select either one without contradicting myself. I think some things were pushed too far (over training of the neck) and others not enough – specifically the hind end engagement. This horse looks unmotivated and heavy on the forehand. I train with the priority reversed -where hind-first propulsion is most important and headset is left to find its own balance. Of course that is not going to happen overnight, but this horse has clearly been ridden for a while and in the wrong order, in my opinion. This is why I don’t get into straight reiners.

    Reply
    • Kathy

      This was about 60 days of training. I did not force this head set, this is where she has wanted to carry herself. I refuse to make her lift her head to make other people feel better. I take everything slow & her normal ride times are 20 to 30 minutes. I also work on impulsion but again, this is 60 days into her training, I’m not a miracle worker, it doesn’t happen over night.

      Reply
      • TB Training Stables

        Thanks for the reply. Glad to hear she is that green! We’ve all had a few rubberneck horses. Working on simple back to front impulsion like tighter lope circles and keeping those shoulders up will level the neck on its own. In being critical, I forgot to compliment you on an overall job well done.

  6. Linda

    2 is way to young to be riding. Why is this horse’s nose practically touching her knees…not training a natural headset … pole is below the withers and way too heavy on the front end.

    Reply
  7. SSPH

    Whether she wants her head there or not ,like the stated comment above, looks like priorities were backwards.. And even MORE so with a filly that wants to carry herself so low!
    Impulsion is important yes but not without proper balance thru the entire body and back to front… I don’t see her being so sure of where her feet are going and as fancy as it seems for a 2 YO to be doing this under saddle how on earth will she get her forehand out of the way for lead changes and balanced spins? Idk.. Definitely on the fence here.

    Reply
    • TB Training Stables

      That was my initial thought. She did state the horse has only about 60 days training so I can understand to a point. I would definitely be on top of these pretty quick if it were me.

      Reply

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