Many people buy a horse which is too young for their requirements,
and consequently pay more than they should, as well as getting
a horse which lacks the required maturity and training. Less
often, the opposite mistake is made, of buying a horse which
is too old to provide the desired years of future riding.
This article considers these issues in terms of the advantages
and disadvantages of various horse ages.
Horse of 4 years. Horses typically start training at 3 years,
with basic training complete by age 4. Such a horse is old
enough for riding immediately but still young enough for advanced
training if you wish. Although it may be a bit more expensive
than a younger horse, the difference is partly offset by saving
the fees on basic training.
5 to 7 Years Old. A trained horse of this age has all the
advantages of a 4 year old. However, it will be more emotionally
mature and calmer, and may be trained to a higher level as
well. All of these factors make it easier to manage and more
reliable than a younger horse, so it is more suitable for
new riders and for children. However, as a horse gets older
it becomes more difficult and consequently more expensive
to train so one should ensure that the horse is fully trained
before the end of this period.
Over 7 Years. Older horses are increasingly calm and dependable.
Consequently, the older horse is great for children and new
riders. They are also less expensive to buy as they are less
popular. If the horse is not too old and has been well treated,
it should still have many years of riding left. However, one
would not want to purchase a horse which is too old for the
number of years you intend to ride it.
3 Year Old. A three year old horse (depending on breed) is
ready to start its training and you can enjoy this experience.
However, it is usually less expensive to buy a trained 4 year
old that is ready to ride than to buy a 3 year old and pay
for a year’s stabling and training.
Less than 3 years old. Watching a horse grow up can give
immeasurable pleasure, something like watching young children
mature. However, like young children, it can be difficult
to predict how they will turn out physically and otherwise,
so a foal is more of a gamble than a mature horse. Although
foals are less expensive to buy than mature horses of the
same quality, once one adds in the cost of stabling and training
before it is ready to ride, they are usually more expensive
in the end.
The above observations are of a general nature. The rate
at which horses mature and the age at which they should be
trained depends on the breed and the individual horse. If
you are intending to use the horse for show or competition,
associated age restrictions will also be a consideration.
Author Resource:-> Doug Stewart writes articles such