What age should you break a horse to drive? Immature horses etc.

What age should you break a horse to drive? Immature horses etc.


Seren is a three year old mare that we broke to drive. Although she is going happily in single out on the roads, in a rubber bit, in our opinion she needs to go home
and physically mature before starting a full driving career. At
the moment her quarters are higher than her withers,
meaning she should grow a bit taller and although she has coped willingly with what we have asked her to do we feel that progressing any further with
her training will only make her sour. She needs to
devote her energy to growing up physically rather than working. Some people might
say from looking at the film that she does not
need further training as she is fully broken, but she is not
done to the standard we normally produce as there are still things we need
consolidate in her training. However in our opinion she needs some time off to
finish growing which will then allow her to focus
mentally on the job in hand therefore it is not fair to push her on any further just for the sake of completing the training. We want to give horses a good start to
their driving career; as well as the quality of training they
receive this also means taking into account their mental state and their actual age. For example some
horses are not mentally mature even at six though they might be
physically mature. This is why we do not believe in
breaking horses to harness as yearlings; they might be easier to train because
they are not physically able to resist but this does not prove any standard of horsemanship. There’s plenty that can be done with young horses to give them a
good start in life, for example getting them used to hosepipes, having their feet handled, rugs put on, tying up and leading calmly, loading into a lorry or trailer – all of which are necessary purely for owning a horse whether it is used for riding or driving
or kept as a field ornament. Some horses can be boisterous and need something to occupy their minds with at a young age and even in those that are young mentally, doing things with them as stated allows your horse to have a good introduction to the world in general without putting
it under undue physical strain. It is however important to differentiate
between horses that are not physically or mentally
capable of doing the work, and those that simply do not want to. All we can do is advise in our opinion what the best course of action would be with the particular horse we are training. In Seren’s case, her quick adaptation to harness work was
greatly assisted by the fact that her owners bought her up well. She has good manners, a friendly, willing, calm nature and was easily handled. Here Sarah is on the reins showing that she can drive Seren happily in a rubber bit out on the roads. Although Seren copes happily going past the tractor, she is not fit enough to go into town
yet and see the heavier traffic which is something we will focus on when
she returns to us for a refresher course after her break.

18 thoughts on “What age should you break a horse to drive? Immature horses etc.

  1. I fully agree.  One of the luxuries of breaking your own horse is that it doesn't have to be done in a number of weeks.  One of the best horses I ever broke, I put in harness as a yearling, having done much ground work with her as a baby.  She rarely worked more than 15 minutes in a session, and often not more than an hour in a week.  She learned to stand, be clipped, have her feet handled, lead, be harnessed and hitched and drive up and down a long driveway and in the fields.  She wasn't put into serious work until she was four.  She turned 33 last week, and she is still in light use.  She has never forgotten those early lessons even for a moment, but she was never asked to work hard before she was able.

  2. What is your opinion on breaking in older horses to harness? I have a 3 year old miniature who I don't think is mentally mature enough to be harness-broke yet but would still like to in the future. I am also considering training my 7 year old welsh D mare but I won't be able to for another year at least.

  3. I think that's brilliant though really, as too many people/trainers just want to get the job done and be paid for it, and some sending back a horse that's unfinished in it's training for what the owner paid for. I've heard so many horror stories of times people have sent horses off to trainers. But i love watching your videos, as this is how it should be done. You can't make horses grow any quicker than their bodies will allow, just like with a human you wouldn't push your own body too far, so why push an animals. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this video.

  4. What do you do if an owner doesn't agree or doesn't bring their horse back after taking it home for a rest?

  5. in most of your videos you use  4 wheeled carts, is there a reason you dont use 2 wheeled Gigs? I would be interested to know your views on this.

  6. I feel that the horse be a happy when Sarah drive it because she doesn't use the whip at her driving and she deal with the horse gently.

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