Backing 3/4yr olds

TheMule

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I haven't made a post on here for a very long time but I thought I would use the time gained on lockdown to document my progress with my two 3yr olds. I'm hoping other people can join in to share their stories too as time progresses.

Disclaimer: I wasn't aiming to start them until the Summer but they're both reasonably mature, the weather is amazing, I have time on my hands and everywhere is wonderfully quiet. I am keeping activities low risk and using my judgement, I have done this many times before. I have my own land so no fellow liveries we’re harmed in the making of this post!

I will post below with introductions to my 2 beasts, please feel free to introduce your baby horses too!
 

TheMule

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Baby equine number 1: The Mule (my namesake!)

Emulate came to me at the age of 6 weeks along with her mother who was a Spanish import who popped out a surprise baby a few months later. The woman that owned her wasn’t set up for a foal, I needed a companion for my homebred and I've had a thing about having a mule for a few years so a chance post on a mule group on Facebook saw this little cutie coming to live with me

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She has been a total delight. She is strong willed and sensitive so she is going to take time. We think her daddy was a giant donkey and her dam is andalucian, she is about 14.2hh at the moment.

She shows a surprising talent for jumping, hopefully she will turn into an all-purpose riding mule to have some fun with.

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She has started to go our for in hand walks from the ground and from another horse and is doing basic groundwork in the arena.

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TheMule

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Baby equine no.2: Nova

Nova is my homebred. I have had his mother for 14years, I evented her and then SJd her when she started to find the dressage at the higher levels too stressful. She had a foal by ET but sadly I lost her at 18months so Nova is really precious (and subsequently very spoilt by me and his mother!)

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He is small at around 15hh but very mature and he absolutely adores any kind of attention so is loving starting a bit of 'work'. He is going out for walks with his mother and I have been leaning over and getting quietly on. He is very straightforward so he will do a little bit of gentle hacking and then get left until next year.

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He is bred to jump and seems to enjoy the bits he has done so far, so fingers crossed

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KEK

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Great post! Following. May I ask about the free jumping, how old were they when they started that and how much do you do?
 

J1993

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I have a 4 year old which I started in around Feb half term so 7 weeks ago. I always said I was sending away but have ended up doing it myself and wow it is so rewarding! I have sat on and had a little trot and a walk but it's been a max of 5 times. She is still really weak for a 4 year old and needs time. So I've been off work for 3 weeks now and have really stepped up with the long reining. She is now fantastic on and off roads, over ditches, steps etc.. she has taken everything 10x better than I ever would of thought. She has also gone onto better turnout and is putting weight on nicely and building up her muscle. I am so happy with her. I have owned her from a month old and just taken my time with everything and it is really paying off.
 

TheMule

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Great post! Following. May I ask about the free jumping, how old were they when they started that and how much do you do?
They both jumped twice at 2yrs, following an older horse in the school- pole, small cross, little upright and then a spooky thing in both directions. I have jumped them once this year out in the field on the rope halter. Nova will do a bit more in the summer if the futurity evaluations go ahead as he'll need to jump for that.
 

TheMule

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I have a 4 year old which I started in around Feb half term so 7 weeks ago. I always said I was sending away but have ended up doing it myself and wow it is so rewarding! I have sat on and had a little trot and a walk but it's been a max of 5 times. She is still really weak for a 4 year old and needs time. So I've been off work for 3 weeks now and have really stepped up with the long reining. She is now fantastic on and off roads, over ditches, steps etc.. she has taken everything 10x better than I ever would of thought. She has also gone onto better turnout and is putting weight on nicely and building up her muscle. I am so happy with her. I have owned her from a month old and just taken my time with everything and it is really paying off.
It's just so rewarding isn’t it? I think long reining is a fab way to get them out into the world and such great education for them.
How is your girl bred?
 

j1ffy

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Thank you for sharing this - I love the mule! Have you ever seen an Andalusian donkey? They are huge and often used for riding / driving in the area I visit in Cadiz province: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andalusian_donkey

I've sent my 3yo back to my Spanish trainer to be backed. He's been there for a month and has lunged, been sat on and done some in-hand work. He'll stay for a few months (lockdown dependent!!) then back here to be turned away for winter. I can't wait to see him, I should have been visiting last week :(

I'm not sure he's too impressed with learning in-hand work ;)
 

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TheMule

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Thank you for sharing this - I love the mule! Have you ever seen an Andalusian donkey? They are huge and often used for riding / driving in the area I visit in Cadiz province: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andalusian_donkey

I've sent my 3yo back to my Spanish trainer to be backed. He's been there for a month and has lunged, been sat on and done some in-hand work. He'll stay for a few months (lockdown dependent!!) then back here to be turned away for winter. I can't wait to see him, I should have been visiting last week :(

I'm not sure he's too impressed with learning in-hand work ;)
They're adorable, aren't they?! I'd love to take her to Spain to do a long trek through the hills one day.
Is he PRE? Can I ask why you decided to send him to Spain to be started?
 

Palindrome

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Following as I will be backing my filly in a few months, but I can't see her for the moment (lockdown + she is a 2 hours drive from home). I am so excited to start working with her. She is dressage bred.
The picture is from last year, just after she turned 2, she is the black one.

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ihatework

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We definitely need lots of Mule updates, she is adorable (and Nova of course!)

Well my 4yo update is rather regretfully one where the only part I play is making some decisions and paying the bills. Not quite how I had envisaged it to be but the horse is too small, too reactive and my back is too bad for me to do him myself 😔

Anyway .... Oz - rising 4, by Balou du Rouet and out of my dressage mare.
CE43D556-FAA3-4729-B075-AEEDEAFA22A5.jpeg

Oz a few days old

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Just weaned 382E2780-192E-49F5-AEEA-5678663E74A0.jpeg

As a 3yo he went for 8 weeks of backing which was mostly in hand work with a little sit & ride away. Then I enthusiastically dragged him out to a little in hand show. We also attempted to loose jump him but had to give up on the idea as he kept jumping out, so he got attached to a lunge line!
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Went back for restarting in January, did 9 weeks, had a couple of arena hires and learnt to jump under saddle then went back out 24/7 which is where he is currently loafing for the forseeable

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Michen

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We definitely need lots of Mule updates, she is adorable (and Nova of course!)

Well my 4yo update is rather regretfully one where the only part I play is making some decisions and paying the bills. Not quite how I had envisaged it to be but the horse is too small, too reactive and my back is too bad for me to do him myself 😔

Anyway .... Oz - rising 4, by Balou du Rouet and out of my dressage mare.
View attachment 43696

Oz a few days old

View attachment 43697

Just weaned View attachment 43703

As a 3yo he went for 8 weeks of backing which was mostly in hand work with a little sit & ride away. Then I enthusiastically dragged him out to a little in hand show. We also attempted to loose jump him but had to give up on the idea as he kept jumping out, so he got attached to a lunge line!
View attachment 43700 View attachment 43701 View attachment 43702

Went back for restarting in January, did 9 weeks, had a couple of arena hires and learnt to jump under saddle then went back out 24/7 which is where he is currently loafing for the forseeable

View attachment 43698

Out of interest IHW, what makes the reactivate nature put you off at this stage? Given he’s still very young, Boggle at that age would have been written off as too sharp/reactive but I wouldn’t call him that now?

Or more the height issue?
 

ycbm

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30 January 2015
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We definitely need lots of Mule updates, she is adorable (and Nova of course!)

Well my 4yo update is rather regretfully one where the only part I play is making some decisions and paying the bills. Not quite how I had envisaged it to be but the horse is too small, too reactive and my back is too bad for me to do him myself 😔

Anyway .... Oz - rising 4, by Balou du Rouet and out of my dressage mare.
View attachment 43696

Oz a few days old

View attachment 43697

Just weaned View attachment 43703

As a 3yo he went for 8 weeks of backing which was mostly in hand work with a little sit & ride away. Then I enthusiastically dragged him out to a little in hand show. We also attempted to loose jump him but had to give up on the idea as he kept jumping out, so he got attached to a lunge line!
View attachment 43700 View attachment 43701 View attachment 43702

Went back for restarting in January, did 9 weeks, had a couple of arena hires and learnt to jump under saddle then went back out 24/7 which is where he is currently loafing for the forseeable

View attachment 43698

Smart little horse you've got there.

.
 

TheMule

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14 October 2009
Messages
4,113
We definitely need lots of Mule updates, she is adorable (and Nova of course!)

Well my 4yo update is rather regretfully one where the only part I play is making some decisions and paying the bills. Not quite how I had envisaged it to be but the horse is too small, too reactive and my back is too bad for me to do him myself 😔

Anyway .... Oz - rising 4, by Balou du Rouet and out of my dressage mare.
View attachment 43696

Oz a few days old

View attachment 43697

Just weaned View attachment 43703

As a 3yo he went for 8 weeks of backing which was mostly in hand work with a little sit & ride away. Then I enthusiastically dragged him out to a little in hand show. We also attempted to loose jump him but had to give up on the idea as he kept jumping out, so he got attached to a lunge line!
View attachment 43700 View attachment 43701 View attachment 43702

Went back for restarting in January, did 9 weeks, had a couple of arena hires and learnt to jump under saddle then went back out 24/7 which is where he is currently loafing for the forseeable

View attachment 43698
Lovely Oz :)
Thankfully this is the right age for them to have a quiet year (and maybe grow another inch or two?!)
 

TheMule

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Following as I will be backing my filly in a few months, but I can't see her for the moment (lockdown + she is a 2 hours drive from home). I am so excited to start working with her. She is dressage bred.
The picture is from last year, just after she turned 2, she is the black one.

View attachment 43691
She looks super smart- how is she bred?
 

ihatework

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Out of interest IHW, what makes the reactivate nature put you off at this stage? Given he’s still very young, Boggle at that age would have been written off as too sharp/reactive but I wouldn’t call him that now?

Or more the height issue?
im far too heavy for him and my back is so bad that a whip round can have me barely walking for a week. If I were fully fit and of an appropriate weight I’d be more inclined to do him myself. He actually isn’t naughty, just very sensitive.
 

daffy44

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Such lovely youngsters! I love the mule, and ihw's 4yr old looks very scopey.

I have a 3yr old warmblood that I bought as a foal, I have his 5yr old half brother who was a joy to do, and I hope the 3yr old will be the same. He is the cuddliest horse I've ever had, I think his dream would be to be allowed to spend his evenings on the sofa! I havent done much with him, but so far he has been very easy, bold, calm and learns quickly, he wont be backed properly until end of this year/beginning of next.
 

TheMule

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She is by Rhodium (Ferro) and out of an hanoverian mare by Salvano (grand sire of Salinero).

And yours? You talk about his dam but which stallion did you choose?
He is by Escape Z and dam is by Fleetwater Opposition, with a good dash of New Forest pony in there.
I chose the stallion to put a bit more power in the jump and try to iron out some of her (many) conformation flaws. I'm really pleased with what they made, he went Elite at the futurity and he's just the type I love to ride.
 
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