Whats the best age to back a cob?

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What is the best age to start riding/backing a cob? As i've been told they should be left slightly longer than finer horses as their limbs take longer to grow. Also at what age should you start long reining, lunging, tacking up etc..? Thanks :)
 
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What is the best age to start riding/backing a cob? As i've been told they should be left slightly longer than finer horses as their limbs take longer to grow. Also at what age should you start long reining, lunging, tacking up etc..? Thanks :)
Not true. read this and skip to page 6 if you don't want to read the whole thing.

http://www.equinestudies.org/ranger_2008/ranger_piece_2008_pdf1.pdf

However, I would also suggest that you don't back him until he's 4 years old.
 

Boulty

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I would also say leave it until 4 to back him, but no reason why you can't get him used to wearing tack, being introduced to "scary" things, going out for walks and general groundwork and the long reining before then.
 

rascal

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My three year old is used to saddle/rugs/handy pony type stuff, going for walks alone and in company, he will follow us over anything on the ground and is used to other animals. Last weekend he he called to a cow we went past on a walk, im sure he was waiting for it to answer! We dont believe in backing any horse untill its 4. I might leave him another year as he was neglected for around 18 months before we had him and he still looks very immature.
 

Rudey

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Swimming in coffee....
I have a three year old, he is tack broken, and has just started out with long reining. I am sending him to be broken when he has turned four next year.

I am not a fan of lunging youngsters, as going around in circles put unnecessary pressure on their joints. I had a chiropractor out last year and asked her opinion. She said that lunging at a young age can have an adverse effect on their musculoskeletal system, so much so, she has seen 8 year old horses have arthritis in their joints from too much work too young.

Apparently there is a bone in their back end somewhere, (forgive me, I can't remember the name of it), and this bone has rotational movement, but fuses together when horses turn 4 or 5 years. The chiropractor said with lunging, if not done correctly and lightly, you can cause this bone to become offset... and as you can appreciate, you wouldn't want it fusing incorrectly!

This is her opinion mind... an opinion I value, but nonetheless, it was enough to make me err on the side of caution and leave lunging well alone until he is older! xx
 
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My young cob was longreining out on hacks since 2yrs old. He much prefered it to leading out inhand as he loves going first!

He was first sat on (tied to a tree! Couldn't have cared less) at 2.5 then did bugger all else for a year. By 3.5yrs he was well used to wearing a saddle out on walks inhand/on longreins and had 'hacked' in hand everywhere and anywhere (no more than half hour as he was tired after anymore than that)

At 4 it was just a case of get on and go. He needed very little extra work as he was so used to everything. He hacked lightly over the summer and is now in average light work (hacking for an hours most days a week). Next spring (when he's 5) i'll do a schooling with him.
 

Sparkles

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For me, I'll always back at 2....get very brief basics [safely and calmly be tacked up, get on/off, walked round on, loose steering...plus small amount of trot in a straight line etc]
Turn away again after a few weeks on/off of this then start properly at 3 if mature enough.

However, the main majority are stallions which we do/will be doing, so reasons are purely that they're done at 2 before they're more 'developed' and potentially too strong. They're just so much easier mentally at 2 I find.
 
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oh dear think i may have backed my mare a bit late she is a shire x she is 8 though bought her unbacked and have to say the easiest horse i have ever backed i did have a big blagdon cob who i backed at 4 he was also easy
 
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So many cobs experience problems later because people start them too young and put too much strain on them. What's the bl****y rush?
When I brought my cob Gavin Schofield looked him over for me and warned against this. Sadly, the poor boy was retired by the age of 12, with arthritic changes in his front legs. He had been started at 2 and working at 3. Gavin had said that when horses are started too young they tend not to use their hind end properly to power themselves along but end up sort of "dragging" themselves from the front. Probably a poor explanation from me, but it was a long time ago but sure enough, Joe did get problems with his shoulders and front legs.
I hate to disagree with a fellow HH'er, but I really don't think that the fact that a horse is a stallion, or that it will be stronger for backing if you don't do it at 2 years old, is a good enough excuse. The point is that yes, they will be stronger if left until older, and so much the better for them. However strong the horse, correct handling is the key imho.
I had planned to back my Arab at 3 years old and turn her away for the winter. This was delayed by an operation on one of her legs, and with hindsight I was pleased. At four years old when I backed her she was mentally and physically such a different horse, and so much more ready. If I end up backing a horse of my own again (I feel I'm getting too old to get any more youngsters!) I wouldn't be on them before they were 4.
 

Cortez

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Handle/intro to tack at two if grown up enough mentally, lunge and lightly back at 3, ride a bit (W/T/C) at 4, maybe go to baby shows, and work from 5.
 

only_me

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Why is a cob different to a different type of horse (eg. A sports horse) regarding age of backing?

Most people Here back at 3 and then turn away for work at 4. Although I do know a dealer who finds that people don't want 4 year olds but do want 5 year olds - so he backs them at 4 for a few weeks and then turns them out, bringing them back in when they are 5 :p
 
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Persephone...... i am not a huge cob fan however all are different and i am not rude and arrogant enough to say something so stupid.

may i suggest you invest in a glass stomach. so u can still see despite you head being up ur a*se.
 

Sparkles

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I just said what I do, which is coming from a showing and stud perspective.
We need them in the ring ready to show at 4, so in their 3rd year, they are rebacked and start work from Autumn onwards [3.5] so they're ready for the first season in the coming Spring. They'll be competing in-hand up until then also, possibly also doing a few select coverings after 3. When they're coming 3 year olds, that is when they are sat on [bareback normally for first time], then tacked up and walked around in hand, then walked round with a light rider on, possibly having a few strides of trot in a straight line to finish just so they know to go forwards. Then are turned away and do not do any ridden work until the next Autumn, which leaves us with just the schooling and actual ridden work to start on then, rather than everything being completely new to them.
If we have one who is a late bloomer, then obviously we put it back until he has filled out more for ridden work.
But like I said. Each to their own and that's just what I do.

The hunters/TB/warmblood types we've had, we didn't even ride our baby warmblood till he was 4, nearly 5 as he was absolutely gangly and didn't mature till he was 7. We saw no help coming from breaking him any younger as he just wasn't ready for it. Each horse will be different.
 
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Bambridge04 - love it!
I only have my amazing cob mare because a spoiled teenager had the same attitude as the mis-informed individual above. We hunt regularly, and despite her tubby belly and dumpy legs (she only just makes 14.2), we manage to keep up with the jumpers. She'll happily fly over a 5ft hedge without a thought, and I wouldn't even have her if a bratty girl hadn't decided a coloured cob wasn't 'trendy' enough!
As for backing - I will be backing my 16hh sports horse x cob next summer, when he is 3.5yrs, though he isn't a 'cob' build, more of a hunter type. He already long-reins and has had all tack and a harness on, shows inhand and we go for inhand 'hacks', even though I bought him out of a crew yard as unhandled in early Spring this year. He's grown so much, only a couple of inches in height, but miles in confidence and character!
 
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My young cob was longreining out on hacks since 2yrs old. He much prefered it to leading out inhand as he loves going first!

He was first sat on (tied to a tree! Couldn't have cared less) at 2.5 then did bugger all else for a year. By 3.5yrs he was well used to wearing a saddle out on walks inhand/on longreins and had 'hacked' in hand everywhere and anywhere (no more than half hour as he was tired after anymore than that)

At 4 it was just a case of get on and go. He needed very little extra work as he was so used to everything. He hacked lightly over the summer and is now in average light work (hacking for an hours most days a week). Next spring (when he's 5) i'll do a schooling with him.
I agree with this, its a good system.
 

canteron

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I think there is a horrible habit of pushing many horses too young - possibly because of the economics and too many people want to get as much money for the horse as possible so push it too much too early.

So my answer to the question is it depends what you are looking for. If you want a horse that it fit sane and healthy for many years then give it time to grow up. So IMO is not so much the age it is backed (3 or 4 just fine) its then giving it 3 or so years further years to grow up and become what the best cobs are - happy confident people.

If you are looking for longlevity, then don't expect too much from the cob until it is 7 or 8!! Then it should give you many years of happy service.
 
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Why is a cob different to a different type of horse (eg. A sports horse) regarding age of backing?

Most people Here back at 3 and then turn away for work at 4. Although I do know a dealer who finds that people don't want 4 year olds but do want 5 year olds - so he backs them at 4 for a few weeks and then turns them out, bringing them back in when they are 5 :p
Cobs are slower to stop growing - my boy was still growing at 8! I would personally do the baby backing at 4 then turn away until they are 5.
 
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Cobs are slower to stop growing

No they aren't. :p

If you read the 'Ranger' article linked to earlier on, it explains that skeletally, all horses of all breeds mature at the same rate within a few months. I agree that some horses 'muscle up' well after this and many horses also continue to mature mentally after this.

However as far as their ability to work and carry weight goes, it's really the skeleton and the closing of the growth plates that matters (as long as you put a reasonable sized rider on). As I said, this doesn't really vary between breeds (very, very large horses may take a few more months).
 

Daekota

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What is the best age to start riding/backing a cob? As i've been told they should be left slightly longer than finer horses as their limbs take longer to grow. Also at what age should you start long reining, lunging, tacking up etc..? Thanks :)

I have a 10month old traditional cob colt. He is wearing all saddle/bridle/bit/rugs and goes out long raining too, and doesn't bat an eye. He even is starting to get excited about the tack going on, as he knows it means he's going for a walk. And he's just had his first clip too.
Yes wait till 4 years to ride/back, but generally leaning on his back once or twice a week will not hurt him till then.
Hope this helps.

Here are two pis of him. 20190223_150330.jpg 20190303_144113-1.jpg
 

windand rain

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It really depends on the horse the skeleton shouldnt carry a lot of weight before 4 but the muscle build may take longer dependant on nutrition and groundwork. What happens a lot though is horses are treated as babies for far too long I cannot see why a well musclled horse couldnt be walking, trotting, cantering and trotting poles in weeks of being backed I have seen a lot of young horses walked for months, lunged for months then trotted for months before finally getting to canter after years of being a baby. I wish people would just get on with it. It is our duty as horse owners to make sure that if for any reason you cannot keep your horse it is well rounded, well mannered and capable of doing the job in all circumstances I do not think of 5/6/7 year olds as babies and certainly do not consider it ideal for a 10 year old to be green in the school. Just as all horses should be settled in a stable and out in a field and be good for the farrier and vet it gives them a much better chance of a good future without you and makes for a much more pleasant friend if you keep them forever. I also believe they should have a sensible attitude to traffic and clipping but again circumstances may not allow for teaching these if you live in a remote spot or don't have a set of clippers. However I would not be tacking up a 10 month old foals need to be horses before they are asked to do much
Gosh didnt realise this was such an old post
 

DabDab

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Zombie thread - I should think that whatever the age of the OP's cob when she posted this, it has probably been backed by now....
 

Auslander

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Daekota, you are either here for a wind-up, or an utter moron. I sincerely hope, for the sake of the 10 month old colt, that it's the former
 
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