Can You Ride 2-Year-Old Horse? Learn Details! (Quick Facts)

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 10/08/22 •  11 min read

Riding on a horse is not a traditional act but still, we love to ride horses because some traditions can never be forgotten.  That’s why people are farming horses and buying horses for many reasons.

The culture of riding a horse is very different across the world so it’s not the same for every horse to carry a rider at a very young age. So here we want you guys to get out of the question, can you ride a 2-year-old horse? 

When your horse is mature enough to carry a rider it depends on its growth. Horse skeletons don’t fuse perfectly until they are 5 years old most of the time, but it doesn’t mean you can never start a horse before 5 years old. English riding horses start at 3-4 years old, western riders and racehorses start at 2 years old. 

So here we’ll discuss how old a horse should be to start riding and continue our discussion more about 2-year-old horses’ nature and how to prepare them for riding. So let’s get started.

What to expect at 2 years old?

We guess you don’t know what to call a 2-year-old male and a female horse. The horses that don’t reach two years old but are older than one year are called yearling colts for males and yearling fillies for females. When they reach 2 years old from then until 5 years old in most of the horses’ farms, they call the male ones colts and fillies for the female horses. 

The reason behind introducing you guys to new terms for horses is, that the farmers call these names to differentiate a mature horse from a child horse. Horses are not human, so you can’t understand who is mature and who is a child seeing their height and face. 

So, most of the time, don’t expect much from a colt horse. For an English horse, it takes 4-5 years to fully fuse their skeletons. So at 2 years old, they are not mature enough. But for racing horses, 2 years is enough for exceptional training.

How to prepare the 2-year-old horse for riding?

Starting a 2-year-old horse under saddle is not an easy task to do but it is high time when a horse should go under saddle. At this age, the horse is relatively new and finds everything exciting. That’s why any training in the period takes less time to be consumed.

So do not leave any horse without training for long, otherwise, it will struggle if you suddenly take in a working environment.

So, start training slowly for your young horse at first like allowing it a few trots while walking for 10 -20 minutes.

Now the question comes: why not allow heavy groundwork for two-year-old horses? Because groundwork puts both mental and body pressure on the young horses. Young horses always have a short attention span so no reason to make them frustrated by demanding huge tasks.

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Wiggle the lead rope

So continue to train them with little sessions and start with some basic things like making the young horses respectful of your decisions. You can try to wiggle the lead rope and try to make the young horse move forward or backward. Even if it moves the slightest of its legs then it’s your success for the day.

Allow young horses to adjust to human touch 

Now it sounds funny, but no one wants to get kicked off by a horse while touching it. So no matter what you are going to do with horse riding or racing or any kind of strenuous work in the future, you must touch the horse.

So train your horse to be less sensitive to touch and start to rub its face first and then if it enjoys any certain place scratch and rub there to make it feel more comfortable with you.

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How much weight can carry?

How much weight a horse can carry depends on many measures. But the widely popular measure is the 15% and 20% weight of its own weight. So most of the horses we domesticate are around 900-1250 lbs.

So 900-1250 lbs fully matured Morgan, Polo Pony, Tennessee walker, Missouri Fox Trotter, Nakota. Thoroughbred horses can carry 135 lbs to 187 lbs if we consider 15% weight it may carry. And if you consider 20% carriable weight, then they may carry 180 lbs to 250 lbs.

But we are not talking about a fully matured horse here. A 2-year-old horse can have a minimum of 90% of its full-grown weight. So, it will be able to carry almost the same weight if you convert the 90% weight to 100% and then find out the carriable weight.

Also for yearling horses that have less weight according to their height, they should not carry the weight according to the measure of 20% of their weight. Sometimes we find our horses have more girth on the heart and have more height than a 2-year-old young horse, we are prone to increase the carriable weight for them to 25%.

But according to the researchers, 25% carriable weight increases heart rates, and the horses feel extreme muscle soreness. So try to avoid giving them more weight.

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2-year-old horse behavior

Before the training starts, 2-year-old horses have non-idea about walking and trotting, etc. So when you start training regularly, at first the horses will hesitate a lot and things will make them confused.

That’s why we said to start with basic things like making them understand walking and trot a little bit then step by step introduce them to being saddled and then carrying a rider. Never give the horse any kinda of stress, if you find out this 2-year-old horse can’t take the training for today, end it there.

2-year-old horse

Training: Starting to ride a 2-year-old horse

When you finish training the basics to the young old horses, if the weight limit is correct then it’s time to ride on young horses. Let’s see the stepwise ride training session for a 2 year old horse

Get on bareback 

It’s important to make the young horse understand that you are the leader and respect your orders. So we hope before starting to ride training, you’ll develop this relationship with the horse.

Firstly, try to get on and off from both sides on bacre back of the horse. Get on and off a few times for a week or several days and the young horse stands still and never panics after several sessions.

Move to the saddle 

It’s time to wear your young horse a saddle and halter. The halter will ensure the head position of the horse and also help in tethering. Then make the horse wear hackamore as it will ensure comfy steering for you. So it’s necessary.

Look, make sure you go step by step, it means you will never put on a saddle, halter, and hackamore on the same day. You will give the saddle and give 1-2 days time to make the horse adjust to it. The same goes for halter and hackamore. Finally, you will give the snaffle because it is most uncomfortable for young horses at first.

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Ride on horse

Then finally you will ride on the horseback saddle. Again, get up and get down for a couple of days as training and make it comfortable first. Then start to just sit on the horseback for 5-10 minutes and then go for the walk and trot.

What to look for when buying a 2-year-old horse?

Advertisement of a 2-year-old horse for sale makes us very excited but when we get to buy the horse we notice some inconsistency that really demotivates us from purchasing the two-year-old horse. Look, it sounds promising that training a 2-year-old horse would be exciting, you two will have a unique relationship.

But things are not that easy especially when you will have a two years old inconsistent horse. So let’s see what to watch out for two years old horses.

Look at their height

Yeah, even height is important for choosing a two years old yearling. It’s important because if your height is lower than average people then you must need a comfortable horse to ride. It will help in your training session. If you get a horse way higher than the two years old horse should be, then keep it mind it will get even higher until 5 years old.

How the horse move 

Movement actually sets an excellent horse apart from other average horses. But there is not much to see in movements but you must trot them around for 30 minutes or more to see if everything is okay.

Other things to look at

The personality of the horse and its temperament are good things to look at. We must go for cool temperament and amiable horses. Then you must look for a bit of the history of the horse, like who is the sire and who is the dam.

For example, if you want a racehorse, look for a sire who was involved in racing. If you want to make your horse a party trick, then make sure its sire was a party trick.

Best supplement for your small horse

Just like humans young horses need varieties of nutrients and minerals for their growth. Some horses require vitamins. But not all young horses need supplements, even providing them supplements can cause harm sometimes.

Now supplements are needed for young horses because two horses can show very different nutrient requirements, also if you keep the horses in a moderate exercise program that requires 32% more DE and 15% CE. To add these extra requirements, you have to provide supplements.

Solidum, potassium, and chloride are the most common and excellent supplements, and electrolyte or mineral supplements work really well for horses.


Can you ride a 2-year-old quarter horse?

 Ans: If you ask me if can you ride year old horse I would say no. But it’s possible to ride on a 2-year-old American Quarter horse if it has got the proper training and meets the required weight to carry someone.

How much weight can a two-year-old horse carry?

Ans: On average, a two years old horse can carry 135 to 150 lbs. But there are a few breeds that can’t even carry 120 lbs at 2 years old.

Is it okay to ride a 3 years old horse? 

Ans: Can you ride 3 years old horse? yes, you can. Eleven people ride a one-year-old horse when it is a racing horse. But riding a 3-year-old horse doesn’t mean you can ride on it any time, you must ensure the horse has gone through proper training for riding.


Balanced training is the most important thing for riding a horse. Many people ask how old a horse should be to start riding, but it has no specific answers. Sometimes the yearling horses don’t meet the weight requirements to carry someone on the back.

Sometimes even after a mature-aged horse can’t be able to carry someone, it gets panicked because of proper training. So if you can train well, your horse will be comfortable to carry even at 2 years old.  

Zunnun Ahmed

We are a group of horse enthusiasts. We want to provide information and tips to help others learn more about horses, how to care for them, and how to enjoy them.

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