Learn More About 3-Year-Old Horse? Complete Guide!

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

Just by saying human, you can not define whether it’s a child or an adult. The same goes for horses. As they age, they get specific names that separate them from others. Did you know that? 

Do you have a 3-year-old horse? Do you know which category of life it is now? Do you have any idea how to train it? Is it suitable for breeding at this phase? 

It is natural to have so many questions when you are a new owner or don’t have previous experience with this particular age. But do not worry; we are here to answer all your possible queries. Join us further in the article to get a complete idea about your horses.

What Is A 3-Year-Old Horse Called?

We, humans, have multiple life stages- infant, toddler, adolescent, adult, and senior year. Have you ever thought horses may have something similar too? Well, they do. They are named differently at certain stages of their life. 

Now, we are talking about horses of a particular age. When a horse turns one, it is called a yearling. But horses from two to three years old are considered adolescents. Males and females get different names at that time. A male 3-year-old Horse is called Colt, and for females, it is a filly. For some races, this name can be continued up to 4 years of life. You may see some owners calling their foals.

3 years old horse

Can You Ride 3-Year-Old Horses? And How Long?

When a horse turns 3, it enters into his adolescence. As it is in its growing phase, you will watch it getting bigger every single day. But the question is, is it strong enough to ride? And if you do ride it, how long should you ride?

Three years of age is perfect for training your horse for future riding. Even though it is not fully grown, it can withstand your weight. Taking it for a ride can also help him in his healthy growth. So, yes, you can ride. 

Now, how long can you ride? Well, you should not ride more than 1-2 hours at a time. It can be pretty exhausting for them. Also, taking him for daily riding is not recommended. It should be limited to three to four times a week. Overriding can be damaging to their health.

Discuss The Breed Of A 3-Year-Old Horse 

When a horse enters the 3-year phase, it is still growing. Most races continue this growth phase for up to 4-5 years. So, breeding is like forcing an adolescent girl to have a kid. That’s harmful to health, right?

Similarly, if you let your 3-year-old horse breed, it will only damage its health. The horse itself is still growing. If it has another life to share the nutrition, there’s a high possibility for both the mother and the foal to be malnourished. 

As 3-year-old horses are not adequately trained most of the time, they tend to have a temper. If it passes its nature to its foal, you will have two horses with the same temperament to deal with. That’s the last thing you would want. 

Breeding at a young age also hampers the horse’s potential to be a good riding companion, eligible for some stunts and rough training. Most of the time, early breeding makes horses give up their carefree, lively nature.


The Training Of A 3-Year-Old Horse 

As horses start to grow older, they need to be trained. You don’t want a wild horse running on your property, do you? That’s why proper training is a must. 

So, when is the perfect time to start the training? Should you wait for at least 5 years? Definitely not. 2-3 years of age is ideal for beginning the training process of your horse. If you start too late, teaching him new things may be challenging. 

So, how should you train? Let’s take a quick look at the basic training process, shall we?

1. Get Him Habituated 

First thing first, you need to get your horse habituated with humans. He should not fear getting close to humans and should not run away from them too. He also needs to be familiar with the human surroundings. 

Your horse needs to learn that not everything around him is an opponent. He should not get frightened seeing ordinary things like cars, wheels, etc. He needs to feel relaxed and safe first to learn new things. And it’s only possible through habitation. 

2. Accepting The Halter and Cavesson 

As a young horse, he needs to get familiar with the halter. He should get accustomed to wearing a halter, get led by it, and become comfortable with it. Even when standing idly, he should get in the habit of having his halter. 

A halter teaches your horse to follow your lead. It learns to go in the direction you show him. It helps him understand and accept your leadership in a better way. 

3. Groom The Horse

Grooming your horse is not only necessary for training your horse, but also it is an excellent opportunity to get close to your 3-year-old. Taking care of your horse’s coat and hair creates a unique bond between you guys. 

Regular grooming helps the owner to have firm control over his horse. Grooming before and after riding is best for training a horse to be a good riding companion. 

4. Teach Him To Accept Rider

Generally, until 2 years of age, horses are not ridden. It doesn’t get strong enough to carry the weight of a rider. But 3 years ago is enough to start riding lessons. In fact, it is high time you started riding your horse. 

And for that, you have to teach your horse to accept the rider. If it doesn’t allow a rider on his back, he can’t be ridden. Make him get familiar with the riding and teach him to be accepting. 

5. Teach Him To Be Ridden

Do you want to have a good riding companion in later years? If yes, you should start training your horse for that from childhood. 3-year-old horse training should always include short but frequent riding. 

3-4 times a week, for half an hour to 2 hours, riding with a break is enough for a good start. It may increase gradually. But do not exhaust your horse from the very beginning.

What About The Personality?

As a foal enters the path of adulthood, its personality can change drastically. Every horse has its own way of behaving. However, you can see some common changes or patterns in the horse’s behavior. 

Horses can be both aggressive and passive. They can be pretty loud or quiet as water. Some of them are pretty social. They are always curious about their surroundings and new items, especially new people. They get excited when they see someone unfamiliar. They may happily accept new riders and have fun. Most importantly, they are easy to train. 

On the other hand, horses of the same age may become quite aggressive creatures that will barely listen to you. They are challenging to train or even ride. They prefer to stay in their own world and enjoy life in their own way. 

As a young horse starting training can be slightly fearful of new things. They can be hesitant, keeping a decent distance. Also, it can easily get scared of its surroundings, making it difficult to handle. 

Well, like human beings, horses also have their own way of behaving. You have to remember that all horses are different and should be dealt with in different ways.


What Can You Do With A 3-Year-Old Horse?

If trained properly, a 3-year-old horse can do many things. It learns to adapt to its surroundings, gets closer to them, starts accepting halters, etc. It can even go on short rides with the help of your direction. But the passage should not be a long one. 

It is better if you keep the rides within 30 minutes duration. But yes, it can be prolonged with breaks in between. But you have to keep in mind that too much riding a week can affect your horse’s growth. 

At 3, the horse should be just starting his riding experiences. It is more like getting familiar with riding. The main purpose is to train the horse for future trail rides and camping. 

How To Care for Your Baby Horse?

Even though a horse at three years old gets quite big enough, it is still a youngster. They are babies that need to be taken care of. But how? 

Taking care doesn’t only mean keeping an eye on your horses. It included a lot of things. From ensuring enough food to making your horse feel safe and comfortable, all factors work together for a happy, lively foal.

1. Ensure Proper Nutrition 

You can’t expect a horse to perform at its fullest without getting enough food. Also, the 3-year phase is a growing period for horses. At this time, they need a good quality meal to build their body.

Ensure your horse gets sufficient hay and grains throughout the day’s meal. Also, do notice whether it is drinking sufficient water or not. Read more about horse feed:

2. Bond With Horse

Spending time with your horse and getting closer to them is like a necessity. A 3-year-old horse is still a foal, and it needs special attention from you. Seeing your horse approaching you or nuzzling its head on you means it wants your affection. 

Touch, pet, give him your attention and ultimately bond with him. Owner and horse both share a unique and beautiful bond. Try forming it. 

3. Grooming 

The way the human body sometimes needs extra pampering and extra care, horses are the same. Wearing up, sizing hair, brushing the horse, etc., are commonly known as grooming. 

When you groom your horse, you are in constant touch with him. It lets you bond with him. On the other hand, it keeps the horse clean. Grooming once in a while is necessary to eliminate all dirt and pollution accumulating in its hair over time. 

4. Appropriate Training 

As we have mentioned earlier, 3 3-year age is ideal for starting training your horse. But you can not start with something too difficult at the beginning. That will be harmful to your horse. Start with something light like slow grazing, riding, etc. (Read this article about how much costs for 30 days of horse training.)

At first, getting your horse under training can be a little hard. However, try training along with your horse. Don’t just leave him all his own. 

5. Frequent Health Check-Ups 

Yes, horses can get sick too. Even if they don’t, you have to arrange for frequent veterinary services. It can be monthly or every 2 months. It depends on the owner. You have also to schedule the dates for vaccination. 

Getting vaccinated is extremely important. If you have multiple horses, there is a high chance of infection spreading if one of them is sick. So, make sure your horses are in good health.

Related posts you should read:

Divider horseshoe


What is a 3-year-old horse called?

A 3-year-old male horse is called Colt. And female of the same age is known as a filly.

2. Can you ride a three-year-old horse?

Yes, of course. A three-year-old horse is old and strong enough to carry your weight and go on a short ride. You need to make sure the ride is not too long and not too frequent.

3. How long can you ride?

1-2 hours at a single time should be the limit for riding. But it can vary depending on the race. You may have to cut it short or make it longer according to your horse’s capability. But the rides should be 3-4 times a week. Not more than that.

4. How do you train?

Training is not too difficult. You have to start with the basics, like getting your horse familiar with humans, surroundings, touch, etc. Also, it is the time when you should train your horse to be ridden.

Final Words

Owning a 3-year-old horse is not easy at all. You have to meet its daily nutrition requirement as it is growing every day. Also, you have to start training him at this very age. Too late training is not really good and effective. 

But how can you do so? How can you properly take care of your young horse? We have already talked about that in the article. 

We have also discussed the horse’s personality, behavior pattern, and so on. Hopefully, it will help you understand your horse better. May you have a lovely time with your horse.

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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