Training a 2 year old to saddle?

I have a 2 year old paint colt that I wanted to get trained this year. I have read that you shouldn't put a horse under the saddle until they're 3 because their knees aren't fully developed.

Story originally posted by: Michael Lowder, DVM, MS

Dr. Lowder,

Hi. Sorry for the question. I have a 2 year old paint colt that I wanted to get trained this year. I have read that you shouldn’t put a horse under the saddle until they’re 3 because their knees aren’t fully developed.

My trainer on the other hand thinks because he’s a paint he is more durable then other breeds and should be started with his 30 days this season. I have two trainers set up … one is an English trainer in which I’m referring to, and I also have a trainer for reigning that says waiting to put him under the saddle next year will ensure he has a good foot and having no problems later in life. Though it will be more difficult if I wait till next year needing maybe another month or two to get settled into the saddle.

He is a very resilient horse being as last year he jumped a 5 foot fence gate with no lameness or ill effects due to this, which I think is kind of expected from a range colt. He’s had 500 acres to play in since birth till we brought him home. Well I would appreciate your input to help me make the best decision for my horse, he is a sweet boy I don’t want to do any harm to him.

Thanks
Shawna

Dear Shawna,

A horse’s knees should be fully-developed by two-years of age. Your colt can be started with his 30 days this season, but then allow him to rest from riding. Light riding should be fine for a mid 2-year-old colt. Good luck with the training!

Thank you,
Dr. Lowder