How Old Does A Horse Have To Be To Ride?

Have you always wanted to ride a young horse but not sure What age a horse can be ridden, how to check a horse’s age, and more questions?

Well, don’t worry! In this article, I will share both my own thoughts and what professional horse owners suggest.

So first let’s start with the main topic, how old does a horse have to be to ride? A horse is not ready to ride until it has reached maturity, which usually happens by the age of three. This is the age that they are deemed to have enough training and experience under their belt, which will make it safer for everyone involved. Riding the horses too early can lead to growth problems.

If you own a horse farm, then you should make this rule. It’s not only good for the horses, but it is also beneficial for your business as well.

How often should you ride a 3-year-old horse?

A three-year-old horse is fit for riding, but you should not ride it for more than 30 minutes on every alternate day.

This may seem like an overstretch but making horses work for longer than they can bear is detrimental to their health in the longer run.

However, over time you can increase the timing and train your horse accordingly. A slow and steady increase will ensure that your horse does not get overburdened and stays fit until old age.

What should a 3-year-old horse be able to do?

Three years does not sound like a lot, but horses grow up quickly.

As they sit for some casual riding – a three-year-old should be able to do some similar tasks like being able to hold a saddle on its back. Apart from the saddle, a three-year-old horse should also be able to accept girth under its belly. All these things are necessary for them to be riding horses.

What are the four things needed to ride a horse? / What is needed for horse riding?

Riding a horse is fun, but you need to be prepared for it in order to avoid any accidents. We have listed the horse riding essentials below!

Skill Set

Yes, you cannot ride a horse without a proper set of skills. You can sit on the horse with the help of someone and ride for a few minutes. But, for that solo ride in the woods – you need to be prepared.

Now it depends on you on how you want to learn. There are lessons available on YouTube and other social media platforms that are free to use. 

However, if you want to take things to another level, you can enroll in a physical course where an instructor will show you how to ride properly.


Just how you cannot cook without utensils, you need equipment to ride a horse. One of the most essential pieces of equipment is a saddle and girth. It will help you sit on the horse without falling down and breaking your ribs.

You cannot balance yourself on a horse without a saddle. So, it comes under the necessary equipment.

After the saddle, you need things like riding boots, a helmet, and knee pads, etc. these things might not seem like a necessity but when you take a call from your horse, this will be your only chance in life.

See our recommendations for the Best Horseshoes for Trail Riding, the best horse riding boots for wide feet, the best Best Horse Riding Boots For Short riders, and the best horse clippers for thick coats.

The Extra Bits

If you are a pro rider, you can skip these things. But for someone who has just started, these can help you get over your initial riding fears.

A lunge line will help you establish better communication with your horse. You can practice with your horse before riding so that the horse can get familiar with you.

And lastly, leg support can help your feet stay glued to the horse.

All your weight is supported by your feet while riding. Losing your grip there will lead to a fall. So getting the best-led support equipment is essential for beginners.


To be able to ride, you need a horse that is 3 or above three years old. Anything below that will be harmful to both the rider and the horse.

How to check a horse’s age?

Humans have birth certificates and IDs that indicate their age, but horses and their ages can be deceiving especially when there is no record of how old they are. In such cases, you can try the methods down below to make an assumption on how old your horse is.

How to tell a horse’s age by teeth?

You can make an assumption of your horse’s age by counting how many premolars and molars have erupted in their mouth. Here is a table to make things easier for you.

Number of premolars Age
5-6 premolars2 years
7-8 premolars2.5 years
8 premolars3 years
Number of molarsAge
9 molars1 year
10 molars2 years
11 molars3.5 years
Types of teethAge
Horses who have aligned teethYoung horses (1-2 years)
Horses who have teeth that are facing outwardsOlder horses (3 + years)

How to tell a horse’s age by ribs?

If you are afraid to check your horse’s teeth, then you can guess their age by taking a look at your ribs. As horses grow older, their ribs start to separate out.

For example, at 9 years of age – a horse will have aligned ribs but one of them will be at a gap from the others.

So, the number of separations in the ribs of a horse can tell you about its age. However, it is not an accurate estimate. You can get an idea of the age of your horse.

Which is the better; mare or stallion for riding?

Horses are used to riding but not every horse is the perfect fit. For example, stallions are not fit for beginners as they are more aggressive and anything that annoys them can lead to an accident.

However, mares/fillies are a perfect fit for beginners as they tend to be more polite. But it depends on the nature of the horse too.

On the other hand, for professional riders – stallions would be a better choice as they will have more force as compared to a mare horse.


Can a three-year-old horse be ridden?

Yes, you can ride a three-year-old horse as it is the minimum age for riding. However, some horses take more time to develop their strength for riding.

How long should you ride a 3-year-old horse?

You should ride a three-year-old horse for about 40 minutes, three times a week. Anything more than that will be detrimental to its health in the longer run.

What do separations in the ribs of horses indicate?

As horses start to grow older, their ribs start to expand. So, the separations in your horse’s ribs indicate their age.


Horses are inherently kept for riding from an early age. However, a horse should at least be three years old to be deemed fit for riding. If you push your horse to get trained (early) for riding, it can affect his health in the longer run.