Date: February 2001
Q: Should the Tekes begin training under rider at the age of 1.5 years ?
A: It is very early to start a one and a helf year old under rider. If you
feel that it is too early maybe you can ask the trainer to do other things
than ride her, maybe start to build her muscles by jumping small fences
without rider and to work on the bit from the ground.
Normally only the tekes that are going to race are trained under rider as
early as this.
The tradition to train the tekes under rider as early as one and a half
years old is a very old habit inherited from the Turkmen people, they did
it long before the practice was overtaken to England and the race horses.
Scientists like Gorelov and VO Vitt even believed that the training methods
of the Turkmen came to Europe with the "sais" or trainers that followed the
Turkmen horses that was imported to Europe in the 17th to the 18th century.
The Turkmen only let kids train the younger horses though, the same habit
as the nomadic Mongols have. The young kid normally 6-9 years old train the
young horse under the supervision of the "sais" who is an older epxerienced
trainer that only ride the horse when it is older.
Last year when I was in Turkmenistan I noticed that the practice is still
used there, I saw several young boys cantering the young horses.