A horse’s learning starts the moment their feet touch the ground. The learning of how to understand the world they are born into, listening to their instincts and imitating the behavior of their mother. They are being shaped by their environment and their experiences.
Breaking a horse to ride depends on their breed, as some horses mature quicker than others. Usually, horses who are 3 or 4 are at the prime age to start training. They are old enough to mentally and physically handle the work, but they are normally not yet strong enough to resist and they have not become too set in their ways to learn. Training can start when they are younger or older, if it is done progressively.
When training a horse, you need to get good with the basics. Teach them to catch you, to load themselves on a trailer, to stand quietly for the vet and farrier, and to stay with you leading so well you can walk, trot, and canter from the ground even without a rope. It is best to start with basic ground work and a natural approach. Natural basic horse training uses approach and retreat in everything you do with the horse to get them comfortable with new experiences. It also means that you apply pressure and release when you get a positive response. Make sure your horse has good ground manners and interacts well with people before introducing them to a saddle.
There are a few ways to approach this, and as quickly as possible is one of them. However, taking things slow and steady when starting them off will allow them to grow in confidence. The time you will spend on training depends on the horse’s age and personality. It can take weeks or months for them to be ready to start under saddle.