Watching your foal grow can be an exciting progress, but maybe you’d like to know at what point he’ll be done growing. This can be helpful when trying to figure out his final height and weight or when deciding what age to start saddle training. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple one answer fits all.
Most horses can reach their final height at around 4 to 5 years old. However, this is not true of all breeds. Some larger breeds like drafts and warmbloods take much longer to mature. They can still grow well up to 8 years old. Many breeds will reach close to their final height by 2 years old and spend the next 2 to 3 years growing just a little more.
The skeletal structure of your horse won’t be complete until he is at least 6 years old, regardless of breed. There are growth plates throughout the horse’s body. They eventually fuse and become bone as the horse matures. The taller the horse the longer the bones take to fuse. The vertebrae bone doesn’t experience fusion until 5 years or more sometimes. Others like the scapula bone (back edge of the shoulder blade) are complete by 1 to 3 years old.
While not physical, emotional maturity is something to consider, as well. Some may take as long as 7 years to reach a deeper mental understanding of the things around them. This can be tricky when deciding what age to saddle break.
There should be no rush in starting your growing horse. Allow his body the extra time it needs to mature and you’ll have a healthier horse for longer!