Tazer was 4yrs in this picture. He's 5 now, and VERY dappled. I'll post pics soon. (not easy w/dial-up)
I had never trained a horse before him. We were there for his birth, and have spent sooo much time working with him. I think that's the key, LOTS of groundwork, and adjust it to what works well for that particular horse. We had him saddled (not ridden) and ground driving at 15months old. He never cared about the saddle, I think because he was so used to being blanket in the winter, it was no biggy to have something else on. First ride was at 2.5years, and took it VERY slow for the next year, so he could grow. (he's a slow grower) He never bucked or baulked at anything. I would have sent him to a trainer if he hadn't been so smart and receptive, though. I've gotta say, we were blessed with him, because he taught us too. We're expecting foal #4 in the spring, our youngest is almost 6mo. Each one we learn more from.
Keep up the good work! The more you do with them as youngsters, the better horses they will be when they grow up. :)