We've always put the lightweight pony saddle or english saddle on our yearlings. By the time they are ready to actually be started under saddle its just another day at the office.
My yearling filly wears the pony saddle very willingly and I have started ground driving her using it and her halter. By the time she's ready to be backed it just makes one less thing for her to stress about as it will be very old news by then.
She's also technically been backed but not by intention. Sent my daughter to the house to grab us gatorade and she was taking forever so I went to look out and she was ON my filly in the pasture. I went calmly and got her and then had a long talk! She knew better and got to be grounded for the first time. She's 6. Man am I going to have my hands full but I can't say I didn't do the same thing as a kid.... Posted via Mobile Device