So about three months ago now I purchased a Friesian sporthorse. Originally I had thought he was turning 5 on May 17, his previous owners sure made it sound like that. However, I come to find he is turning 4 once I have purchased him. So he is recently 4 as of last month. Which changes a lot of things, expectations for a 4 year old vs. 5 year old are different.
Anyway, he has been doing great. Really understanding bending and stretching like a pro. He is responding/respecting the outside rein. He has already conquered leg yields and we are now starting on shoulder in and I have barely begun to work on his canter. He knows the cue on the ground we have worked on it twice now in saddle.
So my concern is how much is too much. I have always read Friesians have such a willing to please attitude you can push them to far without realizing it. I have trained many horses before, but never quiet this young, starting more at 5 or 6. He is about 16.1 hands now and is cleared to ride, but with his Friesian genes I don't know late or how much more growing he will do.
Basically, I would like to hear your experiences with your horses. Where you think he should be at this age considering his breed. Thanks, sorry I tend to blabber. Oh and we are training dressage, if that wasn't clear :)
Well I have never trained a friesian or done dressage, so idk if I can be of much help but..
In my experience you can't judge a horse by his breed. I've met some horses that you would swear are the opposite of the "norm" of the breed and some that fit the bill perfectly.
I think the most important thing here is to be in tune with your horse. As you get to know him, watch his demeanor, he'll tell you when he's getting tired, or sore, or needs a break from dressage to do something else for a while. As far as the growing goes, have a vet come check his knees to make sure they are closed and have him/her do a soundness and health check. That way there is no doubt in your mind that your horse is ready to work for you.
Personally, I put my horses into training when they are around 4, and the latest had thoroughbred blood in her (they tend to mature slowly also). She was pushed hard, but only after I had her okayed by a vet, a farrier, and a reputable trainer.
Hope that helps