Arabian horses and dressage...?

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Arabian horses and dressage...?

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  • The arab horse temperment
  • Arabian dressage training

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    02-05-2011, 09:06 AM
Question Arabian horses and dressage...?

Do Arabian horses make good high level dressage horses?
Or have I just never seen them?

Of course, applying dressage structure and technique in daily riding is different than competing at a national level.

Thank you


Same question, but for more advanced jumping?
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    02-05-2011, 09:40 AM
Whether an animal can go to GP, or even be competitive at that level, always depends on the individual horse, one selects an individual, not a breed.

There are very few Arabians that have made it to GP in the US, there are even fewer that have been competetive against all other horses. They are generally not seen in world level competition.

But most people never get to those top levels anyway. It's just too hard - it's more work and time than most people want to put into it. If one has an Arabian horse, it will most likely be fine for everything the person is really honestly likely to ever do in dressage.

Often in selecting a sport/dressage horse, you are selecting the opposite traits from what is desired in some of our halter classes, or breed classes. With sport horses, no one cares about the shape of an animal's ears or its forehead, no one cares if it's 'pretty' or 'flashy'. It's all about how it moves and balances, and if it has conformation that will allow it to stay sound for years of hard use.

I don't see why worry about it. Enjoy the horse you have, work hard on your own riding, take the horse only to a level that he's still comfortable and at ease in for a long time, learn dressage along the way, enjoy the process.

That's what everyone does anyway. There are no guarantees that any horse is going to get up all the levels in dressage. No one can look at any horse and predict that for absolute certain. There are things that one looks for, beyond that, it is up to great riding, great instruction, and the blessings of the gods.
    02-05-2011, 09:51 AM
^ that.
However I thought I'd pipe up and say I learned Dressage on Arabs. My trainer had several (not necessarily on purpose, over another breed, it just happened that way) and they were very good at their job, and loved it. We took them to all sorts of clinics, shows, etc and while we got some odd looks among the warmblood people (no offense, I love WBs) they performed just as well as the other horses. They were great jumpers too. :)
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    02-05-2011, 10:11 AM
Thanks for the feedback!

I wasn't intending on competing in either- I was just curious as to why I don't see more Arabians in those kinds of competitions. They are definitely one of the most versatile breeds after all (in my opinion anyway)
    02-05-2011, 10:59 AM
I believe it is difficult for Arabs to go far in the Dressage World because of how they are conformationally built - they are lacking a vertibra in their spine, which hinders/limits their "dressage movements/dressage frame" work, to get the scores needed, in the competition ring against all those horses who aren't missing that vertibra.

Not that it has never been done, of course there is always a rare few, in any breed, that makes it to the top - heck I see Appaloosa's doing well at Upper Levels - but that doesn't mean they are the mass majority, unlike TB's. There are always a rare few who make it through the cracks, but that doesn't mean "All" do.

My previous coach, has a, now retired Morab. The highest level they were able to get together, was Preliminary Level Eventing, because of the missing vertibra. They tried a level higher, but the dressage scores were no where in compareson to those they were up against.

She did many a dressage clinic, with Upper Level Dressage Competators and Trainers, and they all said the same thing, "This horse is limited because of his breed" *meaning, the vertibra issue*

So, she enjoyed him and stayed at the levels they did well at, and kept at it until he retired. She allowed him to move his natural way, and he went well in the dressage ring going around how he naturally could move, but in the end, that was no where competative enough when up against other breeds.
    02-05-2011, 11:07 AM
Originally Posted by slc    
Whether an animal can go to GP, or even be competitive at that level, always depends on the individual horse, one selects an individual, not a breed.

There are very few Arabians that have made it to GP in the US, there are even fewer that have been competetive against all other horses. They are generally not seen in world level competition.

Yeah real hard....hmmmmm

    02-05-2011, 12:53 PM
Tristtan is approved by the AWB society:

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It is a common myth that all Arabians have one less vertebrae than other horses. Some of them do, some don't.
My personal opinion is that a lot of Arabians do not excel at higher levels of dressage more because of their individual temperaments, and less because of physical limitations.
Of course you cannot generalize about a breed, but a lot of Arabs (especially certain bloodlines) do not have the right temperament for dressage. A horse has to have a certain focus in order to learn a step-by-step discipline such as dressage. My Arabians are brilliantly smart. But I recall taking dressage lessons on both an Arabian and an Appendix during the same time period. The Appendix would willingly repeat exercises throughout the lessons. The Arabian was more difficult because if you practiced one thing too long she grew bored. If you changed exercises frequently to keep her interest up she got too excited and over-stimulated.
Same with jumping. It would take an extraordinary amount of time to get some Arabs exposed to enough different types of jumps and situations to allow a person to take them to a new venue and jump a course. Other Arabians have minds that allow them to accept new situations more easily.
    02-05-2011, 01:01 PM
A lot of the blame lies in the hands of some breeders of Arabians, who have bred pretty heads and forgotten about the rest of the horse.

Weak loins, weak, twisting hocks, many problems, all due to focusing too much on one thing and ignoring everything else.

The temperament issues are also a problem, but again, it isn't because the breed has to have such a bad temperament, but because a lot of unscrupulous breeders focused far too much on superficial things.

A friend of mine bred Arabians, and did dressage with them. She said she selected a lot of her breedings from Spanish and Russian stock, said the horses in those lines were often far stronger and mentally trainable.

Backs are a big problem. A hanter trainer actually told me that he never allowed any of his halter horses to be ridden, 'because it makes their backs look terrible'(sink down, hollow out). Granted, a sport rider sits somewhat differently from an arab-class trainer/rider, but that is indeed a problem.
    02-05-2011, 01:09 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by slc    
But most people never get to those top levels anyway. It's just too hard - it's more work and time than most people want to put into it. If one has an Arabian horse, it will most likely be fine for everything the person is really honestly likely to ever do in dressage.
I know that you are new to this forum and I can see that you are quite knowledgeable so it is great that we can attract people with experience to share with others.

Minor quibble - could you please stop stating that most people will never make it to the higher levels? Sure, it is true and I understand that, but by making statements like that you come off a little negative and discouraging. As if you are saying "well it is unlikely that you will ever get to find out as the chances are you aren't good enough so why bother asking." From what I can tell, the OP was asking a general question and did not state that they intend to pursue a GP career.

As for Arabians making top level dressage horses I think it depends on the individual horse. There are probably Warmbloods out there that lack the conformation to do top level dressage, TB's that can't run fast enough to win races (actually, that is a definite), QH's that can't turn on a dime etc. The breed dictates what the conformation and ability will be like on average, it will not give you a precise estimation of an individual horses' ability.
    02-05-2011, 01:12 PM
Originally Posted by gottatrot    
Tristtan is approved by the AWB society:

My Arabians are brilliantly smart.
Yeah, I figure that Arabians aren't common in the performance show world because people can't handle their pride, intelligence, and intense desire to express themselves in the show ring.

Arabian temperaments vary, depending on the horse.
I love that about them though, a horse with amount of stamina and drive an Arab has can go far if placed in good hands. I'd rather have my "flighty" Arabian than a dead beat and broke QH you know?

After working with and training Arabs for so long, I've been able to understand them better than any other horse. And unfortunately, I most often see how they are psychologically ruined by "natural horsemanship" and other generic training methods. Due to their sensitivity to neglect and abuse, their temperament has got a bad rap. They need to be respected and treated so much differently than any other horse I know.

Tristtan is amazing!

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