Can my horse be trained for dressage? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 09-28-2009, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Can my horse be trained for dressage?

Just wondering. I NEVER did dressage and just started elements with Jemma with my dressage trainer. HOWEVER my horse is small (14'3'') foundation ranch bred qh (looking like a barrel on short legs ) + it's a green/green combination. Is there any chance we can do at least OK in dressage (with lots of work, of course, I don't expect it happened overnight :) )? My trainer is surprisingly positive, but unfortunately she's positive about pretty much everything, so I don't trust her much on that. Lol! Feel free to be harsh - I'm not gonna be offended!
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post #2 of 18 Old 09-28-2009, 02:13 PM
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I hope you get lots of positive comments here, kitten_Val, since I'm in about the same boat: Green horse, experienced rider but green to dressage. My guy is little, too, at 14 hands even, with a relatively "pony" type build. Certainly not the average warmblood .

I've always read, heard, and been told that any horse can do at least basic dressage, and that the concepts and work ethic of a dressage foundation can benefit any horse. The problems with horses "doing" dressage come when the specific horse/pony's conformation start interfering with more advanced maneuvers. IMHO, any horse can learn to improve his/her "posture," accept the aids, and perfom the basic arena figures in a calm, rhythmic manner, if you follow the training scale at the horse's pace, and have a knowledgeable eye on the ground to help you both stay on track.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #3 of 18 Old 09-28-2009, 03:35 PM
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Hi There

You don't need a warmblood with a fabulous pedigree to do dressage . I agree that any horse can do basic dressage at the end of the day the easier tests are based on the foundations of schooling e.g straightness of the horse. If you want to do dressage have a go theres nothing lost in trying and it will give you something to work towards with your trainer.

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post #4 of 18 Old 09-28-2009, 03:48 PM
Green Broke
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i started riding dressage a few years ago with my first horse, he was a 15.1 hand thoroughbred gelding. i was a complete beginner in dressage (i rode hunter) but by the time i sold him this summer he was a first level dressage horse. and if he wasnt so old we prob couldve made it to second. with me and him in was green with green but i learned soooooo much more then i ever would on a schoolmaster, yes, it is easier to develope bad habits when it is green on green but as long as you are very teachable and have been ridng for a while it will be perfect!

any horse can usually get up to second level if they are younger and have been properly trained. the point of dressage is to improve the horse, so there isnt really a horse out there that can't do at least a little dressage. and if you have been ridinng for a while (even western) lots of the same rules apply. :) good luck!!

If there are no horses in heaven... im not going.
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post #5 of 18 Old 09-28-2009, 08:18 PM
Green Broke
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There is no reason why you cannot do basic dressage. Although, once you start competing a horse/rider combination with similar skills but with desirable dressage movement/carriage/look will take preference.
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post #6 of 18 Old 09-28-2009, 11:00 PM
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Yes any horse, mule, pony, zorse, etc.. can do dressage. Keep in mind however if you do show that you are going to be competing against people who have spent a lot of time and money researching and looking to get a horse bred specifically for the sport of dressage, so your chances of doing well in competition, even at the lower level national shows, are low.
For learning dressage - any sound, sane horse is great. I started my dressage journey on a running bred, ranch working quarter horse (he was actually only 3/4 quarter horse and 1/4 black mare :P). The best advice I can give you is to ride with someone that knows a lot about classical dressage and really stresses the importance of rider position and influence on the horse. If you ever hear a coach talking about how "it was the horse's fault", run far, far away because 99.9% of the time, that is not the case. Also make sure that the coach you choose is going to be honest with you about when you need to move up and move on.

Good luck!
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post #7 of 18 Old 09-28-2009, 11:35 PM
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Any horse can learn most of the basic moves and collection of dressage; it's the higher levels that some horses just aren't capable.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #8 of 18 Old 09-29-2009, 12:45 AM
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My mate competes reguarly on her 14.3hh QH mare, bred as a cutter and has short fat front legs, big round body etc. (barrell on legs ;)
This mare works really REALLY nicely, she's started walk pirouettes and usually works lovely and through. She does struggle a little in canter though to sit ove rher hind end, but thats about her only downfall. Movement isn't that great but at least my mate can learn all the basics on her in a correct manner.
She doesn't do brilliantly at comps, but it's not because the horse isn't correct, it's because she's up against very well bred and flashy warmbloods that of course will look better to the judge, her horse just doesn't have the movement to be up there with the best. However, in pony/riding club comps, she wins just about everything on her, because she's so lovely and soft.

There's absolutely no reason why you can't do some dressage work with your QH, even if you don't go out and place in everything, you can still get a QH working correctly, even if they are built like little tanks!!
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post #9 of 18 Old 09-29-2009, 09:36 AM
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Of course you can! My dressage pony was a 14.2hh pinto, QH cross something. He had the rhythm and the impulsion that judges liked but was very far off looking as an "ideal" tall warmblood type! We competed quite successfully to Intermediate with me my sister and a friend. He was just a great little mover and everyone loved him where ever we took him.

Just want to add that I always had personal goals for dressage shows. At lower level you really aren't competing for blue ribbons but look at the test and see what the score is out of for each movement and aim to be at a certain place for your test. If your square halt is strong, aim for a 8 or 9 out of 10 for that movement, if your canter 20m isn't all that great be realistic and set your self up for 5 or 6 in that movement, etc So then tally up your "goal score" and see how you really get judged during your test and whether it matches up to your expectations. Don't just set out to a dressage show with ribbons in your mind and to beat everyone, it is all about personal bests, it isn't a race and there is now where to hide in the ring!
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post #10 of 18 Old 09-29-2009, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, All! That certainly make me feel better! :) I think I'll give it a try and see how that'll go. I don't care about ribbons much frankly, but want to start showing her if everything will work out for both of us (as it's a great experience IMO).
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