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post #1 of 29 Old 03-17-2010, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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Dressage Prospect???

I Have MY 7 Year Old OTTB Mehtala, And Decided Jumping Was NOT My Thing, And I Want To Stick With Dressage Which I Have Been Riding For 6 Years, Any Comments, On If Dressage And My Mare Are A Good Match? This Was My 3rd Dressage Lesson On Her!
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post #2 of 29 Old 03-17-2010, 06:15 PM
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Very typical of most OTTBs, she is tense through her back, hollow and not "through". She also has not engaged her hind end and doesn't come close to tracking up. I would focus more on relaxation, getting her to stretch down, and working long and low before even thinking about "on the aids", a frame or an outline.

Dropping your hand down below the standard straight line between elbow and bit may work short term to get the horse to drop its head, but it creates more trouble long term in terms of correct training. It's also incredibly punitive, creating direct downward pressure on the bars of the horses mouth.

Dressage is difficult for TBs is general because they're not bred or built for it (Yes, I know there have been fabulous exceptions); particularly hard for OTTBs because they've had traveling inverted and bracing on the bit confirmed by all their previous training.

Your mare is attractive and seems willing and like she's being a good sport about what she's being asked, which is a huge plus. It's hard to evaluate her athleticism from these photos, but certainly she'd be capable of doing Intro, Training and First Level.

However, I will tell that reschooling an OTTB as a dressage horse is a long, difficult task, sort of like emptying the ocean with a teaspoon. Relaxing the back and stretching is the key. It can be done, but one day after months and months of work, you'll be happy your OTTB stayed on the aids for her whole Training Level test; and you'll realize that riders on warmbloods achieved that milestone in 1/4 the time or less, which much less sweat than you did.

Disclaimer: I dabbled in dressage, it was not my primary discipline. If anabel, Spyder or Mercedes post in this thread and say something different, please pay attention to *them*. They are the true dressage experts. My experience with OTTBs is pretty extensive, however.
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post #3 of 29 Old 03-17-2010, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by maura View Post
Very typical of most OTTBs, she is tense through her back, hollow and not "through". She also has not engaged her hind end and doesn't come close to tracking up. I would focus more on relaxation, getting her to stretch down, and working long and low before even thinking about "on the aids", a frame or an outline.

Dropping your hand down below the standard straight line between elbow and bit may work short term to get the horse to drop its head, but it creates more trouble long term in terms of correct training. It's also incredibly punitive, creating direct downward pressure on the bars of the horses mouth.

Dressage is difficult for TBs is general because they're not bred or built for it (Yes, I know there have been fabulous exceptions); particularly hard for OTTBs because they've had traveling inverted and bracing on the bit confirmed by all their previous training.

Your mare is attractive and seems willing and like she's being a good sport about what she's being asked, which is a huge plus. It's hard to evaluate her athleticism from these photos, but certainly she'd be capable of doing Intro, Training and First Level.

However, I will tell that reschooling an OTTB as a dressage horse is a long, difficult task, sort of like emptying the ocean with a teaspoon. Relaxing the back and stretching is the key. It can be done, but one day after months and months of work, you'll be happy your OTTB stayed on the aids for her whole Training Level test; and you'll realize that riders on warmbloods achieved that milestone in 1/4 the time or less, which much less sweat than you did.

Disclaimer: I dabbled in dressage, it was not my primary discipline. If anabel, Spyder or Mercedes post in this thread and say something different, please pay attention to *them*. They are the true dressage experts. My experience with OTTBs is pretty extensive, however.
You covered it pretty well maura. For 3 lessons you are not that bad but I would question any instructor that tells you to place your hand/arm in the position it is in.

That is the sign of an instructor that is working on the head incorrectly and causing the stiffness throughout. This would be the very first thing I would work on. Just a note that this arm position also throws off your back and shoulder position and causes you to lose the use of your seat.
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post #4 of 29 Old 03-17-2010, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys alot, And she actually is built for dressge, not to long, and the only reason my hands are like that is because riding in dresage in a close contact saddle that is too small is difficult, i just bought my dressage saddle and wil be getting video and more pictures, thank you alot!
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post #5 of 29 Old 03-17-2010, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Mehtala09 View Post
Thank you guys alot, And she actually is built for dressge,
Actually, no she is not. I can tell right off that she's not. For starters, she has the typical TB high hock and high stifle set. Exactly not what you want in a dressage horse.
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post #6 of 29 Old 03-17-2010, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by maura View Post
However, I will tell that reschooling an OTTB as a dressage horse is a long, difficult task, sort of like emptying the ocean with a teaspoon.
I must say I'm incredibly tired right now, but when I read this, I laughed by butt off! That being said, to help my OTTB loosed up his back, I always warm him up in my half seat so he can loosen his back without me posting or sitting on him. It has really helped to allow him to stretch out and we have been have more productive rides since I've been doing it that way.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #7 of 29 Old 03-17-2010, 09:55 PM
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I think basic dressage is very good for OTTBs, as it is for most horses. However, she does not have what I would look for in a dressage horse prospect conformation wise.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are certain and the intelligent are full of doubt"
-Bertrand Russel
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post #8 of 29 Old 03-18-2010, 06:11 AM
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Do you want to ride tests and competitions or not? Because if you do, it might be quite difficult, as it has already been said before, warmbloods will always be "better". But if you want to do dressage for yourself and your horse, i don't see any problem. Every horse can be a "dressage horse", in German there is a saying: "Die Dressur ist für das Pferd da, nicht das Pferd für die Dressur" which means: Dressage is for the horse, not the horse for dressage.
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post #9 of 29 Old 03-18-2010, 01:32 PM
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I always get myself in trouble with the word "prospect."

To me, "prospect" means capable of competing successfully at the mid to upper levels of a sport. In that sense, no, your nice, attractive mare isn't a dressage prospect.

If your real question is "Should I do dressage with my mare?" than the answer is an emphatic yes. My first foray into dressage was with a very confirmed OTTB who didn't respond to any of the other training tools at my disposal and remained inverted, braced on the bit and counterbent and leaning in on turns. Getting him moving off my inside leg and firmly onto my outside rein under a dressage instructor's supervision is what finally made a difference and allowed me to progress with his training.

So by all means, work with a dressage instructor. You'll improve her movement, way of going and suppleness and she'll be a more responsive riding horse.

And, if you get to that point, do compete her. The experience of showing in front of a judge, hearing their comments and reading the comments on the test is invaluable.

Just remember I warned you about the warmbloods beating you up and taking your lunch money.
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post #10 of 29 Old 03-18-2010, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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This Mare Is Only Going To Be My LOW Level Training Thru First Level Dressage Horse, In 2 Years I Will Be Breeding her for my HIGH level horse. to our Trehkaner/ Gelderlander/ Dutch Stallion that cant be ridden due to injury, and she bearly raced, only 2 starts, then was spoiled for 3 years, and so this is a big improvement to what she used to be, pics dont do justice for her confo
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thats him
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