how old is your dressage horse?

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how old is your dressage horse?

This is a discussion on how old is your dressage horse? within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    12-20-2012, 12:24 AM
how old is your dressage horse?

I found a nice hanoverian mare that I am thinking of looking at but she is 15 and that worries me a bit. She has done hunter/jompers up until now and cannot stand up to the jumping anymore, which also worries me.
I emailed her owner about her soundness and I am told she is fine for flat work and just gets a bit ouchy when she jumps.
I would only be riding her training for now, what do you guys think?
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    12-20-2012, 12:33 AM
It really annoys me when people sell a horse with soundness issues, saying it can't jump but fine for dressage. This is a huge cop out, Dressage places just as much demand on the horses soundness as jumping does. If the horse is lame when jumping, it'll be lame in Dressage.
If you're happy to just piddle along doing basic w/t/c then it might be fine, but if you're wanting to train Dressage (I'm assuming you do since this is in the dressage subforum) then keep looking for something sound.
Also at 15, if the horse has done little to no Dessage work, it's getting a bit late to train the horse to more than the basic levels.
I purchased a 10 yr old hano gelding earlier this yr with reasonable Dressage training, as sound as a bell, and I am just glad that he's do talented and trainable to that he has a chance of being at FEI before he gets on in years.
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    12-20-2012, 02:48 AM
These where my initial thoughts, I do believe however that you can't always believe what people say, maybe this mare just needs some good hoof care and she will be sound, IDK I haven't seen her. I also agree with the soundness issue, which is why I posted my question here, I also agree that dressage is hard on a horse just as much as jumping so yes this does worry me. I am by no means an FEI rider, however would I like this mare to go second, yes. Also I do believe that good riding is good riding and IF(a big IF) she has good basics on her that getting to first in a year isn't out of the realm of possibilities.
    12-20-2012, 03:47 AM
Green Broke
Mine is 5yrs old currently and just coming back from major injury that hopefully wonty affect his soundness long term but there are no garentees.

My last dressage pony was doing medium level at 20yrs old however he was perfectly sound and had been schooled to that level when quite young.

Her age wouldnt nessecarily concern me however her soundness issues would.
    12-20-2012, 11:46 AM
Assuming there aren't soundness issues with the horse... If the horse is in good health, good physical condition, and has good conformation, then I would think a 15 year old horse could be perfect for a developing dressage rider. You'd have to confirm with the seller, but usually at 15 the horse has show experience, and more of a "been there, done that" type response to training and showing. It's a little easier to work with a good older horse, then buy a youngster that's still reactionary to new things.

An acquaintance of mine recently got back into riding dressage and she purchased a 16 year old TB that had been trained through First Level. The horse has arthritis, but it's manageable with injections. The horse isn't built for dressage really, but he's perfect for the beginner adult ammy.

Another friend of mine has a 15 yr old TB. He had dressage training from 4 -6 years old, but hasn't had any real dressage training for the past 7ish years. Since the horse is older, and had some basic dressage training, they were able to progress pretty quickly to Second level (about a year). They're now working on flying changes for Third level, his half-pass is to die for, and he's got a work ethic I would kill to have in a horse. He's sound, but does start off stiff so you have to take your time warming him up and getting him stretched out properly before beginning work on anything.

My mare's 9. We'll be showing Second next spring. We're training Third currently. She'll be 10 next spring. So she'll probably be 11 by the time we're showing Third level.

15 isn't a bad age (depending on how sound the horse is) for a lower level dressage horse. I think it depends on your goals though. If you're looking to keep advancing through the levels, past Second, then what will you do with this horse once you've outgrown it? It may be a fantastic horse that could take you through Fourth before it's near retirement.. but what if Second is the highest this horse could go? By then, the horse would be 17/18 years old. Do you have the capability to give it a retirement home? What happens if you can't find a good retirement home for the horse when you can no longer ride it?
    12-20-2012, 05:22 PM
Lacey, the person I know got 18 yo WB gelding (that was doing 4th level). It was a very good deal (owner wasn't interested anymore). After some added groceries he looks absolutely great (and very gentle horse) and teaching his owner. So I see no problem with 15 yo depending on your goals, of course.

P.S. I agree with Kayty. It really rubs me when someone advertises a horse as "can't jump because of <....> but would make a great dressage horse". Really!
    12-26-2012, 07:04 PM
Personally, I'd pass unless you have a reason you like this particular horse. In which case I'd recommend a thorough pre-purchase exam.

I also think 15 is a little late to be starting in dressage with a good chance of making it to 2nd level, depending on her natural movement and self carriage. If she's been allowed to drag herself around on her forehand throughout her jumping career it will be much harder than if she has already been taught to shift her weight back.
    01-07-2013, 07:09 AM
Pass because of the legs, but 15 is not too old.

My old horse was 19 and I was doing L level on him, flying changes, canter half pass, collection was no issue etc.

But you have to treat them right.
Long warm ups, good cool downs and more rest periods.
    01-23-2013, 10:57 AM
My dressage mare was about 14 years old when I bought her, now she is about 17 years. She had no training whatsoever when I bought her, and now she's doing lateral movemnets like a pro. The only thing that I'd really worry about with an older dressage horse is the physical stress- just do easy warm ups, and keep in mind that you just might have to be a bit watchful about lameness, et cetera. But what's great about an older dressage horse is that they're calm and (usually) listen to you.
    01-25-2013, 09:59 PM
Originally Posted by Kayty    
It really annoys me when people sell a horse with soundness issues, saying it can't jump but fine for dressage. This is a huge cop out, Dressage places just as much demand on the horses soundness as jumping does. If the horse is lame when jumping, it'll be lame in Dressage.
If you're happy to just piddle along doing basic w/t/c then it might be fine, but if you're wanting to train Dressage (I'm assuming you do since this is in the dressage subforum) then keep looking for something sound.
This is so true. I bought my first horse, as a beginner, and while I still have her and love her to pieces, I don't ride her nearly as often as I should. Why? As a 13-ish year old, she seemed sound - had a few conformation issues, resulting in paddling in front, and brushing in back - but, she is beautiful and carries herself well otherwise. However, I can't ride and learn like I want/need to with her because I know in my heart that it compromises her soundness. When we started focusing on straightness and collection exercises, she went lame :( Really, it just stressed her joints - which were already stressed from her conformation issues.

My point is, don't settle. Dressage is quite demanding, and while I would never regret owning my wonderful first horse, my riding focus is now on my younger, sound and more "conformationally correct" horse.

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