What is the right dressage horse for you?
 
 

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What is the right dressage horse for you?

This is a discussion on What is the right dressage horse for you? within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Is dressage right for you
  • What do you need if you want to do dressage

 
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    09-17-2011, 06:56 AM
  #1
Foal
What is the right dressage horse for you?

There is no type when it comes to dressage. Im just going to go ahead and say it. Every horse can learn to have rythm,suppleness, a good contact,impulsion have straightness and can collect. Some will find it easier than other and have better movment than others, but a horse is not a barrier to enjoying dressage. However the there are some factors to consider when choosing a partner.

Size and power do matter, just not in a way a lot of peaople assume. How many of us are super star riders? Because those big fancy warmblood are power houses, you need to be good to sit the trot and not be balancing on their mouths, or be thrown about in the canter, rememember you want to do your horse justice. And bigger is not always better, if your overhorsed your not going to enjoy riding as much or be capable of being an effective rider. If your a 5'5ft tiny women, your going to look better riding well on a 15.2hh horse well, than getting bounced aroudn on a larger beast.a little less horsepower will get you further if you are better able to ride it.

Temperment. Hot and sensitive or calm and consistent. Know what you like. You have to get along with your horse to do well, some riders do better on sensitive horses and some do better on a horse that takes a bit more riding but has less fire. The saddest thing I see is people selling the horse they have trained and happily gone through the grades with, becaue they think they need something more talented, that quiet little horse might not have won an olympic gold, but at least it was trainable and willing, you will never go as far on a horse if it doesnt want to work for you or you don't get along. All the talent in the world can only get you so far..

I have seen clysdales, ewe necked cow hocked, thourougbred, welsh crosses and mustangs,get to grand prix dressage just because someone bothered to train them that far. I have seen a shetland pony piaffe and passage, and a horse called potato do the most amazing tempi's ever.

No matter how good the horse you still have to do all the same training and you still have to be good partners to get past even the lowest levels. I watch riders with all that money go throu horse after horse looking fo the one to get them there, there is not magic horse, there is just the time and training to put into what ever horse you ride.

Be realistic and don't give up you probably get further than you think. The horse is not the magic button to success
     
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    09-17-2011, 07:16 AM
  #2
Yearling
Most of what you wrote is spot on -- of course, all riders should have a horse suited to their ability -- but if you really want to be competitive at FEI dressage, you need an athletic horse. When it comes to lower levels, sure, any horse with decent conformation and temperament can do the job, but as with the top levels in *all* sport, equine or human, it takes a much higher degree of athleticism and the right sort of temperament to achieve it. I don't believe *any* horse can do Grand Prix any more than I can believe *any* human can climb the Nose of El Capitan, play for Manchester United, or win a gold medal at the Olympics.

Mind, one of the reasons I got fed up with dressage shows is that fancy movers always had a leg-up on the scores, even, and especially, in the lower levels. A horse who scored 8s and 9s on gaits had a better base score than one who got 6s and 7s (and 5s in the case of my old QH!) on gaits so screwing up one or two movements in the test, acting out, moments of resistance, had less of a negative impact on scores. Or think of it this way: a fancy horse who could get 75% on a test on a good day could knock his score back to 65% on a bad day, whereas a not-so-fancy horse like my QH could get 65% only if we rode a near perfect test, because of her low gait coefficient scores, which were pretty intransigent. And when we moved to First Level, we'd really get slammed on movements like lengthenings since she could not show the same sort of reach as the warmbloods. Horse pretty much maxed out there, as she didn't have the right kind of conformation and movement to do decent lateral movements like shoulder-in and half-pass. Just not enough space in her stride and she lacked that thrust and power behind you see in good dressage horses. And she hated dressage.

The point is, the horse does matter. If you're serious about competing in dressage, you need a competitive horse.
     
    09-17-2011, 06:37 PM
  #3
Trained
Well, if you've worked your backside off to be able to afford that big fancy mover, why SHOULDN'T you pick up some extra collectives than a cheap, ex pony clubber that the owner has decided they want to give dressage a go on??
I've been there, done that. I started out on a QH x appy mare that was built unbelievably downhill, had never done more than a slow, forehandy trot out on trails and hadn't been ridden in over 12 months.
Photo is of the first time I rode her, to give you an idea of just how downhill she was!


I got that mare, from travelling as she did in the above photo, to competing at the state dressage champs at novice level and training elementary, getting reasonable scores with 'nice' tidy, accurate tests.
I think every rider needs to be able to turn a horse like that around, as once you can get something that is absolutely NOT built for dressage to be through, then you can get just about anything through!!

I have just forked out in the double figures for a rising yearling warmblood colt. He has 3 very good paces, that are not enormous. He will only mature around 16.1hh as I'm only short and find it difficult to put a giant over 17hh with enormous paces together. And he has a BRILLIANT temperament.
I feel that I have certainly paid my dues in riding the 'average' horses, I've always been the one out there with the nutter ottbs, the 'weird' breeds that no one ever did anything with. I've been lucky to get the ride of a few nice wb's in the past to compete and train, which have helped to get my name out, and now I think it's about **** time that I had a nice warmblood of my own. That is naturally over the back, engaged hind quarters and willingness to work.

So no, sorry I don't agree with that dressage is snobby and so on, due to the 'favouritism' of the big moving warmbloods. Because it's not a case of snobbery or favouritism, it is just dressage! We want to see big moving, loose, elastic horses that swing over the back and can easily sit behind. Of course they're going to score better if they have these qualities as well as being ridden correctly and accurately.
     
    09-17-2011, 06:51 PM
  #4
Showing
Ditto, wild horses.

Many people (me including) don't even think about going to the high levels (often because of the limitations of the horse and/or rider, and many people are down to earth to see/understand that). Some people do it for fun, some to have a better trained horse, some ... for something else. However you still can do dressage and progress. How far? Who knows. You never know until you try!
     
    09-17-2011, 10:44 PM
  #5
Weanling
Long legged fancy moving horses do not always show 'correct' dressage!
Judges are supposed to score according to the horse's performance not according to breed....it is not flash over class.
     
    09-18-2011, 01:42 AM
  #6
Banned
I agree with Kayty

I would also add that a certain type has always been favored over certain others and to break into the higher levels with the "odd out" horse means you accept the lower than what you should get marks and shoulder on.

And while the judges are SUPPOSED to mark according to what they see in the performance there are some very prejudicial ones out there.

So the answer to the OP question of the right horse is.......the horse you are the most comfortable with and be ****ed if it doesn't "fit".

It can be done but it takes a strong constitution to do it.
     
    09-18-2011, 03:18 AM
  #7
Foal
Yes if your going to ride at FEI level you can't have a shuffling QH. But how many riders are actually going to ride at that level?

lol I have rideen th massive warmbloods in germany and in my own country, they are great but they are not for every rider, and a lot of people ride them and still don't get past first or second level anyway. Im not saying warmblood are bad, im saying that huge horses with massive movement are not for everyone. Lots of people just enjoy dressage and would be quite happy pottering on a quiter horse and still competing to a high level. In fact that's how I make my money, I find nice quiet dependable horse and train them up to where they can do flying changes, half pass etc and sell them to middle age woman, who have the time of their lives because they can learn all the tricks and enjoy riding them, the horses are engaged balanced and happy and they try their little hearts out, some of then will win locally or do well nationally, will they ever be olympic horses? Absloutly not, bt their rider have a fantastic time and really enjoy their dressage on them. I would say about 80% of riders need horses like these and the top 20% need the superstars

P.s. The first horse I trained up was a qh/appy/tb and he could half pass, collect and do everything required, even a pretty active piaffe, as good as tortilla's, hell no. But he taught me a lot, and I didnt need a flash horse to learn all that on, if more people tried on a quiet horse they would find by the time the needed a superstar they would have learnt enough already to really do a superstar horse justice.
     
    09-18-2011, 03:58 AM
  #8
Trained
Not all WB's are huge with massive movement wild horses ;)
As I said above, my little guy is going to max out at 16.1hh at a push, and has 3 above average, but very 'useable' paces. People seem to put warmbloods into a small box and think they're all the same. This is VERY much not the case!! Some are dopey, not forward thinking and just big, lumbering giants. Then there's the smaller more refined wbs with more spunk, some are hot, some are just about comatose, some are huge, some are competing in pony dressage though straight out warmbloods.

It's great and well to have your average 'jo blow' pony clubber out in the dressage ring to give it a go, BUT, do NOT come whinging when you get beaten by a purpose bred warmblood that someone has spent half a years wage on and worked their backsides off to get there. The excuse 'it won because it's a warmblood and that's not fair and the judge is bias' really drives me up the wall. I'd **** well hope that the serious riders are beating the 'backyard' riders because they put the blood, sweat and tears into the sport.
     
    09-18-2011, 04:23 AM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty    
Not all WB's are huge with massive movement wild horses ;)
As I said above, my little guy is going to max out at 16.1hh at a push, and has 3 above average, but very 'useable' paces. People seem to put warmbloods into a small box and think they're all the same. This is VERY much not the case!! Some are dopey, not forward thinking and just big, lumbering giants. Then there's the smaller more refined wbs with more spunk, some are hot, some are just about comatose, some are huge, some are competing in pony dressage though straight out warmbloods.

It's great and well to have your average 'jo blow' pony clubber out in the dressage ring to give it a go, BUT, do NOT come whinging when you get beaten by a purpose bred warmblood that someone has spent half a years wage on and worked their backsides off to get there. The excuse 'it won because it's a warmblood and that's not fair and the judge is bias' really drives me up the wall. I'd **** well hope that the serious riders are beating the 'backyard' riders because they put the blood, sweat and tears into the sport.
hahah im not saying all warmbloods are huge, lol my dressgae horse is a 15.3hh warmblood mare. My eventing horse is a massive warmblood, my other eventing horse is a mustang and the dressage horse I just sold was a small mustang stallion. I like dressage because ther is a place for all horses! I have trained almost every other horse in between warmblood and mustangs and they all have their advantage and disadvantages!

Im saying get a horse that your happy riding and that is trainable by you and you do far better.

I put the blood sweat and tears in and hope I beat the backyard riders to, I just think the backyard or weekend riders or low budget riders can enjoy it to and it doesnt take 1 type of horse to do it =)
     
    09-18-2011, 04:37 AM
  #10
Green Broke
I hate these preachy posts but I'll reply anyway.

I have a warmblood cross with enourmous movement, however I will be lucky if he maxes out at 15hh, which is fine for me as i'm 5ft4 and quite slight.

I have however ridden serious dressage horses (aimed at Para Teams) ranging from 15.2hh to 18hh and actualy found it easier to sit to the big trot of the warmblood then it was to sit to the stride of a welsh D.

Heck I know of one Ex race horse who is now doing Para Dressage and doing realy realy well. And I'm surre there was a member of the british dressage team who had a shire or clydesdale crossed with a TB at Grand prix level.

It all realy depends on the individual horse and how doos the rider is.
     

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