Breeds for dressage? - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 21 Old 04-14-2011, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: The BEAUTIFUL Pacific NW
Posts: 69
• Horses: 2
Question Breeds for dressage?

So i know lots of people in higher levels of dressage ride warmbloods... and i love warmbloods! Does anyone have a favorite warmblood breed they could tell me more about. Also, i might be looking for a horse here soon and was wondering if anyone knew about a breeder/ seller in the NW.

Hmmm... so if i can't find a good warmblood or if i want to expand my options, does anyone know a great breed to do dressage with? For now i'll only be doing lower level dressage so i don't need anything too fancy! What about mustangs? I love those too but since they seem like more of a western type horse (GREAT for trail riding and barrel racing though... haha ) would they be okay for dressage? Does anyone know where i could get one? I know BLM sells them but wouldn't be trained for dressage yet anyway... Thanks for any info you might have!
MethowHorses25 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 21 Old 04-14-2011, 09:56 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: VA
Posts: 79
• Horses: 4
Yes mustangs can be great in dressage! theres even a book on one who made it to the level below Olympic level. BLM does sell some of them trained but you would have to train them in dressage. it would be alot cheaper then a warmblood too!

Horses may be cookies to the soul - but ponies are Ben & Jerry! ;)
BansheeBabe is offline  
post #3 of 21 Old 04-14-2011, 10:02 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,441
• Horses: 0
(almost) Any horse can do basic dressage. For higher-level, people usually use Thoroughbreds, Oldenbergs, Hanoverians, Danish Warmbloods, Andalusians, Lustianos, Westphalians....and the list goes on. If you're just looking to start out, choose a horse with decent conformation, nice movement, and good natural self-carriage.
equiniphile is offline  
post #4 of 21 Old 04-15-2011, 06:19 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,175
• Horses: 3
If you're starting out - don't worry about going for a WB. They're pricey, big moving and not set on 'auto pilot'.
You're best to find something that has 3 nice but not huge paces, that you can actually sit on and ride. It should be built slightly uphill, with good hock and knee action, and a naturally swinging back. Temperament should be quiet, trainable and forgiving. I go by the motto that you ruin you next horse a little less than the next one ;) So the more forgiving and trainable a horse, the more you're going to learn together and enjoy yourselves.

TB's are usually seen around in the lower to mid levels, not so much upper levels. Unless performance bred, or a 'one in a million' racing bred, they're just not put together well enough for dressage, and don't tend to have an appropriate temperament to deal with the pressure put on horses as they move up the levels.
Not saying they're all like that, hell, I purchased a TB straight off the track last year as a dressage prospect. Beautifully uphill, stunning hock and knee action, beautiful natural topline and desire to 'sit'. But his back is still, in typical TB fashion, very 'stuck'. He can 'fake it' at the lower levels, with his lovely paces, but once you start asking for laterals in a test it's very difficult if his back is not there.
A horse that doesn't have a naturally swinging back is difficult for an beginner rider to get going correctly, you won't get the feeling you should have on a horse that is moving easily over the back, so these horses should be left to more experienced riders.

Don't limit yourself to particular breeds - only look for what I have mentioned above - temperament, trainability, conformation and paces (not too huge!! - although paces do get you a few marks, if you're not able to ride them you won't be able to show good paces off and the horse will look worse than your average kids pony clubber!!)
Kayty is offline  
post #5 of 21 Old 04-15-2011, 06:45 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: australia
Posts: 2,510
• Horses: 3
Originally Posted by Kayty View Post
and a naturally swinging back
Sorry this is a bit off track and might sound like a bit of a stupid question but what do you mean by swinging back? Thanks

My two horse Apache and Sammy are my world
along with our dogs Patch and Bear.
But I will always love you Jimmy R.I.P
apachewhitesox is offline  
post #6 of 21 Old 04-15-2011, 06:57 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,175
• Horses: 3
Not a stupid question ;)

Ok so in dressage, and really general flat work, a horse that is using its body correctly, will 'swing' it's back as well as move its legs. When you see horses that trot around and look very flashy, with 'flicky' front legs - 99% of the time these horses are not using their backs and are just 'leg movers' - which look speccy but is not correct.

To have a horse working correctly, we want to create energy in the hind quarters, using our leg and seat, this energy will travel over the horse's back and up to the bridle, where we must keep a contact to 'complete the circuit' (think an electrical circuit, the energy will not flow if there is a gap in the circuit. It is the same with a horse. If there is a block or gap in the circuit, the energy will not flow through the whole horse, and the work is not 'correct').

As the energy we create in the hind legs, circulates up through the back and to the bridle, then cycling back which is where you get your collection, the back muscles will 'engage' and lift. In some horses, the 'lift' in the back is so obvious that you feel as though they've grown an inch. The back is then able to swing with the horse's movement, and carry the rider.
This is opposed to a horse that travels by bracing it's back and moving it's legs. The ride is not so comfortable and the energy circuit is not connected as the back is blocked.
We achieve the swing and 'throughness' by using half halts and other exercises to engage the hindquarters. You should feel the back 'release', and the horse's movement will immediately become freer flowing and much more pleasant to ride.

Some horses will naturally swing over the back, meaning they're very loose over the back and it makes the rider's job of creating that 'electrical circuit' much easier. Others, like most TBs, will travel with a naturally stiff, braced back, and as a rider we have to be skilled and tactful enough to encourage the horse to release its back and build those muscles so that eventually it becomes more comfortable to travel with a soft back versus a tense/stuck back.
Kayty is offline  
post #7 of 21 Old 04-15-2011, 07:05 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: australia
Posts: 2,510
• Horses: 3
Thanks a lot for clearing that up.

My two horse Apache and Sammy are my world
along with our dogs Patch and Bear.
But I will always love you Jimmy R.I.P
apachewhitesox is offline  
post #8 of 21 Old 04-15-2011, 02:42 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: South West England
Posts: 222
• Horses: 6
Success at the lower levels of Dressage depend more on the horse's attitude, conformation, paces and training than it's breed However, certain types can be better, a lighter horse with an uphill build and natural outline will find the training much easier than, say, a draught breed or an arab, but there is no reason why these breeds shouldn't do well at low level dressage, it is just a bit more of a challenge!

I competed my 13.1hh New Forest pony at Prelim and Novice level, and beat horses including warmbloods, not because he was a stunning animal with a flashy trot, but because he was obedient, worked in a rhythm and had straight, correct paces.

Here he is:

Gorgeous, but not exactly a Zangersheide horse!!

A common mistake is to go for a horse with flashy paces, and whilst a high degree of elevation is necessary in the top levels of dressage, flashiness in the trot can not only mask incorrect paces (dishing, brushing, not moving straight or tracking up) but for someone fairly new to the sport, it can be difficult to contain and so makes it much more difficult for the rider to hold the horse up together and maintain a rhythm. Paces can be improved upon immensely, especially the trot, so you are best judging a potential dressage horse by it's walk and canter.

These paces should be balanced, the horse should have a long, easy stride, moving freely through his shoulders and swinging through his hips. They should also be straight, both in front and behind, rhythmic and the horse should track up.

Many warmbloods are bred solely for dressage, and so innately have the right temperament and conformation, giving them a big advantage over the other breeds, and this is why you only really see wbs at the top of the game. But if you understand what it is in a warmblood's physical structure that make it so successful at dressage, you can look for these same traits in other (cheaper!) breeds.

I prefer a lighter, more compact warmblood, so my favourite is the Oldenburger!

I also really like the Selle Francais, although they can be tricky horses! And I believe are more geared toward showjumping.

As for other breeds that do well in dressage, Thoroughbreds are of course fantastic, and if you go for an ex racer, you can get a horse of amazing quality, that could have cost 100,000 to breed, for a tiny sum of money. Tbs are prone to flatness in their paces, and also carrying themselves on the forehand due to a downhill frame, because both of these things are desirable for racing. However they can be improved on, and there are actually plenty of thoroughbreds out there that naturally move like warmbloods! Here is a picture that demonstrates that, with Buck Davidson riding Triomphe!

Thoroughbred crosses can also make good dressage horses, I have seen amazing dressage horses with things such as Appaloosa, Connemara, Welsh and Arab in their breeding, coupled with thoroughbred.

Lastly, the Irish Sporthorse (and also other Sporthorses such as British or Australian) make fantastic dressage horses, and although may not show such dramatic paces as the warmblood, can have a lot of presence. Here is my own Irish Sport Horse, Solo.

Sorry for the novel hehe
Levade is offline  
post #9 of 21 Old 04-15-2011, 03:20 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 1,539
• Horses: 4
here's a great article about a BLM mustang who went to dressage at devon and did quite well: Padre the mustang

and a video of him under saddle for less than 18mths.

crimsonsky is offline  
post #10 of 21 Old 04-15-2011, 10:20 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: pennsylvannia
Posts: 882
• Horses: 1
I like Hanoverians and Oldenburgs. But I LOVE Fresians for classical dressage. LOL but nobody can afford classicaly trained dressage fresians LOL
fuadteagan is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Non traditional breeds in dressage. Spyder Dressage 33 06-19-2009 02:55 AM
Pikeur Dressage Coat and Ariat Dressage Boots jklfarm Tack and Equipment Classifieds 1 01-07-2009 08:22 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome