Critique on 4 year old?

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Critique on 4 year old?

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        04-02-2011, 05:45 PM
    Critique on 4 year old?

    I don't have a picture of Sophie's conformation, but I have pictures and video of her walking and trotting. She doesn't have much training at all, leading will need work, and cantering will need a bit of work as well. She's never been ridden, but she's been in a pack saddle with weights, logs, and water bottles. She's about ready to be ridden, and I'm excited to be starting her.

    What I'm really hoping for is some feedback on what she'd excel in, and what everyone thinks of her build, gait, etc.

    Here's a link to photos and a video, sorry that there's not many good ones:
    Sophie pictures by eventinglunatic22 - Photobucket

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        04-22-2011, 06:42 PM
    Pretty girl! She looks like she will be a great "all-rounder" horse. Her conformation doesn't scream any specific discipline at me, although it looks like she has a very fluid trot, with a long, low action and beautiful shoulder, so she'll be great at trails and especially Western events, where fluidity is more desirable than suspension. Her coloring and conformation are beautiful. She is well-proportioned, with nothing to large or small, and her hind legs are set BEAUTIFULLY! It is so hard to find a horse with NO hind leg faults, and I can't see any on her, although the side angles in the pictures aren't the best to determine that. The only things I noticed as faults: Her back is a little long. So make sure, when you start riding her, that you teach her to correctly step through with her hind end and back, and DON'T make the mistake of tying her head down that many people nowadays do. It looks pretty, but it is actually making her just curl her head and drop the base of her neck and her back, which will ultimately cause her back to sink and may give her a nasty swayback by the time she hits her mid teens or even sooner. So be very careful about making sure to develop her back and core muscles so that doesn't happen. Get the help of an experienced dressage trainer if you don't know how. She also looks a bit downhill (too much weight is carried on the forehand because her butt's too high) in some pictures, but in others it looks fine; it might just be her long back giving that impression. But overall nice horse! Sweet expression too. I bet you'll log many happy trail miles with her.
        04-22-2011, 07:19 PM
    I think most of the high bum illusion is either the angle of the photo or the fact that the roundpen we were working in was slanted and sloppy. She does have a bit of a long back, but I'm confident she'll grow up a little so it's not so extreme on her body. She steps through beautifully under saddle, I can feel how well she steps up under her. I had her in a western pleasure jog(much to my dislike) yesterday, because my leader got too lazy to keep up a good trot.

    I'm definitely not going to be tying her head down to get her in frame. Slow, patient work has always gotten me good framed dressage horses. I work with a trainer upon occasion, but I train mostly myself. I've been on her a few times now, with someone leading me. And yesterday was her second ride in a bridle with a bit. She's doing so well, and progressing so quickly.

    I'm looking into training her mostly for dressage, since she has such a rhythmic, springy gait. Eventually I hope to start the little lady over fences, because she's so brave you wouldn't believe. I'll probably show her in APHA halter and green hunter walt trot for a few years while her training goes further.

    I'm hoping to be able to get some good confo shots of her when the mud dries up around here and I can actually bathe her.

    PS- it turns out she'll be 5 next month!
        04-23-2011, 04:35 PM
    Wow so it sounds like you have nothing to worry about! I'll bet she has great gaits; that's the thing with long-backed horses. With someone who knows how to develop their topline correctly (which it sounds like you do) there is little danger of the back sinking, and while it will always be a bit weaker than short-backed horses it often allows for better scope over fences and good suspension in gaits. Plus she won't overreach, forge, or pull shoes as easily as say my TB, who is the opposite build with a very short back and very long legs (which is my personally preferred build, but if you look at a well-bred Holsteiner sporthors,e they often have the longer backs and short legs, and they are beautiful jumpers).
    The rump-high probably is an illusion; I just noticed it in a couple of pictures but in others she looked very definitely uphill, with a good bit of wither.
        04-23-2011, 06:10 PM
    She does have quite a bit of wither. I was inspecting her earlier(minus camera, much to my dismay), and I think she'll really be able to excel in the dressage world. She's such a smooth ride, it's just like floating!

    I'm excited to be able to ride her off lead and see how she does. She has problems with leaving the barn, and will stand and not move if she can get away with it. I think that will be my worst issue with her. I've never been able to get her to canter much, I did a bit when we first looked at her but it was slippery and I didn't want her to hurt herself, when I got her home I learned she wouldn't lunge out of a roundpen(which I'm lacking) and I've been working her in hand daily since, so no canter work.

        04-25-2011, 11:02 PM
    Good luck. One thing a trainer had me do with a past-owned barn-sour horse is riding in circles right outside the gate or wherever she wants to go to. Like a LOT of circles, the faster the better (but obviously in her case it will probably be just walk/trot). Don't overdo it though...many young horses are barn sour and if you are careful to make riding fun, they usually grow out of it pretty quickly.

    Keep me posted! :)
        04-25-2011, 11:17 PM
    I'm not sure she's barn sour. Just a typical greeny. She doesn't understand yet what everything means(squeeze doesn't equal go yet). I can't ride her in the arena just yet because it's so muddy here(and having a crazy t-storm now), so she's not confined how she should be during the initial training. I ride her from the barn, down the road, back past my driveway, and then up to my gate(that we never really use) and back down.
        04-26-2011, 01:02 AM
    The greatest thing ever for muddy weather is obstacle work. Set up a bunch of random obstacles (traffic cones, tarps, trash cans, whatever you have) and make then into random patterns to loop between, step on, etc. Anything safe that can be maneuvered...its great spook training and most horses really grow to love it because it's interesting. Its especially great for greenies, to expose them to different objects and get them used to turning, stopping, backing, moving.

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