Originally Posted by core
Anebel - I agree with what you're saying. It's about conformation of a breed. The breed characteristics that make the breed suited, or unsuited, for specific disciplines. I've ridden Friesians and getting them to use their hind ends is beyond frustrating, and even when they do, it's so much more difficult than for a horse that has the conformation to tuck its butt under.
I think the friesian breed has changed quite a bit the last decade or so. It used to be mainly leg action and horrible canters. With breeding programs focusing on the sport horse market for Friesians, they're starting to produce horses that have the conformation for collected work. It still depends what line of friesian you're looking at though.
Same idea with drafts. It's easier to find a Hanoverian that's built for dressage type collection, than it is a draft. Not that you can't find them out there, but they have a wider range of purpose than the Hanoverians are bred for.
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I see it more as it is cruel to ask the horse to do something it's not built for and potentially lame the horse in the process. Two reasons that horses break down - bad confirmation and bad training. There is a reason why the only horses still seen competing at international competitions at the age of 18 are warmbloods, and are sound doing the work well into their 20s. Because they are built for it, and the training has been good.
Find me a draft horse that has performed GP dressage worthy of a 60% and maintained that for 8 years, in competition. It won't happen because the horses are lamed by the time they are 14. Which IMO is unfair and cruel and is done only to satisfy peoples need to "be different" and "stick it to those dressage bitches".
It's not an elitist attitude. It's common sense and good horsemanship. Every time I've had a horse maxed out by the work I've sold or retired them to a life more suited to the horse. Just got a phone call from a new owner of a mare I gave away 6 years ago because she was not built for dressage and was not standing up to the workload. She is doing awesome and the kid she was bought for wants to start competing at low levels. Could I have pushed her to the GP? The mare was capable of 2 tempis at 5 years old. Of course I could have pushed her to the GP! But why? For personal glory?? It would not have been fair to the horse.
Who out of everyone here would have liked their parents to have forbidden them from riding and pushed them to perform at the highest levels of track and field? Gymnastics? Football? That is essentially what is happening to these horses, and as a means to what end?? Personal glory, jealousy and wanting to prove that all those dressage bitches who eat KD and old bread to afford their horses and lessons are wrong. I'm sorry but I have not lived on shoestrings to have what I do to be called "elitist" and a bitch. Sorry for using a pitchfork to move straw and a hose and pump for water...