Anebel, I don't know where else in Europe you have been besides the 5 days in Germany with a member of this forum who lives there, but I can assure you that Friesians are now more and more bred away from the impressive cart horse they originally were towards light riding horse with the gaits and conformation along with it.
Drafts, especially Clydesdale and Shires are more and more ridden, trained and exhibited in dressage. Go to any decent horse fair and you will see them, under saddle, in different disciplines, mainly dressage.
And not all warmbloods are built for dressage either. It all depends on the individual.
And even if they have the conformation, there is still no guarantee that they hold up. 10, 20 years ago it was normal seeing an 18 year old horse competing at highest levels and being, from what can be seen, sound. Today this is more and more the exception.
We noe have the throw away society, even for horses. I cringe when I see a 7 or 8 year old compete in grand prix.
There is dressage, and there is dressage. Show me a draft horse capable of GP over 60% that has maintained it for 8 or more years.
I never said all warmbloods were dressage machines either. The mare I gave away because she could not handle the work is a branded Hanoverian mare imported from Germany and in the main Hanoverian studbook.
Horses are not allowed to compete in GP at 7 years old. It's written right on the top of the test. And while there are many horses competing at GP at 8 years old, it's shocking but they are usually still up there by 16, and older. Just not in the same classes with the same riders. Many are ridden in the U25 GP after a successful GP competition career, and eventually move up to the big tour again with the U25 riders. A friend of mine has a 16 year old doing the GP and he's been there for 6 years or so and showing no signs of slowing down, not all with her though, she is his second GP rider.
It's not throw away... It's development. Many horses are talented and strong enough after 5-6 years under saddle to be doing a GP. Not their best GP, but a GP. I'm riding a particularly handy 5 year old who is already doing starting work for pirouettes, because it is easy for him and fun. He gets very bored riding around doing only things that 5 year olds should be doing. But his trot work lags at about first level, the horse does not develop as per the USEF tests dictate. I have no doubts that the horse will be doing a full pirouette before he learns an extended trot and is able to carry it. Might I also mention the horse was broken in only this summer. Horses learn far faster than most people give them credit for, what lags is the strength in the body.