Looking for Dressage Horse- Need Buying Advice
I am looking for my first horse but I am NOT a beginner. I've been riding all my life mostly H/J and Dressage. I want a horse I can ride Dressage. I have a great trainer and barn, I just need the horse :)
Question 1- Would an Arabian be okay for dressage? I know there are a lot of different types of Arabs out there, so if I'm looking for one for Dressage, what specifically should I look for?
I have mostly ridden TB types so I'm not that familiar with Arabs. The reason I'm asking is that I ran across one that seems very nicely built and moves well (not 'camped out' behind, she really moves underneath herself). She happens to be fairly small (14.3 maybe?) which is smaller than I originally thought I'd look for but I am short so maybe it would work.
Question 2- Would it be hard to compete with a small Arab if I showed her in Dressage shows against all those big WB's? Note that unfortunately she is without papers, so I don't think I'd be able to show her in Arab Sporthorse shows.
Thanks so much for your opinions!
I would be reluctant to purchase an Arabian for Dressage unless you are planning on showing in Arabian Dressage. I think you would be disappointed about your results when showing in national level Dressage with an Arabian.
That is not to say that they can't be trained in Dressage at home, in fact they can make it to high levels, however their movement in general is not rewarded in the show ring.
I think you would be better off, if your goal is to compete, leasing a trained, sporthorse or warmblood type horse and work on saving your money to purchase a horse suitable for Dressage competition later. However, if you are only wishing to learn Dressage, an Arabian will be perfectly suitable.
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I would have to agree with Anebel.
I competed my Arab-typey (I say "typey" because he's quite the chunky with Arab like movement etc..) pony in dressage up to fourth level. He did the movements very well with very clean tests and we had a hard time getting low 60's at that level. A lot of the reason (I believe) was because of his movement...or lack thereof. I found that even the best of our rides didn't get rewarded the way they should have.
However, with that being said, that pony taught me SO much. I also showed on an Appaloosa for a while. I must be into unorthodox breeds for this discipline lol. You don't need that big fancy warmblood, or warmblood type horse to learn on. If you just want to school dressage and show locally, there is nothing wrong with an Arab. They will teach you the same way a warmblood would. I do think that, if your goals are to show higher than local shows and be very competitive with it, a warmblood (or warmblood-type/cross) would be a better option.
Best of luck on your horse search!
Thanks for your responses on using Arabs for Dressage
Thanks for both of your thoughts on this. The Arab mare I was thinking about is at my barn and I've ridden her twice now. She has nearly perfect conformation for dressage and moves well, too.
But I guess I kind of figured it would be hard to compete against WB's with her. I will just need to decide how much and at what level I think I want to compete.
I think I will probably keep looking for a different horse, but try to lease her as a good horse to learn more on until I find that 'perfect match.'
I believe Spyder trained her arab up to GP. I remember the pics. Tried to find them, but with no success. However it's more like an exception from what I know. You can just lease while look around till you come across a real deal. DD just recently posted about 18 yo DWB trained up to 3rd level for just $3K. My local person got 4th level DWB (perfectly healthy) for $2K. So it happens. :)
Thanks! Hoping for a price like that :) I don't need one to be trained to any level actually just one that has potential and that I 'fall in love with.'
Love your horse pics! Your horses are adorable!
i have to disagree that Arabians aren't good at dressage. I've known many with excellent movement - and many without. it depends on the horse and their conformation more than their breed. judges should be scoring based on movement - not breed - so if the horse is a good mover, then that's all there is to it!
here's a prior thread with a wonderful list of very successful dressage Arabains:
and here is one I knew personally (half-Arab), from my trainer in college (who had a retired Arab who was also incredibly successful in the upper levels):
L.A. BALTIC SUNBURST
L.A. BALTIC SUN X PRI RABDA KUHAYLAH (Arab),
by ANSATA HALMA SON
Bred by Los Alamos Dressage Center
Owned and ridden by Sharon Weidman.
USDF All Breed Award, 1st at Second Level.
and here's one from another trainer of mine who is a USDG Bronze and Silver Medalist with her (now retired) half Arab Que Sera
A USDF Bronze and Silver medalist, Suellen Mally has been a four time All Breed Dressage Award winner with her Half Arabian gelding, Que Sera. The pair has trained in dressage through Grand Prix before Que Sera’s retirement at the age of 22.
Sky, noone is arguing Arabs can't do it. But if someone is very serious about advancing and competing it makes more sense to get a horse that is bred for the discipline of choice. With that being said it's always a matter of choice of course.
kittenval - just saying that there are also Arabs bred for dressage too. ;)
Thanks for all the links to the various Arab Dressage horses and sites-- there are really some awesome Arabian horses doing dressage!
I am becoming a convert, at least to the LOOK of a well-conformed Arab doing dressage... I still have only ridden this one Arab mare and I'm just getting to know her and her personality (and I have no idea how she compares to other Arabs). So far, I like her and think my trainer is probably right that she could go pretty far in dressage. However, this may be the one and only horse I ever have time to devote to training through the levels in dressage and do I want it to be an Arab or go with the more conventional Warmblood?
I'm in a weird place I guess, having never owned a horse and finally being in a position to do so. However, I still have kids at home and not a lot of time to show and compete.
I mainly do this because I love the daily riding and training and seeing the progress I can make with a horse. Competing would just be icing on the cake and I certainly won't be traveling to compete (however, we have a wonderful regional Dressage competition venue just 20 minutes from where I live and board so that's an option for me).
I am in the process of following the other Forum link you suggested (I had searched on the topic and didn't find this, but I'm new here so don't know all the tricks yet). Lots of interesting advice/opinions on dressage horse selection and use of Arabians for dressage... so thanks again and if you made it this far, thanks for listening to my verbose musings :)
P.S. Thanks for everyone's replies and I love looking at the pics of all your horses! I'm going to try to get a pic of this Arab mare I've been riding and post it here.
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