What are your favorites? Does anyone that rides dressage own a Haflinger? Just curious, as I am beginning lessons soon with the hopes and goal of owning again in the next year or so...I like the shorter guys but it seems most dressage prospects or experienced horses are huge! Looking for opinions...
It depends on what you want to do with your Dressage. Theoretically, any horse can do a basic level of Dressage. If you want to be competitive and ride at the higher levels, that is where you need to start being more selective about breeds.
I own two hanoverians for Dressage, but also love Oldenburgs and many of the KWPN's.
Basically, warmblood's (true warmbloods, not draft x) are the key player in high level Dressage. Iberian breeds are fairly popular but the Warmbloods really do rule the roost when it comes to competition Dressage, due to their all round ability to collect AND extend their paces to a high degree. Like anything, not ALL warmbloods are going to get you to Grand Prix, but you've got a better chance on a warmblood than a standardbred that is not built for the job.
In Australia we don't have many haffies at all, but from what I've seen on this forum, a few members compete their haffies in Dressage quite successfully. They're not terribly competitive against the warmblood 'purpose bred' breeds, but they seem to hold their own and are a great little horse for a rider wanting to go and have fun, or compete in pony Dressage if applicable.
I'm very short too, with stumpy legs! My 1 year old is only 15.2hh, but pure hanoverian with fully imported bloodlines. The 2 year old will mature around 16-16.1hh and is also by an imported and highly successful Grand Prix Dressage stallion who puts a wonderful stamp on his progeny. Not all warmbloods are huge ;)
I don't know of any. The "best" (classic) breeds for dressage are traditionally Andalusians and Lipizzaners (I was reading a book and I can't remember if it said Thoroughbreds were introduced to the discipline earlier or later). Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods do well too. Warmbloods were introduced after Thoroughbreds, but they all do very well.
Someone at my barn had a Percheron/Standardbred they were doing dressage with.
In competitive Dressage, we want a horse with scopey paces, with suspension and some 'excitement'. This is where the warmbloods come in. They don't just "do well too" - they DOMINATE.
Thoroughbreds can do quite well, though there are not a huge amount of them that make it to the higher levels. They tend to be quite stuck through the back, and struggle with the collected work. Not all, but the majority.
Just posting what I've been learning from the book written by one of the classical dressage "masters". I haven't gotten very far in it yet, though.
I have to say the Andalusians at my BO's place have pretty decent scope. I can't get it with them yet because I'm transitioning from H/J to dressage and and a big noob XD
And by "do well too" I meant they are also some breeds that are used commonly.
In the UK there are haffies competing at advanced medium level (4th in the US i believe) but I've never seen one go higher.
I'm biased but I like my KWPN's
I haven't known of any halflingers that went past Second, BUT.. They are usually owned by Adult Ameteurs who have their own issues. The ones I've ridden are very, uh, flat. I could barely post. It was kind if nice not having to deal with a big, bouncy trot. :)
My favorites are Hanoverians, Thoroughbreds, Friesians, and Arab crosses. I competed my half Arab through Third at rated shows and won a lot of Reserve or Grand Championships (Jr young rider division). Scores well, placed well. Good training is good training, and will be rewarded in the arena.
As an adult, I'm not so concerned with showing (I still get to a few during the year). I just like the challenge and the reward of feeling the horse really swinging through its back, and engaged.
Identify what your goals are first. Weigh those out against your finances. Any breed can do just fine in dressage as long as they have the correct conformation. I know several Morgan's that are quite capable of upper level work (if only their owner was too).
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I re-read, The Complete Training of Horse and Rider last year and I remember that Podjawsky commented on the Lipizzaner trot wasn't as extended as a Warmblood or TB. Perhaps, even then (1960's) the sport was moving towards Warmbloods. Personally, I enjoy employing Dressage to make my horses better to handle and more athletic, which any sound horse ought to be able to do.
How about the American Saddlebred for dressage? Anybody doing dressage with their AS? :)
I do Dressage with mostly Andalusians and Lipizzaners. I am working with a 3yr old Oldenburg, who will be my big show horse.
I don't ride a Haffie in Dressage, but I do know quite a few people that do around here. They are super adorable! The last one I saw did a very beautiful 3rd level test. They defiantly have that cute factor to them!
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