A month of dressage training or hunter/jumper training?
I've recently bought a green OTTB, and can't decide if I want to send her for a month to a dressage trainer or a hunter/jumper trainer. Gracie totally has hunter movement and that's my goal for her to become, but at the same time I'm not sure if a month of intense dressage training would be a better foundation. One of my good friends recommended that I send her to the hunter/jumper trainer and then take dressage lessons on the side when she comes back, and I'm leaning towards that right now. Not only, (like I just said) do I want Gracie to become a hunter, but my barn is primarily an eventing barn so we constantly go to dressage barns -- but never a hunter jumper place.
So, opinions! What would you do?
I would be very, very cautious sending her to a trainer that you don't know. There are a lot of "trainers" out there who are very successful in the dressage and hunter jumper rings but behind the scenes beat the living hell out of horses. I know someone who watched, horrified, while the horse she had in training got beat in the face with a dressage whip, mind you he was being a dink, but it does not constitute beating in the face. The horse's eyes were swollen shut when she got off.
A good trainer is a good trainer, no matter what discipline they are riding. Even though I am a dressage rider, with a dressage horse, there are h/j trainers I would sooner send my horse to than some dressage trainers, and vice versa for people I know in h/j land. Get recommendations,a and go watch a day of training. If the barn is closed to spectators/clients during the day without appointments, then run faaaaaaar away because that is the first sign of abusive training methods. Show up, unannounced and bring some cocoa. Watch at least 4-5 horses go. This way the trainer will ride many different types of horses (hopefully) and if she has a temper, it's going to show up in at least one of them. For trainers used to beating horses, they aren't going to be able to contain themselves for 5 horses.
Personally, I like the dressage idea. Get some good flat work done on her so when you put a jump infront of her she's balanced and controlable. Some h/j trainers will overface a horse by putting a fence infront of them too soon. Because she is off the track, you need to get her confident in the flat work without running of being unbalanced before engouraging her to "go" and jump. Get the instinct to run out of her first.
I agree with the dressage idea. It will give her a good basis for all disciplines. If she is straight of the track she will be used to ballencing on the riders hands. It will be very benificial to allow her to learn to work from behind into the bit and gain ballance.
I think Dressage would be a better idea just because it does give you such a great foundation. Then maybe taking some jumping lessons?
I agree dressage is great for any horse and a horse coming off the track, it would probley be a good transition and she can consentrate on her movement and collection
Yup, just as everyone else before me...I'd go with dressage training first. Build the basics and muscle, then tackle jumping. Thats what I'm doing with my mare right now and it's working wonderfully. I'm blessed with a wonderful trainer and I am fortunate enough to have the time during the day to sit in on her training (even though I fully trust the trainer by now) but it really helps to watch from the side lines. I also take lessons on her twice a week with my trainer. It really helps reinforce everything.
I agree with everything anebel said. She pretty much covered it all. :P
Thanks guys! Anabel, the dressage trainer is a woman who my barn takes lessons from, and I also take lessons with a trainer who works under her who I actually just had a great lesson with the other day! My barn owner's mother also rides under that trainer. (They're all Prix St George riders... amazing to watch!) As for the hunter jumper trainer, long story short, the woman who I bought Lena from, (who does consignments) recommended a lady who she sent a horse to for training and she was so enthusiastic about how drastically her green horse changed that I called the other night to see if I could come out and watch a few of her lessons and I'm going out tonight to watch. I googled the h/j trainer's name and found her really impressive show record in the hunter world too, so I guess I'll just see how it goes tonight!
Also, I forgot to add- money does play into my decision. The dressage trainer is $1800 a month (training/board) and rides around four times a week, and the hunter/jumper is $1000 (training/board) and specifically told me that she rides her horses five times a week. The later is a lot more realistic in terms of price for me- especially because I was planning on doing a lesson once a week too which is an added charge. (Dressage is $100 for an hour and H/J I think is... either $50 or $60 for a private lesson) Horses are so expensive!!
I'll let you guys know how tonight goes.
I think Dressage would be great to get your horse obedient and build up muscle before you try doing jumping with her.
Your location says MD, so am I right to assume you live in Maryland? I board and have my horse trained at a lovely dressage barn in Mount Airy. Full board + training is $800/month and a lot of the time you get discounts with the vet and farrier if you schedule appointments on the same days as the BO's Andalusians. If you're still looking, I would recommend at least visiting this place if you are able. Everyone is really nice there. The BO is a bit strict, but I find I like that. She is extremely considerate of the horses.
Whatever you choose to do, I hope you make the right decision for you and your horse. :D
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