Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Lansing, Michigan
The levels of dressage that I believe your daughter would compete at would not be 'harder' than the work your daughter should be doing while competing him in jumping. I imagine she has worked on rhythm, suppleness, contact, impulsion, straightness, and some degree of collection while jumping. Low-level dressage shouldn't require much more than what she should have already been doing. Smaller circles aren't really in lower-level dressage either.
An entry-level test will require a free walk, working walk, working trot, working canter, and 20m circles. With my 22yr old half-Arabian, this work never stopped, no matter if we were jumping or not. He has always been expected to carry his body correctly with forwardness.
Beyond that, no, I don't particularly think Harley should go much further in dressage. The difference between him and my senior half-Arabian, is that my horse does not have any signs of arthritis and has had zero soundness issues. I would be willing to work to go a bit further with my horse than Harley, but that also doesn't mean I am. I understand my horse is aging, and that consistent, senior-safe work will benefit him more than trying to push him into higher levels.
Eventually, I think you will start having to look for a horse for your daughter to transition onto, if she wants to continue competing on her own horses, or lease something a bit younger. She could have a horse that she can compete dressage on, and compete over 2'6"+ on, without having to worry about soundness issues looming overhead. Harley still have time to help her learn skills necessary to transition to a different horse, perhaps even a less-schooled horse, and eventually make the switch. Just something to keep in mind...I know the time is coming for my senior horse, and it has been bittersweet preparing my new mare to one day take his place, but it is best for my guy to live long, and comfortably into his senior years.
Toofine - 1998 Half Arabian
Minnie - 2013 Morgan