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View Full Version : Looking for your opinion: School master or young'n?



Carrera
Sep. 26, 2009, 11:23 AM
I'm looking for some pros and cons here. I am looking to buy a dressage horse (with about 20k of funds). I have a list of what I need: reg'd mare, over 16hh...

I have found some interesting young horses around the 3-6yo mark, some have shown others not yet. High quality, very nice horses. But they are green.

I have also found a mare that is showing 3rd, schooling 4th, in my price range, but is 16yo.

I'm torn. I know that I would have (most likely) a less frustrating time with the school master, as I am relatively new to dressage (did hunters for 20 years now dressaging for 6months).

I have a great coach that will be helping me with this, but I am looking for what others may think.

I have brought along MANY young horses over the years, hunter yes, but I still know what has to go into them and the challenges that will come up.

Petstorejunkie
Sep. 26, 2009, 11:39 AM
My vote is c. Lease a schoolmaster for 1-2yrs then buy a nice 1st level horse
I get too attached to vote school master and I think you'll have a nicer time not having to learn, then train your greenie

slc2
Sep. 26, 2009, 12:04 PM
A third or 4th level horse isn't a schoolmaster. A schoolmaster is a grand prix horse that a student can learn on. Depending on who's talking, there are various levels of mercy and accomodation that a schoolmaster should have. Depending on who you talk to the schoolmaster should be either very tolerant and sort of try to figure out what you want and give it to you, all the way to the hell-no type schoolmaster who is just as demanding and precise as the best trainer, and perhaps almost as pissed off when the rider would fall short, LOL.

So, you think riding a dressage schoolmaster would be less difficult than a young horse?

I think the challenges are different, but would never say that the schoolmaster is always going to be less work or less effort or less difficult, in some ways, it is far, far more difficult to ride a schoolmaster.

With a schoolmaster, you have what usually is, a riding instructor who can't talk, all he can do is either not do what you ask, or not do what you ask and get really pissed off.

It's not that much difference between a schoolmaster and a third-fourth level horse. The basic differences between dressage and hunt seat style training will still be there in the 3rd - 4th level horse, and still be very challenging.

Young horses aren't usually difficult if one gets some instruction and follows it. Unless there's a really bad match (a very lazy horse that's a bit of a bully paired with a very timid and hesitant, weak rider, or a very tense, reactive person with a very nervous horse) a green horse isn't usually a big problem.

What's a problem is, I think, more so, is the change between the hunters and dressage. There are a lot of people who do a sort of 'easy dressage' that really is basically the hunt seat style, and they don't get that much of a difference or understand what the difference SHOULD be. If one wants to go at it really for real, there will be a lot of difference. And I think that adjustment happens whether it's a youngster or a more trained horse. The trained horse will be going around like a hunter in a day or two if that's how the rider rides, the training doesn't matter that much.

What would I recommend you buy?

An older, first-second level horse, been there, done that and shown a lot. Show the horse and take lessons at trianing, first, and second, and learn a little how to train third level - that would be about four years or so. Then buy a 3rd-4th level horse, been there done that, well schooled. four years with that, and so on.

Carol O
Sep. 26, 2009, 01:30 PM
Schoolmaster.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Sep. 26, 2009, 01:46 PM
Having learned to ride hunt seat first and transitioned (rather unsuccessfully due to continual horse layups) to dressage I say go with what's been said and avoid the green beans. It is hard to switch and you need to focus your effort on you and new muscle memory as opposed to riding a youngster, imo. I'd look for a horse that has shown at least in the 2nd/3rd/4th range (yes big variable, but age, etc. will play into the budget with the level too) and if you can find a GP schoolmaster, awesome. I have a friend who did.

I will tell you that the GP schoolmaster is going to be at around 18 years old +, probably either need major maitenance or no longer showing GP entirely, but can still do most movements due to some old injury, and will eat your entire budget. That's what I've seen--maybe others can chime in on that, but a younger "pleasant" GP horse is going to be beyond 20k. And, btw, both those GP horses (one purchased at age 18, one 21) were awesome for their owners and stayed sound to do what they wanted for years--so I'm not saying don't do it...

stolensilver
Sep. 26, 2009, 02:14 PM
I'd take option 3. :)

I'd save my money and, assuming you have brought a young horse on before and are capable of coping with a youngster, I'd buy a nice but ordinary young one that was a sensible price. I'd make sure it had OK gaits and outstanding trainability and I would spent time learning how to train a dressage horse on that one.

Then, when you have brought that horse through the grades and can do half passes and flying changes and pirouettes and maybe more, then you are ready to spend lots of money on a fancy young prospect.

A first dressage horse doesn't have to be a blue blooded warmblood. When you are learning the main thing that will keep your scores low is the rider! So get a nice horse that won't intimidate you and take it from there. There is a saying that riders ruin their first 3 grand prix horses. I think there is a lot of truth in that statement. So let your first grand prix horse be one that hasn't taken your life savings to buy it. :)

Kaelurus
Sep. 26, 2009, 03:09 PM
I will tell you that the GP schoolmaster is going to be at around 18 years old +, probably either need major maitenance or no longer showing GP entirely, but can still do most movements due to some old injury, and will eat your entire budget. That's what I've seen--maybe others can chime in on that, but a younger "pleasant" GP horse is going to be beyond 20k. And, btw, both those GP horses (one purchased at age 18, one 21) were awesome for their owners and stayed sound to do what they wanted for years--so I'm not saying don't do it...

Yes, this is absolutely true. I have a true schoolmaster - helped two different riders to their golds. He is an '88 model SF stallion, with an old injury, and eats my ENTIRE budget. Special shoes, regular injections, expensive supplements. You name it, he gets it.

But he is worth every penny! Even though we don't show, he can still do ALL of the movements. He has taught me a lot, with remarkable patience. If I don't ask correctly, he just doesn't do it. He doesn't get upset - just ignores me and pretends he didn't notice the cue. But as soon as I ask correctly, the movement is there.

If I had to make the decision all over again, I would still take the schoolmaster. He will probably retire in the very near future, at which point I will shift my focus to a youngster. But for now, I will continue to learn as much from him as I possibly can.

goeslikestink
Sep. 26, 2009, 03:13 PM
I'm looking for some pros and cons here. I am looking to buy a dressage horse (with about 20k of funds). I have a list of what I need: reg'd mare, over 16hh...

I have found some interesting young horses around the 3-6yo mark, some have shown others not yet. High quality, very nice horses. But they are green.

I have also found a mare that is showing 3rd, schooling 4th, in my price range, but is 16yo.

I'm torn. I know that I would have (most likely) a less frustrating time with the school master, as I am relatively new to dressage (did hunters for 20 years now dressaging for 6months).

I have a great coach that will be helping me with this, but I am looking for what others may think.

I have brought along MANY young horses over the years, hunter yes, but I still know what has to go into them and the challenges that will come up.


if you asked me - for myself i would pick the youngster as i like young neds and you can mould them into your way of thinking but remember good or bad they learn from you as your the one teaching them in other words how you act and what you do they re-act to you asthey only learnt by the humand hand - and they have long memories

how ever if the schoolmaster is acutally one they you can also learn from the horse
as it should have been there and worn the t shirt

but there a but---judging by what you saying and this is where you have to be an honest
larry asin be honest with yourself

you have expreince riding horses ok in a different disipline so not as if you green
as green as a pea green with neds


so iwould opt fot option 3-------- which isnt listed
go for a horse thats young enough to move up the levels at a pace your happy with but not old enough hes passed his sell by date

an 8-10yr old

Touchstone Farm
Sep. 26, 2009, 05:26 PM
As long as the training is correct and no soundness issues, buy the third level horse. You will learn more and you will get the feel much quicker. I think it is better to buy the horse that knows more than you. I spent too many years as the "blind leading the blind" rider on young horses. What you learn with the more trained horse will transfer to your next, possibly young horse, and your training at that point will be more solid and presumably you will be able to move up with the training of the youngster on a more "efficient" schedule. Good luck.

sid
Sep. 26, 2009, 05:37 PM
slc2...I respectfully disagree (though we often agree on the details of horse training/instruction...;)) that a "schoomaster" is only a GP horse.

There are 2nd, 3rd and 4th level "schoomasters". That level is what they have "mastered".

In my world, a 2nd level schoomaster is a wonderful horse for a training level rider. A 4th level schoomaster is a teacher for the 2nd level rider...etc. etc.

I think it would be prudent for a seller or leasor to denote at what level the horse can be considered a 'schoolmaster", so the rider can pick/buy the horse that can take them up a level or two without confusion for horse or rider. Lots of education and steps in this venue. I prefer to see horses as masters at certain levels and help bring the rider up in increments (not beyond two levels of the rider's experience).

Much more educational for the rider to learn what they need to do --- every step of the way for THAT level. Much better for them and better for the horse as well.

No holes.

JMHO.

KatherineC
Sep. 26, 2009, 05:53 PM
Also disagree with slc. A schoolmaster does not have to be trained to GP. They can be masters at various levels.

OP - Buy the more trained horse. You will learn more if she has a good foundation.

Good Luck.

Ghazzu
Sep. 26, 2009, 05:57 PM
A third or 4th level horse isn't a schoolmaster. A schoolmaster is a grand prix horse that a student can learn on. Depending on who's talking, .

I think you mixed up the order of your post.
Shouldn't that last phrase be a preface to the first one?

slc2
Sep. 26, 2009, 07:20 PM
The term schoolmaster, correctly used, refers to a Grand Prix horse.

A 3rd 4th level horse is called a 3rd-4th level horse; if he's really easy to ride and students can learn on him, he's called a 'really nice 3rd-4th level horse'. I call someone up, and they say, 'I have a really nice 3rd-4th level horse for you'.

A schoolmaster does all the Grand Prix work and to one degree or another, is able to be used for teaching.

Recently, the term has been used to describe lower level horses. It sounds really good in advertisements, I think that's why the meaning of the word has bee co-opted.

When a word is used enough in a different way, the meaning of the word eventually changes in common use. Pretty soon, people are saying to the person who uses the word in the way it was used before, 'you're using that word incorrectly'.

egontoast
Sep. 26, 2009, 07:23 PM
The term schoolmaster means a Grand Prix horse.


Meh. You say po tay to and she says po tah to.

Fairview Horse Center
Sep. 26, 2009, 07:31 PM
To me the term schoolmaster denotes a horse trained to a certain level, easy to ride, but not/no longer competitive at that level.

Something to consider: An older horse may need a long term home after it is no longer rideable.

Ajierene
Sep. 26, 2009, 08:04 PM
The term schoolmaster, correctly used, refers to a Grand Prix horse.

Can you point to the documents that undeniable describe the schoolmaster as a Grand Prix horse?

I have always used the term to describe a horse that can teach a lot to someone up to a specific level (ie 3rd level dressage, equitation, Prelim Eventing, etc.), such as described in this article:

http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/best/1370/34165.html

sid
Sep. 26, 2009, 08:06 PM
As an aside...when someone has claimed to have a "schoolmaster"...I have, for 23 years, asked "at what level".

That is what counts for the rider or wannabe, no?

Carrera
Sep. 26, 2009, 08:44 PM
Thank you for all the info and ideas!!!

Sorry about the "schoolmaster" mis-use of terms...

Its more if a mare that is very able to show at the 3rd level, schooling 4th.

My big issue is that in order to advance in my riding is that I need to buy and then sell the horse on in order to buy something of better quality.

So unless the horse can be viable as a broodmare after I am finished showing it, or can be sold for more than I purchased it, I don't want it.

But really, when I try which ever horse, and it is "the" horse, decided by me and my coach, then it will be!

I really value everyone oppinions, and thank you! Its really opened my eyes to the older proven horse!

Fairview Horse Center
Sep. 26, 2009, 09:04 PM
My big issue is that in order to advance in my riding is that I need to buy and then sell the horse on in order to buy something of better quality.

Not necessarily. If you buy a youngster, with talent, but an easy going disposition, and send it out for 2 months per year to a trainer, the horse can be taken to the next level each year. I have seen this work several times.

egontoast
Sep. 26, 2009, 09:08 PM
Can you point to the documents that undeniable describe the schoolmaster as a Grand Prix horse?



HEY! It's the LAW according to slc who, according to CoTH, is in fact a "schoolmastah" herself. I am also one of those there things.:lol:

I do worry though about what comes after schoomastah, when you get up over 20k posts. I'm thinking Rainbow Something or Passed oVer.

No, I've got it: Pasture Ornament

Carrera
Sep. 26, 2009, 09:58 PM
Not necessarily. If you buy a youngster, with talent, but an easy going disposition, and send it out for 2 months per year to a trainer, the horse can be taken to the next level each year. I have seen this work several times.

This is exactly what I was thinking. I just wanted to see if I was really crazy, or jut a little.

If I buy a young horse, it will be potentially a LONG time horse, not just a few year "flip"

TrotTrotPumpkn
Sep. 26, 2009, 11:39 PM
Not meant to totally annoy you OP, but I would not opt for a mare in hopes of breeding it and recouping any money (unless you have your own farm, or are financially uncaring of the cost, and can keep something forever--in which case ignore what I'm saying). I would only breed a mare because she is so amazing and her pedigree and conformation is so awesome that it is a given to take the risk to pass all that on. Breeding can be fantastically expensive--ask me how I know--and you may get a mare that rejects the baby, aborts, doesn't get pregnant, colics and dies, dies during delivery, a baby with health issues, a baby with contracted tendons, or something requiring surgery, a baby with bad conformation, a baby that isn't as nice as either parent, etc. etc...

If the idea is go with a mare in case she goes unsound and you can maybe recoup a bit of that money selling her as a broodmare-only horse then it's still a crapshoot. Lots of really nicely bred broodies out there for almost free right now.

Maybe the mare in question meets the bill, i have no idea. Just an additional two cents (for free!).

Carrera
Sep. 27, 2009, 01:14 AM
Not meant to totally annoy you OP, but I would not opt for a mare in hopes of breeding it and recouping any money (unless you have your own farm, or are financially uncaring of the cost, and can keep something forever--in which case ignore what I'm saying). I would only breed a mare because she is so amazing and her pedigree and conformation is so awesome that it is a given to take the risk to pass all that on. Breeding can be fantastically expensive--ask me how I know--and you may get a mare that rejects the baby, aborts, doesn't get pregnant, colics and dies, dies during delivery, a baby with health issues, a baby with contracted tendons, or something requiring surgery, a baby with bad conformation, a baby that isn't as nice as either parent, etc. etc...

If the idea is go with a mare in case she goes unsound and you can maybe recoup a bit of that money selling her as a broodmare-only horse then it's still a crapshoot. Lots of really nicely bred broodies out there for almost free right now.

Maybe the mare in question meets the bill, i have no idea. Just an additional two cents (for free!).

Yep I see where you are comming from! I have a 3yo and a 2yo home bred!!!

I do have my own place and I would be breeding for myself, not for resale, so that is not an issue. Yes, I have the money for vet bills and opps... but I can't mentally justify spending bIG $$$ on a horse. The most that I have soent is 7k, so 20k is a big leap for me!

I just want to get the most for my $$$

Reiter
Sep. 27, 2009, 11:36 AM
I'm assuming you ride at training/first level? Have you ever ridden a horse that was trained past 2nd level? Go take your trainer and try the schoolmaster. Have your trainer ride her and make sure she can still do the 3rd/4th level movements correctly. Clean changes etc. Then get on yourself and feel what it is like to ride a well trained horse. Chances are you'll be smiling all the way home and come back to buy her! ;)

quietann
Sep. 27, 2009, 02:06 PM
slc2...I respectfully disagree (though we often agree on the details of horse training/instruction...;)) that a "schoomaster" is only a GP horse.

There are 2nd, 3rd and 4th level "schoomasters". That level is what they have "mastered".

In my world, a 2nd level schoomaster is a wonderful horse for a training level rider. A 4th level schoomaster is a teacher for the 2nd level rider...etc. etc.


This is exactly what I was thinking. A horse can be a schoolmaster relative to a rider's level of training. No way would you find me on an FEI-level schoolmaster; I just don't ride that well. But a second level one might suit. Maresy knows a lot of the second level test moves, but I'd want to try these out on a horse that is more reliable before doing anything with her... and right now, I am mostly working on sitting trot!

sid
Sep. 27, 2009, 11:32 PM
It's important to remember when thinking about "schoolmasters" (or any horse for that matter)...the horse is training us and simultaneously WE are training the horse. No matter the level of skill of either.

The value of a schoolmaster (at its "mastered" level) and keep it that way, as well as provide a venue for the student where the intracies of learning skills u/s they do not yet possess, IME, is to not "overhorse" the student and not "underide" the horse.

Ask me how I know. I bought Boleem when he was USET long-listed back in 1996. I did not buy him as a schoolmaster for me (he was to have kept competing and start breeding). But for fun I got on him one day just to feel what he was like and see what he might teach me. I was a training level rider, AT BEST, back then.

He is a LOVE of a horse, and old soul and really people pleaser so I never felt for a moment that I would be unsafe on this top dressage stallion. So we're walking around the arena, and quickly I learned that he had many subtle "gears" it was like driving a 12-gear Masarati, when you're used to driving a BMW. He was so finely tuned from the Poulins wonderful training, you just "breathed" half-halt and it was there. You just adjusted your body "so" (not knowing something we consider minor with other horse we ride, would immediately influence the horse), you were doing things you didn't even ask for.:)

But here's the rub. When I was trotting across the diagnonal and asked for a halt, I got this big huge trot I couldn't deal with. Not his fault, mine. He took care of me, but I sure wasn't taking care of him...good guy never resented it. I was breathless.

I suspect, even with his stellar nature and kind heart, had I continued to ride him at that stage of my riding ability... I would have dumbed him down. Why do that after all that was put into him by others. In the end, it could have been frustrating for both of us.

Long story longer...when I got off of him after that test ride all I could say was WOW! I told my trainer, I've never done an extended trot (not that I could even sit it). She laughed and said, "Susan, that was his medium"...:lol::lol::lol:!

That experience taught me a lot. He didn't deserve me until I had mastered skills at a lower level.:)

Schoolmasters come at all levels. The trick is finding one that can bring you up, without bringing it down.

Food for thought.

Pony Fixer
Sep. 28, 2009, 05:23 PM
I've also used (and heard used frequently) the term "schoolmaster" for horses under GP. I take it to mean a horse that is accomplished at a certain level, and either can't get to a higher level due to age, health, talent, etc., or for whom the next level has not been trained on by a competent person (ie, no one furthered the education).

So, a 3rd level schoolmaster may or may not have the talent for 4th/PSG on up, but as yet has had little to no formal training there.

slc2
Sep. 28, 2009, 09:40 PM
The term 'schoolmaster' USED to refer to a GP horse. Today, it now has more general use. It originally meant a GP horse, and up to a few years ago, you would get some pretty unpleasant pushback if you advertised a horse as a schoolmaster and he didn't do all the GP work.

Ghazzu
Sep. 28, 2009, 10:21 PM
OOh. Scary.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Sep. 28, 2009, 11:43 PM
It's important to remember when thinking about "schoolmasters" (or any horse for that matter)...the horse is training us and simultaneously WE are training the horse. No matter the level of skill of either.

The value of a schoolmaster (at its "mastered" level) and keep it that way, as well as provide a venue for the student where the intracies of learning skills u/s they do not yet possess, IME, is to not "overhorse" the student and not "underide" the horse.

Ask me how I know. I bought Boleem when he was USET long-listed back in 1996. I did not buy him as a schoolmaster for me (he was to have kept competing and start breeding). But for fun I got on him one day just to feel what he was like and see what he might teach me. I was a training level rider, AT BEST, back then.

He is a LOVE of a horse, and old soul and really people pleaser so I never felt for a moment that I would be unsafe on this top dressage stallion. So we're walking around the arena, and quickly I learned that he had many subtle "gears" it was like driving a 12-gear Masarati, when you're used to driving a BMW. He was so finely tuned from the Poulins wonderful training, you just "breathed" half-halt and it was there. You just adjusted your body "so" (not knowing something we consider minor with other horse we ride, would immediately influence the horse), you were doing things you didn't even ask for.:)

But here's the rub. When I was trotting across the diagnonal and asked for a halt, I got this big huge trot I couldn't deal with. Not his fault, mine. He took care of me, but I sure wasn't taking care of him...good guy never resented it. I was breathless.

I suspect, even with his stellar nature and kind heart, had I continued to ride him at that stage of my riding ability... I would have dumbed him down. Why do that after all that was put into him by others. In the end, it could have been frustrating for both of us.

Long story longer...when I got off of him after that test ride all I could say was WOW! I told my trainer, I've never done an extended trot (not that I could even sit it). She laughed and said, "Susan, that was his medium"...:lol::lol::lol:!

That experience taught me a lot. He didn't deserve me until I had mastered skills at a lower level.:)

Schoolmasters come at all levels. The trick is finding one that can bring you up, without bringing it down.

Food for thought.

I agree. My friend with the older GP schoolmaster (who was very well trained--I've been told Robert Dover among others trained/rode him at various points in his career) probably would too, however because he was older and never 100% after an injury it was time for him to do more "beginner" stuff anyway and the work kept the light arthritis at bay and the muscles in the back were somewhat maintained, etc. I know for a fact his responses didn't stay as subtle though, but it was ok.

He did 3rd and 4th level work and eventually became just a training level horse (who could and would do one tempis, lol). It helped that he was and is still a fundamentally a lazy horse "old style wb" and (then) 21 years old, so I don't think he minded at all! Whereas a "light" or more up horse may have become very frustrated. So just another angle on the schoolmaster. If you can find something like him for the right price it is a rare gem for sure!!