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View Full Version : Help me make my 17.1H QH into a dressage horse!!!



HOOF IT
Oct. 6, 2010, 05:00 PM
Need ideas on training/schooling to get my 17.1H QH ready to promote as a dressage horse. He is very good with lateral movements, we excelled in equitation patterns in the AQHA shows, he has driven a cart, he had professional jumping training for 6 months about 5 years ago, but never showed OF, and was a Congress winner as a 3 year old in the Hunter Under Saddle. He is 12 now and needs a new job, he is burned out with the flat classes at the AQHA shows, and I don't have the nerve to jump any longer.

WBLover
Oct. 6, 2010, 05:53 PM
Find a good dressage trainer??? Just a thought...

BetterOffRed
Oct. 6, 2010, 06:43 PM
After you find the dressage trainer, do the following:

Rename your horse to some german phlegmy sounding name

Bang his tail and pull his mane

feed him only holistic, all natural, organic, imported from the rain forest carrots, apples, cookies

Purchase black european tack and a browband with a classy amount of swarovski crystals

Ride with a super long whip, whether your horse needs it or not

Always ride in set of 4 white polo wraps

Purchase a dressage saddle and enough saddle pads that you don't have to ride in dirty pads. White pads with small logo preferred.

Purchase same number of full seat Pikeur (Peek-yuur) breeches, preferably same number that you purchase saddle pads. Again, you don't want to repeat an outfit at the barn. Contrasting seat color optional.

Purchase black tall boots- German or Dutch brand preferred

I think that about covers it! ;)

belleellis
Oct. 6, 2010, 07:00 PM
After you find the dressage trainer, do the following:

Rename your horse to some german phlegmy sounding name

Bang his tail and pull his mane

feed him only holistic, all natural, organic, imported from the rain forest carrots, apples, cookies

Purchase black european tack and a browband with a classy amount of swarovski crystals

Ride with a super long whip, whether your horse needs it or not

Always ride in set of 4 white polo wraps

Purchase a dressage saddle and enough saddle pads that you don't have to ride in dirty pads. White pads with small logo preferred.

Purchase same number of full seat Pikeur (Peek-yuur) breeches, preferably same number that you purchase saddle pads. Again, you don't want to repeat an outfit at the barn. Contrasting seat color optional.

Purchase black tall boots- German or Dutch brand preferred

I think that about covers it! ;)

You forgot to tell her to come up with a new "breed". I have a morgan/haflinger but when I encounter snotty folks I lie and say he is a German riding pony...imported and then ruined by a BNT! Thankfully I have only had to deliver this story one time... did so with a straight face!

Find a good trainer who is not a breed snob. I had a Appaloosa who was 11th at world and did multiple classes in the breed world, show and clinic at TL 3&4. She could have easily gone first level. I was told she would cap out at 2nd. Nice, safe, fun horse. Go enjoy learning something new with your partner.

dwblover
Oct. 6, 2010, 07:09 PM
I need a picture, I've never seen a QH that big, LOL!:D
Funny, funny story about the morgan/halflinger, ruined by a BNT, hillarious!!!

xQHDQ
Oct. 6, 2010, 07:15 PM
If you really want to do real dressage, the hardest thing will be to teach him about contact. AQHA HUS is anticontact. He most likely is also used to going on his front end. You're going to need to teach him to rock back on his hind end. These are the basis of dressage and the HARDEST things to achieve with consistency in any horse not used to it.

Since he knows all of the lateral stuff and I'm sure is broke to death, you may just want to have fun and play around with the tests. You probably would score pretty well at Training and First Level if he's a good boy and you ride an accurate, consistent test. After that, you're going to need the push from behind.

It may be difficult to convince an older, 17.1 hh horse that contact and hard work are good things. This may be especially difficult for a QH who probably has a strong mind of his own.

Good luck.

Bank of Dad
Oct. 6, 2010, 07:59 PM
You could always switch to Competitive Trail Riding.

qhfan2
Oct. 6, 2010, 07:59 PM
I need a picture, I've never seen a QH that big, LOL!:D
Funny, funny story about the morgan/halflinger, ruined by a BNT, hillarious!!!


Ha Ha! Here's a pic of my 17H QH who I currently ride dressage. This was right after a bath:

http://picasaweb.google.com/108129198357635404555/Mondavi#5512472797130282418

gettingbettereveryday
Oct. 6, 2010, 09:19 PM
If you really want to do real dressage, the hardest thing will be to teach him about contact. AQHA HUS is anticontact. He most likely is also used to going on his front end. You're going to need to teach him to rock back on his hind end. These are the basis of dressage and the HARDEST things to achieve with consistency in any horse not used to it.

This is what I've been struggling to achieve with my 10-year-old QH gelding. He was definitely on the forehand and evasive about contact. I purchased him in November. We worked on my seat and hands for the first seven months, so it was easy for him. Then we turned our focus to him (after a two month layup). His new response has been "are you kidding me? you want me to do WHAT?"

I'm currently struggling with soreness that comes with getting him to use his hind end and back more properly. (I have a thread about it under the Horse Care section.) I'm having to take this conditioning much slower than I expected, and it's not easy. He's long-backed and a little reluctant to use his body properly. It's all a process, though, and I can't say enough good things about the awesome mind that his QH breeding brings to the process!

And QHfan2, your boy is beautiful. He looks a lot like my guy. I just can't get enough of the QHs!! :)

springer
Oct. 6, 2010, 09:25 PM
After you find the dressage trainer, do the following:

Rename your horse to some german phlegmy sounding name

Bang his tail and pull his mane

feed him only holistic, all natural, organic, imported from the rain forest carrots, apples, cookies

Purchase black european tack and a browband with a classy amount of swarovski crystals

Ride with a super long whip, whether your horse needs it or not

Always ride in set of 4 white polo wraps

Purchase a dressage saddle and enough saddle pads that you don't have to ride in dirty pads. White pads with small logo preferred.

Purchase same number of full seat Pikeur (Peek-yuur) breeches, preferably same number that you purchase saddle pads. Again, you don't want to repeat an outfit at the barn. Contrasting seat color optional.

Purchase black tall boots- German or Dutch brand preferred

I think that about covers it! ;)

HA!:D Now THAT'S funny!!!!

shawneeAcres
Oct. 6, 2010, 09:35 PM
This is my 17.2 hand AQHA gelding! Sorry this is jumping video but yes he is 17.2 and not very QH in type! He has won some dressage sutiability with me before, I have been considering doing some dressage show with him

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQKzxZcLOdQ

KBEquine
Oct. 6, 2010, 11:14 PM
Need ideas on training/schooling to get my 17.1H QH ready to promote as a dressage horse. He is very good with lateral movements, we excelled in equitation patterns in the AQHA shows, he has driven a cart, he had professional jumping training for 6 months about 5 years ago, but never showed OF, and was a Congress winner as a 3 year old in the Hunter Under Saddle. He is 12 now and needs a new job, he is burned out with the flat classes at the AQHA shows, and I don't have the nerve to jump any longer.

Hoof It, PM me if you want contact info on a couple trainers who aren't breed specific, but who can help you get where you are going (they are both about 2 hours from you).

One has experience in both dressage & AQHA HUS, meaning, he can translate one to the other & help you figure out the 1st steps on converting from one discipline to the other. The 2nd has taken an AQHA gelding to Prix St Georges, but I don't know if she has converted a HUS horse to dressage, and that's a pretty important first step. Both work with many breeds. Both can work with you, give you exercises - the stepping stones to help you & your guy improve between lessons. Both will be happy for you to trailer in.

Part of what you need to learn is how to translate from the training your guy currently has, to the training he needs to have. One of the trainers is expecting to be at Frying Pan Park in the next month or so - if you want to see him, before deciding to contact him.

Good luck & have fun, whatever path you choose to get there!

HOOF IT
Oct. 7, 2010, 11:03 AM
What a great response, I loved it!!!!!!! So true!!

My horse does however accept contact, does move off of his hauches and is not on his forehand. The only thing we do is have our head lower than what I need for dressage. But......my horse naturally wants to carry his head higher and has always been somewhat uncomfortable carrying it so low, thus my idea to change him to dressage.

This is not what you want to see, but here he is coming off of winter, yes in a western saddle and headstall, with head low, and I don't have a helmet on, so please try to ignore these things.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEXNI09G2iw

WBLover
Oct. 7, 2010, 11:38 AM
Dressage is not all about just getting his head in the right position.

I think the posters offering to give you dressage trainers in your area to help you was the best advice you could get. There's a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Welcome to the obsession that is dressage!

Parrotnutz
Oct. 7, 2010, 11:39 AM
I need a picture, I've never seen a QH that big, LOL!:D
Funny, funny story about the morgan/halflinger, ruined by a BNT, hillarious!!!

Look in my webshots album in signature line. Bay mare alli in dressage gear. 17 hand appendix QH. grey horse, pippin 17.1.:)

HOOF IT
Oct. 7, 2010, 11:59 AM
Look in my webshots album in signature line. Bay mare alli in dressage gear. 17 hand appendix QH. grey horse, pippin 17.1.:)

Your QHs are very nice!!!

paintlady
Oct. 7, 2010, 12:08 PM
If you really want to do real dressage, the hardest thing will be to teach him about contact. AQHA HUS is anticontact. He most likely is also used to going on his front end. You're going to need to teach him to rock back on his hind end. These are the basis of dressage and the HARDEST things to achieve with consistency in any horse not used to it.


Agreed!

I actually have the opposite issue. I have a 13 y/o QH/Paint that I've been doing dressage with for the past few years. My mare really likes her job as a dressage horse even though she isn't naturally built for it. I wanted to try an APHA show this year, but my horse has a naturally higher head-set and simply doesn't move as slow as the other horses at the show. I'm sticking with dressage!

I noticed that the OP is in Loudoun County. There are LOTS of good dressage trainers in NoVA. The trainers I've worked with were very supportive of my QH/Paint doing dressage. I also take lessons with Connie Christopher at Criswood Farm. I started working with her earlier this year to prepare for the APHA show circuit. Even though I'm no longer pursuing that, I'm continuing my lessons with Connie. She may be a AQHA trainer, but she has really helped us in our dressage too.

ginger708
Oct. 7, 2010, 01:32 PM
After you find the dressage trainer, do the following:

Rename your horse to some german phlegmy sounding name

Bang his tail and pull his mane

feed him only holistic, all natural, organic, imported from the rain forest carrots, apples, cookies

Purchase black european tack and a browband with a classy amount of swarovski crystals

Ride with a super long whip, whether your horse needs it or not

Always ride in set of 4 white polo wraps

Purchase a dressage saddle and enough saddle pads that you don't have to ride in dirty pads. White pads with small logo preferred.

Purchase same number of full seat Pikeur (Peek-yuur) breeches, preferably same number that you purchase saddle pads. Again, you don't want to repeat an outfit at the barn. Contrasting seat color optional.

Purchase black tall boots- German or Dutch brand preferred

I think that about covers it! ;)

Have you been looking in my closet/tack room ?:p

To the op there are a lot of quarter horses large and small that do well in dressage. I know of one the last time that I talked to the owner it was at Grand Prix training with the Barteaus. My former trainer and my current trainers are not bias about training Quarter Horsers. Even some warmbloods are not built exactly for dressage. If it's what you want to do go for it.

HOOF IT
Oct. 7, 2010, 02:02 PM
Can I just give this "training level" test a few tries with my hunter tack and attire? I am not ready or able to invest in all of that proper stuff for dressage.
Where do I get a copy of these tests are they standard tests or do they change at every show just like the EQ patterns do at the AQHA shows?

countrygal
Oct. 7, 2010, 02:04 PM
Some great advice here...

Just wanted to pop in and say THANK YOU for listening to your horse and realizing he's not happy in his same job anymore. He's a lovely guy and a nice mover- go out and have some fun :)

BetterOffRed
Oct. 7, 2010, 02:12 PM
Can I just give this "training level" test a few tries with my hunter tack and attire? I am not ready or able to invest in all of that proper stuff for dressage.
Where do I get a copy of these tests are they standard tests or do they change at every show just like the EQ patterns do at the AQHA shows?

I've seen h/j riders to better than 'pure' dressage riders in TL or First level at shows and they showed in their jump tuck. I don't think there is anything wrong taking a few lessons in your jump saddle and your hunter bridle should be sufficient. You may want to borrow a dressage saddle, or which ever instructor you end up with may let you borrow a saddle that works for you both.

You can down load the tests from USEF (they don't change every year, and USDF/EF just issued new tests).

You can also get old tests with the patterns from here: http://www.dressage.net.au/natestdiagrams/

onelove
Oct. 7, 2010, 02:20 PM
I have a "one that got away" story of a 17h AQHA named Echo from back when I was a kid. I LOVED that horse. he was an amazing jumper, would have kicked tail in the Dressage tests, loved to XC jump, did poles like it was nothing and was just an amazing horse. Begged my dad to buy him for me. BO begged my dad to buy him for me- we just clicked. But sadly Dad said no. (Bad bad Dad!)

Now when I tell people about him, I get the "17h QH? Must have been an appendix." speech like I don't know what I'm talking about.

Not that this little trip of mine down memory lane helps you in any way but I just wanted to say thank you to you guys who have 17h Qh. Now I can tell people that they do exist! :)

(But in response to your post, if you may it fun for him and reward him for trying to get under himself, I think you will do ok. QH are notoriously hard headed but they also like to please their owners and be praised for a doing their job, and every QH I know likes to get his job done well so he can be superior to his herdmates. So I think if you go in with the QH mindset of get 'er done you'll be ok.)

HOOF IT
Oct. 7, 2010, 03:40 PM
can be superior to his herdmates

AH HA!!!!!!!! This is King KC we are talking about!!! He sure does have this mighty alpha attitude. I recently tried to do the hunter thing..........those ponies whipping by flying over jumps, coming up on his butt totally overwhelmed his slow QH brain. Ponies/horses passing at warp speed between the rail and the jump standard didn't go over well in the judged class either. We just don't have this in the AQHA and not sure I want to endure anymore of it myself. And to think that is all I did as a kid/young adult. As a senior citizen, I think I might just stick to dressage, a nice test of my and my horse's ability performed all alone in the arena. Sounds great!! And KC might really enjoy it too. I love this big horse, he is the most comfortable and obedient horse I have ever owned, easy at home and away at the shows. And yes, he does deserve a nice break and change of venue.

AnotherRound
Oct. 7, 2010, 03:51 PM
Well, if a change of focus (venue is a place, I think) is what he would like and need, then dressage would be good, considering what I've read about him in this thread. However! Dressage is not a break!! Its intense, and focused and tons of work, where you need to watch for soreness, as he uses old muscles new ways. Just be sure to give lots of breaks for him to stretch out, and mental breaks where he will get out of the barn and onto the trails. Most of it is about making sure he is conditioned to do the work you will be asking of him next.

Good luck, and get those trainers on board, so you teach him correctly.

JWB
Oct. 7, 2010, 04:02 PM
I took a western pleasure QH through a career change. We butted heads about coming UP for a while - Literally he got his best movements moments before he threw a tantrum - Got nice and elevated before he blew up.

Once he figured out that the rules had changed (no more going around with his nose dragging the ground) he was a LOVELY lower level dressage horse.

You can absolutely show at lower levels in your jumping saddle. There is no rule against it - but eventually you may find that you'll want a dressage saddle because the positioning is so different. A GOOD dressage trainer though - don't wait on that.

Here's a video of "Buddy" who had a career change.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvZaNwNEo7w

Mr.GMan
Oct. 7, 2010, 04:50 PM
Can I just give this "training level" test a few tries with my hunter tack and attire? I am not ready or able to invest in all of that proper stuff for dressage.
Where do I get a copy of these tests are they standard tests or do they change at every show just like the EQ patterns do at the AQHA shows?

When I decided I wanted to change disciplines, I didn't have the $$ to buy the dressage tack. So, I showed my 16.2 QH training level that year in our hunter tack. Just keep in mind that the hunt seat saddle sits your body in a diff't position, so I suggest as others do, to find a dressage trainer, who is willing to work with you and your goals.

xQHDQ
Oct. 7, 2010, 05:14 PM
My horse does however accept contact, does move off of his hauches and is not on his forehand. The only thing we do is have our head lower than what I need for dressage. But......my horse naturally wants to carry his head higher and has always been somewhat uncomfortable carrying it so low, thus my idea to change him to dressage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEXNI09G2iw

Your horse is a lovely natural mover, however, he's not really working off his hind end and over his back in this video. Also, if he's being ridden in draw reins, he's not really accepting contact. Just pointing this out because your comments imply that you think you have these things down. He wouldn't have a "head lower than what I need for dressage" if he was pushing into the contact - biomechanics don't allow it. I'm not trying to discourage you, just give you some realistic expectations. You definitely have nice rhythm and relaxation but not much impulsion.

Again, however, as he is, I think you would kick butt at TL and First. Training level doesn't ask for impulsion and most people don't ride at these levels with correctly moving, quiet horses or good geometry.

MontanaDun
Oct. 7, 2010, 05:15 PM
Another 17 QH checks in. I haven't been doing much dressage with him lately, but he's a pretty spiffy pone.

http://www.neverbluefarm.com/Shadow.html

And don't underestimate hacking/trail work for fitness & prep for dressage - your horse needs to be forward and have plenty of push from behind and hitting the trails can really help both of those.

HOOF IT
Oct. 7, 2010, 05:30 PM
Your horse is a lovely natural mover, however, he's not really working off his hind end and over his back in this video. Also, if he's being ridden in draw reins, he's not really accepting contact. Just pointing this out because your comments imply that you think you have these things down. He wouldn't have a "head lower than what I need for dressage" if he was pushing into the contact - biomechanics don't allow it. I'm not trying to discourage you, just give you some realistic expectations. You definitely have nice rhythm and relaxation but not much impulsion.

Again, however, as he is, I think you would kick butt at TL and First. Training level doesn't ask for impulsion and most people don't ride at these levels with correctly moving, quiet horses or good geometry.

Thank you for the compliments, and I was in draw reins only because it was the first time back in the saddle after a horrible winter here in VA. I didn't even lunge him, just got on and rode. I NEVER ride in contact with the draw reins. I have pretty much thrown them aside now too. When I ride in a hunt seat bridle, he will lift his shoulders and accept the bit, using his hind end. He does want to lift his head, which we don't want in the AQHA, but I think he is naturally more comfy with a higher head carriage. He will leg yield, turn on the haunches and forehand, and do roll backs and lope off nice and quiet, yes a western thingy!!! As for impulsion, I'd bet my scores will be low, he is a lazy big horse, and I have to use a big spur to just keep him going forward. I just bought a custom Antares saddle, that is the most comfy saddle I have ever sat or ridden in, I hope I can use this for starting out. It was quite an investment. I need to look into getting some tests to try at home.

purplnurpl
Oct. 7, 2010, 05:43 PM
You forgot to tell her to come up with a new "breed". I have a morgan/haflinger but when I encounter snotty folks I lie and say he is a German riding pony...imported and then ruined by a BNT! Thankfully I have only had to deliver this story one time... did so with a straight face!



duh! The QH runs incognito as a Texas Warmblood.

TWB. wouldn't anyone ever know?