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  1. #1
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    Default Dressage Potential for this horse

    Hi everyone! I'm new to the forum, and these threads that I've been reading through so far are very informational!

    I'm a hunter/jumper rider wanting to convert to dressage. I have a hunter that I think is a good dressage prospect, but I am definitely not a dressage expert and do not know who I will use as a trainer yet. Everyone tells me that he has the canter for dressage, but they are unsure of the trot. I have a video of his basic hunter trot work here. I would love to work up through the levels on this horse if his movement, presence, and conformation are good enough. He is a 10 year old, so I think that he still has time to learn. This was also the first time that he had been ridden in awhile in the video. Any input would be very appreciated!

    (Oh, and I know that my EQ could use some work)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWjKPBx-hLw



  2. #2
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    Wow, he's lovely!



  3. #3
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    Welcome to the board. He is a rather flat mover--which, don't worry, isn't an issue if your goal is the lower levels. It also looks like his hocks trail out. That can improve with training, however. He needs to move with more energy. Not quicker, but more "punch" from behind so those hocks come underneath him more. Lastly..I might get flamed for this..but I would lose the martingale. It's only going to hurt you (him) as he progresses in his training.

    Hope that helps somewhat. Lovely horse.
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo



  4. #4
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    He looks like the kindest horse in the world. Steady rhythm, very, very steady head carriage and very, very trainable looking. He should do very well, the horse having a huge big trot just isn't a factor at this point. '

    Don't lift your hands or have him walk slow to make him look dressage-ey, it makes his walk get pacey. Don't widen your hands or drop one hand low or wide to try to get him to tuck his head in and down.

    His trot is wonderful, he wants to use his back and hip, you just need to take lessons and learn how to develop him into a dressage horse. Gorgeous horse.



  5. #5
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    He does look like a good fellow, and he's very attractive. I'll let you in on a secret that you may deduce by reading some other threads -- ANY horse is suitable for dressage, if what you mean is dressage training. It benefits all horses. And as a previous poster noted, at the lower levels of showing, the quality of gaits matters less than the training and obedience your horse demonstrates.

    Dressage is not like hunter/jumpers in the sense that some horses don't jump in safe form. A horse that hangs a knee over the jumps is not suited to jumpers because that hanging knee can cause a somersault, and the same horse is not suited to hunters for the added reason that the form is ugly. But since dressage is about training, and less than stellar gaits are not dangerous, you can certainly ride any horse dressage. Whether you'll be competitive is a whole 'nother question. No reason your horse couldn't show dressage and be competitive at the lower levels.



  6. #6
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    Thanks for the input

    So, basically, what you all are saying is that you cannot train a horse to have that floaty, uphill dressage trot. I'm sure you can improve it through training, but they already have the suspension at liberty and u/s as a young horse? Right? I've seen him have incredible suspension out in the pasture...I've even seen him do passage at liberty...but what he does in the pasture is a far cry from what he does when I am actually riding him. Can you train a horse some kind of a way to move really floaty like they do out in the pastures when they get excited? I'm sorry if these are stupid questions, but I am a novice at this.

    He is a very sweet and consistent horse. I have my trainers to thank for that. I've owned him since he was a yearling, and he will always have a home with me. I try to do right by him, and I thought a change to dressage might be for the better. I think that it would help me become a better rider, and even if he isn't a competitive dressage horse, I thought that it might help his jumping and flat work because he is a wonderful hunter.

    However, I would like to switch to dressage eventually. I think that it is easier on the horses legs to have a career as a dressage horse than a career as a jumper. Plus, dressage is just beautiful. I have to choose a direction to become really good at because it's too expensive to do both hunters/jumpers and dressage!



  7. #7
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    I don't think that's what anyone said. I didn't.

    When you start dressage, and for many, many years after, how uphill and how lofty the horse' trot naturally is, has nothing to do with what you need to be working on or what you will be judged on. For the next ten years, no show you compete at will be won based on your horse's natural trot, I can guarantee you that.

    You will be judged on how freely forward you ride, how supple your horse is, and how much your butt and hands bounce up and down when he's trotting and cantering - trotting and cantering FORWARD - not like what the video shows.

    You will be judged on how accurately you ride the test - how straight your center lines are, how round your circles, and whether you do transitions when your shoulder is at the letter or before or after the letter.

    You will be judged on whether you cut your corners, bend in the corners, or the horse's butt flies out to the right when you're going left. You'll be judged as to whether the horse tosses his head up in the air when you pick up the canter, and whether he picks up the correct lead or not.

    And to perform well, and master those basics, is not easy.

    Many, many riders new to dressage like to look down on their equine partner, and imagine that if they get a better one, they will rocket to the heights of dressage.

    Which is, frankly, the road to failure.

    You need to learn to correct your position, get your hands DOWN at the walk, your wrists straight, thumbs on top, your leg soft and loose, your ankle not c0cked, and your stirrups longer, and you need to learn to go forward and supple your horse and stop 'setting his head' with the reins by separating and lowering one or both hands. He's a nice guy, he's very tolerant and allows you to ride him incorrectly. That doesn't mean you should.

    When you've got that, you'll need to learn the tests and how to show - there are a lot of levels to learn. THis isn't like hunters. Each level is much, much harder than the last.

    After all that, you can start worrying about how this horse trots - which by the way, would be a heck of a lot 'loftier' and 'floating' if you corrected your position, rode forward, and schooled and suppled him properly.

    It's very discouraging to hear someone who doesn't even know how to ride dressage, blaming their horse and wanting to sell the horse when what the horse is doing is because of how he is being ridden and schooled.



  8. #8
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    filly85 find an 3 day event trianer as you been hunter jumper this will siut you more can find out who they are by going on to usa eventing as with british eventing sites they have listed accredited trainers so find one in your area and go to clinics to improve yourself and your horse

    all your horse needed in that video was a tad more implusion from behind into the poll and downto a relaxed yaw

    to do that you need to lenghten and shorten your strides with the half halt stride in between
    each transitions
    follow the link thorough by me on how to do the half halt stride this will help you
    http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum...ght=kick+click

    do get a proper trianer to help you i surgested an eventer purely as they cover all three displines
    and if you wanted to go one day eventing ie intro-- then you can



  9. #9
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    As a long-time Hunter who has lately delved into the Dark Side I can tell you that one of your biggest hurdles will be to learn what FORWARD means I agree, your horse is beautiful on all accounts - very nice movement, very steady, looks like a very willing guy. But even by good Hunter standards, he's not moving, and by Dressage standards, he's practically standing still

    I do agree your stirrups need to come down probably 2 holes, because it looks like you're flatting in jumping length stirrups. The biggest thing I see with your trotting is that, in general, you're in a bit of a chair seat, posting too much up and down (as opposed to forward and back) and always a little behind the motion. The first thing to change will be to get your leg under you so that your body is stacked - ear-shoulder-hip-heel - which is how it should be regardless of whether you're riding Hunters or Dressage. Without fixing that, you won't be able to get the GO in your horse that you'll need to even begin to be correct

    You're heading down a really, really fun road There is NO reason your boy cannot be successful. At 10, given both your inexperience with the discipline, I doubt he will be the one to take you to the high levels, but I could be wrong. For now you have a great horse on which to learn, IF you can find the right trainer. THAT is the hard part - one who understands how to build it all from the ground up and to not only tell you what your horse should be doing, but one who understands how your position makes or breaks what your horse can do (correctly) and fix *you*
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    As a long-time Hunter who has lately delved into the Dark Side I can tell you that one of your biggest hurdles will be to learn what FORWARD means I agree, your horse is beautiful on all accounts - very nice movement, very steady, looks like a very willing guy. But even by good Hunter standards, he's not moving, and by Dressage standards, he's practically standing still

    I do agree your stirrups need to come down probably 2 holes, because it looks like you're flatting in jumping length stirrups. The biggest thing I see with your trotting is that, in general, you're in a bit of a chair seat, posting too much up and down (as opposed to forward and back) and always a little behind the motion. The first thing to change will be to get your leg under you so that your body is stacked - ear-shoulder-hip-heel - which is how it should be regardless of whether you're riding Hunters or Dressage. Without fixing that, you won't be able to get the GO in your horse that you'll need to even begin to be correct

    You're heading down a really, really fun road There is NO reason your boy cannot be successful. At 10, given both your inexperience with the discipline, I doubt he will be the one to take you to the high levels, but I could be wrong. For now you have a great horse on which to learn, IF you can find the right trainer. THAT is the hard part - one who understands how to build it all from the ground up and to not only tell you what your horse should be doing, but one who understands how your position makes or breaks what your horse can do (correctly) and fix *you*
    Thank you for the tactful and helpful response. I have shown him dressage at the lower levels...just intro and training. We won a class at the intro level when he was a young horse...I think 3...he wasn't even on the bit. He scored 7s and 8s on some of his movements. The judges always commented on how nice of a mover and horse that he was... I was also a lot better rider back then with consistent lessons, so my riding comments weren't usually that bad either. I just don't know that much about dressage overall, and wondered if he would be a good one to go up to like the 3rd and 4th level, maybe even higher. I would like to go all the way, but I don't know if he'll be the one that I do it on. It sounds like he is a good horse to start on though from the input My boyfriend is also learning to ride, so he might take him over eventually.

    The most experience I have with dressage is riding a 3rd level 16.2 hand Thoroughbred under a student of Bruce Davidson's just at 1rst level. Because the horse I was riding was so good, forward was not my biggest problem...it probably will be with Chucker though since he's not a seasoned veteran My biggest problem when I first started was keeping my feet in the damn stirrups when the leathers were set to dressage length. It only took a few lessons before that became a little easier though. My instructor was also excellent. I would have continued with her, but she moved away.

    I have been in college for the last 4 years, and haven't been able to ride very much. "Chucker" was also injured last year, and had to take eight months off. He's sound now, and I would like to keep it that way so I think dressage would be easier his legs. He hasn't been ridden consistently except for a few months in the summer since I started college.

    Because the last thing I did was training young horses and ponies from the ground up before I started college, I developed a lot of bad habits in my equitation. I used to win equitation classes left and right....now I probably couldn't win one to save my life. When your just riding the young ones, concentrating on the horse instead of yourself and not taking lessons, I think a lot of people fall apart. I have ridden my entire life, and I try to be a kind rider.

    In this video, he had literally been ridden once in the last three months and I hadn't ridden at all in the last three months. This was taken in March...I last rode him in December. He got a nice break. It would take us both awhile to get show ready. I used to not have the chair seat...in fact the opposite...sometimes I would get my legs too far back...but the Pessoa Stadium Jumping saddle tends to put you that way so that your lower legs are secure over the fences. I don't restrict his head at all in the show ring...I was playing around with him a bit this day just to see what 'felt' right...I stay out of his way most of the time and let him do the work...he is a seasoned veteran in the hunter ring.

    Not trying to make too many excuses, and I know that I need some MAJOR work. I just don't think that I am a horrible rider (this is not directed at you). I practically trained this horse, and he is only this good because of myself and my early trainers (they are very well-known judges as well). He has bucked every single one of us off numerous times. He is the way he is because of us, and if he wasn't trained the way he was, he might have been unrideable. He was an incredibly spooky, enigmatic, high-strung horse as a young-en...by far the hardest horse to train and ride that I have sat on...and I have sat on hundreds. He used to be a very dangerous horse, and most of the girls at the barn still won't get on him because of the way that he used to be. They're scared to death of him. I mean, I've ridden and trained stallions that were a heck of a lot easier than him. He was very slow to mature mentally, but he has now, and he rarely spooks or bucks. You can jump on him off a layoff, and he is as good as gold now. I trust him with an intermediate rider now just schooling at home.

    So it is a compliment to us that you all think that he is so good now. It was a long, hard road to get him there. In 2002, he reared up and flipped over back on top of me. I was in the hospital for a week and I was back on him 3 months later before the doctor cleared me to ride. I broke both my hips, my pelvis down the middle, punctured both my lungs, and had fractured ribs. I will never be 100% physically again so it takes me awhile just to have the strength to post well. It would probably take me three weeks of riding before I could post without stirrups, and that is also why I have my stirrups a little bit higher on the flat when it's been awhile since I have ridden even though I post too high and hard. It also takes me awhile to have the strength to get the impulsion that I need from him, and he wasn't in shape at all in this video anyway.

    Most people would have given up on him, but I didn't (only because he had so much ability), and because I didn't, we became practically unbeatable in the hunters. We also made some people really mad And just look at how well-behaved and tolerant he is now! I don't regret my endeavors with him one bit. I love him because of the hardships, and will never sell him unless I absolutely have to. When I come out of the class with the blue ribbon on this one, I know that I truly earned it.

    I think that it is wise not to jump to conclusions about someone's riding abilities if one hasn't known their history (not directed at you). I also think that...in the long run...every rider has things that they could improve on...I just have a lot of them right now. I am still young...only 23...and I have a long, wonderful career of riding horses ahead of me. Although, if I stopped riding today, I am very proud of my accomplishments in the horse industry.

    And I wrote a book..sorry.



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    I
    It's very discouraging to hear someone who doesn't even know how to ride dressage, blaming their horse and wanting to sell the horse when what the horse is doing is because of how he is being ridden and schooled.
    Maybe I misread - but I can't find where anyone, including the OP, said anything like this?

    JB, great comments. And congrats to the OP for working through a lot of issues - taking time off is a killer, isn't it? And then switching disciplines!

    Good luck to you and your boy. He's lovely.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filly85' View Post

    I think that it is wise not to jump to conclusions about someone's riding abilities if one hasn't known their history (not directed at you).
    On the flip side, when one only has a video and/or pictures, without history, there's nothing else to base a critique on At least you didn't get all defensive and snarky like some are wont to do

    It IS amazing how nice you two look considering this nearly-learned history It bodes well for your/his future
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho" View Post
    Maybe I misread - but I can't find where anyone, including the OP, said anything like this?

    JB, great comments. And congrats to the OP for working through a lot of issues - taking time off is a killer, isn't it? And then switching disciplines!

    Good luck to you and your boy. He's lovely.
    Thank you so much...yes, taking time off is a killer! I feel sorry for everyone that truly loves it and has to take time off. In my spare time at my dorm during semester, I sit there and watch nice dressage horses and show jumpers on youtube just to remind me what I am working so hard for...lol



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    On the flip side, when one only has a video and/or pictures, without history, there's nothing else to base a critique on At least you didn't get all defensive and snarky like some are wont to do
    LOL, I had someone decide my trainer stinks based on a 20 second video my 8 year old son took of me riding (low def taken on his digital camera, even ) After that, none of the massive mental leaps people take while watching videos surprise me!

    All of the details aside, I still really like him, and you look like the two of you have great communication! I think you'll find that people here very rarely will grant that a horse has any potential above "lower levels" (usually said with a bit of a patronizing tone). At my barn we have two horses working on 3rd level movements that aren't supposed to go past training level, so take it all with a grain of salt (one of them is mine, and he is not as nice a mover as yours is!)



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambrey View Post
    LOL, I had someone decide my trainer stinks based on a 20 second video my 8 year old son took of me riding (low def taken on his digital camera, even ) After that, none of the massive mental leaps people take while watching videos surprise me!

    All of the details aside, I still really like him, and you look like the two of you have great communication! I think you'll find that people here very rarely will grant that a horse has any potential above "lower levels" (usually said with a bit of a patronizing tone). At my barn we have two horses working on 3rd level movements that aren't supposed to go past training level, so take it all with a grain of salt (one of them is mine, and he is not as nice a mover as yours is!)
    Thank you That clears a few things up!

    I have no problem with tactful, correct, structural criticism like JB and some others provided. I just thought that assuming so much about one's riding ability from one video and then attacking a person as a different poster did was a little uncalled for, which is why I stated the history.

    Thanks everyone for the encouragement and advice! And happy trails!



  16. #16
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    If I were you, I'd find a dressage trainer who is h/j friendly (maybe an eventing coach with strong dressage??) and understands it, and work with them to get your horse moving forwards. He's super cute, and you look like a lovely rider! I'd just really hate to see you both discouraged by the wrong trainer.

    And have fun!!
    "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    It's very discouraging to hear someone who doesn't even know how to ride dressage, blaming their horse and wanting to sell the horse when what the horse is doing is because of how he is being ridden and schooled.
    Did you actually read her post? I didn't get that at all. She seems like she LOVES her horse and thanks her trainers for doing such a wonderful job with him. He has a "forever home" with her.

    The OP is asking questions in an attempt to learn.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filly85' View Post
    Thank you That clears a few things up!
    Yeah, you really have to take everything with a grain of salt. He is a lovely, lovely guy. He looks super sweet and I read your history "book", so I know that a lot of work and time was involved in that.

    I agree completely that FORWARD is the key element that is missing. I love the swinging tail which shows a nice relaxed back. So often we see stiff tails or even swishing tails.

    How is he at lateral work?



  19. #19
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    Forward, I think, is almost everyone's issue. My biggest problem with mine (who is an OTTB) wasn't so much forward, as getting him to move forward correctly (ie back to front) without inhibiting him. The tail is a giveaway (of course, in the saddle, you have to look at the ears and feel the back).
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  20. #20
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    What i read was that she was talking about selling the horse because he didn't have a 'lofty' etc trot, and I don't think that will matter for a very long time, and i said so.

    Having just gotten off the phone with someone who decided to sell their very tolerant and agreeable horse for similar reasons (the horse is going to an auction, and i was boiling, because he's probably going to go for meat), I may have been a little too disgusted to respond to your post right after that...

    the point i was trying to make is that this is a fine horse, and his gaits are very suitable to learn to do dressage with.



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