I have a new mare who I would love to compete in training/maybe 1st level dressage but she is an Irish Sport Horse? (shes on the stockyer side). I also plan to event and maybe fox hunt her. Will I get funny looks in the dressage arena with such a stocky mare? I know Irish Sport Horses are quite common in fox hunting and somewhat in eventing but I have no idea about the dressage world. (I've always had TB's) She is a pretty mover and although shes green, shes got good basics.
very unlikely you will get funny looks . We show our Irish Connemara Pony Stallion in dressage/eventing--he is a tank, but has been very successful at the lower levels and we expect he will move up again this season.
My coach showed hers successfully thru PSG, he evented thru Prelim or Advanced before she got him (I know nothing about eventing, so I can't remember). I rode him 3rd and 4th to finish my bronze and get half of my silver.
There are a number of Irish horses competing successfully in dressage. Oryla Ramey competes a half-bred Irish Draught through Intermediare. RID stallion O'Leary's Irish Diamond competed successfully through PSG. Another RID stallion, Steeped in Luck, is down at Wellington competing 4th level as we speak. Over the pond, Stormin Home was a purebred ID gelding who competed either Advanced Medium or Advanced, Irish Draught Sport Horse stallion MJ Fine Art (damsire Snowford Stoker same as sire of Stormin Home) competes Intermediare in England.
Don't worry - you'll be fine!
Ainninn House Stud
Irish Draughts and Connemaras
Co. Westmeath, Ireland
I recently competed my ISH gelding at 3rd Level and received scores in the 57%-59% my first time out with him (we defected from the eventing circle.) I did not get any funny looks at all - actually quite a few compliments - but you must have realistic expectations. ISHs do NOT generally move like WBs. Their gaits are more "workmanlike" and, depending on the amount of TB in their pedigree, are not likely to have that lofty, springy suspension and swing dressage judges like to see. Elasticity is something you REALLY have to work at with these big moving guys. They are, however, very smart, naturally balanced and are very capable of producing a technically correct test. Good luck and have fun! ISH are the BEST!!!
Most friendships in the horse world are just an opinion away from doom.
My mare is an Irish Sport Horse who I bought from a breeder when she was 3. I wasn't interested in jumping, just dressage. She has offset knees, which hasn't been an issue, but it kept the hunter/eventing people from considering her, and I probably got her for half of what she would have brought if she'd had perfect conformation.
Unfortunately, due to EPM and an injury from being chased through a fence, I've only shown her once, at training level. She received an 8 for gaits, and 7's on the rest of the collectives. As it was my first show in 6 years, rider nerves caused me to blow the right lead canter 3 times! Even with that, we still managed to pull a 68% and won the class. If we'd gotten the lead the first time, we would have had over 70%. So yes, ISH's can make pretty darn nice dressage horses!
My girl has a great engine, and she's always carried her head and neck "on the bit" naturally from the start. At 3 she rode more like a 5 or 6 year old horse in her balance and way of going. Very, very trainable.
She doesn't have the big, lofty gaits of a warmblood, but they are very correct. And collection is very easy for her, more so then extension. She's more like an Iberian breed then tb/ID. I'd never ridden piaffe/passage, so I didn't know what it felt like and how to develop it. My instructor would have me work on half-steps, explaining how to apply the aids. During a lesson, while we were doing half-steps to collected trot, I said out loud "is this what I think it is?!" She said yes - we were doing passage! And my mare was so pleased with herself! She really enjoyed doing the work. Working trot for her was like "Ho-hum, this is boring, when do we get to the fun stuff?!"
So the short answer is, yes, show your horse in dressage! Actually, before they started breeding warmbloods specifically for dressage, there were a lot of Irish bred horses being competed in international dressage in the 40's and 50's. I have a book dating back to that era, and there were only a few wb's, most were tb and Irish/English sport types.
My Irish Pony has scored as high as "9" for his trot lengthenings at the 3 star level--it took him a while to understand lengthen vs. quicken--but since he's gotten it, he is so very proud of his little self--he is 14.1HH.
Definitely go for it. They are great for dressage. If you look in the ancestory there is a lot of spanish influence - andalusion. In addition to Waterwitch's list there is the RID KEC Double Diamond who is 4th or PSG. RID Western Sun I also believe went to upper levels and I think RID Foxglen Himself competed in dressage. I have a purebred mare that scream "dressage" horse and hopefully after a 2011 foal, I can make it happen. I sold her foal and another IDSH youngster to dressage homes. I think you will be very happy with the results and please share
Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses
I just rode an ISH at my trainers' barn who is a 4'6 showjumper but he could easily be competitive at 3rd right now. He was amazing, great in the bridle, through his back, and nice gaits that I wanted to ride all day! I am now a fan, so go for it!