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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 22, 2013
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    Default Buying a Dressage Horse.. Please advise on some questions...

    To start off, I am not new at buying horses, however I am new in buying a horse for Dressage.

    I have posted before about a horse I was purchasing, that has not happened due to somethings coming to light that I am not dealing with.

    So onto the questions...

    I am a first level rider schooling 2nd level movements, I am riding a PSG Lusitano Schoolmaster. I am wanting a horse with FEI potential as that is my ultimate goal. (Yes my budget is in line with what I am looking for, I think) I do not have any recognized shows on my record, as all I have done are small schooling shows. I will be working with a trainer 4x a week, (still interviewing and having lessons)

    Would you consider a 4th level horse that is priced over 30K but is not reg. due to non payment of a stud fee?

    Would it benefit me more to look into horses that already have some shows under their belt? Perhaps schooling higher levels already?

    In all my readings and schoolings, I was taught that pedigree is an important factor when buying a competative Dressage horse along with conformation and character. Am I right in this? What is everyone's exp. in pedigree when looking for a horse?

    ****My budget is not 30K, it is higher, however the horse I was looking at was in the 30-35K range.
    Last edited by ClassicalDressage; Jan. 7, 2014 at 01:22 PM. Reason: Additional Info



  2. #2
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    Jan. 26, 2010
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    Once you have a trained horse, unless you're breeding, pedigree has little to no influence on what you need. The horse is already trained and competing, so you should be able to see the quality and soundness and not look to lineage to guess.

    Even conformation isn't a big factor. Look at how the horse moves and soundness.

    30k could be very cheap or very expensive for a "4th level" horse. Make sure you have someone you know and trust give you feedback on this.


    8 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
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    Depending on your goals regarding All Breed awards and whether you intend to breed this horse, no papers may not be a big deal.

    Make sure to get a horse that you can ride regardless of the level to which they are trained. That doesn't mean you can just hop on and do Grand Prix. Some higher level horses just won't tolerate someone learning on them, others may get confused by a rider's miscues but are generally forgiving. The latter are the ones worth their weight in gold.

    You can't learn on a horse you can't ride; ask me how I know this.

    Hopefully your trainer will help you find the right match.
    Last edited by atlatl; Jan. 7, 2014 at 10:33 AM.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
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    Dec. 20, 2009
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    My recommendation is to look for horses that have some show mileage and that are pretty confirmed at 3rd level or above, and specifically have changes confirmed. Fixing "iffy" changes is a project you don't want.

    There are some very capable horses doing upper level work that do not have great pedigrees, so I would personally not focus on that. Some years back I bought a 15 yr old TB, he was showing PSG at the time. Had a piaffe and a short string of 1x changes. I was capable of a training level test. He was a saint, sound as could be, happily went back to his snaffle and suffered thru me learning to sit his trot, and at 19 and 20, he was back in the PSG ring. We were not international caliber (LOL) but he was competitive. I did not spend a lot of $ on this horse, but what he taught me was invaluable.

    The answer to your question is I would buy a 4th level unregistered horse if it was capable and rideable.
    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


    5 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    Aug. 15, 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2tempe View Post
    The answer to your question is I would buy a 4th level unregistered horse if it was capable and rideable.
    Me too! Totally agree with what is already posted - can you ride him? Is he fun and forgiving? I'd also ask for a trainer's advice - it sounds like you don't have that trainer yet... Also check his scores - too often I see a horse advertised 4th level who might have showed at one schooling show, or eked out one 60 from a very generous judge.

    At this point, pedigree is not an issue - if the horse has proven itself at 4th level (see note above about actual show scores), then the horse is there. And there is very little difference between 4th level Test 3 and PSG. The biggest learning curve will be your own riding skills.

    As for registration - you can always register PHR or AWS if you want to qualify for All Breeds. You might even be able to get the breeding certificate from the Stallion Owner and revisit the horse's original registration options...

    No comments on the price - at $30k, the horse could be a screaming deal or could be overpriced. Not enough info - age, gaits, training, show record, etc.



  6. #6
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    Mar. 8, 2009
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    What about finding a good trainer, then leasing a good third level for a year or so and then buying a forth level or above (with your trainer's help).

    Jumping from schooling first/second to a competitive FEI 4th level dressage horse is quite a leap!

    Hopefully, what you might need now in a horse will be totally different after a year or so of good dressage training and you'll be able to evaluate and ride more precisely horses with higher FEI potential.

    Good luck!


    2 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
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    Nov. 30, 2009
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    Pedigree is so far down on the list of what is important in you situation that it should not even be a subject of more than idle curiosity.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by alibi_18 View Post
    What about finding a good trainer, then leasing a good third level for a year or so and then buying a forth level or above (with your trainer's help).

    Jumping from schooling first/second to a competitive FEI 4th level dressage horse is quite a leap!

    Hopefully, what you might need now in a horse will be totally different after a year or so of good dressage training and you'll be able to evaluate and ride more precisely horses with higher FEI potential.

    Good luck!
    I am curious - where does one go about leasing a 3rd or 4th level horse? Especially to a beginner rider? Those horses just are not available, especially to someone who is a lower level rider.

    I do agree, getting a trainer is important. And that it may be a few horses before OP is really doing FEI. But those lease horses that are out there tend to be lower level, older horses - if you can find them!


    3 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
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    Oct. 2, 2012
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    I don't think pedigree is a non-issue. If you have the money for a high dollar horse, then you can be choosier. Some breeding lines are more ammy-friendly than others.

    Registration is more than just pedigree. It documents the age of the horse. My previous horse was a Hanoverian X but unregistered. One buyer who tried him before me pronounced him her soul mate, then declined to buy when she found out he had no papers. I checked his show records and dug around and found that he was claimed to be 12 two years in a row. (Seller's parents handled his purchase as she was a young teen at the time). When I asked her and she checked with mom and dad, it turned out he was three years older than she was claiming in the ad. It was an honest mistake, and I still bought him, but for far less money.

    If you plan to work with a trainer, maybe wait until you have his or her advice.
    A helmet saved my life.

    2014 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MysticOakRanch View Post
    I am curious - where does one go about leasing a 3rd or 4th level horse? Especially to a beginner rider? Those horses just are not available, especially to someone who is a lower level rider.

    I do agree, getting a trainer is important. And that it may be a few horses before OP is really doing FEI. But those lease horses that are out there tend to be lower level, older horses - if you can find them!
    My trainer was about to lease her PSG horse to a junior rider, and this kid would have been under her supervision and the horse kept in training.

    I'm sure there are trainers out there who have/know of/lease older schoolmaster for people to learn on that could suit the OP's goal.

    And I said to lease a 3rd level horse, certainly not a 4th level one for now.

    The OP is technically 1st/2d level rider. Under the supervision of a good trainer and with a 3rd level schoolmaster, they could go a long way if everything goes well.

    I just think that buying a competitive FEI 4th level horse now would be a bit risky, so I was trying to offer the OP another point of view.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 14, 2009
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    622

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    Great goal !
    But how long is it going to take- being very thoughtful & completely honest.
    How long has it taken to get to 1st level.
    Are you bringing old habits from a different discipline.
    How far do you need to travel to quality instruction/shows.
    Do you have other family work obligations.
    If you can find good instruction & ride a few different types this will help you decide the best type of horse for you.
    I'd actually suggest a really solid 2nd level mount- you should get a great ride when ridden correctly and not get resistance from misused aids.
    Have 3 currently in barn above 3rd level- the GP & PSG horses will absolutely not tolerate anything other than professional rides. The 3rd level guy could probably be a good novice teacher.



  12. #12
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    Mar. 29, 2013
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    I would ask to see the horses show records if the seller says the horse is showing or has been schooled to 4th level. Lots of people claim that the horse is schooled to a certain level and can show you "tricks" on a horse that may look great to an uneducated eye, but this does not mean that the horse is doing something correctly enough for you to be able to learn something on it as a novice. If they say that the horse can do all schooling movements at a certain level but has never shown at that level, I would be suspicious about what you were getting.

    I would buy NOTHING without having your trainer look at the horse first (preferebly go with you to see it and have both of you ride it and discuss afterwards. Someone who knows what is expected of a 4th level horse needs to get on the horse and put it through its paces; can the horse do half passes in both directions? can the horse do clean changes and series of 3 and 4 tempis? Can the horse do canter half pirouttes and collect and extend at all gaits t the level expected of a 4th level horse? A good trainer provides experienced insight and can fairly assess both your ability and the horses to see if what you are buying will really help you meet your goals.

    I would buy NOTHING without having the horse fully vetted. A horse that has done 4th level for any length of time has some wear and tear on his/her joints. A vet needs to see if there are any issues that would prevent the horse from being able to do his/her job. A 4th level horse may very well have some xrays available. Ask for those reports and films to compare to what you will get as purchase vetting films.

    I don't know where you live or how old the horse is, but a 4th level horse for 30K seems like a very low price to me unless this is a schoolmaster in his or her late teens. If that is the case, be aware of what maintenance the horse will need (special shoeing, joint injections, supplements) that may add considerably to your post purchase costs to keep your partner in operating condition.

    Personally, I don't believe a story about non-payment of a stud fee; no one I know delivers semen or allows a mare into a breeding shed without the stud fee being pre-paid. It is more likely that they bought the horse for resale without papers. It would be more honest and trust inspiring for the seller to just say this to you and I would certainly ask. Unless you are planning on breeding the horse or really want breed related awards the pedigree is unimportant. What is important to a dressage novice is a trot that you will be able to sit, a good, forgiving mind (you will make mistakes and your partner has to be willing to forgive you and educate you) and soundness. If you ride correctly and accurately you can get very good test scores and learn a lot on a partner that is not a fancy warmblood.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 20, 2013
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    51

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    Money is only part of the pie when it comes to FEI horses. Sure, you can purchase one that is currently winner shows but this does not mean it will perform the same under you and your trainer. I have seen this happen often where owners new to dressage buy an expensive horse, saddle and go to a top training barn to spend years riding another horse in the lower levels. Higher level horses often demand perfection when it comes to riding them. Even when given perfection-they still may to fully perform as the owner wishes. Totalis is a fine example that money will not get you everything in a horse. There is a very fine balance of many layers that needs to take place.

    My advise-lease a horse that is a few levels above you. Go to more shows and climb the lower levels before you invest in a FEI horse. By the time you reach FEI levels, you may need a different horse to be successful than the horse you need right now. Even lease/part board a FEI horse or ride your coaches horse to see how that is. The rare few that are very forgiving will cost you and it can take years to climb the levels for most riders either way.

    Breeding can be important but what breed? Arabians win Olympic metals/FEI in dressage but so do TB's, warm bloods and mixed breeds-what one is right for you?



  14. #14
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    Dec. 22, 2013
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    Malibu, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ltc4h View Post
    Great goal !
    But how long is it going to take- being very thoughtful & completely honest.
    How long has it taken to get to 1st level.
    Are you bringing old habits from a different discipline.
    How far do you need to travel to quality instruction/shows.
    Do you have other family work obligations.
    If you can find good instruction & ride a few different types this will help you decide the best type of horse for you.
    I'd actually suggest a really solid 2nd level mount- you should get a great ride when ridden correctly and not get resistance from misused aids.
    Have 3 currently in barn above 3rd level- the GP & PSG horses will absolutely not tolerate anything other than professional rides. The 3rd level guy could probably be a good novice teacher.
    It has taken me a year to go through training and first level, but I am now in a place where I can devote my time into serious training.

    I am not bringing in any old riding habits, I started on a PSG schoolmaster Lusitano.

    The place I will be boarding at is about 20miles away and shows are with-in a 5 hour drive.

    NO other obligations, single, no kids, not a 9-5 job.



  15. #15
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    May. 3, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClassicalDressage View Post
    It has taken me a year to go through training and first level, but I am now in a place where I can devote my time into serious training.

    I am not bringing in any old riding habits, I started on a PSG schoolmaster Lusitano.

    The place I will be boarding at is about 20miles away and shows are with-in a 5 hour drive.

    NO other obligations, single, no kids, not a 9-5 job.

    Is leasing the PSG Lusitano schoolmaster an option or is it too far away? I would be inclined to do that until you're further along (Schooling 4th, Schooling PSG) in your own riding before buying something with FEI potential. Otherwise, I'd be advising you to look for exactly what you are currently riding.

    It's rare that a TL/1st rider should ever be looking for FEI potential. That implies younger horse that needs to be trained up. Which means lots of your trainer riding and you watching. FEI schoolmaster is something else. An older FEI horse could be perfectly appropriate. If you have good balance, some natural talent and are a confident rider, you might get back up the levels before the horse has to retire.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
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    A horse that has been there an done that is more valuable to you than a pedigree. As a new competitor, no matter how well educated you are, the last thing you need to doing is coping with a horse new to showing.

    Pick your trainers carefully.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  17. #17
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    Oct. 7, 2012
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    Im in disagreement with buying a lower level horse to learn on first then moving onto a higher level horse.

    A horse with the correct temperament and weekly lessons can progress a rider much further than buying something that you need to upgrade on later. The trick here would be looking for something very forgiving and getting your trainer to school it at least once a week too. A rider with determination, a good seat and the drive can progress up to 4th level very quickly with the correct horse and training.

    Pedigree means little to me at the higher levels if it's a gelding. There are some lines I'd steer clear of but always look at the horse as a whole. Don't just dismiss it on the pedigree or lack of.
    Last edited by BrokenArrow; Jan. 7, 2014 at 05:25 PM. Reason: Spelling



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenArrow View Post
    Im in disagreement with buying a lower level horse to learn on first then moving onto a higher level horse.

    A horse with the correct temperament and weekly lessons can progress a rider much further than buying something that you need to upgrade on later. The trick here would be looking for something very forgiving and getting your trainer to school it at least once a week too. A rider with determination, a good seat and the drive can progress up to 4th level very quickly with the correct horse and training.

    Pedigree means little to me at the higher levels if it's a gelding. There are some lines I'd steer clear of but always look at the horse as a whole. Don't just dismiss it on the pedigree or lack of.
    Agree with all of this. If the horse is rideable and has a nice temperament, good gaits, etc. no papers wouldn't concern me in the least. I think you're taking a very smart route.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClassicalDressage View Post
    It has taken me a year to go through training and first level, but I am now in a place where I can devote my time into serious training.

    I am not bringing in any old riding habits, I started on a PSG schoolmaster Lusitano.

    The place I will be boarding at is about 20miles away and shows are with-in a 5 hour drive.

    NO other obligations, single, no kids, not a 9-5 job.
    Single, no 9-5 job….gosh I wish I was you!!

    The last hunter I owned , before totally quiting hunters, was an unpapered holsteiner….had a wonderful jump….and a gelding and you don't ride the papers!
    Adriane
    Happily retired but used to be:
    www.ParrotNutz.com



  20. #20
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    [QUOTE=2tempe;7358145]My recommendation is to look for horses that have some show mileage and that are pretty confirmed at 3rd level or above, and specifically have changes confirmed. Fixing "iffy" changes is a project you don't want.
    /QUOTE]

    THIS 100x over. I just bought a horse that was a little older than I wanted, a teensie bit smaller (he's still plenty big at 16.3+), and has been out of work for about a year (personal/life stuff w/owner). Our budget was the same as yours and like all shoppers, I want to have my cake and eat it, too. What we found, as others have said, is that you are more than likely going to have to give on something in that budget - for me it was one or the other. Pay for the potential star horse to be in training to make sure changes were put on correctly or buy something I could go in the ring on now that has squeaky clean changes. I opted for squeaky clean changes.

    That said, we went to look at horses that allegedly had changes...FYI to some sellers: cantering in the pasture w/o a rider and doing a flying change does not constitute a horse having changes. The other issue is the horse that "has" changes but is always late in behind or, as we saw with one otherwise realy nice horse, the horse that gets anxious when asked for the change. At any rate, for me it just wasn't worth not having solid changes. I am super happy with my boy and though we have fitness and strength work due to him being out of work, his software is all there and was installed correctly.

    As others have said, pedigree isn't that important unless you are looking to breed. We have an upper level rider in our crew who won't do geldings b/c if soundness issues prevent use, she wants to be able to breed - for her pedigree is important.

    There is a really neat gelding in VA that came on the market right after we bought my boy. He IS registered and changes are solid...my trainer has judged him many times. He is more than $30k but not by much. Having read further on in this thread, I might also add that I leased a retired FEI horse for a few months before we found my boy. He has maintenance issues but was sound enough to get me solid on the road to doing some of the upper level stuff. These horses are around but if I had not been with my trainer, I NEVER would have known about him. Perhaps - and it may've been suggested already - you find the right trainer/program, etc., someone you can trust and work with that will help you achieve your goals, and then continue the horse search with that person by your side. I've been doing horses all my life but never dressage outside of what I had to do for eventing...my eyes are pretty good but my trainer was a God-send. Never would have had such a happy ending without her.

    Best of luck to you!!

    ETA - How did I miss you were leasing the Lusitano...is it possible to continue that lease and with new trainer on board get some shows this year?



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