We're getting a percheron-tb mare. She needs conditioning and will primarily be used by my son for other things, but I am curious about doing some dressage with her. She apparently was schooling at first level about three years ago. I'm sure he'll be working her over cavaletis
Any suggestions on working with her? She's probably pretty forward. She has been taught to keep head down and moves very flat kneed from what I saw.
Just curious about dressage with her.
Last edited by Coyoteco; Apr. 14, 2011 at 11:57 AM.
I grew up working on a farm that raises Perch/TBs. They can certainly do lower level dressage. Getting her back into shape is going to be the primary thing. If you have access to trails or places where you can hack outside, I would suggest that. A good long, low trot will really help shape her up quickly. Assuming she's a big girl (or at least heaviliy built), for the sake of her joints, try not to work her endlessly on a lunge line, or in sharp corners in an arena.
Most of all...have fun! These crosses are very versatile and can do just about anything you want to do with them!
(1) Slowly condition her so she can do physical work. Trot is the gait where the most conditioning happens. Make sure she has lots of walk breaks. If you know any lateral work such as leg yields, shoulders in, travers you can add those into her work load slowly.
(2) Don't fret on her head carriage. Get her moving off her hind end. This is particularly hard for some of these drafties.
(3) It is always easier to teach a horse to raise their head and round than it is to teach them to lower it. Too many drafties are ridden with their necks too short, crammed into a frame. However the long and low head needs to be done correctly, stretching into the bit.
(4) Keep the training scale in mind: rhythm/regularlity, suppleness, contact, impulsion, straightness, collection.
(5) From your post I am not sure how much actual dressage training you have. There are so many nuances to dressage that you and this horse will be best served by using the services of a trainer. All our horses, regardless of what discipline they compete in, are trained with a dressage foundation. Dressage, correctly done, will only improve the horse's performance and prolong soundness.
(6) Don't forget to have fun, fun, fun
(7) Forward is not speed or is it rushing. Make sure you and your son don't ride this mare so fast that she's falling onto her forehand and unable to use herself or build correct muscling
(8) You must share pictures. I love these draft crosses. You can always send her to me for training. Haha!
Thanks for the discussion (and the link). The mare is gong to be mostly for my son. He'll do most of the conditioning. A lot of that will be done in the pasture (mostly level with a couple of small hills) - with some on trails and a little later in the arena. I think she needs a break from the longeing and arena-type activity, but he'll do some.
I have my tb that I'm working with, and their styles are, understandably quite different. I will be playing with the perch-tb mare and working with my son on some of the things he'll be doing, so dressage is not the goal but perhaps a tool for her. I am interested in strengthening her top line and her canter so that she is rounded and uses her back well, but that can be done with other styles of riding. I just thought it'd fun to play with her a little. I'd say from what I've seen, rhythm and regularity come pretty naturally to her.
I think it'll be interesting to see the difference, and sort of was curious of the specific problems that draft-cross might have that are more common to them. He neck is short and her body is heavy, but I don't know how she'll look when she shapes up. .
Lorilu, cool on your perch-tb cross and congratulations on the progress and success! Our mare won't be here for almost two more weeks wo we haven't met her in person yet - which is probably the reason I started this thread. I can't wait!
Here's a clip of a young Perch/TB cross my husband trained and competed for a client, not just competent but very competitive in dressage--nearly 72% and high score for show first time out at training level, high score for the level his first time out at first level (recognized), above a more experienced licensed warmblood stallion:
Oh, thanks. I love the videos and the success stories. I'm not really very familiar with drafts or draft crosses - but I'm really finding it interesting seeing how diverse they are. This mare has done a bit of dressage, a bit more jumping and then has spent three years at a riding center but hasn't worked since about August. I've just seen one picture of her cantering and that was a couple of years ago, I think. Her canter needed some work. She has a neck that is pretty short and thick, but who knows how it'll look when she's a little more conditioned.
Cool about the PSG clyde cross. The perch/tb in the video looks great!
These draft crosses are actually quite interesting to me now.
DD's first teacher was a perch/tb cross that EVERYONE swore was an imported warmblood (She fooled me as well). She competed successfully all the way up to PSG and was only stepped down into her 20s and then in her 30s regulated to lower level. She was a hot little pistol in her days and the combo of the heart of the tb with the work ethic of the draft made her a fair and demanding schoolmistress for all ages. BOs biggest regret was not getting any babies from her though her temperament to other horses kept her out of the running for the breeding shed. Their out there and some compete well, collection was easy for her but she was REALLY heavy on the front end and lucked out in the knee action. HUGE hooves though, I was always shocked she could move that well with hooves that big.
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Originally Posted by alicen:
What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.
I owned a lovely TB/Percheron mare for 15 years. Very kind, willing and brave. Your dressage success will depend on 1. training and 2. conformation. My mare inherited the longer TB legs and her neck wasn't too short. I've seen some draft crosses that were conformationally more challenged for dressage work. However, they will definitely try for you and are a true joy to own.
We have a clyde/hano cross mare who is doing quite well (altho very green right now). She is hot hot hot, though. Destined for the eventing field, though, as she is my DD's, unfortunately . Getting her to slow/stretch down is a challenge right now, but I think that the work will be worth it. She has conditioned quite easily, and has a HUGE engine. Lots of half halts/transitions for her!
Most any horse can do lower level dressage, unless they have some serious issues with their gaits. So yes, your horse can work on low level dressage. I would have a knowledgeable trainer help to guide your son some when he pursues the dressage so the horse will be working correctly. I personally wouldn't go seeking out a draft cross for dressage, but I rode a clyde/dutch WB mare for a client and she was quite nice for the lower levels and my assistant currently has a VERY NICE hanoverian/TB/perch cross, altho he is 1/4 or less perch. You really don't know he isn't a WB. I have seen some nice draft crosses showing. MAny times they don't have "jump" or suspension in their gaits, which can prevent them from going higher up in dressage, but it doesn't sound like that is your goal anyways.
Oh, her purpose isn't to be a dressage horse. He can condition her quite well and get her rounded, flexible, responsive steady and light without pursuing any dressage or having a dressage trainer. I just suggested dressage to him as something additional to do,. She has some strengths, though, as well as weaknesses. Suspension would be my primary concern.
I'll play with her after she arrives, and go from there if he gives me any time with her lol.
I think it's interesting to see the versatility and successes of the draft crosses, though;
The clyde/hano cross seems like quite an interesting horse. Good luck to your daughter with him..
Just a few weeks ago my friend rode his Perch/TB cross at second level for the first time and scored a 69%. She is a lovely mare with a huge stride. The only issue with her is getting her forward. Most of the Percherons I've worked with are lovely movers but hard to get forward and in front of the leg. But once you get them there they are just wonderful.
She's a little rough looking here - we've since clipped her and she's put on a lot of muscle - I need to take some new pictures. She was pulled out of a pasture after baby-making for a while for this shot - DD has put a bit of work on her since then but she needs a lot more, for sure! If we can ever get her balanced she WILL be nice but ugh! It's partly getting DD trained, as well - she wants the challenge but marsie goes well for me and for her trainer (and is gentle enough and doesn't do anything stupid) but tends to rush and get on her forehand with DD. So it'll be a lot of work to get them together...