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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 25, 2007
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    Pinehurst,NC
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    476

    Default Hunter to Dressage

    Ok, so for the last 3 years, because of circumstances, have been riding other peoples horses...but at last I have become the estatic owner of a 16 yo Dutch,whohas done the hunters, not too extensively, his whole career. He was a "always in the ribbons" hack winner! I am training level so I have a long journey ahead. What if any advice do you have for converting the hunter to dressage. Thanks in advance and Happy Easter!
    "Success comes in cans, not in cannots!"



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 15, 2007
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    (throw dart at map) NC!
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    4,776

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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyStreet View Post
    Ok, so for the last 3 years, because of circumstances, have been riding other peoples horses...but at last I have become the estatic owner of a 16 yo Dutch,whohas done the hunters, not too extensively, his whole career. He was a "always in the ribbons" hack winner! I am training level so I have a long journey ahead. What if any advice do you have for converting the hunter to dressage. Thanks in advance and Happy Easter!
    Congratulations on your new horse! ANd Happy Easter to you, too!

    I think the biggest issues even great hunters grapple with when converting to dressage are 1) going forward 2) moving from a horizontal balance to a balance that is "up" in front and "under" behind 3) consistent contact rather that super light or even loopy reins 4) leg and seat aids that become stronger and more sophisticated as they move up levels (plus leg falling at a different place on his barrel) and 5) coming through their back so that they can be round enough to be on the vertical. If you have a "been-there-done-that" hunter, he probably will need time to adjust to a very new job but he probably will already understand how to learn a job and this is just another job for him to learn. ANd he's probably already athletic enough to make this transition.

    Have a blast!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2009
    Location
    Montreal, Qc
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    2,991

    Default

    Take your time and have fun!
    Fibd yourself a good trainer who will take the time to built up properly your older hunter horse. It is mainly just a question of balance and building up the right muscles. If he was a good hunter with good self carriage and was ridden in a soft bit, it shouldn't be that complicated.

    At training level, you only need to focus on a good working trot (canter), steady going on the bit.

    And lenghten your stirrups one hole at the time, don't just put them long and expect to have pretty long efficient legs! It takes time too to built the seat/core/legs to be comfortable!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 25, 2007
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    Pinehurst,NC
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    Default

    Well J-Lu, That is just about EVERYTHING!! So that gives me lots to work on!!! This horse is by Wallstreet Kid so I'm hoping there is some inherent dressage skill in him! He is super dependable U/S and loves attention, hacking out and trail so he should be a great match for me...other than he's HUGE !!! I spoke with the catch rider of the farm that owns him who showed him alot back in 2006 and she could not say enough good things about him!! He hasn't done much since then I don't think! His owner is starting him back and fitting him up before she ships him to me in June after my move to KY!...I can't wait! Alibi, I will take it slow with him and mix it up between dressage and trails.....and I know I'll be having a BLAST!!! Thanks
    "Success comes in cans, not in cannots!"



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 15, 2007
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EasyStreet View Post
    Well J-Lu, That is just about EVERYTHING!! So that gives me lots to work on!!! This horse is by Wallstreet Kid so I'm hoping there is some inherent dressage skill in him! He is super dependable U/S and loves attention, hacking out and trail so he should be a great match for me...other than he's HUGE !!! I spoke with the catch rider of the farm that owns him who showed him alot back in 2006 and she could not say enough good things about him!! He hasn't done much since then I don't think! His owner is starting him back and fitting him up before she ships him to me in June after my move to KY!...I can't wait! Alibi, I will take it slow with him and mix it up between dressage and trails.....and I know I'll be having a BLAST!!! Thanks
    He's by Wallstreet kid??? He was a great sire. Sired by Warkant out of a states premium Eiger I mare. You have a dressage/jumper/hunter/what else do you want ? athlete on your hands. I'd be curious to know the damline of your horse.

    You WILL have a blast with him - there are plenty of WK offspring that are enjoyed by amateurs and professionals alike in multiple disciplines. Cater to his age and he he will likely cater to your wants. This line is, in my understanding, extremely rideable and trainable - like the sire.

    Again, congratulations on your new horse!

    J.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 26, 2008
    Posts
    99

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    Easy Street-
    First congrats on acquiring such a well bred horse !

    Before I had made my complete switch to dressage many years ago, I would compete my A/O Hunter at recognized dressage shows at Training & First Level.
    We did quite well, our biggest issue was his auto changes when cantering into the corner, if I wasn't sitting perfectly balanced coming out of the corner- he'd swap (LOL).
    I have no doubt had we continued our dressage training he could have gone quite easily through Third level(maybe further with a better rider).

    I do agree with J-Lu, everything she said is accurate, I personally found contact my biggest issue, and learning to sit properly, those were(are)my issues, not my horse. I would say however, not all "Hunters" are trained equally, so in all fairness, my boy was really well schooled, and also a very capable Eq. horse which made the dressage fairly easy for him.

    Have fun and enjoy the journey !



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2006
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    8,660

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    I think one place where hunters are predisposed to do well in dressage is that, if they are well-trained hunters, they should already be quite schooled to have their pace managed from seat and the rider should be predisposed to ride with a certain amount of freedom and non-interference over the topline.

    Ie a good hunter rider will be less likely to "hold, hold, hold" with hand and more likely to try to ride off the seat.

    Hunter riders are also good at expecting the horse to SELF MAINTAIN, so they can be very light, unobtusive riders. And quite frequently they actually have quite good seats: tell a well-trained hunter rider to take the stirrups off the saddle and they will say "Sure, would you like some posting trot and canter with that?" whereas sometimes dressage riders who have been riding for years think doing a few minutes of sitting trot with no stirrups is some kind of major exercise, and cantering... well now you're really getting crazy.

    One thing that I have found challenging is to develop and maintain the engagement behind in the horse as we started to knock on the door of 2nd and 3rd level, but this is a challenge regardless of whether you are coming from the hunters or learning it from scratch.

    So the trick is to put the new things you are learning about engagement together with the hunter-tendency to be light in the hand and allow freedom over the topline so hopefully you end up with a horse who is engaged from the rider's core but still long and fluid in the neck, and not getting kicked up constantly against a restrictive hand.
    Last edited by meupatdoes; Apr. 26, 2011 at 12:56 PM.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 25, 2007
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    Pinehurst,NC
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    Default

    Thanks Snoball and Meupatdoes! Very good council. I don't think at this time I will be going past first level...but you never know the horse may be so capable that it paves the way!! Either way, I just keep pinching myself!!
    "Success comes in cans, not in cannots!"



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