When I studied in Ireland under an internationally known dressage trainer, one of the biggest 'ah-HA' moments was when she said, "Any horse can do any THING, if you take into consideration its mental and physical abilities and condition." This was into a student wondering how he was to do a canter turn on the haunches on what was probably a Belgian. "He's not going to do it like a thoroughbred, but he CAN do it."
I suspect if the OP had been shopping for a potential upper level horse, she knows enough (even under the influence :-) ) to have selected something more 'typical'.
One of my students in SC started with a little horse that was put together by committee (and not one that saw eye-to-eye) - and got more out of that horse than it or its maker ever intended. She is now a breeder of breathtakingly beautiful WBs.
So, OP - your young mare will more than likely do just fine - as long as her reality and your ambitions are in line.
Add in comments about the disciplines my husband and kid favor, and I'm ready to take a dressage whip to the tushes of some DQs, while holding a dressage foam finger in the other hand.
While imagining this is fun, it's probably not legal. I usually just look them in the eye and say "bless your heart" and leave it at that. If they continue to bitch and moan I turn around and say "if it weren't for Arabians, you wouldn't have YOUR breed so STFU" but it really hardly ever comes to that. Most of the time a "bless your heart, wouldn't it be boring if everyone wore the exact same thing and rode the exact same test on the exact same horse?"
Yes, I like ribbons. Yup, if I can find a way to do it, I'm rocking a colored coat with gray breeches. My husband wants a reiner or cutter. My oldest son wants a saddleseat horse. My youngest wants a western pleasure horse (complete with long tail). GET OVER IT. I'm just happy that my family can all enjoy horses, even if everyone has different tastes in what they want to do. The breed circuit is a way we can all show together. What is there to criticize about that? Oh, and the Arab show crew at this barn utterly ROCKS.
This is why the breed show circuit is SO MUCH FUN. Because you get to show with all kinds of different disciplines, see all kinds of riders, and the barn parties are the best
Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
Sam: A job? Does it pay?
Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.
We and our friends have been showing Arabs and Arab crossbreds in both the breed shows and the 'real' dressage world of USDF/USEF shows. We do well at both and enjoy having a good time. We haven't encountered any breed prejudice and here in the South - think the greater Atlanta, GA, area - people tend to show a lot of different breeds and types of horses. Yes, if you want to be long-listed for the Olympics someday, you might think about a warmblood. But at one recent USDF/USEF show, well attended as to numbers of horses, the high score First Level horse was an Arabian, ridden by a Young Rider!
It's not most dressage riders, really most are great. It's just that few who are really obnoxious, lol. And they happen to be the loudest I have a ball on my Arab cross, and that's really all I should care about in the end.
1. Since it is September now and she is 3, I am guessing she is pretty late in her 3yo year. She is probably physically ready to get started to saddle and start on a program of going for walks through the hills with 15 minutes of WTC arena schooling here and there. Fall is a very nice time to ride a young horse through the hills, and if you are consistent and make slow but steady progress you can catch the leaves before they turn.
2. I don't think it will be NECESSARY to do ground work for as long as you are contemplating, but if you WANT TO because you are interested in learning the skill then now is as good a time as any.
3. If you have a pro come out and work with her and you 2 or 3 times a week for the next 6 months I don't think you will recognize yourselves. You'll be able to come back to COTH and tell everyone a giant "SO HA!"
Agree with this. Especially #3 - get some help and eyes with the ground work. Better to learn correctly the first time.
Also your description of her spook and her attitude after the spook - good grief that is marvelous. How wonderful to get back into horses with one so level headed.
Ignore the naysayers and enjoy returning to the fold
"Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
Courtesy my cousin Tim
Cross-posted to H/J, since I'm thinking of going jumper with this guy. We are testing out a new dressage trainer on Saturday, and I'm thrilled. Watched a few lessons from this trainer this past weekend, and learned loads. Will try to get video of my mare in the next little bit. Wish I'd gotten video last night, it was hilarious. She stood in the middle of the arena doing her best Arab impression (halter pose complete with the dragon-snort thing).
We've had our little draft mare in under saddle work for four months. It has become very painfully obvious over the last two that she HATES being ridden. Long story short, we had a discussion with her training team, and we all agree that it is just best for her at this point if we end our dressage road. She's miserable, we're miserable, the trainers are miserable... It's just not working for anyone. She does, however, excel at groundwork and really enjoys working (especially long lining). Just not being ridden. After some serious discussion about what tasks make her happy and what it's obvious she hates, we've decided to give her driving training over the next two months and see if she's happier there. It's what she's bred and built to do. We gave riding a good try, but it's just not for this mare. At least, not at this point in time. If in a few months we're all still not working out, we'll have to discuss some other options.
On the flip side, I've had a chance over the last month to work with a new dressage trainer with my gelding, and we're very happy. We've noticed a LOT of improvement very quickly. I look at us now and from where we were a month ago I don't recognize us. So not giving up on dressage as a whole Just with one horse.