ooooh. Nice baby saddlebred. I love how his neck/shoulder connect. (and I'm still making little squeal noises over his cute little ears!) He looks like he's going to be FUN!
Darn it, you weren't supposed to tell what he was- like you can't figure it out from my username!
Anyway, I don't think he's going to work for me as a show horse and I really need to find him a new home.
I was thinking about marketing him as a dressage prospect. I'd love for people that know sport horses to tell me his strong and weak points. Are these appropriate photos - that is if I clean him up, maybe braid him and get similar shots?
He looks lovely, and a lot like my ASB mare. He (and she) are a bit long in the back and have a flat croup like a typical ASB, but no horse is perfect. I think he would be a great dressage prospect...most ASBs have to overcome their prior SS training, which is a big hurdle to most, IME. My mare was schooling first/second level at one point (before life/school got in the way and she got mostly retired), and my dressage coach was very enthusiastic about her. But getting over the previous SS training took awhile and was a pain the butt. If you start him out with dressage, I predict he will make a very good prospect.
I'm pretty biased (I own an ASB and compete in dressage) but he looks like a handsome bugger! He looks to have good potential as a dressage horse. I've encountered some breed bias in my area but hopefully shoppers can look past the breed and see the mind/athleticism that makes the saddlebred such an amazing partner for any discipline.
Clean him up if you like but I think decent videos & additional photos would be a better use of your time - after your lead in, I was expected a filthy tangled mess with no decent shots ...
he is lovely & your poses are better than alot I've seen
ok, here is my honest critique looking at him from the POV of a dressage prospect. remember you asked
he is cute, but the very first thing i look at for a dressage prospect is the hind end/back/hind leg. and that happens to be the weakest part of this guy.
given the above, i would not look at him at all. his hind end is very weak and his back already looks to have issues. i think asking him to work hard from his hind end, over the back, etc. would not be kind and would be asking for breakdown.
i dont know about other disciplines, but for dressage? no.
He is also a very typical lanky, rangy 2yr old ASB. I do agree his hindquarters look a little light, but knowing how ASB's mature, I suspect that will fill out nicely with maturity. I think, though he is not thin, a bit more of weight would help fill in that shallowness in his flank and put some roundness in his hindquarters ....all helpful if you are marketing as a sporthorse. Also, try to stand him up with his hind leg more underneath him and get a nice video. He appears to be a lovely, free mover that will mature into a very pretty dressage prospect.
I think he's lovely for his breed, but to be honest he doesn't do it for me as a "sport horse prospect". I think you might be better off advertising him as an all-rounder or lower level prospect. I don't mean this in an offensive way, but just wanted to point out some things that might affect the way you choose to market him. As mbm pointed out, he has a weak hind end, but he's also a tad "out" behind. When I look for a serious Dressage Prospect I want to see a horse that moves UP through its whole topline and has a general shift of weight toward its hindquarters. Your horse is a stunner, but I suspect from the photos that like most saddlebreds he has some flashy moves but doesn't naturally stretch up through his back and withers. This is not to say that he couldn't be quite successful in the dressage ring, but I don't think the descriptor of Dressage Prospect quite fits. I've certainly brought along enough non-traditional breeds and conformationally challenged horses to never count any of them out, but I wouldn't expect ambitious dressage people to be sold on this one. I'd focus on finding him a great amateur home with a person that will adore him for all his non-dressage-specific assets!
OK guys, explain the "weak hind end" thing as opposed to lack of muscle. (No I'm not offended) He's probably not as fat as most 2 year olds I see advertised, and he doesn't get as much turnout as he should (only 4-6 hrs/day) so not as much muscle either. I'd rather have my babies a little thin than too fat- I think it's better for their joints. And yeah, ASBs tend to take a little longer to fill out. Watching him trot he does seem (to me anyway) to drive off his hind end. I see what you mean by "out" behind. I think it's because he kept trying to get closer to DH and was creeping forward with his fronts- I just looked at him in his stall and he doesn't look that way, but I'll definitely be aware of it next time I take pictures. Does a flat croup really make that much of a difference?
Anybody got pictures/video of a really nice 2 year old for comparison?
I certainly don't think I'll get mega-bucks for him. I was just thinking how to market him to get him into a good home where he can be useful and loved. Lower level prospect is fine with me- besides, how many horses get past 1st or 2nd level anyway? He's got the type of "I'll try" attitude that's definitely amateur friendly.
what would make me concerned about his hind end is the flat croup- it is reminiscent of the older style warmblood (thind Abgar, Pik Bube, D-lines) Compare the croup to more "modern" warmbloods (more hip angle)
That said, who can know about a 2yr old? Some of the horses that looked like they could never do dressage (Flim Flam (Sue Blinks)- narrow chested, not great conformation, etc but a really good GP horse) were wonderful. No one can really know until you are riding, training and showing him. If his attitude is wonderful, that is worth more than anything to those of us who are not pros.
i am not going to post pics of a "really nice" 2 yo because it isn't fair to compare your boy to a purpose bred WB.
however, i will post pics of my now 3 yo Connemara pony - whom i purchased as a dressage prospect. i specifically looked for a strong hind leg, hind end, loin connection, and back.
i personally am very aware that the back/loin is the weakest link and for a horse to be able to do dressage work well (ie use its back properly etc) it need to be built to do the job - no matter what the breed.
i agree that youngster should be on the leaner side so i dont fault his weight at all. i also looked at his bones and not muscle- altho his muscle on his back looks a bit funky already... a bit tight and tense...
also, if you want some really great info on confo and what is needed to be a good dressage prospect you can rent the video by Hilda Gurney or there are two little books by Deb Bennett that i think are very good - they give examples have confo critiques for each section etc... very educational
"Principles of Conformation Vol 1 & Vol 2 by Dr Deb Bennett
in a nut shell - the lengths and angles of your cute guys HQ do not lend to any kind of power or the type of leverage we look for in a dressage prospect.
especially for me is the weak loin connection, the very short croup, the angles of the bones, the depth of the loin, the length of the upper hind leg, the length of his pasturns and so on.
here is my pony at just 3, he is not a perfect confo example by any means as his neck is a tad short , and his shoulder could be more laid back - but i LOVE his hind end... it is strong, well angled, large in comparison to the rest of his body etc.
my observations of his hind end are being confirmed as i begin to ride him - the power potential that i feel is quite amazing as is the absolute ease in which he is able to do as asked... at less than 15 rides - and all on the lunge - he is already bending, connecting and giving me a feel i have never had before - on any horse.
so i am convinced that the hind end / back is really the important part. the bling front end is not important. the HQ is.
if you read the Deb B books you will get a really great understanding of what i am talking about..
i think if you advertise your guy as an allrounder you will be fine. i would not try to niche him you will get people looking who wont be interested and you will miss a huge section of the horse buying public.
Don't discount a willing attitude. I have seen horses built for dressage with no try. A horse with a decent built and a willing attitude should, with the right training be able to compete locally or even regionally (depending on the region). I saw a fantastic mover at the last rated horse show i went to who had jaw dropping lengthenings but would not go down the long side and spooked at the judges stand. This talented horse was beat by a steady Eddie who went in and just did his job. "Dressage prospect" as in some of the young horse classes....no. Could he be someone's future dressage partner? With the right attitude, sure.
I can't tell you how many gorgeous saddlebreds (much like your young boy) I have seen in the dressage arena doing extremely well. In fact, I've seen so many at this point I always say if anything ever happens to my DWB and I can't afford to buy another, a saddlebred is next on my list. Google image some pictures of warmblood stallions and you will see how many successful dressage horses out there have flat croups .
I'm with Liz on this one. Although he is camped out behind, it doesn't mean he won't make a nice lower level horse for someone with modest aspirations. Willingness is key. I rode a 15.2 hand TB mare years ago who was built so much higher behind than in front that we lovingly referred to her as the "dragster." But, her attitude more than made up for her conformation, and she was a joy to ride EVERY day!
Charter member of the I-Refuse-to-Relinquish-My-Whip Clique
i agree that a willing attitude is critical. however , a horse can only do what his conformation allows him to do and there is a vast difference between a decently built non WB and one that just does not have the bone, angles, etc to hold up and make the job easy.
why force a horse to do something they will struggle with - no matter what the breed or purpose bred designation?
a fancy dressage bred horse who does not have the confo or an "off breed" horses with same - doenst matter.
market him as a nice family or 4 h horse and find him a lovely loving home
These pics were taken almost to the day of her 2nd birthday, so that gives you an idea. And she has fairly refined breeding: she is by Rosenthal o/o a Rubino Bellisimo/Batido mare....so she is purpose bred for dressage pretty much all the way.
But again, if the horse is sound and willing & you have a talented rider (the hardest part) you'd be surprised how far they can go.