This is based on my limited experience in draftx's and my vast experience with TB's and other hot bloods. A draftx this green is like a crap shoot. She could turn out lovely (I've met two lovely draftx mares), or she could turn out really not fun and not what you want. I have one in training right now that is the most frustrating beast I've ever had to train (and I've trained quite a few horses)
If you are in LOVE with draftx's then I would take the gamble because right now she seems nice, and I'm betting that if she never reaches full potential you'd still loff her. If you wouldn't normally gravitate to a draftx (based on my humble and frustrating experience with them) I'd keep looking because if they aren't normally your cup of tea, they will probably drive you to glug glug glug... and not in a good way.
*shrug* I ride a non-traditional dressage mount, so I have no problem with non-fancy non-WB dressage horses, but, frankly, the draftX horses I have personally known have been questionable in the long-term soundness department. 3/4 TB - 1/4 Shire: pasture ornament at 13 (hocks); TB/Shire: Ringbone and sidebone at 10; Belgian/TB: Retired at 11 (hocks, severe arthritis in knees (?)), etc., etc.
I know others have had no issues of this type with their draft crosses,but it makes me wary.
The future 'soundness" wouldn't bother me... unless
she has feet like her draft parent. "If" she has those big, drafty feet, ringbone in the future might be a concern. If her feet look like those of a normal horse, and she got mostly "bling" from the draft parent (sounds like Clydesdale) then I wouldn't worry that she wouldn't stay as sound as any other horse.
There are no guarantees. I have watched people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars at a yearling sale on a horse that had never had a saddle on, let alone seen a race track. Breeding alone does not guarantee that a horse will be either able, or more importantly, willing to do the job we think, that based on his breeding, he should be able to do brilliantly.
You have a budget. You found a horse you really, really like, and she's inside your budget. Though you'd never ridden her before, she played the game with you and said "ok, I'll try because you asked me".
Most sound horses can, regardless of breed or conformation, progress to 3rd level (and it sounds like you'll be progressing together). Do you want a horse that seems to be willing to learn along with you, or one that gets pissed off because, frankly, you don't have a clue what you are doing yet? I know which horse I'd want to ride.
If you get to 3rd level with her, will you win? Well, it depends on a couple of things. Who's the judge, and Who's the competition? If you ride a steady, consistent, correct test, and confirm each level before competing at it, you'll be having fun and learning for the next couple of decades. Will she be your partner 20 years from now? Likely not, but she sure seems like she'd be willing to forgive you for your sins while you learn, so your next horse (the fancy one your husband buys you after the kids are in school) will reap all the benefits that being patient and slow bring.
Hope your head doesn't hurt too much from the wine. Go ride her again, and if you feel like she's the one, take her home.
My philosophy is that for those of us who are operating on limited budgets with non-FEI short-term aspirations, buy the horse that makes you smile and that makes the journey fun. Unless you have oodles of billions of dollars to spend setting yourself up with all the perfect advantages to become competitive (and maybe even then, I don't know,) you will have challenges to overcome and obstacles to deal with no matter what horse you pick. So buy the horse that makes those challenges feel like puzzles and makes those obstacles a joy to work through, whether it's because you love the horse's personality or because the horse's difficulties complement your skill set or because the horse's heart makes you root for him/her. It sounds like this horse does that for you.
This touches on a good point. If they don't want to play the game, they can muscle their way out of it. I've seen quite a few like that.... we used to get a bunch at the camp where I worked, and after a month of being ridden by kids a couple hours a day, a lot of them were like Hell to the No.
And some of them are just not built to be exceptionally athletic and thus, when things get hard, they say No Thanks and then stick their fingers in their ears and drag you across the arena.
Just have to say, I've seen more then a few Warmbloods with that attitude too - except when they say No Thanks, it is in a more athletic way (such as huge bucks or powerful bolts). It sounds like this 3 year old has a great work ethic - so if she has 3 functional gaits (look especially at the canter), she may well be a valid dressage contender. Color is not an issue for most judges - you see more and more flashy splashy color in the dressage ring (thank you Art Deco for opening the door for colored horses!).
How long until your trainer is back? It always helps to have a 2nd set of eyes look at the horse before investing in a vet check!
As someone who did purchase a draft/TBX I'm not totally impartial but... If said horse has 3 good gaits and a good work ethic why not? Yes as 3 it will grow and fill out more. Mine went form 16.2 to 17.1 and nicely wide. I was shopping for a 7y/o paint/QH gelding when I tried 3y/o solid liver mare. Bought her after a weeks trial and have been pretty happy ever since.
I've had my clyde/tb cross for a year and a half now. LOVE him! His mom was a clyde and his father, an OTTB. He'll be 7 next month. His walk and canter are phenomenal! Trot is nice - but needs further development under saddle (what he shows in the pasture is gorgeous). His feet - size 6 in front, 5 in back. They are quite solid. Color - liver chestnut with the 'clyde' white blaze down the front of his face. We are currently showing at Training level, however, have been told he has great potential to move up the levels.
What I fell in love with was his personality. I can spend hours with him - just hanging out - letting him graze - sitting on his bare back. He's a complete love and is hilarious (I have many crazy pictures of the goober!). He loves trails and people - can't get enough of little kids!
I didn't buy him to be the next FEI super star. I bought his personality - his build and he claimed my heart.
Listen to your gut...and allow your heart to guide you.
as some one who was involved in training and placing PMU draft crosses, I have had very good luck with them in dressage. Of the seven i brought from manitoba, sight unseen, onely ONE was too big and dafty and unambitious to do more then training level dressage. She was three quarter draft though.
in the same time that my seven draft horses hit the dressage scene, and aquaintance of mine imported three bred for purpose "trained" warmbloods. Yes you guessed it, my little band of rescues routinely beat her imports, and stayed sounder and gave their riders years and years of slow steady progress.
two were percheron paint crosses, one was a clyde hackney cross, two were belgian paint crosses, one was three quarter paint and one was a percheron saddlebred cross.
Second / third level were easy for most of them, ( except the heavy draft already mentioned) only one made it to fourth, but I believe they were limited more by their riders than their ability.
I currently have a shire cross and a clydesdale cross in training. The shire cross has very incorrect conformation, and is huge and heavy, so i do not see much collection in his future, but the clyde paint cross, ( yes, loud) is universally loved by the judges and places well at shows.
I do however pull their manes and clip their legs. No feathers and flying manes in my barn, LOL.
I have a Shire/Th X now retired and he was the best thing for me. I love him dearly. I was able to earn good scores in the lower levels and my daughter did mid 60's at 2nd level at schooling shows. I was 7th nation wide for the American Warmblood Society at training level. To be honest, if you want to do FEI you need a horse bred for it. The adult amateurs I know who had the money to buy high end horses can't ride them. Their trainer is the one having fun. With good training, my big olf could get great scores in the 70% and lots of year end awards.
If you love this 3yo why not take the chance. Maybe she won't do PSG but you could enjoy the lower levels. You may ultimately sell her to a adult amateur who
needs a quiet ride as a 6yo. That could be your seed money.
OP, it sounds like you really click with this horse, which is nothing to sneeze at. The ride is worth far more than any ribbon!
On the other hand, think about what you plan to do *IF* this horse doesn't work out as planned. Would you change your goals/plans? Keep trying anyway and simply not mind that you don't reach your goals or score as well as you had hoped? Sell her?
Whichever choice you made, would you be comfortable with having spent, say, three years on this horse? Would you feel it was time well spent and a good learning experience or would you be disappointed, feel that you wasted effort, or unhappy about starting the search over again (I know you mentioned that you don't like the search part)?
If you would be at peace with your decision to take her even if she doesn't work out, then I'd say go for it.
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Sent my trainer the video and he said it was probably best to take a pass as we'd be fighting her conformation and movement the whole way.
Not what I was hoping to hear. Thanks everyone for the input and support, I think this is an evening to be one with my wine bottle
I'm probably the LAST person who should be commenting on this since I bought a horse with red flags waving madly in front of my face...so read further with caution ... but it worked out incredibly well for me... I knew in my heart it was the right decision...
But...would it hurt to get a few other opinions about her conformation and movement? Even if you just posted her video on here and asked for the advice of the many experienced people here? Maybe your trainer has aspirations of GP that he or she thinks horse cannot do?
It's just very hard reading all of these threads about people searching for years for horses that they can afford and enjoy...and they are looking forever...
Anyway, best of luck to you, and I hope that you find your partner soon . I'm partial to my very sweet Perch/TB. He's more talented than we thought. And certainly more talented than I am.
LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...
I have a perch Tb cross mare everything I said I didn't want but I fell in love with her and I have a blast with her She has pretty dang nice movement we have scored in the high 60's We're both learning and going at our own pace. I can take her anywhere she's unflappable. She goes on the occasional hunter pace and I've taken fox hunting, gotten dressed up for halloween, gone swimming in the lake etc... . I got her when she was 4 and she really hasnt gotten bigger just muscled up. The most important thing to me is correct training we've had to work a little harder on lightness but she's plenty forward in a good way. I'm just an AA who didn't ride for 30 plus years. I loving call her my Ameritrash horse It works for me. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
I didn't know anything.
She didn't have one in the barn for sale that I should try.
She didn't have a buddy with one in the barn for sale that I should try.
Or perhaps, she doesn't feel up to the challenge. You might reconsider and find a trainer who has success with non traditional dressage breeds.
Several years ago I parted ways with a trainer who, when presented with my wish list and a budget, only wanted to show me what she had for sale, or had an interest in selling. It wasn't about what "I" wanted, it was about what she wanted me to buy to make her look good standing at the in gate.
Guess what? It was my money. I found a horse that I loved the very first time I sat on his back. I bought him. Her exact words to me were "How dare you buy a horse without my approval?" Actually I'd been buying my own horses since she was just a gleam in her daddy's eye, but that wasn't the point. She went on to moan that "all her other clients will just think they can buy ANYTHING and I'll be the one who has to try to train something that isn't suitable, won't win, insert whine here.
So it won't be as easy as your trainer wants. You aren't paying her to have it easy, you're paying her to make the most of : pay attention here: You and the horse you bring to the party. If you already owned the horse, would she take one look and say "I don't care if you bred her and bottle fed her, she'll never do, sell her and buy something else".
If that is your trainer's way of doing things, find a trainer who will listen to what YOU want, listen to your goals and say "well, this horse has a good work ethic, decent walk, ok canter and acceptable trot. You may not be winning as many ribbons as you'd like, but if the journey and the partner are important, though it might take longer, if she's what you really want, all I ask is that you try the other 3 horses I found in your price range first, and if she's still the one, then we'll go get her."
That is what anyone, who is looking a horse that is currently sound, and not dangerous for the rider should hear from their trainer.
If you don't then it's no longer about you, it's about your trainer.
I didn't know anything.
She didn't have one in the barn for sale that I should try.
She didn't have a buddy with one in the barn for sale that I should try.
If you don't trust your trainer, get a new one. Seriously, why would you suggest someone shouldn't trust their trainers opinion? If the trainer (who has actually SEEN the horse) says the horse isn't suitable, chances are they're right.
OP- sorry this horse didn't work out. Good luck on your search!
I bought a 3-year-old draftx when I was 20 and pretty much a beginner rider. I've had her for 7 years. First 4 years, we did open shows and trail riding. Then 3 years ago, I switched to dressage and never looked back! I am currently riding 1st level with this horse. She's my heart horse. Never had an unsound day in her life. She did fill out as she grew up but still doesn't look drafty; just solid. Great tight legs and wonderful, wonderful feet.
We definitely get attention -- she is grey and has a triple thick mane, people always ask me if she is PRE. She has great conformation, except her neck. Her throatlatch is thicker than ideal, making collection difficult. There's another draftX in my dressage GMO with the same issue.
I will continue riding her as far as she can go; i expect she'll top out at 2nd or maybe 3rd if we work super hard. She can be pretty dull off the leg but I think that's baggage from dragging my novice a$$ around for all those years. She had to tune out my flopping. Now that I'm advancing, I need to get her to tune back in.
I also have a 5 year old gelding, paintXarab who I have owned since he was 2 and I did all of his training myself, from halter breaking and manners to his initial backing and now dressage training. I try not to compare my gelding and my mare but things are just easier for him. He is much more flexible and supple. And he has a great work ethic to boot. He will probably be the horse I get my bronze medal on. But I will always love my draftX and bring her as far as we can go. For me it's about the journey and the connection.
I would suggest that not every trainer has their client's best interests at heart al the time. Perhaps her trainer was brutally honest and the OP knows that. Perhaps the trainer simply doesn't like her choice, won't be getting a commission and hasn't the skill to deal with a horse that dressage might be difficult for. I think if someone just blindly follows any advice that goes contrary to what their wishes are, because, well, she's the trainer, should ask all the hard questions and make a decision for themselves.
People who "trust their trainers" are screwed over every single day in this business and get on here and post about it (See really expensive pony thread in HJ forum). Now, perhaps the trainer said, honestly, with what you told me your goals are, you're going to have a much more difficult time reaching them with this horse, and the op made her own decision.
But... as I said, the OP should (and could have) ask the trainer what the plan would be if she already owned the horse, or, went in the face of her wisdom and bought it anyway. Unless is truly looks and moves like it should be pulling a beer wagon (which is not how the horse was described) it all pays the same. I can take a lesson on a horse I paid 2K for or a horse I paid 30K for and the trainer is going to charge me the same amount of money. cheap horse pays same board rate as expensive horse, and..... because it will be a challenge, I'll likely need MORE lessons and MORE training. So...... all I'm saying is it needs to be a decision that OP will not feel bad about down the road. It is about what the OP says she wants, not what the trainer thinks she wants her to have.
I might take my trainer to lunch and buy a meal for her, but I'm not going to let her order for me, I'll eat what I like thank you.
Same with horses. Get what you want if it makes you happy, life's going to get in your way in a hurry anyway pretty soon. Enjoy your horse while you have time to do so, and, if time gets scarce, you won't have the additional agony of having a fancy, unused horse in your barn, you'll have one you can let sit, knock the dirt off of, and go trail ride.
I'm all about self reliance. It's fine to have help, but at some point, they stop reading out loud to you, teach you the alphabet, and hand you the book. It should be the same with horses. You should grow. Always.