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Dressage horse age

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  • Dressage horse age

    Hey there! I have a question for you dressage folks out there. I am considering a lease-to-buy on a lovely 18 year old warmblood who is trained to 2nd level dressage. I really love him, but he is currently rehabing from a tendon issue and a tweaked ankle. The vet says that the chances of him returning to his old self with full 2nd level prowess are good , but I am not sure about his age. I know you all may think I am stupid to worry, but I am kinda new to dressage (used to only do dressage in eventing) and don't know if 18 is old or young for a dressage horse. I am pretty green myself, and consider myself to be doing about Training level dressage (not training level eventing dressage). Would it be a few years before I outgrow him ability-wise, or would I be looking for another horse again in a year? And would he get too old to do 2nd level by the time I was ready to do it? Help!


  • #2
    Hard to say. You didn't say the price. Trained to second, is not the same as shown to second.


    • #3
      If he is healthy and not stiff or uncomfortable then you will probably be looking at years worth of riding.

      There is a horse at my barn that is a 25 years old appedix and still good to go! he still looks and moves very well. He was trained up to 4th level, and while it certainly would not be fair to ask him to do that at his age he never ceases to amaze me!

      you never really know with horses, but if you can afford the (potential) costs of an older schoolmaster-type horse they can still teach you a lot.


      • Original Poster


        Forgot the price part. It's a good price for such a great horse.
        He was shown to 2nd level, as well as trained to 2nd level.
        Hey, you have a point though, I have known horses who have been trained to BN level eventing doing novice with their ammy riders for some reason

        Thanks for all your advice, keep bringing it on! Heavens know I need it


        • #5
          Personally, I wouldn't lease or buy anything with a tendon injury that was not yet sound. The vet can say he has a good chance of recovery, but at that age, I'd want to know for sure before leasing/purchasing.

          That said, 18 is definitely not too old to have several good years left in him. I wouldn't worry about age, the injury would worry me a lot more.
          "There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it"


          • #6
            I agree with Flshgordon.

            At 18, having a recent tendon injury would concern me a lot more than his level of training. Do you have more info about the tendon injury? Such as, has it happended before, or has he had mulitable "soundness" issues.
            ~ Kimberlee


            • #7
              My guy is 30 and still going strong. He didn't start any dressage training until 22.

              That said, an old H/J hip injury prevented im from showing as it affected his canter. His trot is still very strong, his neck muscles are better than most 10 year olds, he can do leg yields, half passes, etc. It all depends on the individual horse and its care.

              I, too, would not consider lease/buy until more is known after the recovery. I also would not spend too much as the care costs increase for seniors, athough I know that some higher level horses are sold around 18 for $$$$$ as school masters.

              Be careful and enter with eyes wide open. Good luck!


              • #8
                Hi there! I have a 19 year old Quarter horse that still moves beautifully and thinks that he is six. I also babysit for a 16 yar old Appendix that looks older than my guy. I think that it all depends on a) If he is a young 18 or not? and b) maitenance! You can keep your old guys young but be prepared to fight for it with prevention. I had a trainer once that had a Prix St George Quarter Horse that was still giving lessons to 28.

                I also have question for Bold Jax, how far has your 30 year old come with dressage? I took my horse over at 11 and started his training then. I am having a hard time finding a trainer in my area because a) his age and b) his breed. I get so frustrated sometimes that I can't "see the forrest for the trees". Sometimes I just need to hear success stories of older horses to keep my head up and take advantage of his natural talents.


                • #9
                  We couldn't get serious about it due to his canter from a H/J injury to his hip. It was not even on both sides and tends to be crooked to the injury side and sometimes with a down trans from canter. If it were not for that injury, he could have handled 1st well. At that age, I wouldn't ask for the extra needed for 2nd. Had he started life as a dressage horse, he probaly could have done a respectable PSG. My goal has only been for him to do what he is comfortable doing and to keep him in shape and this has been met beyond what I imagined. I have the BEST trainer who understood him and took the time to work with transitioning him from his lifetime of H/J habits. If it weren't for her, he would never be in the shape he is. I owe his happiness and health to her, his vets, and my checkbook!

                  If anyone reads this from the Orange County, CA area, Erin O'Steen at Tar Farms is the absolute best trainer!!!!! She is well trained (BHS and Germany), sensitive, intuitive to the horse's needs, kind, compassionate, and honest. She's not well known because she doesn't have a strong horse to campaign.

                  While he's more sound than so many horses half his age, he still is a month away from 30. If you PM me your email, I'll send a picture of him at 27 with a 13 year old riding him at a show.


                  • #10
                    That is good to know. Twister's problem at the time was between his ears, he wouldn't let anyone get serious about H/J, that's how I ended up working with him. He is very sound.... I wish I was in your area to try your trainer, but I am on the opposite side of the country, Long Island, NY.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Xmasbaby81@hotrmail.com View Post
                      I am having a hard time finding a trainer in my area because a) his age and b) his breed. I get so frustrated sometimes that I can't "see the forrest for the trees". Sometimes I just need to hear success stories of older horses to keep my head up and take advantage of his natural talents.

                      Maybe you're giving off too much information! Tell the trainer in question that you've got a "mature" horse with a great work ethic and you'd like a little help advancing his training. After they've worked with you a couple times then you can divulge the truth!
                      If forwards doesn't work, go sideways!


                      • #12
                        Thanks Iddowler! That is a GREAT idea!


                        • Original Poster


                          Thanks for all your help, everyone. The tendon injury was a mild pasture accident, and he won't likely be affected by it in the future. The vet says his chances of 100% recovery are excellent, but they aren't perfect because she doesn't have a crystal ball, but they are the best they can be without being certain. I think I am going to give him a few more weeks, and then start his lease if all is well. The tendon injury was not what was bothering me, it was the age. Thanks again for all your help and support. I think there is a good chance that I will buy him if all goes well, because he is a young and well-maintained 18 year old, and he has never taken a lame step in his life other than this injury. Talk to you all later!