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Dressage Riders' opinions on other disciplines?

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  • Original Poster

    Originally posted by Wild Oaks Farm View Post
    I must admit that I had a question about what kind of bit to put on my strong/tends to pull and lean horse, and I took it to the eventing forum for just that reason!
    What, you didn't want a million responses of "french link loose ring snaffle" or "ride better"?

    Just kiddin guys.

    Huntertwo; Actually, I was watching some WP horses from the National Congress thing on youtube the other night, and quite a few of them looked on the forehand to me. I'm a fan of WP though when done right (I loooove to see a good WP go), and call me uninformed, but I don't think being on the forehand is the most horrible thing in the world. Better than the 4-beat lope I guess.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!


    • #22
      I don't mind visiting the outside world but I wouldn't want to live there.

      (dressage riders own western saddles too...)


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by cuatx55 View Post
        I don't mind visiting the outside world but I wouldn't want to live there.

        (dressage riders own western saddles too...)
        :gasp: Blasphemy!
        Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!


        • #24
          Love many!

          Stared out riding western pleasure horses as a very young kid. Moved on to eventing and a bit of hunter stuff, then I rode solely dressage for many years. However, as I moved up towards PSG work, I realized I wanted to experience other disciplines and decided to try cutting horses. I became hooked on riding cutters the very first time I sat on one. I still do train/sell a dressage horse now and then, but my main focus is now showing the cutters. Needless to say, my cutting horses have a strong dressage education :-)

          I've also done a little fox-hunting within the last decade and dabbled with training reining horses too, but I've never shown the reiners. One of these days, I hope to add barrel racing to this list!


          • #25
            Can't stand saddleseat riding - it is just such the antichrist! I don't care if someone else wants to do it, but I don't understand it! Chair seat, high necked tense horses with whites of eyes showing, wacky gaits...ugh.


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by Grintle Sunshine View Post
              Can't stand saddleseat riding - it is just such the antichrist! I don't care if someone else wants to do it, but I don't understand it! Chair seat, high necked tense horses with whites of eyes showing, wacky gaits...ugh.
              Seems like that's the most popular disliked discipline so far.

              I actually don't mind Saddleseat, took a few lessons myself. It is so much fun to ride. How the horses are treated a lot of the time, though... not so good.
              Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!


              • #27
                Originally posted by Grintle Sunshine View Post
                Can't stand saddleseat riding - it is just such the antichrist! I don't care if someone else wants to do it, but I don't understand it! Chair seat, high necked tense horses with whites of eyes showing, wacky gaits...ugh.
                Since you have mentioned it, there is a thread on another board about the marketing of Saddle Seat riding. You have mentioned a few specifics, but if you or others would care to elaborate what you specifically like or dislike about Saddle Seat, it might prove insightful.


                • #28
                  personally, i can't stand the thought of steeplechasing anymore (if that is a discipline?). I used to work the track as a "safety" patrol and i saw way too many gruesome sights. still turns my stomach...

                  besides that, as long as the horse is health and happy it's all good!


                  • #29
                    I started in dressage- did heavy eventing in Germany (scary) came to the US- had babies- started back with a little hunters (didn't like it ) moved on to equitation (loved it) and did a bit of Jumpers...(pooped at 4ft...didn't see my distances anymore and gave up after a bad accident.)

                    Don't have the background in the other disciplines since we don't have those in Europe where I grew up.

                    I do like good Western working cow horse work and some Really excellent reining work...I hate barrels...seems just a bit too rough and tough...seen some saddleseat work and mostly dislike it ---except for one lady who I met in person and saw her gorgeous Morgan ride...and it seemed like art- rather than a painful experience for the horse...but I honestly don't know what went into training that horse and if that is a brutal experience or a kind progression...??

                    my SO always says: horses don't choose to be dressage horses, jumpers, saddleseat experts- they just like to be in a green pasture and eat grass...so I guess- it's up to us to 'sell the discipline' so it doesn't seem like a pure tour the force....
                    "the man mite be the head but the woman is the neck and the neck can turn the head any way she wants..." -smart greek woman


                    • #30
                      A good saddle seat horse (there's that adjective again... ) is trained like a 3rd or 4th level dressage horse. They trot high because they are rocked so much onto their hind end that their front end elevates (sorta like in dressage, no? ). Actually SEEING this in the show ring may be more exception than rule, but that's the idea. (And, for the record, saddle seat is pretty much the only discipline that I DON'T ride - but I really appreciate it when it's done well!)

                      As for gymkhana, well, here's some push from behind for ya... (Don't I wish he would use his butt like that in the dressage ring - well, not QUITE like that...a bit slower would probably go over better with the judge... )
                      Proud member of the EDRF


                      • #31
                        I'm used to the English disciplines of showjumping, eventing and dressage. Have done a bit of all of them, showjumped to 4 feet and dressage to Advanced (and still progressing). I don't have any first hand experience of the American disciplines of Western Pleasure, hunter under saddle, saddleseat, halter, reining or cutting.

                        As an outside I admire the athleticism and skill that goes into reining and cutting. I'd love to have a go at those some day. Western pleasure and hunter under saddle just leave me cold. What is the point of training a horse to patsy along at no miles an hour with their nose below their knees? Yuk!!! I just don't see why you'd ever want a horse to go like that. I wouldn't even want to trail ride one of those horses. Firstly I'd die of old age before I got anywhere and secondly I'd be worried they'd trip and fall on their face.

                        Halter or at least QH halter is a disgrace. The horses are being bred to be cripples. I think it is cruel and wrong. In hand classes should be something you do with a horse before they are old enough to be ridden. It should be a judgement of whether that young horse is going to become an athlete when they are mature. It should not be an end in itself otherwise you end up with beef cow look alikes with legs like stilts.

                        Saddle seat looks odd to me too. The horses look artifically jacked up in front and I cringe to see the riders sitting on their horse's loins, the weakest part of their back. Their way of going does not appear to go hand in hand with long term soundness although I'm happy to be proved wrong on this. And as for big lick TWH, that should be banned as animal cruelty.

                        Something that strikes me is that the speciality US riding classes such as WP and saddleseat seem to have horses who are bred to do that speciality and cannot do any other which somehow seems wrong. I'd prefer for a horse to be bred to be athletic and then trained to do a speciality and be able to cross from one to the other and do well in both of them. There are many horses in English disciplines who have reached the top levels in dressage and jumping (Roemer KWPN did this, Grand Prix at both) or eventing and jumping (Dexter IV is grade A showjumper and an advanced eventer for example). Has a WP or HUS horse ever excelled at anything other than WP or HUS? If they have I'll have more respect for them. Somehow with the conformation that is being bred into those horses (downhill, downhill, downhill) I am doubtful they are suitable for doing anything else.


                        • #32
                          There is nothing similar about how a saddle seat horse and a dressage horse collect. There couldn't be two things that are MORE different.

                          I've done western, saddle seat, dressage, hunters, and dabbled in reining, cutting and just about everything else. One thing I never do is try to pretend these styles of riding are the same, because they aren't - not by any stretch of the imagination.

                          I feel the only way someone could think they are similar, is by not understanding them very well.

                          Sometimes eventing and dressage and show jumping can have some commonality, depending on the trainer, but there are often more differences than similarities, even between these three at least somewhat related disciplines.

                          Each to his own. I will never convince anyone who believes there is so much commonality, that there isn't. People believe what they want to believe. I do not, however believe it.


                          • #33
                            Ok, I have to throw in my 2 cents worth here...

                            Stolen Silver, apparently you haven't been exposed to the quarter horse - the most versatile horse in the world. Rugged Lark showed Grand Prix Dressage, won multiple titles over fences, HUS, Hunt Seat Equitation, Western Pleasure, and Horsemanship and had Halter points. The Lark Ascending, the same. Artful Investment, WP, HUS, everything over fences, WP, equitation, horsemanship, showmanship, driving, halter and Western Riding (4th level Dressage with tempi changes on the 4'2, 3's and 2's). This year, he qualified for the World Show in 9 different classes as a 13 year old. Not to mention, these horses have disposition to die for are a cadillac rides - it just doesn't get much better that that.

                            By the way, the competitive, athletic quarter horses are not built downhill, do not travel around falling on their forhands, are not separated from their bridles and are not ridden with weapons. they're jocks - just like the fine warmbloods.

                            In any discipline, the horse is as good as the rider and trainer - good and bad is a possibility for any living creature.

                            We train everything with classical foundation, and finish the horse depending upon what the goal is for the rider/horse team at that point in time. There is value in all disciplines, but not every rider wants to jump or study dressage or ride pleasure. I've seen beautiful, brilliant Dressage horses with great riders, and I've seen some that are not nice as well - same is true of other disciplines.

                            My appendix quarter horse does it all and offers elasticily in his gaits that make my Dressage Diva buddies drool. He's forward, suspended, uphill, able to collect and stretch and I am his greatest limitation. His favorite gait for a reward is a western pleasure jog. I could swill a cocktail sitting on it. I believe that a true horse-person is able to respect and value the variety of skills of lots of different disciplines.



                            • #34
                              My horse is a committed competitive grazer. He was literally born to that sport.
                              a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                              • #35
                                Rodeoqueen I'm pretty sure Rugged Lark did not do Grand Prix dressage. He was a talented horse but he almost proves my point. He wasn't bred to be a WP or HUS horse. He was bred to be a horse and trained well so did well in different disciplines...20 years ago. Would he have done so well today with the fashion for giant horses with downhill conformation in these classes? I think people have got it wrong with the superspecialisation. I think people ought to be breeding for another Rugged Lark. A horse with good conformation and a great brain that can, with training, do several different jobs. Breeding a horse that is only capable of one job is, to my mind, shortsighted. A bit like the poor German Shepherds bred for the showring that have had the slope of their back so pronounced because it was winning in the showring that they now have deformed back legs. Those dogs are never used for police work or security work because they don't stay sound. I'm worried that breeding horses is taking the same crazy path.

                                I'd also beg to differ about quarterhorses being the most versatile. That title has to be taken by the Thoroughbred. They have been world and olympic class in every sport imaginable.


                                • #36
                                  Wasn't Rugged Lark an appendix QH (with a LOT of TB in him)?

                                  I board at an AQHA barn, and I can say that the trainers do NOT-NOT want a horse that is built downhill or that travels that way. However, maybe because they ride young horses, which are downhill until the front end grows to match the back end, that it sometimes seems that way.

                                  As much as I respect those who do QH stuff well (and I do own an appendix who is turning about 24 this year ), I would argue that the QH is *maybe* the most versatle BREED but the individual animals are NOT. Yes many of them cross-enter divisions, but generally they stick to all similar events (WP, western trail, showmanship, western horsemanship) which isn't that different than what open hunters do (over fences classes, flat classes, and eq.) but RARELY do they do both western and English WELL.
                                  "And now . . .off to violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums."


                                  • #37
                                    I admire anyone who does another discipline WELL without abusing their horses. Personally, I think the ultimate equine athletes are seen in Eventing and Combined Driving - holy cow, those horses and riders are so in tune with each other! And, although they are rough disciplines, the horses tend to be very well cared for, and the owners tend to have a true bond and partnership with their equine partners. Which is one of the things I love about dressage too - it is really a partnership.

                                    Something else that is really fun to watch when done well is Reining - lots of action, lots of obvious communication between horse and rider, and not just yanking on the bit communication, but real seat/leg aids.

                                    Also agree with the majority here, the gaited stuff seems most harsh. I spent a few late evenings at Morgan shows, and the sport horse discipline horses were happily snoozing in their stalls at night, while the gaited and fancy front end types were being revved up in some pretty unsightly ways. Hot pepper in the anus, small fire crackers too, chains on legs, and lots of generally scary (and sometimes painful) treatment of horses. All apparently "borrowed" from the Saddlebred and TWH world. I'd like to hope that doesnt' occur anymore, it has been several years since I went to a breed show

                                    As for Western Pleasure - those slow gaits are NOT collection. Pleasure riders want easy to ride gaits, so the loft and elevation needed in collection would not qualify as a pleasure gait - those gaits are harder to ride. The goal of collection is to take all the FOWARD energy and channel it up, with engagement (increased bending of the weight bearing joints). I admire the training of a good Western or Hunter pleasure horse, they should be loose and supple, relaxed and easy to ride - which means tons of training, but collected gaits are NOT easy to ride gaits.

                                    I have to agree with the comment made, you really can't find a lot of similarities in disciplines once you move up the ranks in any of them. That is why they are different. Of course, eventing has aspects of dressage and jumping, but that is a bit of an exception - it is a combined training event.

                                    And, I like to see ALL disciplines do a little cross training. My dressage horses do a little trail riding or jumping, they may not excel at it but it gives them a positive mental outlook. And many non-dressage horses can improve from a bit of dressage.

                                    Several years ago, there was a Reining guy who did what he called "cowboy dressage" - it wasn't true dressage, his horses were not generally uphill, his canter "pirohettes" were spins, his extended trot was more of a Spanish trot (all front end), his lateral work lacked bend (but he could do a full pass!), his horses were in a frame, not "on the bit", but it sure was fun to watch, and his horses were quite well trained and athletic. Watching a well trained horse in any discipline, really is a good feeling!
                                    www.MysticOakRanch.com Friesian/Warmblood Crosses, the Ultimate Sporthorse
                                    Director, WTF Registry


                                    • #38
                                      Rugged Lark did not show grand prix. That's incorrect. How did that ever get started?

                                      What Lynn Palm does is sort of a 'tack switch dressage' that is basically the same as western pleasure. She knew where to show to pick up quarter horse breed awards. So people not as familiar with the shows, think she did really well.

                                      There are however many quarter horses that do well in dressage. I had a couple that did very well -b ut not by doing 'tack switch dressage', and at the lower levels. Why complain about that, since about 99% of dressage tests done in america are at training level?

                                      There are exceptional horses in every breed that are very good at upper level dressage. But they are just that - exceptions. Any horse that wins at the top levels of dressage is an exception, regardless of breed.

                                      Quarter horses ARE versatile, and they are nice, they're american bred, many people love theirs...ok I hope we are over that now.


                                      • #39
                                        I love western, saddleseat, endurance/CTRs, driving, eventing. I guess the only disciplines that don't appeal to me are hunter/jumpers.

                                        I wouldn't generalize that English horses are more versatile than western horses. Upper level horses of either discipline are going to be very specialized. I don't think Salinero could compete in a CTR or cutting! Horses bred for extreme specialization are always going to have suitability issues when asked to cross-train. This goes for dressage horses just as much as WP horses. That's why it's important to maintain a strong base of lower to mid-level horses who CAN do multiple things (think Morgans). I see many severely downhill QHs, but I see just as many severely uphill WBs. Why criticize one and not the other? By breeding level and balanced horses instead of uphill or downhill, we can maximize versatility! The Europeans may have the upper hand at the upper levels, but we definitely are winning when it comes to versatility.

                                        Finally, we should be careful not to say that our collection is "true" collection while another discipline's is not. If that's what they choose to call it, then that's what it is! We do not have a monopoly on the word!


                                        • #40
                                          Salinero is probably the wrong example for showing lack of versatility. His full brother was competing in the showjumping at the Olympics while he was competing in the dressage.

                                          FWIW I think some of the big warmblood registries in Europe are planning to go down the wrong route too. The Hannovarians experimented with seperating their dressage and showjumping books, found that it didn't work and are now scrabbling to rebuild their jumper lines. The KWPN for some reason only known to themselves has just ruled that a stallion must be considered dressage or jumper, not both and crossing between the two books is not encouraged. Bizarre. It is widely said that dressage horses regularly need an infusion of jumping blood to keep the power in the quarters.

                                          One of my favourite stallions was Flemmingh, Holsteiner (jumping) bred, had a career as a jumper but used as a dressage sire. Another one I really like is Chequille Z. Zangershied bred (jumping) but looking like a potential Olympic dressage horse. I would always want jumping ability in a dressage horse.