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Need Advice?? New to Dressage

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  • Need Advice?? New to Dressage

    I come from hunterland.... I moved to a dressage barn last winter and started working with a dressage trainer in March and I am really starting to enjoy it...

    My question is this, I am wondering if your much better trained dressage eye can tell me if you guys think my hunter horse will do well in dressage... I don't ever plan to go Grand Prix or anything but would like to do well at least at the lower levels and would like to know your thoughts on my horses conformation for dressage... She was bred to be a hunter and that she did very well... I feel silly asking my trainer because I dont know if she wont want to hurt my feelings...

    A little background... She an 11 year TB mare (never heard of a race track was a IHF horse) I have owed her since she was 5 and did hunters up until March 2010... I am just wondering if her neck set is too low to be successful at dressage... My trainer is riding her 2 times a week currently and she is learning connection and some lateral work... My previous hunter trainer did not teach a lot about flat work it was more walk trot canter jump... No contact at all...

    Sorry for rambling, let me know your thoughts... The pictures are really old probably a good year to year and a half old but you will get the point she hasn't changed much besides having a little rounder hind end and a little better top line... Left to her own devices she would work in a lovely hunter frame... Thanks in advance...





    Sorry if this was long...

  • #2
    welcome to dressage! it is addicting

    honestly, as long as you have a sound horse of decent conformation what is most important is the training - that is what will make or break the horses "ability" to work up the levels.


    • #3
      Looks like a great candidate to me. It takes some time to get a horse to get use to contact and getting them to shift weight from front to back. It's just like us when we learn a new sport. For a while it will feel like you and your horse can't do anything right, and then the light bulb flashes and it's pure heaven. After a while if you decide to go back to jumping you will be surprised how much power she has and how much control you have.
      Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.
      -Auntie Mame


      • #4
        I echo Mbm & Ginger. Don't get caught up thinking about your horse's "potential." It's really all about the training and time you put in. Her conformation is solid for dressage (including her neck) and if she's trainable, she'll do fine. The problem with stressing about "potential," is that it can be misleading and cause you to shortchange or expect too much from your horse. Sure, certain conformation lends itself to dressage, as does certain breeding. Ultimately, though, the horse's progress is largely dependent on the rider's dedication and the horse's character. So believe in your horse, take it day by day, and let her--not any preconceived notions about what she can/can't do--tell you how far she can go.

        Good luck!
        2007 Welsh Cob C X TB GG Eragon
        Our training journal.
        1989-2008 French TB Shamus Fancy
        I owned him for fifteen years, but he was his own horse.


        • #5
          What they said and esp what STSF said.

          But to add: she is a very good-looking mare and though it is difficult to tell in the dark photos and the last photo is at the wrong angle, it looks like her neck ties in above her point of shoulder, which is what you are looking for in a horse whose neck ties in sufficiently high. But ultimately STSF is absolutely correct anyways!!
          ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
          ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.


          • #6
            I could point out things the experts claim are required for a high level dressage horse... but since you don't want to go Grand Prix, honestly - she looks like she has a nice overall balance, her neck looks like it shouldn't be any problem despite your concern, and you like her a lot... so sounds to me like she should do quite well for some time! Most likely if you hit road bumps where you make no progress it's because you need to learn something you don't know you don't know, and maybe need a different perspective at a clinic or something, rather than due to your horse's weaknesses. (I say this from experience, not as a judgment of you!)

            Good luck, and have fun!
            If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


            • Original Poster

              Thank you all for your kind words... I think sometimes I forget that dressage is a slower process because you make sure the horse is correct with one movement before moving on to a more difficult one...

              I really do love this horse so I am glad to hear you all think she will be suitable for dressage... Otherwise I would just take her back to hunters where I know she is a AA contender...

              Netg - I am curious to hear what you could point out that experts claim are required for upper level dressage even tho I don't plan on going there any time soon, if at all.... I am just trying to learn more about this sport and what people are looking for...

              Thank you all again!!


              • #8
                Well, I worded it the way I did because I'm NOT an expert.... but I've been studying to try to start seeing more myself, because I'm pretty new to dressage, too.

                There are the basic tenets of good conformation you want to see in every discipline - general balance and athleticism, etc. But dressage specific conformation things I keep seeing include longer femur and humerus, lots of talk of the lumbosacral joint location (I'm still not sure I understand how to see that at all as images I see seem to conflict), stifle location, etc. The neck doesn't have to be as long as you need in other disciplines, and can make things more difficult even if it looks nice when used well. Not all "experts" agree with each other, either. I'm linking to a couple articles which give visuals to help you out. (The second is from another COTH poster, and includes bibliography with other places to look.)


                If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


                • Original Poster

                  Thank you Netg... very interesting information...


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bhebert19 View Post
                    Thank you Netg... very interesting information...
                    I'm very nerdy in my interests, so I do lots of research to compare to real life to try to learn. Glad I could share with someone else who would be interested!
                    If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.