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Young Horse Support Group - Dressage Prospects Unite

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  • Young Horse Support Group - Dressage Prospects Unite

    Who here has a young (or green) horse they are introducing to the sport? Doesn't have to be a baby age wise necessarily but this thread can be a place to bounce ideas and progress notes off eachother. it takes a village to raise a god dressage prospect, as we all know.

    I'll start-

    Age: 6 yrs (2013)
    Breeding: Hanoverian (Conteur x Wolkentanz II x Alabaster/Bolero)
    Size: 18.2
    Origin: Germany/Belgium
    Purchased: 2017


    I sent my guy out for a year-long lease while I have been having some medical challenges, and he gets back in 12 weeks. I can't wait! I've decided to work towards the winter show circuit next season. Maybe not showing per se but spending the winter down south with my coach. I still can't exactly believe I have my own horse finally - he's my very first!

    I wish he would stop growing, though. Who else has a giant? When do they stop growing finally?
    Attached Files
    Last edited by GucciCowgirl; Oct. 29, 2019, 12:39 AM.
    "Wherever you go, go with all your heart"

  • #2
    That is so enormous! I will quit fretting about the likelihood of my girl cresting the 17H mark.

    I haven't backed my youngster yet, but I'll be interested to follow this thread. Right now we are focusing on long-lining, and I plan to back her whenever I feel like it's time, or when the roundpen thaws in spring. Whichever comes first.

    She is:

    Currently 16.2+ at 3.5 years. Westfalian (DonDeluxe/Weltmeyer). Definitely a chestnut mare - quite smart and opinionated, stubborn, but sweet and not afraid of much.

    Comment


    • #3
      I am enjoying the baby horse journey. I look at my boy and can't believe that EVERYTHING he knows, we (me, my trainers, barn workers, friends - it does take a village) taught him. He was coming 3 when I bought him out of a field. He's now 5. He didn't even know how to lead. With help, I worked him in hand well enough to get a ribbon at Devon. With his trainer he did his first flying change yesterday.

      I've watched as he went from scruffy to well muscled and dappled. He's matured mentally, as well. He used to be terrified of people sweeping the barn aisle in front of him; now I can use the broom to get mud off his feet. I'm thrilled that he seems happy and I can't wait to see where we go.

      That's not to say its been all roses. We've had significant bumps (mountains) in the road. The baby horse route is not one for the faint of heart.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm so glad someone started this thread!

        My mare:

        Age: 4 yrs (2015)
        Breeding: RPSI (Magnum FFT x Le Comte II)
        Size: ~18
        Origin: Ontario

        I'm also in the camp of when will they stop growing? My mare continues to have growth spurts and has definitely grown a bunch since I last measured her.

        We had a rough patch last winter where she decided going forward was not something she wanted to do - finally realized she's way bigger than me. I sent her out to a cowboy in the early summer and she's improved leaps and bounds. She's going to stay there over the winter and continue to learn about cows, buffalo, hacking, and scary winter stuff like ice sliding off of the roof. I am going to spend that time gaining confidence as it got pretty dented after she dumped me in the spring (it's a long way down from her back!).

        I hope to get her out to her first show next summer. Despite being "behind in our training," she actually is amazingly balanced naturally and we are close to being able to do simple changes through the trot on a serpentine with minimal issues Starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, or at least until she hits the terrible 6's lol

        Comment


        • #5

          18.2, holy smokes. That's a long way to fall

          ​ he is absolutely gorgeous though, I bet you will have a ton of fun with him.


          My gelding is 4.5, will be 5 in the spring. He is a tad over 16 now, slowly inching his way to 16.1.

          His name is Rain. I didn't name him. My friend got him as a weanling so her homebred had another baby to play with while she weaned him. It was raining when they went to pick him up, so her little girls named him Rain. I've known him since then, so I couldn't exactly change it



          He is an appendix QH supposedly, but the people gave her no info on bloodlines so I think he was a backyard bred baby. I got him with the intentions of doing low level eventing, but he isn't very athletic and seems to enjoy dressage a lot, so we are going in that direction for now (though also going to throw some jumper training in there too so he is well rounded).

          He isn't particularly, um, well built for dressage. Or really anything besides maybe, like, western pleasure or AQHA hunter under saddle. But he has a heart of gold and the best work ethic of any baby I have ever sat on, so we are setting our sights on the probably-unachievable 3rd level, just to have something to shoot for. And because how cool would it be to get my bronze with my baby I brought along? Might as well dream big!

          I am pretty new to dressage, let alone bringing a baby along for dressage. So it will be fun to see other babies coming along. One of our biggest issues is getting him forward (I always think he is but he isn't), and trying to prevent him from ducking behind the bit because of his low neck (he isn't so bad at a trot and canter but is starting to duck a bit at the walk lately which is driving me crazy, especially knowing it's my fault).

          Recent pics, including us working on stretching (or trying to) and his awkward jumping skillz.





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          • #6
            Thanks so much for starting this thread. I just bought a coming 4 year old TB. He's petite, about 15.3 hands and a lighter build. Not a bad match for my 5'2" self and petite frame!

            He's only had 60 days but has w/t/c and working on learning turn on the forehand, circles and trail riding.

            Comment


            • #7
              I wanna join!! I love hearing about everyone's journey and celebrate the brags (and commiserate the hard parts too).

              Age: 6 yrs (2013)
              Breeding: KWPN (Schwarzenegger X Floristan I)
              Size: 17 and a bit
              Origin: PEI Canada (New Perth Farm)
              Purchased: 2017

              I started my now FEI horse at 5 and have enjoyed that journey. Starting again with another young one and I forgot what it's like to ride something not fully "broke". This guy has the BEST personality I've ever ridden. His sire got 9s and 10s on temperament and character, and it shows in my guy!

              He was really physically immature when I got him, so the "real" riding didn't start until March of this year. I rode him Training Level this season and ended up USDF AA HOY, KWPN AA All Breeds champs with a median score of 75+%. We even crested that elusive 80% this season with an 80.6% for which I almost had heart failure. We're schooling 2nd level now and will show 1st/2nd next season. Not sure if he's that much more talented/rideable, or now that I've brought a couple up the levels, but this guy is so much easier. The only challenge is that he's a push ride, and I like them a bit more spicy. (That said I had a whole thread about him being a bit too spicy on the last day of each show, so it's in there?)

              I though my guy was a far way to fall (and have, so I know from experience), but over 18??? YIKES!

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              From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.

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              • #8
                Well my 'baby' is a 5 year old 14.2 hand welsh cob who was dubbed with '6' at best for gaits at a recent L grad program We're actually debuting at 2nd level next weekend (well we're riding first 3 and second level test 1) at the local recognized show. He's been under saddle for about 18 months with the first 6 months focused mostly on just trail riding. We managed a total of 3 recognized shows so far with his first being a year ago at training level and receiving decent scores. Our focus has been and will continue to be quality of gaits (improving the quality) by really working on relaxation and coming through over the back.
                Ranch of Last Resort

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yay! I’m in! I have my first Iberian to bring along, a three year old 16.2 Lusitano gelding. I’m not doing much with him because of his age, but working on establishing the basics: consistent tempo, connecting through the top line, (challenging with many Iberians).

                  I also have a 16.3, seven year old Trak who is a remodel from being an Eventer. He started out quite tight through the body, but has improved a lot over a year...He is a talented “curler”, so getting him to open his throatlatch is always on the menue.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This is my jam, I need growth spurt commiseration!

                    Kora
                    Age: 4 yrs (2015)
                    Breeding: KWPN (Florianus II X Ampere)
                    Size: 16.1 (higher behind at the moment...)
                    Origin: US bred

                    I purchased her last year as my up and coming hopeful FEI prospect. Even if we don't make it to PSG we will have fun trying. Her gaits are so fun to ride although a little less so right now as her fall growth spurt has her behind so far up in the air. Trying to gently balance this wheelbarrow is about all we're doing at the moment.

                    Anyways, she was started last summer then had the winter off to grow and back under saddle this spring. We spent the year, nailing our leads, going on trips, doing a few Intro B's at schooling shows, field hacking and topped it off by heading out to the Regionals competition to see the sights and ride at the big show grounds. I just wanted to focus on building a confident, happy horse for the future.

                    Now I just wish she will level out before we are stuck in the indoor arena for the winter!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by exvet View Post
                      Well my 'baby' is a 5 year old 14.2 hand welsh cob who was dubbed with '6' at best for gaits at a recent L grad program We're actually debuting at 2nd level next weekend (well we're riding first 3 and second level test 1) at the local recognized show. He's been under saddle for about 18 months with the first 6 months focused mostly on just trail riding. We managed a total of 3 recognized shows so far with his first being a year ago at training level and receiving decent scores. Our focus has been and will continue to be quality of gaits (improving the quality) by really working on relaxation and coming through over the back.
                      Whoohoo! I am glad to see someone else with a Welsh! My boy is 14.3, he is a Welsh/Qtr cross and smart as a whip! He will be my first baby at 4, coming 5. Slowly starting him with a trainer, as I never owned a young horse. I hope we will have him going well enough in the Spring to start some schooling shows, as I am learning along with him!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        So far, I've got the babiest baby of those who have responded:

                        Sami
                        Age: 2.5 yrs (2017)
                        Breeding: Han (Sir Donnerhall I X Magic)
                        Size: 16.1-ish?
                        Origin: Ontario

                        I purchased him this summer and it's been 16 years since I've had a baby horse. My older horse was handled a lot by the breeder/my trainer while I was away at college, so I've never worked on things like tying, lunging...So we've been learning "how to be a real horse" so far.

                        We've worked on things like clipping, tying, cross-ties, standing for the farrier, trailer loading, bathing, wearing boots and blankets, etc. He's worn a surcingle with girth, had a saddle plopped on him, and I've bounced around on the mounting block and draped my arms and torso over his back. He gets "lunged" for 10-15 minutes about 3 times a week right now.

                        My question is, when starting lunging, do you care if they keep a consistent rhythm as long as they stay in the correct gait? He's pretty pokey but I think it's mostly because he's thinking and processing (and sometimes very distracted), and he doesn't always stay out on a big circle the best. I've had to chase him into the canter, especially to the left, and wonder if doing more canter "free lunging" would help install the cues without the difficulty of balancing on a circle.

                        The plan is to back him when he's 3 if he looks mature enough and spend some time next summer long-lining and hacking on the trails. Long term goal is take him to at least PSG if he wants to be a dressage horse, or sell him as a hunter around 4 (his movement looks more hunter to me at the moment).

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by theresak View Post
                          So far, I've got the babiest baby of those who have responded:

                          Sami
                          Age: 2.5 yrs (2017)
                          Breeding: Han (Sir Donnerhall I X Magic)
                          Size: 16.1-ish?
                          Origin: Ontario


                          My question is, when starting lunging, do you care if they keep a consistent rhythm as long as they stay in the correct gait? He's pretty pokey but I think it's mostly because he's thinking and processing (and sometimes very distracted), and he doesn't always stay out on a big circle the best. I've had to chase him into the canter, especially to the left, and wonder if doing more canter "free lunging" would help install the cues without the difficulty of balancing on a circle.
                          You can walk with him on the circle to make the trot-canter transition happen on a straighter line. The trot-canter-trot transitions are the most valuable part while longing, it is how they learn to move uphill and forward while keeping the contact consistent and moving up over their back. Chasing them into the canter won't help much in the long run though, because it's allowing them to be behind your leg (whip). Work on enforcing voice commands instead of simply using whip pressure to do transitions forward and back.
                          "Wherever you go, go with all your heart"

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by outerbanks77 View Post
                            That is so enormous! I will quit fretting about the likelihood of my girl cresting the 17H mark.

                            Currently 16.2+ at 3.5 years. Westfalian (DonDeluxe/Weltmeyer). Definitely a chestnut mare - quite smart and opinionated, stubborn, but sweet and not afraid of much.
                            She sounds lovely!
                            "Wherever you go, go with all your heart"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Aleuronx View Post
                              Now I just wish she will level out before we are stuck in the indoor arena for the winter!!
                              Yay for downhill babies! She sure looks like she is going to be a nice one though!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                PonyFixer Did you buy directly from Ruth, who stands Schwarzenegger? Love her farm and horses - and love to see our Atlantic Canada horses out in the world doing so well! Your guy is lovely.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  ​​​​​Is there room for an off-breed short stack in here?

                                  Perhaps the farthest thing a normal dressage person would choose for a sport prospect (except perhaps a gaited breed), is a 4yo Quarter Pony. He's grown much over the last year and now tops out at 14h, though still looks somewhat put together by committee at times. If nothing else, he is adorable. He is going pretty consistently walk-trot now. We've had some hurdles in the form of an injury and then saddle fitting nightmares, the latter is still a problem so I ride him in a bareback pad.

                                  I can't brag on bloodlines since he's not registered and I bought him cheaply at a scummy auction. In reality, I bought him with the intention of making him into a pony for my kid eventually, so he will get a well rounded education in many disciplines with a main focus on dressage. If the stars aligned I'd love to get my bronze on him someday (don't laugh!) - he's obviously not going to be a world beater, but still capable of a respectable performance nonetheless.

                                  He is by far NOT my first baby. I have been stuck in a cycle of Bringing Up Baby ad nauseum most of my adult life, either for myself or other people, so it will be nice to advance my own skills again one day.

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                                  • #18
                                    These are some cute looking/ sounding babies!

                                    Donatella (purchased in July 2019)
                                    Age: 5 yrs (2014)
                                    Breeding: Han (Danone I X Sterntanzer)
                                    Size: 16
                                    Origin: Washington

                                    I have a different issue in that I wish my baby girl would grow another inch or two. She's five as of July 2014 and just 16 hands. Wouldn't mind her 16.1 or 16.2 since I'm 5'8" but I'm happy to keep her petite size too if that's how it goes!

                                    We were having some contact issues and decided with my trainer/coach to stop pushing her too much and keep it more basic. Then we just had a clinic last week with Laura Graves that totally reversed our approach and helped me actually get her through over her back - the approach was that we needed to push her more into outside rein contact, not less. That extra push and focus on outside rein connection/shoulder control did this crazy awesome thing where she finally was in the "right shape" to go truly through and suddenly we were doing walk/canters and counter-canters like we'd done it 100s of times before. Such a good girl. We are hoping to show First Level beginning of next year and Second Level a bit by end of next year.


                                    Attached Files
                                    Mr. Sandman
                                    sand me a man
                                    make him so sandy
                                    the sandiest man

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by RainWeasley View Post

                                      Yay for downhill babies! She sure looks like she is going to be a nice one though!
                                      Thank you! My fingers are firmly crossed that the shoulders raise up some before the snow.

                                      I did joke with my farrier about putting front shoes on to make up some of the distance, she's barefoot for now.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Yay! I could use some young horse support.

                                        The basics
                                        Age: 6 yrs (2013)
                                        Breeding: Knabstrupper
                                        Size: 15.3
                                        Origin: USA
                                        Purchased: 2016

                                        I bought him as a long 2 year old, just before he turned 3. Unstarted, but well handled. Spent the summer/fall of 2016 teaching him (with trainer) about bridle, saddle, lunging, long-lining, lots of playing with trash cans, tarps, umbrellas and anything else I could think of for general obedience and desensitization. That fall we started him lightly under saddle and he did fine. Easy-peasy. Normal baby horse stuff like "today I can't turn to the left" but nothing that was a big issue or lasted more than a week.

                                        He's been super fun to bring along and has a really level head about all sorts of stuff like tractors and working with obstacles (we have done some working equitation, along with dressage). He's even done cow sorting, although it isn't his favorite.

                                        This past year he has really come into his own, physically and mentally. He is naturally lazy, but this year his work ethic has improved tremendously, especially when we keep his mind engaged. Although my goal for the year was showing first level with decent scores, we were doing so well at home schooling the second level work, we decided to take a try at second level at the show this past weekend. There was some tension (his and mine), lots of places things could be improved, but also a couple of 7.0s and a 7.5 from a BN judge. I am really happy with this progress.

                                        However, he has been developing a habit at shows of acting up in the ring. Particularly, whatever the upward transition is right after the free walk. He gets tense, anticipates, and will buck once or twice. He doesn't do that at home, even after breaks during a lesson. This will be our project for next season, and we may end up showing only schooling shows until we sort this out.

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                                        "So relax! Let's have some fun out here! This game's fun, OK? Fun goddamnit." Crash Davis; Bull Durham

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