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Should I go FEI with my horse?

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    Should I go FEI with my horse?

    Hi, this is a bit of an odd question. I already asked a few other people but didn’t get any good answers. This is a bit
    long, sorry!

    Anyways, the question is: Should I try and bring my horse up through the FEI levels?

    I originally thought we would ride up to around 3rd level or so, I didn’t buy my horse to be a GP champion or anything, that has never really been a huge thing for me. However, I was curious about what my trainer thought about my horse so I asked her what my long term dressage goal with my horse should be.

    Long story short, she told me it would be realistic if I had visions to bring my horse up to the FEI levels. My trainer is wonderful and is one of the few who has not told me to just sell my horse and buy a new horse to get up the levels faster.

    My horse is quite fit and healthy, being one of the easiest keepers I’ve met. Given that my horse is built with compact sport horse conformation and learns quickly, I am now contemplating if I should look into bringing her farther than I had originally planned.

    When I asked a few others, they mentioned they personally wouldn’t because they don’t want their horse stuck in a stall all day, only leaving it to go be worked for an hour. However, I don’t have this dilemma as I have access to all day turnout at a barn who puts my horse’s well-being and happiness as the first priority.

    So with this information in mind, would you hypothetically make the push to ride FEI in this situation? I am always wary of whether I should or shouldn’t, as I know my horse physically could handle it. I’m worried that I don’t want to waste my horse’s potential, even though horses aren’t really aware of their competition potential. However, I am hesitant to sell my horse to an ambitious rider who wants a mount to bring to FEI levels as at the same time, I don’t want to push my horse too hard.

    #2
    If your horse can and enjoys doing the work and you want to learn the movements, sure, do it. If not, then you shouldn’t. You also don’t have to show. You can learn Grand Prix movements and just do them at home. Your horse doesn’t know what potential is or if she has any, so if learning the movements and working your way up the levels sounds fun to you, go for it.

    I know plenty of FEI horses that leave their stalls for more than just being ridden, so that really shouldn’t be a concern for you. I’m not sure what other people’s horsekeeping has to do with what level you ride your horse to, though.

    Comment


      #3
      Honestly, it's not really worth much thought at this point. Keep training systematically, just as you would otherwise, as you will get wherever you are going to get. There is nothing to do differently if you change your aspiration, assuming you have good training that follows the training scale. Some horses hit a road block and don't reach the level their owners hoped, others far exceed it. You just keep plugging away and see how your horse handles new things as they naturally arise in his training.

      Comment

        Original Poster

        #4
        Thank you both for the responses!

        JustTheTicket: Yes I have been thinking of that, as I don’t really feel the need to go showing at international venues & whatnot, more so considering if I should actually even make the move in the FEI direction, I’ve never really thought about it. As for the people worried about my stable management situation for my
        horse’s welfare, I was also confused at this. I too know many FEI horses with happy lives who get to live how they want. I suppose some just believe they are in a stable all day.

        joiedevie99: I agree, it’s not a huge yes or no decision I need to make at the moment. It’s more that I just wanted to see what I should be planning ahead for. I wasn’t necessarily even thinking about long term goals until my trainer started having me teach piaffe to my horse. Once she picked it up correctly rather easily, she mentioned riding through FEI & I asked her opinion about future plans. I agree with the idea you brought up of just training & seeing how everything goes as it’s hard to make definite calls & decisions.

        Comment


          #5
          There is nothing that dictates that a horse reaching the upper levels cannot have turn out or even live out 24/7. This is nonsense

          Train to reach your best potential and enjoy your progress
          _\\]
          -- * > hoopoe
          Procrastinate NOW
          Introverted Since 1957

          Comment


            #6
            Do it. Just keep training. SOme day, try it out at a schooling show (one that has good judges...) or a Ride a Test with a reputable trainer/judge. See how you do, follow your heart..... I made it to PSG last year, and frankly the increased expectations kind of caught me off guard.... but here I am, getting better all the time. Besides, those movements are fun!!

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by scislandsprite View Post
              Hi, this is a bit of an odd question. I already asked a few other people but didn’t get any good answers. This is a bit
              long, sorry!

              Anyways, the question is: Should I try and bring my horse up through the FEI levels?

              I originally thought we would ride up to around 3rd level or so, I didn’t buy my horse to be a GP champion or anything, that has never really been a huge thing for me. However, I was curious about what my trainer thought about my horse so I asked her what my long term dressage goal with my horse should be.

              Long story short, she told me it would be realistic if I had visions to bring my horse up to the FEI levels. My trainer is wonderful and is one of the few who has not told me to just sell my horse and buy a new horse to get up the levels faster.

              My horse is quite fit and healthy, being one of the easiest keepers I’ve met. Given that my horse is built with compact sport horse conformation and learns quickly, I am now contemplating if I should look into bringing her farther than I had originally planned.

              When I asked a few others, they mentioned they personally wouldn’t because they don’t want their horse stuck in a stall all day, only leaving it to go be worked for an hour. However, I don’t have this dilemma as I have access to all day turnout at a barn who puts my horse’s well-being and happiness as the first priority.

              So with this information in mind, would you hypothetically make the push to ride FEI in this situation? I am always wary of whether I should or shouldn’t, as I know my horse physically could handle it. I’m worried that I don’t want to waste my horse’s potential, even though horses aren’t really aware of their competition potential. However, I am hesitant to sell my horse to an ambitious rider who wants a mount to bring to FEI levels as at the same time, I don’t want to push my horse too hard.
              If you are interested in learning to ride and train the FEI movements and if you have confidence in your trainer, why not just ride, learn, pay attention to your horse's attitude and cross that bridge when you come to it?

              Your question seems a little odd to me. You "know" that your horse can physically handle the upper level work. Your question seems to be something only you can answer; do you want to work towards the FEI level? I don't understand your reference to selling the horse. Is someone suggesting that you sell him?

              Comment

                Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by skydy View Post

                If you are interested in learning to ride and train the FEI movements and if you have confidence in your trainer, why not just ride, learn, pay attention to your horse's attitude and cross that bridge when you come to it?

                Your question seems a little odd to me. You "know" that your horse can physically handle the upper level work. Your question seems to be something only you can answer; do you want to work towards the FEI level? I don't understand your reference to selling the horse. Is someone suggesting that you sell him?
                Yes, you are right about it being an odd question. My horse would be fine in the upper levels, I am already seeing demonstration that there is not so much an issue of capability. I suppose I am worried that this is unreasonable to ask of a horse, that it is unfair. The reference to selling is I’ve always been told to sell my horse and just buy something already trained through GP so there’s not a question of “Should I do this? Is it fair?”. I think this is probably some personal doubts but for now, I think I’ll just continue the training and see what happens.

                Comment


                  #9
                  1) My FEI horse lives outside 24/7, and trail rides, and jumps little logs.

                  2) What level is this horse currently training? And what level have you trained and/or ridden? The answers to those might be helpful and predictive of upper level potential.

                  Comment

                    Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Dutchmare433 View Post
                    1) My FEI horse lives outside 24/7, and trail rides, and jumps little logs.

                    2) What level is this horse currently training? And what level have you trained and/or ridden? The answers to those might be helpful and predictive of upper level potential.
                    1: Good to hear! I’m glad the myth that FEI horses are inside all the time is being proven wrong.

                    2: I haven’t competed since before I bought my horse, so I don’t really run tests often. Currently working on the halfpass & my trainer had me introduce piaffe about a month just to gauge my horse’s reaction. Sorry, it’s been awhile since I’ve checked in on what movements are required at each level! I believe mostly ridden movements myself through 3rd or so, but nothing too serious. I haven’t been too focused on looking at upper levels the last few years, mostly been restarting horses.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by scislandsprite View Post
                      Hi, this is a bit of an odd question. I already asked a few other people but didn’t get any good answers. This is a bit
                      long, sorry!

                      Anyways, the question is: Should I try and bring my horse up through the FEI levels?

                      I originally thought we would ride up to around 3rd level or so, I didn’t buy my horse to be a GP champion or anything, that has never really been a huge thing for me. However, I was curious about what my trainer thought about my horse so I asked her what my long term dressage goal with my horse should be.

                      Long story short, she told me it would be realistic if I had visions to bring my horse up to the FEI levels. My trainer is wonderful and is one of the few who has not told me to just sell my horse and buy a new horse to get up the levels faster.

                      My horse is quite fit and healthy, being one of the easiest keepers I’ve met. Given that my horse is built with compact sport horse conformation and learns quickly, I am now contemplating if I should look into bringing her farther than I had originally planned.

                      When I asked a few others, they mentioned they personally wouldn’t because they don’t want their horse stuck in a stall all day, only leaving it to go be worked for an hour. However, I don’t have this dilemma as I have access to all day turnout at a barn who puts my horse’s well-being and happiness as the first priority.

                      So with this information in mind, would you hypothetically make the push to ride FEI in this situation? I am always wary of whether I should or shouldn’t, as I know my horse physically could handle it. I’m worried that I don’t want to waste my horse’s potential, even though horses aren’t really aware of their competition potential. However, I am hesitant to sell my horse to an ambitious rider who wants a mount to bring to FEI levels as at the same time, I don’t want to push my horse too hard.
                      Something about this post tells me you are very early days in your dressage journey which is fine.

                      Things to keep in mind are: many horses have the raw ability to do the upper level moves, if properly trained.

                      "FEI" does not necessarily mean competing at an international level or riding in CDI competition. For almost everyone it means riding an FEI level test at a local or regional show. Most ammies get there step by step. Once you can get reliable scores in the 60s you can show at the next level.

                      Once you are showing and getting decent scores at 4th level, you can consider whether you and your horse will be happy moving up to Prix St George, the first level in the FEI tests.

                      There is no reason in the world that your horse keeping and management is suddenly going to have to change between 4th level and PSG.

                      Most ammies are limited mostly by their own riding ability which includes fitness and stamina. If you want to go up the levels you should be in Pilates now, building those abs and core to eventually sit the extended trot.

                      There is also no reason why you need to eke out every last bit of your horses "potential" especially since it is probably your "potential" that will be a big limiting factor.

                      Ride the horse you have in front of you and let the journey take you where it goes.
                      ​​​​​​
                      If you can ride the horse w t c now and enjoy that, there's no reason to think you have to sell her.

                      When people say they are selling a horse because it has too much potential to waste, it generally means the horse is too hot and scares them.

                      The only other reason would be if the horse was going to bring you a life changing amount of money. Say you bought a colt for $1000 and suddenly it could jump the moon and you were offered $100,000 and could pay off your mortgage. But I doubt that's the case here.

                      Keep your nice mare, continue learning, and do the work you need to do right now.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by scislandsprite View Post

                        1: Good to hear! I’m glad the myth that FEI horses are inside all the time is being proven wrong.

                        2: I haven’t competed since before I bought my horse, so I don’t really run tests often. Currently working on the halfpass & my trainer had me introduce piaffe about a month just to gauge my horse’s reaction. Sorry, it’s been awhile since I’ve checked in on what movements are required at each level! I believe mostly ridden movements myself through 3rd or so, but nothing too serious. I haven’t been too focused on looking at upper levels the last few years, mostly been restarting horses.
                        For third I think you need a good flying change and you need to sit a lengthened trot. Those are the two things that tend to catch out horse and rider, respectively.

                        Lots of horses can start learning piaffe way ahead of schedule. It's nice but no guarantee of anything.

                        You can download the tests and see what's in them. Just riding all the moves randomly does not equate to pulling a polished test out of a hat!

                        If you have the basics in place go prep and ride a First Level test at a cheap schooling show to see how well you can put the basics together. Get it videoed and review with the score sheet in front of you

                        Comment

                          Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

                          Something about this post tells me you are very early days in your dressage journey which is fine.

                          Things to keep in mind are: many horses have the raw ability to do the upper level moves, if properly trained.

                          "FEI" does not necessarily mean competing at an international level or riding in CDI competition. For almost everyone it means riding an FEI level test at a local or regional show. Most ammies get there step by step. Once you can get reliable scores in the 60s you can show at the next level.

                          Once you are showing and getting decent scores at 4th level, you can consider whether you and your horse will be happy moving up to Prix St George, the first level in the FEI tests.

                          There is no reason in the world that your horse keeping and management is suddenly going to have to change between 4th level and PSG.

                          Most ammies are limited mostly by their own riding ability which includes fitness and stamina. If you want to go up the levels you should be in Pilates now, building those abs and core to eventually sit the extended trot.

                          There is also no reason why you need to eke out every last bit of your horses "potential" especially since it is probably your "potential" that will be a big limiting factor.

                          Ride the horse you have in front of you and let the journey take you where it goes.
                          ​​​​​​
                          If you can ride the horse w t c now and enjoy that, there's no reason to think you have to sell her.

                          When people say they are selling a horse because it has too much potential to waste, it generally means the horse is too hot and scares them.

                          The only other reason would be if the horse was going to bring you a life changing amount of money. Say you bought a colt for $1000 and suddenly it could jump the moon and you were offered $100,000 and could pay off your mortgage. But I doubt that's the case here.

                          Keep your nice mare, continue learning, and do the work you need to do right now.
                          Thank you for the reply, it was very helpful. I think there is some miscommunication on my part, I am trying to get a sense of whether it is emotionally fair to my horse to begin asking the harder questions as it can be rather strenuous. I don’t really have this issue with schooling other dressage horses as the owner has been the one making the call of what level their horse is at & where I should bring them. To be quite frank, I didn’t even consider much of this as I typically just train how my horse is feeling, and only started thinking of any of this until it was brought up to me.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by scislandsprite View Post

                            Thank you for the reply, it was very helpful. I think there is some miscommunication on my part, I am trying to get a sense of whether it is emotionally fair to my horse to begin asking the harder questions as it can be rather strenuous. I don’t really have this issue with schooling other dressage horses as the owner has been the one making the call of what level their horse is at & where I should bring them. To be quite frank, I didn’t even consider much of this as I typically just train how my horse is feeling, and only started thinking of any of this until it was brought up to me.
                            So what level dressage have you completed at? As opposed to just schooling some moves.

                            And what level has your coach competed at?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by scislandsprite View Post
                              Hi, this is a bit of an odd question. I already asked a few other people but didn’t get any good answers. This is a bit
                              long, sorry!

                              Anyways, the question is: Should I try and bring my horse up through the FEI levels?

                              I originally thought we would ride up to around 3rd level or so, I didn’t buy my horse to be a GP champion or anything, that has never really been a huge thing for me. However, I was curious about what my trainer thought about my horse so I asked her what my long term dressage goal with my horse should be.

                              Long story short, she told me it would be realistic if I had visions to bring my horse up to the FEI levels. My trainer is wonderful and is one of the few who has not told me to just sell my horse and buy a new horse to get up the levels faster.

                              My horse is quite fit and healthy, being one of the easiest keepers I’ve met. Given that my horse is built with compact sport horse conformation and learns quickly, I am now contemplating if I should look into bringing her farther than I had originally planned.

                              When I asked a few others, they mentioned they personally wouldn’t because they don’t want their horse stuck in a stall all day, only leaving it to go be worked for an hour. However, I don’t have this dilemma as I have access to all day turnout at a barn who puts my horse’s well-being and happiness as the first priority.

                              So with this information in mind, would you hypothetically make the push to ride FEI in this situation? I am always wary of whether I should or shouldn’t, as I know my horse physically could handle it. I’m worried that I don’t want to waste my horse’s potential, even though horses aren’t really aware of their competition potential. However, I am hesitant to sell my horse to an ambitious rider who wants a mount to bring to FEI levels as at the same time, I don’t want to push my horse too hard.
                              quit asking people who don't have a clue (the ones you mention in this post)...just listen to your trainer. Train as far as he is comfortable! It's very rewarding and you don't have to show unless you want too.

                              Since when do FEI horses get stuck in a stall all day?
                              Humans dont mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. Sebastian Junger

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by scislandsprite View Post

                                Thank you for the reply, it was very helpful. I think there is some miscommunication on my part, I am trying to get a sense of whether it is emotionally fair to my horse to begin asking the harder questions as it can be rather strenuous. I don’t really have this issue with schooling other dressage horses as the owner has been the one making the call of what level their horse is at & where I should bring them. To be quite frank, I didn’t even consider much of this as I typically just train how my horse is feeling, and only started thinking of any of this until it was brought up to me.
                                Your horse will tell you. If you train well so that your horse feels "heard" in your relationship, I don't think she will mind being asked for more.
                                The armchair saddler
                                Politically Pro-Cat

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  I've known Olympic horses to happily hack out, after the Olympic rider has worked them 4-5 hours earlier n the day.

                                  Those who tell you that "dressage horses can't be hacked out", should not be listened to. They are know nuthins.

                                  Carry on, enjoy your horse and your joint progress.
                                  Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                  Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Many horses actually enjoy learning and performing the more advanced movements!

                                    Remember, they are just natural movements that you teach your horse to do when you ask for them. Horses do changes, passage, piaffe and pirouette while out in their pastures. Not necessarily show quality, and not all can do them under saddle, but your horse will let you know if she's struggling or not enjoying the work.

                                    And what everyone else here said about core strength, hacking out, good coaching, and turn out is all true.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by scislandsprite View Post

                                      Thank you for the reply, it was very helpful. I think there is some miscommunication on my part, I am trying to get a sense of whether it is emotionally fair to my horse to begin asking the harder questions as it can be rather strenuous. I don’t really have this issue with schooling other dressage horses as the owner has been the one making the call of what level their horse is at & where I should bring them. To be quite frank, I didn’t even consider much of this as I typically just train how my horse is feeling, and only started thinking of any of this until it was brought up to me.
                                      I will tell you that I regret retiring one of my horses too soon. He was fifteen and we had earned our bronze. I passed him on to my daughter for her to learn the ropes which was good for all but I should have continued to work with him and trained him further even though I had no intention of showing him. He was my daughter's horse to show. By retiring him too soon he, in my opinion, aged faster. I thought it would have been unfair to have demanded more from him; but, truth be told he was an overachiever and needed the mental and physical stimulation. My daughter riding at training level just wasn't enough to satisfy his emotional needs. He was more of a high-drive, worker bee type and very married to his previous training routine. He was safe, don't get me wrong and level headed but he needed daily engagement or enrichment to keep his nervous nelly tendencies in check otherwise he would create jobs like pace the fence line, etc Suffice it to day that I lost him at 17 and feel strongly that had I kept challenging him (fairly) on a regular basis he would have lived well into his 20's like one of his siblings did. Oh, his second career was competitive trail..............all of my horses have had more than one job, not just dressage
                                      Ranch of Last Resort

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by scislandsprite View Post

                                        Thank you for the reply, it was very helpful. I think there is some miscommunication on my part, I am trying to get a sense of whether it is emotionally fair to my horse to begin asking the harder questions as it can be rather strenuous. I don’t really have this issue with schooling other dressage horses as the owner has been the one making the call of what level their horse is at & where I should bring them. To be quite frank, I didn’t even consider much of this as I typically just train how my horse is feeling, and only started thinking of any of this until it was brought up to me.
                                        IMO:
                                        For the right horse I think some half steps and playing around with light piaffe at 2nd/3rd isn't unreasonable because it has been kept light and playful. Asking a horse of moderate athleticism and a neutral balance to work on the piaffe as a trick or out of a desire to due fancy stuff can be really unfair. The range of balance, strength, flexibility, etc. of horses schooling second level differs wildly. What engages one horse can overwhelm and shut down another.

                                        Has your trainer successfully developed a number of horses through FEI? Do they have a big toolbox to keep work light and fun? Do they drill a movement or push beyond where the horse is having fun? Have you seen them develop a horse of average athleticism?

                                        I don't think it is outrageous to play around with fun things under guidance. However, if you have reservations about whether the training is benefitting your horse, then it may be too much too soon. If you and your horse are both 2nd/3rd then doing piaffe work under saddle sounds like something to be approached with a lot of caution and clear boundaries.

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