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Dressage prospect? Being brave..

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  • Dressage prospect? Being brave..

    Been debating about this guy for a little while, and would like some opinions before I start thinking too crazy. I'm very new to dressage, coming from a background of mostly riding green hunter/jumper horses and have picked up A LOT of bad habits. Just for a heads up. I've recently found an exceptional coach who I will be working with very soon, and have decided to start horse shopping.

    Horse is an 8 y/o OTTB, very green, knows walk/trot/canter (though not terribly well), but has a very good mind and a great fun personality. Super good worker, tries hard, and is a fast learner. His gaits are decent, though he is built downhill (16h in front, 16.1 1/2 behind). Extremely mouthy and very forward, some of which were caused by physical issues which have since been resolved, and he is improving steadily. Bit tense under saddle, needs work to relax.

    Basically, I'm just looking for general opinions and suggestions about him, and maybe how to price him. If I make an offer, I want it to be relatively accurate for the current market. I'd like to take this horse as far as we both could go, and do plan on showing. Getting to 3rd level eventually is definitely a long-term goal.

    In these videos, he's being worked in a bit which is too large (had to bring some of my own tack, didn't know his size), and it's sliding around a bit making it look like I'm pulling on him.. the rein contact really is quite soft. This saddle was a bit of a change from my usual dressage saddle, and it's obvious.

    Trot/little bit of walk:



    Yay? Nay?


  • #2
    Yeah, the bit is really too big and the saddle you had to ride with too!

    It seems to be a quite forward, energetic horse with nice gaits but right now, he is clearly not using his back at all. You might have a soft contact but he goes easily behind the bit to avoid contact (the too big bit is not helping here!)

    I really don't know how much I would pay for a 8yrs barely broken OTTB...

    3rd level wouldn't be that difficult if you have a good trainer and the horse has a good mind. Just take the time to retrain good contact and connexion from back and front.
    ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

    Originally posted by LauraKY
    I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
    HORSING mobile training app


    • #3
      I like him! and I'm not a TB-person in general....


      • #4
        for someone new to the sport I would say no.

        because he curls up too easy and he's mouthy.
        I find those to be tough issues to work through.

        for a first time dressage enthusiast I would want a horse that provides the rider with a very stable contact as to start good habits from both horse and rider right from the start.

        I also would not look for a horse that is so obviously down hill. Horses that are so downhill really need to understand and use the half halt event hat much more. A horse that is mouthy and BTV does not get a half halt.

        I predict a forward moving bull dozer from this horse.

        Which may be fine, and you may be able to work through it, but for the same price and little more searching you could find another horse built better and younger that is more broke.

        but I'm lazy, so that is coming from someone who is lazy and wants the ride to be easy.

        also, you can find plenty of OTTBs that move that well.
        Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


        • #5
          I think he isquite fine for a lower level prospect. From the short clips, his gaits look very nice with some nice suspension in the canter and really steps underneath himself well. I suspect a LOT of the getting behind the vertical is the bit being too large and the ride looking like she is not very soft with him. If his attitude is well and he is sound I'd go for it! He can easily go thru second, maybe third level, even being down hill, I have knwn quite a few with that build that had no problem with those levels. Is he a grand prix prospect, well, no! But don't think that is what you are looking for. I you want a willing partner to work with and has three decent gaits he appears to fit the bill. CAnnot comment on price, as prices are all over the board these days. Price is what you and the owner can agree on, nothing more nothing less!


          • #6
            What does your coach think of him?

            I'm not as pessimistic as some of the other posters. He looks to me like a horse that is just a bit unbalanced and ready to use the bit to help him out. I can see that your contact is light, and once you learn how to implement your half halts and transitions, you'll be able to help him shift his weight back.

            He doesn't look like a confirmed bulldozer to me; he just seems unbalanced and not certain of how to balance. He lifts his head in transitions, so he's not plowing through your hand, he's just not steady on the bit because he doesn't know how to bring his hind end under in the transition.

            Whether you as a "green" dressage rider are the one to address these things with a green horse, I don't know. You know I'm sure that your position needs to evolve a lot more toward a dressage seat, and that will help both of you, but you say you have a great coach and that will make all the difference for both of you.

            If it were me, what I'd do is put this horse on the lunge, probably with the coach at first, and let him/her teach him how to softly lift his back and lower his head in balance. I'd also put you on the lunge, preferably on a school horse, and take away the reins until you've gotten over your green h/j habits. I don't think it will take long; you have a nice softness, you seem athletic, and you just have to readjust your balance into a dressage seat that will encourage your horse to lift his back and come through behind.

            I think you can easily do that (learn your new position) and I think this boy can learn a new way of going too. You will absolutely need a great coach to help both of you, though.
            Ring the bells that still can ring
            Forget your perfect offering
            There is a crack in everything
            That's how the light gets in.


            • #7
              Originally posted by cuatx55 View Post
              I like him! and I'm not a TB-person in general....
              I share the same sentiment! I think he's got quite nice gaits, actually. Considering he is quite green, I think he's going fairly well and has a fairly balanced canter. The fact that he's 8 and green is a bit of a turnoff for me, but if his age doesn't bother you, then I don't see any reason why you couldn't do well with him.

              I can't help you with pricing though. But if he's got a good brain and good work ethic, I think you could make up for lost time, if you've got a good coach. I've seen a fancy Hanoverian mare who had such a bad temperament my GP coach gave up on her. So fancy movement isn't the be all and end all in the dressage world. Without a good work ethic, fancy movement means nothing. Trying a few different bits may help a lot with the mouth issues.

              The main thing is, what are your goals for this horse, and how well would he fit the bill?


              • #8
                BTW, as he develops his musculature properly, he should get taller in the withers. He could easily gain an inch. He may not be built downhill so much as be developed downhill at this point.
                Ring the bells that still can ring
                Forget your perfect offering
                There is a crack in everything
                That's how the light gets in.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MelantheLLC View Post
                  BTW, as he develops his musculature properly, he should get taller in the withers. He could easily gain an inch. He may not be built downhill so much as be developed downhill at this point.
                  This is an interesting thing. I need to restick my horse now, I think. Yesterday a vet was standing next to him, looking at his withers and said "I'm pretty sure he's over 17 hands now." He was just under 16.3 with no heel and completely out of shape, so I'm wondering if he has "grown"!

                  As for this guy - I think he should be a pretty low price. Depending on the area, I'd check out craigslist to see what kind of horses are out there. He could be worth a lot if he has the right mind, but sale value is probably low due to his being green at 8, and not a "fashionable" registry for dressage. I've been kind of eyeing an unbroken but nice-moving 4 year old who is $650. To me, they are similar quality, and the unbroken is made up for by the age difference. I do think that $650 is a LOW price, but I would expect $2000 or less for this horse, probably.

                  I do like him. I do think he could go third, in my limited knowledge. Personally, I'd prefer a more uphill horse with a shorter back - but his build doesn't seem to limit him greatly in his movement. If you feel a click with him, and that he's appropriate for you, just the horse himself doesn't show anything in the videos to say he can't meet your goals.
                  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.


                  • #10
                    curling BTV doesn't bother me, could be a strength thing and its pretty easily fixed with good riding assuming the horse didn't have draw reins or a harsh bit-that is much harder to "unlearn".


                    • #11
                      I love his gaits and how he moves naturally as is, but would be turned away from his being so downhill. He is going to have to work VERY hard to keep that hind under him so as to perform the required movements. That said, I myself have not competed to third and some of the above posters who have (?) think he could make third no problem, so I would go by that (what does your instructor think?). I believe too he can... just I would be turned off by how much work it would take - I'd rather pick something with a little more natural propensity for such work. It's already enough work just to get my (jumper) lanky, long-backed guy (5 in the photo, OTTB) working from behind - and he is not built downhill!! Not the best photo, but this guy is about 4 1/2 in this photo and off the track. This is the type of conformation I would look for, because this guy moves like a dream - very much appropriate to dressage. This girl is not quite as talented, however, this is another pick I would make for dressage. She is off the track as well, and 4 in the preceding photo. My point being that there are plenty of OTTB's that would be better suited to the job (and of course there's likely to always be a horse(s) better suited to the job than the one you have, but I am just talking in general). That said, if you really click with this particular horse's personality and really like his temperament etc (not that this is not possible with other horses, it is) and YOU really like him, well go for it. Much will improve with the correct work and conditioning.

                      I wouldn't be turned off by his age (he's only 8, not 18!) nor by his greenness - he's got solid gaits etc. As far as his curling behind contact etc, I wouldn't worry about it either. It's not that difficult to overcome (though perhaps moreso with his conformation??). The chestnut gelding in the first photo I offered did that yet no longer does. I put some work on him but mostly he's been ridden by two novices who have overcome said challenge with him relatively easily.

                      One thing I would consider though is that if you yourself have picked up a lot of bad habits, maybe something less green would be appropriate? When you're working on developing the horse you are less able to focus on yourself at the time. That said, if your really like him, get him, but maybe consider taking lessons on a schoolmaster say a few times a month so you can also just focus on yourself

                      As far as price goes, that really depends on your area. Look up other equivalent prospects in your area, online, and make an appropriate offer based on that. I would figure under the $2,500 mark based on his current knowledge and his conformation, but that is a pretty rough guesstimate.
                      ....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.


                      • #12
                        Take a lot more lessons on horses who know what to do so you can concentrate on yourself.

                        If you really like this guy, work out a lease. But don't buy "what might be" at this stage of your own riding.


                        • #13
                          it won't be easy!

                          He is nicely forward isn't he?; I'm afraid you will have "issues re-balancing him given his downhill build and lack of contact/ acceptance of the bit; if you like him and want to work with him; go ahead; I would not pay more than $2k; getting to 3rd level will be an uphill struggle!
                          breeder of Mercury!

                          remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans


                          • #14
                            He is better after the canter which, makes me think his back can/ will come up with work.
                            breeder of Mercury!

                            remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans


                            • #15
                              I'm going to offer a slightly different perspective. If your goals are doing the lower levels, having fun with your horse, and learning (these happen to be my goals, hence, this perspective), then I think he looks like a good potential partner. I love how forward he is, and how he uses himself even though he's green and the tack situation wasn't ideal. What's between those ears is important - and a good brain is worth a lot to me.

                              I'm clawing my way up the rungs of the ladder on OTTBs that don't have a ton of training. And, with the help of my very thoughtful trainer, I'm learning a lot. If you're the type of person who really gets into getting fundamentals down, then having a horse that has some imperfections is OK. Overcoming the unique challenges are interesting and make one a better rider.

                              IF your goals are rapid advancement and high scores, having a more "made" horse that doesn't have the confirmation challenges may be better for you.

                              Me I like him, quite a bit. I wouldn't break the bank, though. Green OTTBs are not lacking in supply.
                              Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.

                              Collecting Thoroughbreds - tales of a re-rider and some TBs


                              • #16
                                His trot is good for a TB, isn't it?
                                breeder of Mercury!

                                remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans


                                • #17
                                  I like him. Forward, good mind, fun, good work ethic, athletic -- these are all good things. Good mind and athletic alone are half the battle, if not more. I like his gaits for dressage (and that's not so easy to find in a TB these days) and his hind end has enough oomph to make it easy to carry himself, if you can convince that good mind that that's what will make him feel good (which it will).

                                  He's old for a green horse and a TB, so he shouldn't be expensive. I don't know the market in Ontario, but here he wouldn't be over $2500.
                                  The aids are the legs, the hands, the weight of the rider, the whip, the caress, the voice and the use of extraneous circumstances. ~ General Decarpentry


                                  • #18
                                    someone has to know!

                                    Is there an experienced dressage rider , experienced with collection who, could sit on him occasionally ? It would make thoroughness and collection much easier for both of you.
                                    breeder of Mercury!

                                    remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Carol Ames View Post
                                      His trot is good for a TB, isn't it?
                                      I certainly thought so, especially given his lack of training and dressage specific fitness!
                                      Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.

                                      Collecting Thoroughbreds - tales of a re-rider and some TBs


                                      • #20
                                        Prediction: this horse will really make you work for it, especially if you want to get to 3rd level.

                                        Agree with purplnurpl, I think she has nailed it.