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Another prospect eval - please

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  • Another prospect eval - please

    Hi Cothers -

    I tried out a little Fjord yesterday and would like your perspective on him for dressage.

    Now, I know he's not a big fancy WB (I have one of those who refuses to stay sound). Below are some links to him. The first links are short with me riding him. The last link is the owner's link.





  • #2
    he looks like if he got some really good training to supple him and stretch him rather than just 'set' his head that he would have very good gaits for dressage and do really well. he's very unsteady in the contact but doesn't look like he's had much training.


    • #3
      He's cute as a bug and I like his gaits, but that very thick throatlatch is likely going to continue to be a problem for proper flexion (and I think is the reason he is alternately too low or unsteady in the contact).
      Patience pays.


      • #4
        i like him! his gaits look like they would blossom with training... i think he would be a super dressage horse.


        • #5
          Size wise, he is a wonderful match.

          I question the even-ness of his gaits behind. I would pass.
          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.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Melissa.Hare.Jones View Post
            He's cute as a bug and I like his gaits, but that very thick throatlatch is likely going to continue to be a problem for proper flexion (and I think is the reason he is alternately too low or unsteady in the contact).
            I have one with the short thick neck (draftx) and it's his limitation. But people do manage with Fjords, they are lovely little guys with great temperments.


            • Original Poster

              You are right about his training. He feels very, very green underneath me....no strength or genuine connection. What I wasn't sure about is if he has the confirmation to build the pushing power from behind.


              • #8
                What a cutie one...

                But I agree w/Merrygoround.

                Vet him carefully. Something is NQR behind. I see a bit of uneveness in the trot- could be rein-lameness from not understanding how to step through evenly into contact.

                You ride him much better than the person in the owner's video. That rider seems to be trying to pull his head down like the breed show folks rather than teaching him to move forward into soft contact.


                • #9
                  "even-ness of his gaits behind"

                  when the reins are dropped and he stretches he looks very sound - frankly that walk is so nice and loose it is just to die for, and there are a couple times in the trot when i am thinking DAYUM when he really goes forward to the bit. the canter is where he doesn't look as good, it's a little flat, but who knows, if you school him properly it will probably be an awful lot better judging by the walk. all he really seems to need is to be ridden correctly.

                  he is also flabby - he isn't getting worked regularly. if he's fit you might see a very different horse.

                  i think it's connection, acceptance of bit issues that make him look bad behind, especially since it's intermittent and when he is loose and going foward he looks very sound....but of course you will get the horse vetted rather than guess if he's sound i hope.

                  he's not going to the olympics...i assume that isn't where you intend to take him...it just depends on what you want to accomplish if he's suitable or not.

                  you do a really nice, a much better job of riding him, but he isn't making a true connection with the bit. he can with time though.


                  • Original Poster

                    slc... you crack me up ! You're right.... no olympics in my future!

                    I can't see the lameness, but I'm also VERY biased!

                    I sent the link to my vet to do a preliminary look. I want her to get her hands on him before I pass on him. Her specialty is lameness, so she will do a thorough exam.

                    I had a lovely little Fjord for years and he died of colic. I still miss him. I have a soft spot for these little guys, so would love to have it work out.

                    To my eye, he's freer in his gaits than most of the Fjords I've known, but I do need to be careful about buying another lameness story (my imported fancy pants Dutch WB has had a variety of lameness issues over the last 2 years!).


                    • #11
                      you ain't kiddin' about that freer gaits thing. i almost dropped my dentures watching that walk. it's unusual.

                      when i see a walk like that i usually assume the trot and canter with the right schooling will be very nice, even tho most people say the walk only goes with the canter...it's because of the looseness, i think that is just the horse's body.

                      there are a couple moments in the videos - i stopped it a couple times to get some stills, and where he looks like he's getting really strong with you? i looked at those and he is really using himself. he's short strided and flat with the other lady riding in jeans. he really looks like he will use himself if he goes forward and connects with the bit.

                      he's very flabby though, and that's a red flag...if he's stayed sound on very light work, that's nothing to evaluate his soundness for more work in dressage where he is asked to use himself more. my advice is get the xrays, get the whole workup done - by someone very good. good luck - you have a good eye. where my neice went to camp years ago all the horses were fjiords, about 30 of them...not one of them walked like this one.

                      do you think if you smile so much while you try him that the price will go up?


                      • Original Poster

                        Yes, SLC....the flabbiness worries me too. And yes, he did get strong, but has no clue what a half halt is or any response to the seat. He's all hand right now.

                        Question..... do you all have any knowledge/concerns about the fact that his chest and hips are fairly narrow and therefore he has a rather narrow base?


                        • #13
                          frankly i was really thrilled when he got strong and i got a chance to see if he wants to push with his hind legs and could balance in front - he does. when they get strong it's a chance for you to see how they will be when they are fitter and better schooled, not that they will be strong(stiff, hard, pulling) in the bit then, but how their back and hind legs can work and push and that you can make a flexible connection with their mouth thru the reins.

                          and ah...when he got strong was the only time he was connected to the bit

                          the chest - I think it just means he hasn't gotten a lot of work or that's just how he is built, or he will mature out of it and is just young. some breeds don't 'block out' in the chest til much later.

                          it doesn't bother me as long as they don't step on their own feet, which they usually don't, i prefer that to a much wider chest and a 'rolling' gait. i didn't see any interfering, but the video isn't very close up, i'd figure that sort of thing out when i went to see a horse 'in person' (in horse-person?)

                          i don't think he's being ridden enough (at least not recently) to have bumps or rough spots of fur you could feel on his legs to see if he is interfering, but at the same time, look at how he's trimmed and the ground, i think any horse would slip some...and interfering is usually something a farrier fixes pretty easily.

                          one always takes a chance with any horse one buys. there are a lot of bargains out there, they may not be real fit or they may have little things with conformation or things one questions...they can still work out really well for a buyer.


                          • #14
                            What a cutie! You both looked very nice together. Your vet check will tell you the rest of the story. Hope it works out. Looks like a very sweet horse. And you looked happy.


                            • #15
                              I LOVE Fjords. They're one of my favorite breeds. The lesson barn had one, and we used to fight over who got to ride her.

                              I am no expert, so feel free to ignore. I also couldn't get one of the videos to play so I don't know what I missed. My gut feeling is that he looked like he hasn't developed his true balance with a rider on him. Maybe he's really out of shape, I dont know? Right now he's ready for some trails or walk-trot dressage tests. How far he can get in competitive dressage, only time & training will tell.

                              He is cute. Usually they're good natured horses, so he probably has a sweet personality. If he was really inexpensive and he passes a vetting, then why not get him?
                              Veterinarians for Equine Welfare


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Ambrey View Post
                                I have one with the short thick neck (draftx) and it's his limitation. But people do manage with Fjords, they are lovely little guys with great temperments.
                                That is, of course, a generalization.

                                One of the nastiest little turds I've ever seen at a horse show was a Fjord. I watched a girl who was a pretty capable rider struggle vainly with that little sh*t for over two years before his last gallop back to the barn at a show convinced her that he just wasn't a worthwhile project for her.

                                He's now getting carriage-training boot camp somewhere....



                                • #17
                                  Very cute - but just something about him suggests he could be a bit cheeky!! And he is pretty green and unsteady. Make sure you have enough rides on him to get a really good idea of his personality, although as you say you've had one of these guys before so you're familiar with their personalities and temperaments.

                                  Unfortunately, the only Fjord I knew was one like Spectrum describes - a real little monster!!


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Scotnme - Cheeky I like that description and I think you're absolutely right!

                                    I can tell you, my first Fjord could also be cheeky and it was clear, early on, that without consistent leadership on my part, he would have/could have become a nasty little turd

                                    However, since I bought him when he was 2, I was able to direct his energies and he became the most fabulous, fabulous little guy!

                                    I'm getting this little guy vetted next week, so we'll see how that goes.


                                    • #19
                                      Great, how exciting and glad you've decided to go with him! You two do look very nice together. Hope he vets out and many happy rides ahead !!


                                      • #20
                                        These are the the things I love: you can pull his feathers to pick up his feet, and he appears to be barefoot.

                                        You can cross any river you want on him.

                                        He jumps cute and can swap leads in the mud without falling down.

                                        The canter is quite nice and show adjustability when you are riding him.

                                        The issues with connection are related to his back. He is fairly uphill with a high set neck (watch him at liberty) and he has a short back. With this sort of fairly Baroque build (who would have thought with a Fjord?) he is having issues staying over his back. This results in a lot of the unsteadiness with his head, and may even show up as a bit of uneveness behind.

                                        Know where you are going with a horse of this build. It will take time to strengthen the topline.

                                        I am not sure the horse is all that flabby, nor does it worry me. He is jumping cross country and is obviously being ridden steadily whether or not he is advanced in his training. Some of the horses bred from the far north get "blubber" in the winter to stay warm instead of a monster thick coat. My Friesian gets the same look in the winter even when he is fit.

                                        I do have a little reservation about your leg position on him, and that may be related to him being narrow. Is his barrel wide enough to absorb your leg? No offense, but, woman, can you do something with your right foot?!?
                                        Kathy Johnson