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Higher level or higher score: which is better when selling

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  • Higher level or higher score: which is better when selling

    When shopping, would you rather see a horse doing mid 60's in training level, or see lower scores at 1rst level?

    Trying to decide if I should give 1rst level a try this weekend with Pony, but I would be risking lower scores.
    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

  • #2
    What kind of buyer do you hope to attract? Confident and always looking for a new challenge, or steadfast and methodical?

    I think there are two distinct types of Dressage competitors...and they often don't understand each other. There's good points to perfecting a level before moving on, and good points to achieving "good enough" and moving on to the next challenge.

    Confident and new challenge type was the perfect buyer for my TB.

    Steadfast and methodical type was the perfect buyer for my Clyde mare.

    What kind of buyer do you hope to find for Pony?
    Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


    • #3
      I would prefer higher scores at training. If your talking mid 60's at training and are expecting lower at 1st level, are you expecting to score in the 50's?
      I got a score in the 50's at 1st level and quickly decided we are not ready to show 1st level yet.

      Patience and Consistency are Your Friends


      • #4
        From a non-dressage point of view: We're missing some key information here. How old is Pony, and what do you expect Pony to be capable of?

        Scenario A, Pony is still in training and will eventually move up through the ranks (to 1st Level and beyond)... I would want higher scores at a lower level. It is, likely, a better demonstration of what Pony is capable of, given that Pony still has more to learn. This shows that Pony is doing well, has a firm grasp on all the movements required, and hints that Pony will do well when s/he moves up.

        Scenario B, Pony is not young, not particularly in training, just hasn't been shown beyond training level. In this scenario, I think I would wonder why Pony has never moved up, so short of abysmal scores, I would rather an ad say, "Pony scored XX at their very first show competing in 1st Level! We anticipate many success as training progresses."

        Just food for thought on a general sport horse whole.


        • #5
          I would rather see consistent and higher scores at a lower level vs. just a couple decent scores at Training and then lower scores at First. IMHO if I saw decent scores at T and then low scores at First, I would assume pony is being moved up too fast and not ready for the new challenge. But I tend to take the slow road on these things!
          "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


          • Original Poster

            Pony is proven hunter/jumper with a good show record, but at 13.3, is tough to market that way. Started doing some dressage thinking this may help her be sellable for eventing, and it seems she may actually have some skill at it, and be able to move up the levels a bit. perhaps I will do one of each test (training 2, and First 1)?
            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


            • #7
              If you're trying to sell her as an all-rounder I'd say get some solid first level scores. You're not really marketing to the dressage set that wants to see 70%+ so the pony's value will come more from her experience than stellar ability, I would think. The range of scores you're talking about won't really add any value in terms of prospects for advancing, so I'd go for buyers who want something that can do quite decently at several different things. Good luck!
              Proud COTH lurker since 2001.


              • #8
                If I were looking for such a horse, scores at Trgg/First level dressage are irrelevant in my purchasing decision regardless of what they were.
                Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
                Alfred A. Montapert


                • #9
                  There's very little difference between 1st and training. If you think you can get a 60 and 6's or better on your lengthenings then do it. If your lengthenings are weak, skip it and just do training.


                  • #10
                    Try the 1st level if nothing else you can say to the buyer, "Here was Pony's scores for this show as you can see we need to work on x,y,z before we try again." For me the ammie buyer (your market) it means you tried it and I can turn over the video and scores to my trainer and say can we get better? I like the idea of riding one of each test as well.
                    Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                    Originally Posted by alicen:
                    What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.


                    • #11
                      If you think you can score AT LEAST 60% at a higher level (recognized show) then go for it, otherwise scoring better at lower level will help sales.
                      Now in Kentucky


                      • #12
                        Agree with the above post, if you think you can get at least a 60%, then give it a shot. If it doesn't go well, then move back down. I don't think that one set of less than steller scores at 1st level is going to harm the marketability of the pony. IMO, you're in the same boat for marketability if you don't attempt 1st level than you are if you got below a 60% at first level...either way the pony isn't quite ready, which you can explain to a potential buyer. But if you do go to the show and score above a 60% then you've just added to the marketability.

                        If you're marketing it to an event crowd, having 1st level experience may be a plus since it shows that there has been a focus on dressage training, which is often the weakest of the 3 phases for lower level eventers. Also, as an eventer, if I see a horse that is getting in the low 60's at a recognized dressage show at 1st level, that horse should be able to score in the low 30s in a beginner novice/novice event (which I'm assuming is where the pony would top out for eventing), and put you in a good spot coming out of the dressage phase.


                        • #13
                          Depends what you are selling to. A prospect for the upper levels or a school horse suitable for a junior or ammy?

                          Firstly its nice that the horse has been out and scored well enough not to be eliminated. The experience in company and away from home is valuable.

                          But at that level, I wouldn't consider the scores much and there is little difference between training and first level in my mind, since I would be aiming higher. Training and first level are not much more than green broke in my barn.

                          I've had green appaloosas at their first show score in the 70's at first level- would that mean they'd get 80's at training? I doubt it. Nor are they ever going to be FEI horses for the most part. But they are obedient and steady and that counts at those levels. And those scores are probably the highest ones they'll ever get in their lives.

                          I think for marketing purposes for a prospect, you would rather score high at a lower level because for some people it means the horse has better movement, but as I said, my appaloosas do better than what's being quoted at those levels and I wouldn't call their movement great.

                          For marketing purposes for a schoolmaster, you'd rather want the higher level experience as some would presume the horse has more show miles.

                          For me there is no substitute for going and watching the horse at liberty, or well ridden, to judge the movement. For marketing, get a really super rider to ride in your videos to show the horse at its best.
                          "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


                          • #14
                            At training and first I don't care much about scores. Unless the horse / pony consistently got 5's for gaits. And 4's for submission.

                            I am more interested in that the horse / pony competed SUCCESSFULLY and was not a nut job.


                            • #15
                              Another perfectionist here. I want to get it as good as I can before moving up.


                              • #16
                                I'd rather see higher scores at a lower level. Lower scores at a higher level = something to fix. Not something a buyer wants to invest in. IMO.
                                Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


                                • #17
                                  scores themselves not that enlightening

                                  Scores in the sixties are the bulk of the show scores at lower level, not very enlightening. Show me the video! I'd probably be interested in the score for gaits and submission.
                                  Dressage, riding, sport horse blog
                                  Unique browbands for dressage and hunter riders