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Spinoff -Judges comments

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  • Spinoff -Judges comments

    I was reading the thread on 'judge comments - would you complain'. The several post I read brought up 'suitability for dressage'. Got me thinking: When I first started dressage 5 years ago with my backyard gaited horse. Yes, gaited horse who is also able to do a nice trot, I thought no dressage instructor would help me. Not the case. Several good dressage instructors welcomed the idea in that " Dressage is good for all horses". Dressage is training. It helps strengthen, increase flexibility, helps the horse learn the aids, etc.

    Thus IMO all horses are suitable for dressage since it helps them develop properly. True, Many cannot get to the upper levels, but all horse are can do lower levels and it is good for them. All riders should do some dressage training as well, makes for better riders. My gaited horse, who does trot, has gotten great comments from judges ' fun to watch' 'good collection'. He has placed high in many shows. But he is a TWH thus not a typical dressage horse but never have I had a judge say he is not 'suitable' for dressage. I think if a judge is stating such a comment, then they need to re-think what the purpose of dressage is for horse and rider.
    My Blog ( for me and my OTTBs)-ableequine.webbly.com

  • #2
    I've done the L program and that is exactly what they encourage us to do. You are right on.

    Comment


    • #3
      Not to mince words, but I disagree.

      I do not think all horses are suitable for dressage as this implies that all horses can be trained in all aspects of dressage, even to upper levels, and perform on par with other horses.

      I think all horses can benefit from dressage training as it helps them develop the correctness and mind needed for other disciplines.

      It does imply two different things.

      Just my perspective! Don't shoot me!

      Eileen
      Mad Mare™ Studio
      Custom Swarovski®, Czech glass and gemstone browbands in Circlet, Diadem and Tiara styles. Matching stock pins, bracelets and belts.
      http://MadMare.com

      Comment


      • #4
        I think "suitable for dressage" means different things to different people.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Ambrey View Post
          I think "suitable for dressage" means different things to different people.
          Ayup!

          I think in order for this thread to go anywhere productive, we need to define what "suitable" means first.

          I've said what I believe it means -- anyone else?

          Eileen
          Mad Mare™ Studio
          Custom Swarovski®, Czech glass and gemstone browbands in Circlet, Diadem and Tiara styles. Matching stock pins, bracelets and belts.
          http://MadMare.com

          Comment


          • #6
            So, a horse is only suitable for dressage if she's capable of eventually doing upper level movements? I disagree. Many, many horses do well at lower levels but won't make it to FEI, and the same with many riders. Why shouldn't they show?
            Jennifer Walker
            Proud owner of Capt Han Solo+, Arabian stallion http://www.capthansolo.com
            Author, freelance writer http://www.authorjennwalker.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Good point. Tests are to be judged based on their own standards, not on the standards of higher level tests, or random standards that the judge made up. Why should hypothetical performance in an imaginary test factor into the equation?

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by twnkltoz View Post
                So, a horse is only suitable for dressage if she's capable of eventually doing upper level movements? I disagree. Many, many horses do well at lower levels but won't make it to FEI, and the same with many riders. Why shouldn't they show?
                Yes, this is what I am saying. I think any horse at lower levels can be 'suitable'. A judge writting down on a lower level test ' horse not suitable' is not very ''training" based. All dressage levels are the to train and allow horse and rider to progress. Saying a horse is unsuitable, may cause a rider to give up on their horse who is, in reality, really learning how to carry themself, be responsive, be consistent. Is not that the goal? The rider may have no intention to become a dressage superstar but does want to participate in low levels while 'training' their horse. Comments from judges, IMO, should be focused on what was done well and what needs improvement.
                My Blog ( for me and my OTTBs)-ableequine.webbly.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  The only reason why the horse can be "not suitable for dressage" if the horse's gaits are not correct, for example:

                  Lateral walk
                  4 beat canter
                  No clear parallel pairs in trot
                  No air suspension in trot and/or canter
                  Uneven or unlevel in any gait for whatever reason

                  Everything else can be improved with the dressage training.

                  Lateral walk is almost impossible to change
                  Natural 4 beat canter is very difficult to change
                  No clear parallel pairs in trot is very difficult to change

                  No air suspension in trot and/or canter - may be being able to be changed with gymnastic exercisers and some vet care.
                  Uneven or unlevel in any gait for whatever reason - may be can be changed with quality vet care and some gymnastic exercisers.

                  If the basic correct gait is missing, the highest score can be only a 4 at the dressage movement with that incorrect gait.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dressage Art View Post
                    The only reason why the horse can be "not suitable for dressage" if the horse's gaits are not correct, for example:

                    Lateral walk is almost impossible to change

                    If the basic correct gait is missing, the highest score can be only a 4 at the dressage movement with that incorrect gait.
                    So... I found this *amazing* horse, with a stunning trot and canter -educated to GP, and in every possible way: *perfect*. Except one thing - he does tend to go lateral in the walk periodically.

                    Is he a lost cause, and therefore "unsuitable for dressage"??

                    I guess my question is also... if all things are there, but one critical item is missing/not perfect... does that make the horse basically unsuitable?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by honeydoozy View Post

                      I guess my question is also... if all things are there, but item is missing/not perfect... does that make the horse basically unsuitable?
                      Well, since I didn't really know what a lateral walk is, I looked it up, and this site says that the best walks are those at most risk of becoming lateral. So now I'm confused.

                      http://equisearch.com/horses_riding_...alwalk_080207/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Many upper level horses succeed even though they have gait purity issues. In fact, pure gaits are often less brilliant and flashy, so at the highest levels they could be regarded as a disadvantage if anything. Just take a look at the young horse tests and count all the 4-beat canters and dissociated trots. You would be severely marked down at the lower levels if you displayed that. But since the young horse tests are not dressage per se but rather an attempt to predict upper level success, those traits are often rewarded.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Lateral walk can usually be fixed, by a patient and feeling rider.

                          4 beat canter can usually be fixed by sending it on.

                          Suspension can be improved by conditioning, and strengthening.

                          It's all in a day's work.
                          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


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by canticle View Post
                            Many upper level horses succeed even though they have gait purity issues. In fact, pure gaits are often less brilliant and flashy, so at the highest levels they could be regarded as a disadvantage if anything. Just take a look at the young horse tests and count all the 4-beat canters and dissociated trots. You would be severely marked down at the lower levels if you displayed that. But since the young horse tests are not dressage per se but rather an attempt to predict upper level success, those traits are often rewarded.
                            And they *shouldn't* be rewarded, regardless of the level of the horse. Purity of gait should never be considered a "disadvantage", it's one of the key elements of dressage.

                            Eileen
                            Mad Mare™ Studio
                            Custom Swarovski®, Czech glass and gemstone browbands in Circlet, Diadem and Tiara styles. Matching stock pins, bracelets and belts.
                            http://MadMare.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Suitability is such a mutable , subjective term. Therefore it is discouraged as a comment in judgeing tests, unless ,of course, one is judging a suitability class. If that makes no sense,which no doubt will be an ensuing post, then I'll try to explain later.It's like arguing who is beautiful or not. Each to his own, HOWEVER, As I've said and will repeat, at the top of every test, there are the basic objectives stated to fulfill the requirements of that specific level. A judge needs to remind themselves what the priorities are of the level performed. Now, as the day wears on, many judges get tired and insert irrelevant and inappropriate comments. They are human. That is why some judges are better than others.I've scribed for a judged that actually fell asleep on a 100 degree day, one that talked on her cell phone during rides, and one that took sips from a little silver flask now and then. Judges are human with human frailties but , should always strive to stay on point

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I can't fathom a judge saying in further remarks that a horse is not suitable for dressage-that being said, I didn't see the ride, didn't see the horse.
                                You can however say...tension today mars performance
                                or...it is too bad about the unevenness in the trot today
                                or...horse or rider does not meet the criteria for this level... horse needs collection...or to be reliably on the bit...
                                We can only say what we see in front of us today.
                                Saying a horse is not suitable for dressage is empirical. Saying a horse doesn't appear prepared for the level shown is what is before us this day.
                                Riding is not a gentle hobby to be picked up and laid down. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I agree totally with previous post. Well said.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Hmmm, well, in my opinion, saying "not suitable for dressage" requires definition. Yes, I believe that every horse benefits from dressage. But the thread that this one spun off from was about a horse being called "limited". If a horse is doing, say, third level, and really truly can't do the movements without alot of tension...then the horse is not suitable for that level. Or is limited and is being pushed too hard for it's capabilities. This is what can make horses lame. So I don't think that a horse is "not suitable for dressage" but I do believe that a horse is "not suitable for a particular level".

                                    The young horse tests penalize horses with impure gaits. In fact, they penalize them publically, since the comments are given over the loudspeaker. Tension, impure gaits, and "bad riding" are publically nailed. However, it is also widely recognized that many young horse champions will not be able to collect enough and engage enough for upper levels, and that many horses without big gaits, or need more "to do" in a test to keep their focus, or who need to mentally settle into the work will make excellent FEI horses but will not do well in the young horse tests. Scott Hassler himself will tell you that the young horse tests are NOT necessarily an indicator of who will do well at FEI, and that some horses do better just skipping some of the young horse tests. Currently, the young horse program is an industry upon itself but I don't know any breeders who feel THE NEED to send an unprepared horse or feel that if they skip it their horse's career will suffer.

                                    My two cents, J.
                                    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      it seems that alot of the Young Horse winners disappear, never to be seen or heard of again? what happens? Do they get sold? Do they go lame? Are their huge huge gaits "unsuitable" for later collected work? I'm seriously curious so don't give me the "you're just being snarky" posts.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by oldschool View Post
                                        it seems that alot of the Young Horse winners disappear, never to be seen or heard of again? what happens? Do they get sold? Do they go lame? Are their huge huge gaits "unsuitable" for later collected work? I'm seriously curious so don't give me the "you're just being snarky" posts.
                                        Actually, I think that's a good question. What DOES happen to them?

                                        Eileen
                                        Mad Mare™ Studio
                                        Custom Swarovski®, Czech glass and gemstone browbands in Circlet, Diadem and Tiara styles. Matching stock pins, bracelets and belts.
                                        http://MadMare.com

                                        Comment

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