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Arabians in dressage

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  • Arabians in dressage

    I have arabians in dressage. I often feel that others think we are not worthy to be in the sport. I am proud to have successful horses that have done quite well but note the problems with many Arabians, lack of bone, gait and conformation to really excel. What do you think??

  • #2
    I think that for a breed that is not usually bred for the sport, they do very well. I think as some breeders are now breeding for the attributes that make a good dressage horse, as well as the characteristics of a good Arabian (breed standard is important to follow I feel), that we will see a lot more of them out there, and actually claiming to be Arabian (which may be the bigger issue in some cases). I agree with some of the things you think are problems... conformation does differ from what is common in some lines that are bred for other things (such as racing, or working western, etc). Gaits are important.. though some of the better Dressage arabians, were bred from Park horses (the good ones, from way back.. not the atrocities that have no ass that are showing in EP and Park right now.. but I am digressing.. that's a tangent for another day), from way back. (OKW Entrigue for instance is a son of Allience who is out of a Bask daughter.. Allience and Bask both were Park horses. Entrigue probably could have been too actually ). Aulrab and Hi Voltage and Farlane's Pride and Serazim and many of the Amyr and Al-Marah horses were English Pleasure horses, and now, the same lines are quite successful in dressage (Ta'ez, Magic Domino, Al-Marah Quebec, and Aul Magic are all from the CMK/Crabbet lines).

    I've never seen an arabian that lacked bone though. Not sure which ones you are looking at that do, but the ones I've seen haven't.
    I have CDO. It's like OCD, but all the letters are in alphabetical order, as they should be!

    Comment


    • #3
      Arabians make dressage a lot more entertaining and beautiful to watch!!

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree that some of the Arabian lines make excellent dressage horses. From a breeding perspective, there are a couple of attributes that have changed through the last 30-40 years, and those changes rather go hand in hand. Many of the old breeding lines carried a rounded pelvis area rather than those flat croups for which is looked today. In addition, sickle hocks were more prevalent. Stands to reason when you think about a horse that was designed to navigate in sand. So as we bred away from rounded butts and from sickle hocks, something else happened. The stifle area became pulled back further to the rear of the horse...again going back to the flat croup. This helped fix sickle hocks, but now instead, stifle problems have become more frequent. Also, the hind legs cannot reach as far under the body, and then we see those trailing hocks.

        Now, that is not to say all individuals have this problem. You go back and look at the old Kellogg or Al Marah line horses...basically Crabbet bred, or you look at the older Polish line horses such as Bask lines, and you see horses whose conformation can better get under from behind and lift.

        The other problem with the Arabians is also seen across the board in all breeds, but with the Arabians' shorter backs, the impact is greater. That to which I refer is the fact that many riders keep the reins too short, pulling the horse's front end to them, rather than using the riders' seats to bring the horse's hindquarters forward to create correct contact. As the results, the horses do not take the weight correctly onto their hocks and do not lift to the degree that should be happening. This tends to make the gait look shorter and choppier, and this problem shows up more in a short-backed horse.

        Comment


        • #5
          Arabians have been dissed when they participate in about every discipline except endurance riding! If you consider that dressage has been kind of a sideline until relatively recently, and that most dressage Arabs (again, until relatively recently), started out as something else, I think they are doing very well. I think they could be the beneficiaries of some developing trends - for example, the idea that AA's are looking for smaller horses - and if our breed association would wake up and see some of these developing trends, Arabs could become even more popular.

          Sport Horse Nationals is a fantastic venue for seeing Arabs in action, especially in dressage. It was such a bad decision from a promotional viewpoint to move it from the KY Horse Park to Idaho and VA in alternating years - but it's done and we have to live with it. But the fact that it's a growing and healthy show that receives good reviews from dressage judges tells you that Arab sport horse breeders are on the right track.

          From a personal standpoint, I have never received anything but kind and encouraging comments from any clinician I've ridden with, some of whom are well recognized. Judges are the same way. Arabs can do the job, but as others have mentioned, they have to have the conformation and mind to do it well. I hope Arab breeders and riders persevere - if they do the quality of Arabs and their performance will only continue to improve.

          Don't be self conscious about riding an Arab. Enjoy the attention and keep working. Take lessons from people well outside the breed and take their comments to heart. I think dressage folks as a rule are more open minded and supportive of a wide variety of horses than they are often given credit for.

          ETA: I have found it most beneficial to take lessons from folks who understand how the training for an Arab might be different than that for a WB, for example. Depending on the horse, what you need may be VERY different, and the advice of someone who truly understands this difference can be incredibly helpful, profound even.
          Last edited by oldernewbie; Mar. 17, 2012, 10:12 AM. Reason: another thought

          Comment


          • #6
            Its true, a lot of arabs are horrid at dressage.....I find its more the mental side of things that is hard for a lot of riders, they demand a finesse and timing that is so much quicker then other breeds (and I have ridden EVERYTHING).

            They need some mental babysitting as they hold grudges. they are so smart that they need variety.

            They don't always have good canters and like to get wide behind, so that can be a real determent to anything over 1st level. The back can be very tense and hard to supple, as a general rule.

            I not only have an arab, I have a colored (pinto) arab, so I must really not care about what others thing LOL. Luckily he can hold his own at any show and is talented for at least third, probably more. He is built and bred for dressage.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by SendenHorse View Post
              Its true, a lot of arabs are horrid at dressage.....I find its more the mental side of things that is hard for a lot of riders, they demand a finesse and timing that is so much quicker then other breeds (and I have ridden EVERYTHING).

              They need some mental babysitting as they hold grudges. they are so smart that they need variety.

              They don't always have good canters and like to get wide behind, so that can be a real determent to anything over 1st level. The back can be very tense and hard to supple, as a general rule.

              I not only have an arab, I have a colored (pinto) arab, so I must really not care about what others thing LOL. Luckily he can hold his own at any show and is talented for at least third, probably more. He is built and bred for dressage.
              The main problem with Arabians I think.. is that they are so intelligent. They need a rider as smart as they are. They are much less forgiving than many horses of stupidity. They are okay for beginners, they do tend to be forgiving of mistakes that they can tell are made by accident.. but they don't forgive sheer stupidity very well at all.
              I have CDO. It's like OCD, but all the letters are in alphabetical order, as they should be!

              Comment


              • #8
                I have no idea for conformation or Arabians in dressage, but I read the thread and went looking. I loved this video -and not just because I like Enya.

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUJpbHaum-U

                Let me just say as well that I don't watch alot of dressage competition even though dressage is my ambition. Often the performance leaves me cold or bores me. Every now and then I see one that engrosses me from beginning to end and I study it. I don't know why it is, I don't have enough dressage to dissect the performance, I just know what I like, and I liked this alot.



                Paula
                He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here is one of my favorite arabian boys. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhQCupo3b9Q

                  and of course Ta'ez is adorable http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrhLR...eature=related
                  I have CDO. It's like OCD, but all the letters are in alphabetical order, as they should be!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have Arabians and do some dressage with them, used to do a lot more--it's my interest that has changed, nothing to do with the horses. I kind of like having a nontraditional breed in dressage because it gives you a good early warning about snobs. If they look down on your horse because of his breed, you probably don't want to waste your time with them anyway.
                    exploring the relationship between horse and human

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Ive owned and shown arabs...

                      Ive heard the whole, "They are smarter" shpiel...

                      In reality it all comes down to balance. A horse with less base will require MORE balance from the rider and more direction to stay in a balanced position. Riders already struggling with learning dressage and their own position are going to REALLY struggle with ANY breed that is narrow at the base.

                      This is the case with any breed, but yes you do see many out behind and base narrow horses in the arab world.

                      I love the horses, but understand that I can throw a wrench into everything by just being a learning ammy more obviously with the more refined breeds
                      ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                      http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My now deceased Arab was a fun, entertaining dressage partner. I still miss him. He held his own in competitions just fine.

                        He was half-Spanish, a very cobby round fellow, often mistaken for some Baroque breed. He had a flat profile, which evidently fooled a lot of people into thinking he was NOT an Arab.

                        I'd get another one like him in a heartbeat if I could fine one.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
                          I have no idea for conformation or Arabians in dressage, but I read the thread and went looking. I loved this video -and not just because I like Enya.

                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUJpbHaum-U

                          Let me just say as well that I don't watch alot of dressage competition even though dressage is my ambition. Often the performance leaves me cold or bores me. Every now and then I see one that engrosses me from beginning to end and I study it. I don't know why it is, I don't have enough dressage to dissect the performance, I just know what I like, and I liked this alot.

                          Paula
                          Thanks for sharing. This is my dear friends stallion and my dressage horses sire. They are all ridden and trained by Chelsey Sibley (trainer of Ta'ez also) who seems to understand Arabians well.
                          Chris

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have a race-bred mare who I've just started riding...She is mostly Polish with Spanish bloodlines also. She is by (By Golly). She is very cobby, can really get her hind end under, and moves well. I was looking at a video my husband took of me riding her the other day, and I noticed that about 6 strides before I asked for trot, her tail went up...every time....right when I was planning it....LOL ...mind/body reader... I just love her.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I do dressage with my Arabian, I love how it improves her balance and fitness. Dressage is not the easiest for her, but I think the results are worth it and in working with her I have become a much more sensitive and diplomatic trainer.

                              For example she has a very low frustration point which challenges me into teaching her new things in steps rather then just drilling, and then we go for a relaxing trail ride afterward.

                              At shows I think you get a lot of attention riding a different type of horse but it is not necessarily negative attention. I am fairly new to dressage but I have never felt dissed because I am on an Arab. My mare wasn't bred for dressage but she has three nice gaits and is very balanced, even if you have a horse that is bred for the sport there will be areas they exceed in and areas that are more difficult.
                              for more Joy then you can handle
                              http://dangerbunny.blogspot.com/

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                We've had Arabs for almost 40 years, and now show just in Sport Horse events. If you have the right horse you should do well. We did nothing but Arab shows last year, until people started to say, "He's nice enough to do 'real' dressage, unless you think they won't like him." So, we went to one USDF/USEF show. His scores in Training Level were:
                                65.6%, 66%, 72.083%, and 72.917%.

                                People were very friendly and the judges were very complimentary. If your horse is at all suitable, go and show and enjoy yourself. Try not to worry about what you think others might be thinking about your horse.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Here is one of my girls KB Jull Fahim+// ridden by trainer Chelsey Sibley. Her sire KB Omega Fahim++++// and Jull swept all four FEI tests at the Sport Horse Nationals in 2010. We are very proud of their accomplishments. Jull will show I1 and I2 season this year and head to nationals again in Sept. Omega will not show GP since he is in rehab from an injury. We are trying hard to show that Arabians have a place in the dressage world. All of your observations and ideas are really helpful. Thanks so much!
                                  PS
                                  I am new to this forum. Can you not attach pics? I cannot figure it out.

                                  Jull winning PSG at SHN 2010
                                  http://youtu.be/ItCxynLkOkg

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I think your feeling and perception are self-imposed. To be honest I've noticed very little breed bias in dressage... although I have heard a lot of people complain about it when they don't score well, or when they're told something they don't want to hear.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      agree ^^^ I think you are coming in with a more baggage then you need. So no, personally I have not experienced anything other then positive reception about my arabians.

                                      I have a understanding I am NOT riding a typical WB horse, that is ok with me, I couldn't care less. I want to be competitive but I suppose its a different kind of competitive then say a year end award.

                                      There is always someone with a better/fancier/$$ horse no matter the sport or breed. I LIKE riding my arabian horse and I DON'T like riding warmbloods. So I just make my plans and ride my horse. Its hard to silence that little voice, but I try.

                                      In the end, no one really cares anyways. They are too focused on their ride and themselves LOL.

                                      People are always going to judge if they are that kind of person, be it brand of saddle, arabian horse, or riding.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        this is nice to know.....I have actually felt more accepted at Open shows at times but I guess I never thought of being accepted as a real contender in the Open arena even though my horses scores have been deserving. It is nice to have input from others rather than strictly Arabian folks. Thanks a bunch!

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