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Buying the dressage schoolmaster

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  • #21
    I suggest you go to and/or call all dressage barns in your area and look around. You may find that someone has a new younger horse and a "schoolmaster" on the shelf that they haven't really considered selling, but is standing around doing nothing. Lots of people don't advertise. You might find a wonderful partner within your price range.

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    • #22
      I sold my 4th schoolmaster last year. I had owned him since he was four and he was 14 then. I sent him to a friend to sell (too emotional for me) and instead of selling him, she bought him! I think it is a good example of how hard they are to find, where the training is correct and they are reasonably sound. My guy is incredibly sound still but not an *easy* ride per say. He is quirky, dominant and can be spooky. He is fantastic about teaching people to BE STILL as he will try to interpret any movement as an aid and once he gets confused would stop and refuse to move. I am a very careful rider about being clear with my aids and so he learned that way. On the other hand he has a huge canter and if you are not willing to sit down and ride you might end up in the next county. He also jumps 3 foot courses nicely and hacks out. The biggest asset he has is a HUGE work ethic. The horse LOVES TO WORK. Because of that I think he will last forever.

      I have another one here who belongs to my old working student. 4th level, not as good a mover as horse 1 but has The.Best.Mind.Ever. No matter horrible error the rider makes, the worst thing he does is grind his teeth. No grudge. Flying monkeys look good on that horse. He is big, good looking and will probably NEVER be for sale because he is so kind.

      So if you find one - a true schoolmaster, who has been doing the work for a good long while and can dummy down and ramp up as needed, buy it. As far as maintenance goes, I think any horse whose job is to trach people to ride will need some, having unbalanced wiggly folks up there takes quite a toll on a horses body.
      "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
      ---
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by ToN Farm View Post
        Talk to any sport horse vet that does the top dressage barns in the country and see how many of the international horses get injections. We can agree to disagree. I feel VERY confident in that what I'm saying is true. How many FEI horses do you think flex 100% negative? Few to none. I've seen PSJ's horse on video and to me he looks like he needs injections...so...there ya go.
        Oh I don't disagree with the prevalence (& haven't seen PSJ's horse on video so no opinion there) or that the treatment is "optional" but I certainly don't stand alone when I state that conformation (suitability of the horse to even consider placing it on a GP track) & training decisions (& this is done even at the "highest" levels) are main contributors to that same prevalence.

        The impact of changes in breeding & perceptions of desirable movement (in foals) will be interesting to watch over the next 20 - 40 years

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        • #24
          To PSJ; If I understand correctly his nickname as 'beefy', your horse's name is spelled wrong on your blog. It should be "boeuf" and not "bouef".

          Sorry to interrupt.
          ~ 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

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          • #25
            I had a friend years ago that came upon a wonderful schoolmaster accidentally. She saw him standing in a field and enquired about him. Turns out he was a Hannovarian that had been top in Germany in his 3 year old year and was sold to a wealthy American woman, who rode him for a few years and then died. The horse had been gelded, was trained to PSG. He was supposed to have been euthanized and buried with the owner, but no one had the heart to do that...thank God..anyway, my friend got him for peanuts and went on to ride him up the levels... (he hated going through the lower levels..but that is what she wanted to do...LOL). You just never know what is out there until you dig through the trenches. I don't remember his name...started with a W and was chestnut. I think he was about 9 or 10 when I knew him. This was about 16 years ago.

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            • #26
              Look very carefully at the performance/work history of the horse in terms of the injections and the colic.

              Unpopular as it obviously will be on his thread, I'm with PSJ on hock injections - conformation flaws, training flaws greatly contribute; it is NOT a given that upper level dressage horses will/should have hock issues
              Of course conformation flaws and improper training can/will break a horse down. My point was simply that NOT all horses getting joint injections or on joint supplements currently have a problem. Many view such treatments/supplements as preventative maintenance. That's how I view my own sports massage, well, except that I'm old and creaky and do have aches and pains, but I digress.

              My schoolmaster does get hock injections once a year, polyglycol and oral joint supplements. He also gets chiro adjustments, vaccinations and dental care. Oh yeah, we feed him and clean the stall too.

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              • #27
                I am NOT saying that all people who have to inject are out there pushing their horses beyond their abilities, or riding like waterskiing turkeys. I wouldn't think twice about injecting any of my horses if it was warranted. It would, however, cause me to reevaluate their career path.

                As for my horse, YES in the videos you'll notice a wonky hind end. The problem has since been identified (in his ribs) and been resolved. I appreciate the concern

                Originally posted by atlatl View Post
                Of course conformation flaws and improper training can/will break a horse down.
                joint injections ... Many view such treatments/supplements as preventative maintenance.
                I'm assuming we are talking about injections that go into the joint aka joint injections (HA, cortizone), not Adequan or Legends? I've never heard of a horse receiving injections into a joint that was not presenting some sort of discomfort to warrant it. (Learn something new every day! )
                I'm curious (and feel free to PM so this poor thread doesn't further derail) what key indicators did you use to make that decision? Do, say, all your horses get joint injections once they reach 4th level?
                Last edited by Petstorejunkie; Nov. 17, 2012, 12:11 AM.
                www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                chaque pas est fait ensemble

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                • #28
                  Depo medrol is what they are using now I think. I spoke with a vet recently well versed with the current injection care.

                  They dont offer it only with uncomfortable horses because Legend on its own isnt really as good as a site injections and then using Legend or other general injections really help keep the maintanance longer.

                  This is just what I was told and I trust who told it to me.

                  Personally anything in the teens I do preventative care if he/she will be training in collection or jumping more than lightly. That includes injections in the hocks if I dont see squeaky clean results on a flex.
                  ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                  http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

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                  • #29
                    Interesting. Thanks NOMIOMI!
                    I've always used adequan and an oral joint supplement together for preventative maintenance.
                    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                    chaque pas est fait ensemble

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                    • #30
                      Schoolmaster

                      I support your upper level purchase and here is why: not all horses can do upper level work, my daughter worked as a working student for Olympian Hilda gurney and was in the saddle about 8 hours per day for 4 years. She had a second level horse and brought her up to 4th level then had to sell her because the horse was limited. My daughter did young riders but with a client horse because we did not have the funds for the schoolmaster. It was a long journey, she is a well accomplished dressage trainer now but the road would have been smoother if she had the schoolmaster to start with. What I see in our Midwest area is that many people get stuck around second level, I would look for a horse that is PSG. Prices have come down dramatically on horses in general. Be selective, take your time. As to price, and colic. PRE Andalusian with colic surgery 12yrs old sold for 50k about 2 yrs ago. I think he was PSG. He has been fine. If you want some advice from my daughter and she may know of some horses too: email her at
                      Www.dressagenow.com she would be able to give you some pointers. She teaches as well and I know she has to "tune up"
                      Her clients horses after they ride them a few times. I hope you can find someone to work with. Your schoolmaster will be your best teacher though. Where do you live?

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        As someone who occasionally peruses listings for upper level schoolmasters, I do see a fair number of non-traditional schoomasters -- arabs esp. -- that are priced a bit lower. If you are petite, smaller horses of any training are a whole lot less money and likely a whole lot less headache soundness-wise. I'm 5'10 and can't take my own advice...
                        http://behindthebitblog.com
                        Dressage, riding, sport horse blog
                        BTBbrowbands.com
                        Unique browbands for dressage and hunter riders

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                        • #32
                          I have exactly what you want, of course not for sale! Ask your trainer and consider a lease. I have just found the perfect lease for my guy. He is 16, sound! (had him checked by super sport vet, considering injections, vet felt not needed at all). Competed to I-1, but, although he can do all of I-1 beautifully, he has trouble putting it together in a test. Far from ready to retire. I had a lot of conditions on my lease (had to stay with current trainer and be ridden by trainer at least once a week to maintain his current level of training.) Not and easy ride, but will teach rider a LOT. They are out there, often not advertised.

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                          • #33
                            Originally posted by Drgiii View Post
                            She teaches as well and I know she has to "tune up"
                            Her clients horses after they ride them a few times. I hope you can find someone to work with.
                            This is a legitimate issue with not having a schoolmaster *and* a competent upper-level rider/trainer to help him/her maintain his ability to teach you correctly.
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                            • Original Poster

                              #34
                              Thank you all for the links and pm's. It has been most helpful! I'm hitting the road this weekend to try out a few horses. I was so excited (still am) but now i'm getting a little nervous.... I have never rode an upperlevel horse. I imagine it will a different ride than my current guy. What if I can't make them do anything?! If they have the horse tacked up in a double, would the seller be put off if I requested a snaffle? I have never rode in double. Also, I don't have dress boots yet so will be wearing my field boots with laces. Better than half chaps right? Any other advice as to not look like an idiot would be appreciated.

                              out west - I am so not suited for a lease. I get attached to a horse I click with and can't let go! My last horse (who I got when I was 12) passed a couple of years ago and I leased since then. Now the thought of giving my lease guy back gives me a lump in my throat. Hopefully finding a new partner to love on will make it easier.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Good luck! I hope you find your perfect match. I can understand finding leasing hard - it would definitely be hard for me, too, no matter how valuable it can be!


                                I think for the double you just ask. I think since you're new to this you want a horse you can ride in just a snaffle regardless (and any horse ideally can go in one) so their response should tell you a lot. The horse may go best in a double, but it's up to you if you want to have a horse who HAS to go in a double if that's the case. My guess is on some horses you will be able to do nothing, except perhaps passage when you want to walk. I've seen a few schoolmasters who throw it out and keep throwing it out if you're not using the exact aids they're used to. I would say be prepared for a feeling of power - it seems like more than knowing cues, it's accepting that the horse isn't about to dump you because of the greater feeling of power which most often gives folks trouble with upper level schoolmasters. So trust the people on the ground telling you about the horse, and remember to breathe. And have fun!
                                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.
                                -meupatdoes

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                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by AllWeatherGal View Post
                                  This is a legitimate issue with not having a schoolmaster *and* a competent upper-level rider/trainer to help him/her maintain his ability to teach you correctly.
                                  So so true!

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                                  • Original Poster

                                    #37
                                    Just wanted to clarify that I do have two wonderful trainers. I board with my h/j trainer and my dressage trainer comes over to give me lessons or I go to her. So far it has worked out great, I get to stay at a barn that takes excellent care of my horse but expand my knowledge outside of the jumping world. Just not sure this situation would work if I was trying to train a horse.
                                    H/j trainer does believe in teaching basic dressage (which is how I got started and now I just can't stop) so I have a nice dressage ring to practice in between lessons. Hope that helps!

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by WannabeDQ View Post
                                      H/j trainer does believe in teaching basic dressage (which is how I got started and now I just can't stop) so I have a nice dressage ring to practice in between lessons. Hope that helps!
                                      Just go and have fun.

                                      If you've been honest about your skills, few people will look down their noses at your abilities: you are where you are, that's why you're interested in their horses.

                                      Maintain a sense of humor. I spent a couple of minutes "riding" 1 tempis one day. Schoolmasters sometimes have their favorite movements and "interpret" all kinds of things as cues and I had an unstable seat

                                      A dressage ring/arena is far less important than a suitable rider for your horse. I cannot stress enough that "wonderful" isn't enough. The rider must be at least educated as the horse to help him/her maintain the level of performance. I don't mean to be discouraging, just help you be realistic ... and avoid disappointment if potential sellers tell you the same thing.

                                      I just got a lovely young horse and she was made available to me only because of my trainer. Not all sellers of young horses are so strict, but in my experience, most people with schoolmasters are.

                                      Also, be prepared to not like riding a schoolmaster. As netg says, the feeling of power can be disconcerting. I have been on horses that I felt were just too much for me. Nothing bad happened, I was just overwhelmed by the physical ... presence (not sure how else to describe it).
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                                      • #39
                                        please please consider keeping the horse in part time training and take lessons weekly with a dressage trainer. I think it will really help you get started on the right foot. The horse is only as good as his ongoing training!

                                        Buy the style of horse you want to ride regardless of level/tricks. Those can be taught. Just make sure you enjoy the horse and feel comfortable. I know I won't be ok riding a level that is a large step up from my current level (1st)-- for me a good third/4th level horse would be ideal.

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                                        • Original Poster

                                          #40
                                          Thanks I will keep this in mind. I have no problem asking for more help if it is needed!

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