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Not So Great at the Lower Levels but Stellar at the Upper Levels

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  • Not So Great at the Lower Levels but Stellar at the Upper Levels

    Do some horses just not show well at the lower levels but go on to do well at the upper levels?
    Dawn

    Patience and Consistency are Your Friends

  • #2
    Yes. In fact, it's more common. What you really want in an FEI horse doesn't usually do all that well at the lower levels. The quickness, athletic ability, and mind that needs to be challenged doesn't always go for that steady relaxed look that does so well at the lower levels. MY GP mare was MUCH worse at staying on a straight line and not doing 50 things at the lower level than she was doing the tempis or passaging. Same with my other FEI horse, who kinda did GP.

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    • #3
      I think it is very rare for a "bad" lower level horse to do "stellar" at the upper levels. However there are young horses that don't clean up and get 75% and up and training level, but go on to be successful FEI horse that can score upper 60's.

      Your future top FEI horses are usually beat by the super floaty, elastic youngsters (the type that later struggle with collection), but those future top FEI horses aren't doing poorly and I'd still expect them to regularly score 68-72%. Getting a 70 at training or first is not that hard for a correct horse.

      Poor gaits cannot be completely overcome with great training. Why a horse is not doing great a the levels needs to be looked at to see if it really has FEI potential.

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      • #4
        Yes, I think it is common. These youngsters still have good movement, but I think are just generally a different type of horse. They are quick, elastic and balanced but may not have the naturally huge, roomy gaits of the top young horses. The demands of upper level work are really different from the lower level stuff so it makes sense that there are often horses that cannot excel in both. That being said, I agree with the other poster that said that there is no reason these future FEI horses could not do quite decently at the lower levels but what I am saying is they are often not candidates for the FEI young horse tests ect.

        When I was in Germany last I was talking to a stallion manager about one of their stallions. He told me nobody would breed to this one stallion as a 5 or 6 year old because the horse " didn't have enough of a medium trot" , in other words he didn't stand out among the super movers of his age group. But now he is a confirmed GP horse and has won the big test for developing young horses there and likely will be on the German team in the future. He is a GP superstar and you would NEVER believe that there was ever a time this horse didn't have a WOW trot. I am sure there are many other horses that develop in this way.
        www.svhanoverians.com

        "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.

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        • #5
          Absolutly correct Donnella!

          I have been doing this for over 20 years(breeding) an d riding for more than 45.

          The "typical" YH star is usually not going to be your FEI competitive horse. Not saying they can't do it, but not going to excell at both.

          I breed for FEI and I do show my horses at a Training and above. They do/should score about 70 percent from the beginning. But they typically do better going up the levels rather than the YH classes.
          Maryanna Haymon- Marydell Farm - Home to Don Principe & Doctor Wendell MF
          www.marydellfarm.com
          2012 USDF Champion Breeder! 2007, 2011 USEF Champ Breeder
          2009,2010,2011 USDF Res Breeder of the Year!

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          • #6
            I think its very common that horses slated for the FEI levels by trainers who ride there often do not even see the ring until collection. One of the most interesting things that came out of the USDF trying to force people to qualify to come up the levels was a mathematical statistic that showed that the horses that did super well in training and first level was no statistical indicator ( none, zero, nada) of them doing well at second, or even getting to the FEI. it was the major reason why qualification was dropped.

            There are some horses that do really well in training/ first, that have big relaxed stride and rack up the sevens and eights, but completely lack the ability to collect, either mentally, or physically.

            I have two horses i am starting at the moment, one is going to do fine in the lower levels and one will probably not even see the competition ring till she is ready for second level. I would make money bets, right now, as to which one will have the athleticism for PSG, never mind the more advanced FEI work.

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            • #7
              I have one now that was horrible at the lower levels. He had the gaits, but doing big, boring 20m circles just wasn't interesting enough. He had too much time to look around. He used to bolt all over the place in the warm up ring and he didn't pay attention in the class. Gaits were good, mind wasn't focused. He's now scoring in the upper 60's at PSG and schooling all the GP movements easily. Has on the spot pirouettes and a gorgeous passage. All the tempi changes are a piece of cake for him. At the lower levels he was just too distracted by everything that was going on. He just needed more work to do - and he was well worth the wait.
              Tranquility Farm - Proud breeder of Born in the USA Sport Horses, and Cob-sized Warmbloods
              Now apparently completely invisible!

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              • #8
                My horse and I would be horrible at lower level tests because they are so slow. He gets bored easily, has too much time to think of mischief, and really only becomes amazing when he's doing fun and challenging things. He doesn't care about doing a 20 meter circle and there's no way to make him care.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tiki View Post
                  I have one now that was horrible at the lower levels. He had the gaits, but doing big, boring 20m circles just wasn't interesting enough. He had too much time to look around. He used to bolt all over the place in the warm up ring and he didn't pay attention in the class. Gaits were good, mind wasn't focused. He's now scoring in the upper 60's at PSG and schooling all the GP movements easily. Has on the spot pirouettes and a gorgeous passage. All the tempi changes are a piece of cake for him. At the lower levels he was just too distracted by everything that was going on. He just needed more work to do - and he was well worth the wait.
                  I'm certainly no upper level rider, and my horse is not yet an upper level horse. However, I am hesitant to show much at all right now because the lower level work is simply too easy for him. He's waiting for me to catch up so we can move up and onward to more interesting things!


                  I expect my young horse will be stellar at the lower levels in comparison to my gelding. She just naturally flows and reaches, whereas he has to work hard to get his most relaxed and most impressive.
                  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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                  • #10
                    I think it's not uncommon. I also think, in addition to what others have said about the difference between the young horse stars and the FEI stars, that some horses need time to learn to relax in the ring and the show atmosphere. Horse show scores don't always reflect the talent of the horse, they reflect the talent of the horse in the snapshot of time in the arena. Some horses' low level scores are marred by general tension until they become more comfortable in the show environment. They aren't going to be a 70s scoring Training/First level horse because they are too concerned with the environment, the crowds/horses, the flags, etc. (I'm talking some, not all, horses). Some people with sensitive horses just do clinics and off-site schooling before taking them to shows because they don't want a bad show record. And as the horse gets experience on the road, matures physically and mentally, and understands the job better, s/he settles in better with the more engaging mid-upper level work. On the flip side, some phenomenal young horses have amazingly loose and elastic gaits, but they don't have the physical or mental ability to sit/collect and conform to the rigors of upper level training.
                    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

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                    • #11
                      The OP didnt say anything about YH vs FEI. I think she meant a horse struggling at lower lever will do "stellar" later... I dont agree with that.

                      I know a few trainers personally who develope a horse into the double right away when their riders cannot maintain enough obedience at LL but thats for the rider not the horse.

                      Working gaits should be doable and somewhat easy?

                      Otherwise Id look to the training.
                      ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                      http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by NOMIOMI1 View Post
                        The OP didnt say anything about YH vs FEI. I think she meant a horse struggling at lower lever will do "stellar" later... I dont agree with that.

                        I know a few trainers personally who develope a horse into the double right away when their riders cannot maintain enough obedience at LL but thats for the rider not the horse.

                        Working gaits should be doable and somewhat easy?

                        Otherwise Id look to the training.
                        Depends on what the root cause of the struggling is. Working gaits at home? Unlikely to be an international FEI phenom. Focus at shows and/or lack of brilliance, but can really get work done at home? You may have an FEI horse in the making there.

                        Working gaits in and of themselves are easy, but the horses that blow training level out of the water (steady in the bridle, steady tempo, uphill and elastic gaits) may or may not have the scope or work ethic for PSG+. But there are a lot of horses that do ok (mid-60s) at TL-2nd, but really start to come into their own at 3rd+ (or PSG+, depending.

                        I own one. He's busy and enjoys throwing his legs around, so long stretches without a change of direction, figure, or movement are a recipe for full-on Dutch Harness Horse leg-mover action. Now that he's showing the GP with some success, I could probably take him through a TL test and clean up because I now finally have him so tuned to my aids that we can do anything. When he was greener, though, not so much.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rizzodm View Post
                          Do some horses just not show well at the lower levels but go on to do well at the upper levels?
                          Absolutely! And vice versa.
                          "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There are a lot of horses who show well at the lower levels but have limitations that will prevent good scores at the upper levels.

                            Then there are those who are too bored by the lower levels to pay attention , or just need the time and seasoning of the advanced movements to get themselves together to show their full potential.
                            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.

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