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Draft X and dressage...WWYD? **UPDATE**

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  • Original Poster

    I just want to clarify...

    This trainer has not offered to sell me one of their own horses, has no commission/kickback on this particular horse, and has not pushed a horse on me in all the time I have been looking. I asked for an opinion, and I chose to go with the info I was given.

    I do not want to spend the money only to struggle with a battle I can't win later on. I already did that with my last horse, it cost me more that I care to think about physically, emotionally, mentally and financially. I don't care if the horse never goes to PSG, or if it's not a world beater....I DO care if it's not physically able to do the job from the get-go. That's not fair to either of us.

    I'm asking for a safe, solid citizen to help me reach my goals, and since I'm new to dressage I need a professional to help me see things like movement, conformation, potential for lameness, etc. I don't blindly follow every crumb from my trainer's mouth, but I do listen and take it into consideration, that's why I pay him.


    • #42
      I'd also look at her (or any horse you get right now) from a resale standpoint. You may not WANT to sell her, but things may change and you may need to. Sane and reliable will always be saleable later on. A friend of mine just bought a TB/Clyde cross as her first horse. The mare has rather nice movement, but her brain is really what we wanted. It's her first horse and she's only been riding about a year. The mare can take a joke and carry on anyway. I can think of several places I could take her tomorrow and get her sold pretty quickly if need be. She'd make a great field hunter. She'd make a great h/j. She'd do great in the dressage ring. She's big enough for bigger men, but light enough to be athletic.

      Fwiw, a friend of mine does straight dressage on full Percherons. One of her geldings showed through 4th level. He probably could have gone GP had she not been the limiting factor.


      • #43
        My experience is that draft Xs change and mature a great deal between 3 and 5 years old. I bought a PMU baby as a 3-year old, a Clyde/QH/TB X, as a project to start and then sell on. I was hoping to sell him before I moved myself and my other horse (a Shire/TB X -- yes, there is a theme here) to the UK but didn't find a buyer in time. So I had to put him in training with one of the trainers at our barn, as I had to move abroad regardless of whether horse was sold or not. About six months later, I came back for a visit and went to see the horse. Wow, it did not look like the same horse! When I'd left, he was this awkward, gangly thing with okay but not great movement. Now he had matured into a solid, powerful creature with much lighter and more fluid gaits. If I hadn't gone to the UK for grad school, I would have probably been stuck with two horses forever as I would have struggled to make myself sell that guy, he had become so nice! One of the reasons I had bought him in the first place was that although he had a lovely temperament, he didn't seem that fancy or gorgeous so I thought I wouldn't feel bad about selling him.

        Then there is the Shire-TBX who I have had for over fourteen years. The trainer I had when I bought her advised me not to. She said the horse would be hard work because she was heavy up front and at the time, leaned on your hands like a freight train (which was training issue). Trainer was also accustomed to people buying extremely fancy, well-bred warmbloods and in hindsight, it's pretty obvious that she wasn't that into "non-traditional" dressage horses. At the time, I said, "Okay, but I really like her." I got a vet check and my vet said, "If you don't buy this horse, I will!"

        She has been a great horse, who will do decent 2nd/3rd-ish level, trail ride, jump, and remains sane and sound and in full work. She maybe could have made 4th, but not with me riding her. LOL. She could have been an amazing lower level eventer, but again, not with me as her rider as I am too much of a weenie to jump much over 2'9. I know loads of people who bought the uber-fancy warmblood and had to retire it in its mid-teens. This is her on her 20th birthday:


        Do you have any pics of this horse, OP? I'd be curious to see what it looks like.

        Edited to add: a great brain will sell a horse more than fancy movement, should you need to sell. Your average ammie owner wants something reasonably pretty, but that won't kill them. I think something sane that's an all right mover will appeal to a bigger market than something that's a gorgeous mover and a nut. Like an earlier poster said, sane horses with stunning movement are in a whole 'nother price bracket.
        Help me keep my horse in peppermints and enjoy a great read! My New York City crime novel, available on Amazon.


        • #44
          Buy the horse that will make your heart happy. Too many people pass up the perfect horse for them to buy the perfect horse for the arena. Riding should be fun so buy the horse that you will enjoy.
          "My treasures do not chink or gleam, they glitter in the sun and neigh at night."


          • #45

            It sounds like you have a very good relationship with your trainer and made an informed decision.

            Think about considering something that is unstarted, but quiet. There are various reasons babies don't get started, sometimes until they're 5 or so. And if you aren't in a big hurry, consider a two or three year old, that might have a growth spurt case of the uglies. Your trainer should be able to look at pictures of the foal, 6months, 1 year old pictures, and watch it move and reasonably predict how it might look in a couple of years.

            One of my best horses ever was a 2yr old Hanoverian I got for next to nothing 30 years ago. My attorney got him in payment for a divorce, I got him from her as payment for starting another horse she had. He was mud brown, his herd mates had chewed his tail off, he had a slight scar on his face and a head like a moose. The breeder had him thown out back, didn't want to tell anyone who his sire and dam were her was that homely. Until he moved. Oh, he didn't quite know where his feet were, yet, but there was enough there, I thought he'd grow into himself. He was always big and homely, but he grew up to be a fabulous mover, a wonderful partner and went to PSG during his career after I sold him.

            Even if you spend $$$$$ you really never know exactly what you're going to get. It is important though, to get what you need, especially starting out. Have fun in your search.


            • #46
              Originally posted by JustABay View Post
              Well it's not to be unfortunately

              Sent my trainer the video and he said it was probably best to take a pass as we'd be fighting her conformation and movement the whole way.

              Not what I was hoping to hear. Thanks everyone for the input and support, I think this is an evening to be one with my wine bottle
              somehow i missed this, sorry


              • #47
                I'm glad you got an informed answer from your instructor before purchasing.
                Best of luck to you in your search
                chaque pas est fait ensemble


                • #48
                  I would love to see what she looks like for educational purposes. May we?
                  “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
                  ? Albert Einstein


                  • #49
                    I have a Belgian/TB cross that I do dressage with. I love her. And the fanciness has come out more as her training progresses. We've shown second level so far and have scored well and receive quite a few compliments. If you like this horse, I say go for it!


                    • Original Poster

                      I'm able to PM pics if anyone is interested I also have video. I guess my concern is buying something with mediocre movement and already predisposed to having some issues later really is a huge risk. No matter how much I like her, it doesn't make her what I need, which is frustrating


                      • #51
                        I'd love to see video/pics but don't really know the details of what to look for-but I always like to see video and see what others say who are more knowledgable... So please put me on the PM video/pic list!

                        I wish it would have worked/could work out for you as you really like her, but regardless, good luck in your search!
                        LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...


                        • #52
                          I think she is STUNNING. . Would love to hear others' comments on her movement...but I wouldn't kick her out of the barn for pooping in the crossties
                          LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...


                          • #53
                            To be honest, I can hardly tell a darned thing about her movement, at least from the one video I was able to see. The horse was being chased through a jump chute and all you could see was that she could jump. I'd prefer better videos of walk, trot, and canter on the flat.
                            Help me keep my horse in peppermints and enjoy a great read! My New York City crime novel, available on Amazon.


                            • #54
                              I like her! Can't really tell how she moves from that video. Part of the problem is that her legs look a bit odd due to her coloring. I think she has nice short cannons but the white makes them look long. I too would like to see flat work instead of the chute thing. She doesn't have the room to move.

                              Still she looks bright and easy going.
                              “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
                              ? Albert Einstein


                              • #55
                                16.3 as a 3 year old could be 18 hds as a 6 year old. Draft horses keep growing forever. Last one I had was amazing. He topped out at 17.3. He was a halfbred and I swear the other half was saddlebred. Loved him to death.

                                He ended up with serious sidebone and was no longer sound at age 6. X-ray the feet because those issues can show up early and can be common in the draftier, "platter feet" horses.


                                • #56
                                  Originally posted by 2ndyrgal View Post
                                  I would suggest that not every trainer has their client's best interests at heart al the time. Perhaps her trainer was brutally honest and the OP knows that. Perhaps the trainer simply doesn't like her choice, won't be getting a commission and hasn't the skill to deal with a horse that dressage might be difficult for. I think if someone just blindly follows any advice that goes contrary to what their wishes are, because, well, she's the trainer, should ask all the hard questions and make a decision for themselves.

                                  People who "trust their trainers" are screwed over every single day in this business and get on here and post about it (See really expensive pony thread in HJ forum). Now, perhaps the trainer said, honestly, with what you told me your goals are, you're going to have a much more difficult time reaching them with this horse, and the op made her own decision.

                                  But... as I said, the OP should (and could have) ask the trainer what the plan would be if she already owned the horse, or, went in the face of her wisdom and bought it anyway. Unless is truly looks and moves like it should be pulling a beer wagon (which is not how the horse was described) it all pays the same. I can take a lesson on a horse I paid 2K for or a horse I paid 30K for and the trainer is going to charge me the same amount of money. cheap horse pays same board rate as expensive horse, and..... because it will be a challenge, I'll likely need MORE lessons and MORE training. So...... all I'm saying is it needs to be a decision that OP will not feel bad about down the road. It is about what the OP says she wants, not what the trainer thinks she wants her to have.

                                  I might take my trainer to lunch and buy a meal for her, but I'm not going to let her order for me, I'll eat what I like thank you.

                                  Same with horses. Get what you want if it makes you happy, life's going to get in your way in a hurry anyway pretty soon. Enjoy your horse while you have time to do so, and, if time gets scarce, you won't have the additional agony of having a fancy, unused horse in your barn, you'll have one you can let sit, knock the dirt off of, and go trail ride.

                                  I'm all about self reliance. It's fine to have help, but at some point, they stop reading out loud to you, teach you the alphabet, and hand you the book. It should be the same with horses. You should grow. Always.
                                  This Post!! In spades.
                                  I think YOU have to be able to trust your feelings, I do not think the trainer is the last word.
                                  Something spoke to you about that mare, I am older, and have purchased horses that were maybe not so perfect but I loved them and spent a good many years with one in particular.
                                  You answer to your heart, and your trainer should be willing to work with what you are wanting. There are lots of trainers, but how many do you swing a leg over that say something to you?
                                  Your first post said it all OP. That is not a feeling that one comes across every day. Just my opinion.


                                  • #57
                                    I had a trainer who said s/he (gender masked intentionally) would not train another draft or draft cross. I really wanted a draft cross but I went with the trainer and was looking at TBs. I have nothing against them, I cut my eyeteeth on OTTBs as lesson horses, but I really wanted a draft. So I was living life on the Down Low, I was a closeted lover of drafts who was evaluating TBs in public. Then someone sent me a flier for a big blue Shire cross for sale and I broke down in tears.

                                    Others had to remind me that I was buying a horse for me with my money. That is not to say that trainers don't have great insight (like I wouldn't buy a green horse because green+green=black and blue right), but I should look at the type I wanted.

                                    The shire had sold, but I got an awesome Percheron/Standardbred cross. Sure we have our challenges (those are two breeds that just don't see the purpose of a sustained canter ), but we're learning together. He's safe and reliable without being a dead head and I love heee.

                                    Needless to say I lost that trainer when I told him/er what I did. But I found this awesome barn and now am trying all kinds of activities I'd never thought to do.

                                    Life is short, you're buying a horse for your enjoyment, so buy a horse you'll enjoy.

                                    And remember: Man plans and God laughs. You may start out thinking you know what this horse is going to be for and that might change. Then what? Better have a versatile horse I say.

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


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Thanks everyone for all of your kind words and support

                                      I haven't exactly had an easy or good run over the past little while with horses, and I'm beyond gun shy to buy. I don't take my trainer's word as gospel - he plays in a bigger financial sandbox than I do, with clients who can afford much more than I can as an adult ammy on a budget. I trust he knows what he's talking about and I trust his eye.

                                      A lot of you have said to buy what makes me happy. I did originally, and it ended up in heartbreak as the horse didn't want to play and I kept trying to make him. After several long frustrating years of trying everything under the sun to make it work, I called it quits and gave him away. In the beginning, he DID make me happy... It wasn't until my expectations and goals were raised that we started to have issues. I'm worried that this will be the case again with this new horse.

                                      I'm not fiercely competitive. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to show, I want the ribbons, the experience, the goals, and the journey, good and bad. I don't aspire to GP - it would be nice but I don't think or know if I'll ever have the time or money to get there. I DO want a horse that will take me to at least 2nd or 3rd level and be competitive. I don't want to just show up and know that a ribbon is out of the question before I even get there. Selfish, I know but that .25 cent piece of material is a validation of all the hard work and effort that was put in to get there and while I know I can't have a ribbon every time out, once in a while it's a nice affirmation of my work at home.

                                      If my trainer puts the kaibosh on the horse now, do I buy mediocre anyway and try and see where it gets me? Trying to find a diamond in the rough on a budget is almost impossible and I'm worried I'm just settling and will wind up heartbroken again when or if the trainer's predictions happen. I know there is no crystal ball to predict the future but I spent so much time and money on the last horse that I just don't know if I can do it again.

                                      I know nobody can answer this but me, and that's probably the most frustrating part of all... I wish that someone could just give me the answer and then I could either say no and move on, or yes and call my vet.

                                      Anyhow, thanks everyone again for your support


                                      • #59
                                        Originally posted by JustABay View Post
                                        No matter how much I like her, it doesn't make her what I need,
                                        That is probably the smartest, sanest thing I've read on this board, ever. Good luck in the horse hunt.

                                        FYI, When I bought my first horse, the phrase that went through my head was "She'll do" and worked out well. I fell in love with the second one, and she's been a disaster for any number of reasons. Next time I'm going back to "she'll do".
                                        Visit my Spoonflower shop


                                        • #60
                                          What about finding a good lease? (Says the person with a lame horse pondering the financial intelligence of horse ownership...)
                                          Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique