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

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  • #61
    I've read a lot of the posts, and it's evident there is no one "right" answer. A horse we are drawn to and love can end up as bad a fit and heartbreaking as one we are indifferent to , or it can be a great happy ever after.

    Imo, the larger issue with this horse is that she is only three. The same draft cross at age five, you'd know pretty much what you'd have.

    For what it's worth, here is my advice:

    Think hard about how much pursuing dressage means to you vs just enjoying having a horse.

    Expecting one horse to be everything, soul mate a great trail buddy AND be talented enough for decent and 3rd level scores is a stretch, no matter the budget. So if your main goal is dressage, even at the lower levels/wait/save up for the best prospect you can manage. If just the joy of riding and owning is what you want and if dressage is doable with horse it's a plus, then more horses would fit the bill.

    Even a modest goal of doing the lower levels is not cheap...yes you can spend a modest amount on a horse, but the lessons are the same $ and so are show entry fees. So, if that is your goal, might as well have a fairly capable horse or else it could be an uphill battle of frustration.

    For what it's worth, here is my advice.

    IF dressage is MORE important to you, don't buy Save for a year or so. A year goes by fast and perhaps you can half lease a horse or just ride once a week and keep saving. Use all the money you would have spent on board and vet bills and shoes and put it in the horse buying fund.

    If just riding and owning a horse is the main joy and you truly don't mind if the horse is not capable of doing well in dressage, then buy what you love and will enjoy as a buddy horse.

    best of luck and none of it is easy ...):
    Last edited by Countrywood; Jun. 16, 2013, 08:35 PM.

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    • #62
      OP, that's a wise choice. I won't buy a horse that I won't like, but it's very possible to find a horse that you like that suits your goals as well.

      Comment


      • #63
        I've read the posts and though it sounds like you've made your decision based on what your trainer says, I wanted to chime in for a second.

        I've known several draft crosses who were dressage horses. Only one was pretty from the ground, and he was a Clydesdale cross who had ALL his feathers, and all the traditional markings, and I think he was showing at PSG when he had to be put down. Another I knew was solid 4th level. I've ridden three personally -- one you can't pay me enough to ride again, but that's because of how he was trained (and I'm a good rider, but when he gets the bit in his mouth, there is nothing you can do!).

        The other two were young, green Arab/Percheron crosses who I adored. One had a habit of "clocking out" whenever he felt like it -- just there one second, nobody home the next -- but he grew out of it. The other was a real tryer -- a bit spooky, needed a confident, quiet rider, but once he trusted you, you had him.

        To me, the attitude is worth far more than the movement.

        And draft crosses, as others have pointed out, are notoriously slow-growing, She could be in the middle of a growth spurt right now, making evaluating her movement, conformation, and future difficult.

        That said -- be prepared to go through many saddles, if you buy her. Her back will change drastically as she gets into work and she grows and fills out. That's something else to consider in your financial future with any young horse.

        Comment


        • #64
          Originally posted by Countrywood View Post
          what I more mean to say is that we have to make choices, and expecting one horse to be everything, fun, move our soul mate to be a great trail buddy AND be talented enough for even decent and 3rd level scores is a stretch, at any budget.
          I tend to agree with this, with the caveat that I currently own 2. If you're on a budget, you're often faced with the choice between flashy/talented yet crazy/broken, or very very green. One of mine was the former, and the other was the latter.

          If you want to go out tomorrow and win at 3rd level with competitive company, save up. If you want to go out 5 years from now and win at 3rd level with competitive company, the equation changes dramatically.

          For what it's worth, neither of my horses started out as pleasant to ride (indoors or out). If you're doing dressage on a budget (as I am) you're going to have to make your own 3rd/4th/FEI horse and make your own well-broke trail moseying mount. My now-FEI guy would lose his mind when I rode him outdoors. He's still not a rock-solid competitive trail prospect, but I can at least take him out on the trails on a loose rein (as long as I've coated him in flyspray).

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          • #65
            I am currently working with two draft crosses, one is a TWH x Belgian the other is an Appaloosa x Belgian. They are night and day from each other. The TWH x Belgian is forward, can jump the moon, collects and extends like a dream, and could really go somewhere in the world. He is also a bit of a spook and needs to know that you mean what you are asking or he will decide for you. The other is lazy, lazy, and lazy. She is the type of horse that was born broke. Not much phases her. She likely won't get far in the competitive world and has zero talent as a jumper, but she will try her heart out for you and fiercely loyal to her person. I really wish I could take the two horses and smush them together. Her personality with his talent.

            Anyway, being a draft cross alone is not a reason to discount a horse. It sounds like in this situation you need to really think hard about what you want to do. Also, don't financially put yourself in a bad situation. Who is to say you buy this horse and then a week later they get seriously injured? Are you going to be able to afford to take care of them?
            Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
            The Blog

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            • #66
              I have a draft cross mare, TBxPercheron, she kind of looks like a draft that got shrunk in the dryer.
              She hasn't grown an inch in the two years I've had her, 15.2 at 5 years old. She doesn't have the greatest conformation, really long in the back, and has arthritis in one hock.
              She is currently sound and we are solidly schooling training level, soso first level. My coach says she has the nicest walk she's seen in a long time, and a clinican had a similar comment. She has a pretty great trot once warmed up, and canter is getting there.
              We would be showing but obedience is an issue.
              She had a questionable start in training (I witnessed the 'trainer' that broke the horses and the riders who they were then passed on to...) I would say she learned very early just how strong she is.
              She has a mile long stubborn streak and very strong opinions, but I think that's what I like so much about her. I have learned more about riding in the last two years than in the 13-14 years before, she challenges me and makes me work for it everyday. But I'm still young and I still bounce, as the older ladies at the barn would say.
              I've changed my expectations and goals because I love this horse and she has a forever home with me. I will be ecstatic if we make it through a test at a schooling show, and when the time comes that she's only walk sound (which will be sooner than later) I will be content to hack her, and lesson on other horses.

              I rushed into it when I bought her, but I had already been riding her for 6 months and was already pretty attached. So while I wouldn't change things, I would advise someone in a similar situation to step back and really think about things.
              I didn't have a coach or anyone else to advise me at the time, I was just caught up in how much I loved the horse.

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              • #67
                Wow -we so need a support group! I have a 15.3 11 year old Percheron/Standardbred gelding. And there are things I can lift right out of your post and say for myself:

                "He has a mile long stubborn streak and very strong opinions but I think that's what I like so much about him"

                "I've learned more about riding in the last 2 years than in the 13-14 before. He challenges me and makes me work for it every day"

                "I've changed my expectations and goals because I love this horse and he has a forever home with me"

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

                Comment


                • #68
                  Having seen videos of the horse trotting and cantering, I'd say that she isn't an *exceptional* mover but she is okay, and she has naturally balanced gaits, which is a good start. Even canter. A lot of draft crosses have crap canters, but this one doesn't. I guess I don't quite agree with the trainer's assessment that she doesn't move her hocks enough and that's her out of contention. The horse is THREE and she is reasonably well put together. I don't see any reason why those gaits couldn't be improved as the horse matures and develops more carrying power behind. From what the OP says, I gather she has a nice, trainable nature and that counts for a lot.

                  I see why the OP might want to hold out for the fancier, flashier mover, but if she's on a budget, she may have to take a hit on temperament or just get extremely lucky.
                  Help me keep my horse in peppermints and enjoy a great read! My New York City crime novel, available on Amazon.

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by 2ndyrgal View Post
                    I got my big guy when he was 3, just at 16h, looked like an old style irish TB type, big bones. He didn't stop growing and filling out until he was almost 6, he topped out at 17.3 and probably 1600 lbs. He wasn't "drafty" he was just big. While I wouldn't expect a mare to fill out quite as much, she will change.
                    Yes, this. I haven't been around a lot of young horses so not sure what normal growth is, but the Appaloosa x Belgian cross mare that I am working with just grew another two inches this spring and continues to fill out. She was in the extra wide wintec gullet before her growth spurt, now we are looking at treeless and trying to avoid going custom for her. So, that is another thing to keep in mind, saddle fit may be a challenge and likely won't be cheap unless you get lucky with a good deal on a Duett or go treeless.
                    Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
                    The Blog

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                    • Original Poster

                      #70
                      Ahhhh the catch 22!

                      Here is the best logic I can come up with

                      Buy at top end of budget, leaving little to no money left for tack/equipment, lessons, and a minimal prepurchase - BUT will have a fancy (er) horse, and a better chance at reaching my goals, but on a longer timeline as the training budget will have to be axed to pay for said fancy horse's inflated purchase price.

                      Buy at the mid/low end of the budget, leaving lots of cash for training, tack and all the other goodies a new pony needs - BUT be left with a lesser quality horse.

                      Can I just ask...

                      Why do unbroke 3 year olds with some breeding behind them start at 20, 000? Why are started 4 year olds priced at 30k+? Who is buying these horses?! Who can afford to buy these horses?! I've been laughed off the phone by several breeders when I told them what my budget was. I don't understand how these prices are so inflated! It's ridiculous!!

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by JustABay View Post
                        Ahhhh the catch 22!

                        Here is the best logic I can come up with

                        Buy at top end of budget, leaving little to no money left for tack/equipment, lessons, and a minimal prepurchase - BUT will have a fancy (er) horse, and a better chance at reaching my goals, but on a longer timeline as the training budget will have to be axed to pay for said fancy horse's inflated purchase price.

                        Buy at the mid/low end of the budget, leaving lots of cash for training, tack and all the other goodies a new pony needs - BUT be left with a lesser quality horse.

                        Can I just ask...

                        Why do unbroke 3 year olds with some breeding behind them start at 20, 000? Why are started 4 year olds priced at 30k+? Who is buying these horses?! Who can afford to buy these horses?! I've been laughed off the phone by several breeders when I told them what my budget was. I don't understand how these prices are so inflated! It's ridiculous!!
                        It's been discussed on these forums ad nauseum if you do a search, but try adding up expenses yourself - from up to $7k or so to put a foal on the ground to 3/4 years of feed, vet, farrier and time - since this is a business for breeders, just think if they paid themselves minimum wage for their time working with their youngsters! Now think about broodmare purchases - ones who did well in testing in Europe are most prized, so they cost a decent amount even before you think about import costs!
                        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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                        • #72
                          If I were the OP, I'd visit the draft cross mare again and if I had the same feelings about her, vet her, and/or look into other "off" breeds. I have seen Morgans, Arabs, OTTBs, and various things working well at Second or Third Level. Prices for warmbloods can be pretty nuts, at least in the US (they are cheaper in Europe). That's the market -- sure, it cost breeders a lot to put a foal on the ground, but they will price horses according to what people will pay, and people will drop $30K for a backed, talented Euro-warmblood. Other breeds can be a lot more affordable.

                          You never know how your interests will change or evolve. When I bought my Shire-TBX, I thought I wanted to be competitive at Third Level or so, but over the years I gradually lost interest in competitive dressage. The mare, however, has proven herself to be an excellent all-rounder. Trail riding, dressage, jumping, playing gamely along with me doing dumb things (broomstick polo was a winner -- she didn't mind being hit in the face with a broom). On one hand, you can worry that you will have to sell a horse because it's not talented enough. On the other, life happens and you really wish you could just bum about on the trails, so you end up selling your talented, but nutty dressage horse.
                          Help me keep my horse in peppermints and enjoy a great read! My New York City crime novel, available on Amazon.

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Originally posted by JustABay View Post
                            Ahhhh the catch 22!

                            Here is the best logic I can come up with

                            Buy at top end of budget, leaving little to no money left for tack/equipment, lessons, and a minimal prepurchase - BUT will have a fancy (er) horse, and a better chance at reaching my goals, but on a longer timeline as the training budget will have to be axed to pay for said fancy horse's inflated purchase price.

                            Buy at the mid/low end of the budget, leaving lots of cash for training, tack and all the other goodies a new pony needs - BUT be left with a lesser quality horse.

                            Can I just ask...

                            Why do unbroke 3 year olds with some breeding behind them start at 20, 000? Why are started 4 year olds priced at 30k+? Who is buying these horses?! Who can afford to buy these horses?! I've been laughed off the phone by several breeders when I told them what my budget was. I don't understand how these prices are so inflated! It's ridiculous!!
                            I am in the same boat......I got a young unbroken unhandled but good moving and bred horse at my top budget. At the time I thought .well I get him broke and trained myself with lessons and I would be so proud. I SO REGRET THIS mistake!! I am too old for this and I am having no fun and now no money (training).

                            So got of track....What does make this young horses so expensive when you can get a nice,sane,BROKE horse for 30k? So who buys these high priced unbroke horses? I guess I am a tad jealous of those who can. I don't make much money and also having to settle and try and "make a Horse". I would agree with the ones who stated Start with the best your money will get you and then enjoy the ride.

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              An interesting discussion and ....the mare sounds workable and decent, barring any weird growth spurts, so who knows if the trainer's advice is best or not.

                              the one thing I do know, in hindsight is that if one wants to do well at even lower level competition, it is costly.

                              This sport should be labeled DRE$$AGE.

                              One can buy ay modest price horse, but then there is the saddle, (or saddles, as can happen). Cheap saddles don't work for most, and if your horse is hard to fit, plan on spending $ .

                              Instruction even once or twice a week is expensive, as is boarding with a decent arena, show fees, etc.

                              If I had to do it over, as a non wealthy person (which is me, doing okay but non wealthy), I would wait two years, save like crazy, put the money aside I'd be spend for board ,and THEN buy the best quality prospect I could , whatever the breed, AND make sure I had a workable amount left for lessons and emergencies.

                              If a person doesn't have the focus and discipline to save two years in order to do it passably right, might want to reconsider. It is a mental sport and the successful people have a lot of discipline, whatever their income level. It is not a spontaneous type sport.

                              If this is not your mindset, buy a horse to enjoy and ride and do occasional dressage type schooling, otherwise the whole thing is a time and money suck that only leads to a bunch of frustration and struggle. (JMO...)
                              Last edited by Countrywood; Jun. 17, 2013, 06:56 PM.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                " if intends to do even decently well and show at 2nd level , it takes a lot of discipline and strategy. It is not a spontaneous type sport."

                                Well said. That was my failing. I could have showed Second Level with more success than I did, but lacked discipline and strategy and got distracted by other things. Finishing university, then a PhD, music, mountaineering, general dossing about... The people I know who were successful at dressage for the most part spent more money on their horses than I did (so there is that) but more importantly, completely dedicated themselves to the sport. They did the working student thing for a long time, took multiple lessons per week, trained with an actual plan, showed most weekends, etc. My view is that if you're not going to be one of those people and you're not made of money, then it's not worth it to buy the $30k huge mover. I mean, if you can easily afford it, why not, but if you'll be selling the house to buy the horse and you're not prepared to sink your heart and soul into dressage, than it's surely better to buy the slightly more average horse that you can afford (and you never know where that horse will go -- there are always the Seldom Seens of the world). To me (in my stunningly average way), dressage is about improving the way of going of whatever horse you have in front of you. I think you can enjoy that process with almost anything.
                                Help me keep my horse in peppermints and enjoy a great read! My New York City crime novel, available on Amazon.

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                                • #76
                                  You are wise to listen to your coach, OP.

                                  Here's the thing, if your goal is to make it as far as you can in dressage, then you need a horse that doesn't have "fail" branded on its ass. No matter what people like to say, ability plays a role in this sport... especially when the rubber hits the road at second level.

                                  I will say, however, that if you have narrowed your options to drafts and draft crosses, it will likely take a lot more time to find the right animal. If moving up the levels is truly your top priority, then things like breed or color shouldn't matter.

                                  Good luck with your search.

                                  Comment


                                  • #77
                                    Originally posted by JustABay View Post
                                    Ahhhh the catch 22!

                                    Here is the best logic I can come up with

                                    Buy at top end of budget, leaving little to no money left for tack/equipment, lessons, and a minimal prepurchase - BUT will have a fancy (er) horse, and a better chance at reaching my goals, but on a longer timeline as the training budget will have to be axed to pay for said fancy horse's inflated purchase price.

                                    Buy at the mid/low end of the budget, leaving lots of cash for training, tack and all the other goodies a new pony needs - BUT be left with a lesser quality horse.

                                    Can I just ask...

                                    Why do unbroke 3 year olds with some breeding behind them start at 20, 000? Why are started 4 year olds priced at 30k+? Who is buying these horses?! Who can afford to buy these horses?! I've been laughed off the phone by several breeders when I told them what my budget was. I don't understand how these prices are so inflated! It's ridiculous!!
                                    You are in college with your whole life in front of you and (hopefully) a well paying job when you are done. Don't over extend yourself financially now.

                                    I am in a similar position, my friend has a draft cross mare that I like a lot. She is very laid back, great trail horse, working on the arena stuff. She is not a jumper, which is something that makes me a little sad as I am really getting into the jumping stuff. She will never be a a top level dressage horse, but I hope that she could with work make it to second level, and honestly second level is my goal. In my area we have an excellent dressage association that only offers tests to second level.
                                    Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
                                    The Blog

                                    Comment


                                    • #78
                                      Originally posted by TickleFight View Post
                                      I will say, however, that if you have narrowed your options to drafts and draft crosses, it will likely take a lot more time to find the right animal. If moving up the levels is truly your top priority, then things like breed or color shouldn't matter.

                                      Good luck with your search.
                                      Yes, this. My lease gelding is a Belgian x TWH, many people turn their nose up at the idea of that cross. However he is a brilliant jumper, does 3'6'' with ease and could likely go higher but I don't have the nerves and owner doesn't want the wear and tear on him. He is also a decent dressage horse but jumping is really is calling. Not what a lot of people expect from a draft cross.
                                      Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
                                      The Blog

                                      Comment


                                      • #79
                                        A lot of us will have varying opinions based on our personal experiences, but you have been given valuable food for thought in this case, and only you can give the "right" answer.
                                        I missed the post with the links somehow, but my tendency would be to say skip this one. I have a TB with whom I hope to reach Grand Prix, so it's not out of thinking you must have a warmblood, but I trust my trainer's opinion on my horse's ability.There are some exceptionally nice draft crosses out there, both due to careful sport breeders and due to the PMU industry. There are also some who are fantastic for other purposes but with conformation which would make them very hard to advance through the levels of competitive dressage. Given my desire to move up levels with a sound and happy horse, conformational tendencies toward the movements are very important - but since I have no delusions of being a world beater with him, incredible gaits are not as important to me.
                                        It's all about balancing what matters most to you - I have known a draft cross who would have been an upper level e enter if started young because he had great movement for eventing - a long, flowing stride which collected easily but with little enough suspension to avoid wearing himself out with it and a great jump. He was built like the TB side with great bone and extra power from the draft side. A number of members of this board actually have quite nice draft crosses, too, who are nicely suited to dressage. If this horse isn't suited, others may be.
                                        Good luck!
                                        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

                                        Comment


                                        • #80
                                          Then there's the fact that a good draft cross is just fun, especially when you get cantankerous and curmudgeonly about competition dressage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnHR7dAYCdo. You can't be curmudgeonly and grumpy about that.
                                          Help me keep my horse in peppermints and enjoy a great read! My New York City crime novel, available on Amazon.

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