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Why can't my horse do grand prix?

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  • #21
    short answer:because it's really hard.

    not as short answer:because it's different with every horse and sometimes different depending on the day and still hard

    btw, agree w/ the rider being impt. friend who trained at rehbein's was sure he could make a mule piaffe.


    • #22
      I think the horse's mind is more important (excluding the rider) than anything else. I've seen downhill QH's learn FEI movements...they may not do them well, but like Ideayoda said, they do them in a fashion. I've seen the most physcially talented horses in the world have such silly minds and poor work ethics that they couldn't do good training level work.


      • #23
        I think most horses could works its way to GP. I don't mean to disrespect or demean the "competitive" aspect of dressage and those great horses-- BUT the whole concept of dressage was to take a "regular" horse and make them great through discipline and training.

        Gait abnormalities and unsoundness (mental or physical) are the only things I can think of that would cause a horse to be completely unable to comply with what is being asked. I once knew a woman who had this 7 year old mare that couldn't even get around the arena without her nose being in the air, and this paticular mare wasn't a stellar mover, and didn't possess superior conformation. This lady was determined and worked slowly and 13 years later wouldn't you know this little mare was doing piaffe/passage, tempis, etc. The mare I might add did not break down mentally or physically from those demands.

        She wasn't competitive, it took forever to get there... but the point is, she DID get there.


        • #24
          podhajsky and others said that not one in 10,000 horses can do the grand prix. then dressage came to america, LOL, and that was no longer acceptable.

          alot of horses do a type of 'housewife FEI'(not my term, don't blame me), where they do the work, they get around the ring, sure, but without enough, real or correct collection, mostly in working gaits. or at least in what to a demanding trainer with standards, is 'working gaits'.

          this kind of thing confuses observers who don't realize what is going on.


          • #25
            The average horse, with decent conformation, and most importantly - 3 clean, pure gaits, should be able to make it to I1, and be moderately competitive. (scores in the low 60%)

            Those horses will most likely be able to do 2 of the 3 "hard" GP movements.

            there is a huge canyon between I1 and I2.


            • #26
              Why can't my average horse jump Grand Prix fences? It's a similar question with a similar answer. Extra-ordinary athletic talent is the answer.

              I read many posts from riders wanting to make it to GP when they aren't even at First Level. Once you reach 3rd or 4th level, you begin to have a better understanding of why horses don't get farther. Collection and suppleness at this level is extremely difficult. Along with this you need power and brilliance, something I feel is missing in many of the horses that have the talent for the P's (odg's baroque, etc.).


              • #27
                that involves keeping them sound for a long time. that, for most people who get to the point where they can ride well enough to move a horse up, is the problem.

                the FIRST thing that stops people from succeeding is their riding. the NEXT thing that stops them from moving up is the horse. no one seems to recognize that. it's not all the horse, and it's not all the rider. if a person can't sit the trot, can't do the basic things, can't ride forward, they aren't going to move up the levels. sure. but if they get past that, that's not the end of the story.

                and i don't see - well - MOST of the horses people select for themselves, staying sound for the ten years or more it might take. that means that any little slight defect in their conformation, any tendency of them to be 'hard' on themselves (say, if they have a heavy front end or a long, heavy neck, or a slight hind quarter, or any defect in their leg conformation, or well...just about anything else) that that is going to get put to the test.

                upper level horses have to be fit, and that means working, and that means testing their conformation. it has nothing to do with what traits most people look for in a horse, those are just cosmetic things and aren't important.


                • #28
                  Not all horses can make it to GP. Nor can they all get to second. We have a cute little perch/tb cross at our barn who has been ridden by a very good rider all summer. He qualified for regionals at first, with a respectable 68%. He will never make it to second. Oh, he can do "housewife" second as SLC mentioned above. He can go sideways, do renvers, travers, half pass, BUT NOT IN A COLLECTED BALANCE. He did go in the ring at second, nice accurate test, but no collection, score 55%. He is not built to sit nor elevate his forehand and he will not be able to. He is what he is, and many horses are like this.

                  Now, yes, I agree that the rider makes a huge difference. But do you know how hard it is to ride upper level movements in a test? I am trying to ride 4/PSG now. I can do a beautiful trot or canter half pass, from point Z (somewhere between the quarter line and the wall) to point Q (somewhere in the middle) but to try to put it all together into a zig zag, or from there to the pirouettes (and we can do a good one in the middle of the ring after doing about 6 schooling ones) is extremely difficult. Try it sometime. So combine very hard movements, put them in a very rapid sequence and see how many horses can get to GP


                  • #29
                    I think it's all rider related too. Obviously some horses will perform the movements better than others but once riders figure out how to ask for the movement then there is no reason why the horse shouldn't be able to do it, even if they do it poorly!
                    I think it's the learning curve hump thing. Once you get over the hump of not knowing how to do something and just figure it out then all of a sudden it seems achievable. I have a friend who one day last winter decided that she would learn to do canter pirouettes and the next week she was doing half canter pirouettes.


                    • #30
                      All toptrainers and riders will

                      All toptrainers and riders will tell you that between PSG/Inter-I and the GP/GPS you have the Alps, Grand Canyon and the Himalaya.

                      Why do you think the PaPi-class was introduced for riders coming from the YR-classes. The step from the Light Tour to the Heavy tour is much to BIG. And starting to practice Passage and Piaffe while you are still competing at the PSG/Inter-I isn't a very wise descission, so to make a succesfull switch between the Light and Heavy Tour you have to stay home for one or two years, which is for many riders a BIG problem.


                      • #31
                        Why so few horses make it to Grand Prix


                        rider ability
                        rider dedication

                        when all these factors come together, you win the lottery.


                        • #32
                          Sounds like those dang GP riders are doing it again, making it look so darn easy that every joe schmoe thinks they should be able to do it too.

                          Thinking most horses can do it is silly. Some people don't seem to be seperating movements from full tests. Or that it's a joint effort which takes talent on both sides, horses/rider. I agree with those that point this out.

                          I have a horse that can do many GP movements. He's built that way and has shown me he is capable of many movements that are considered quite hard. But darn it if I can get him to do a decent down transition or take the proper canter lead some days, especially at shows. It's his mind that causes most of our issues and when it's not him it's me (we both have off days). Putting all those movements together is amazingly hard.

                          I should say, I don't think people should be discouraged by this, knowing that it's hard or nearly impossible for most horse/rider combos. It should push us to do the best with what we have and take pride in that (so much easier said than done


                          • #33
                            The average horse who remains decently sound (ie no injuries, or bad arthritis) SHOULD with proper training and TIME/Conditioning be able to SCHOOL all the GP movements.

                            But schooling the movements- and putting together a test is a whole different shebang. you can take a QH and train it and spend time working and developing it and several years down the road that QH if luck has blessed it will be sound and playing some piaffe, passage, and pirrouettes and tempis. But that doesn't mean he can do it in a test (Or that by this point the rider hasn't stopped to have a kid, changed jobs, moved across country, sold horse yadda yadda yadda). Soem horses will neve rbe built to do this correctly- but they CAN do it if they ad developed properly and have a good rider on them. NOw putting the test together, doing it correctly (like i'm sorry a 8 inch downhill horse will not be as CORRECT in it's movement, gaits or collection) is another shebang. BUt ANY horse should if stays sound be able to train up to the point of WORKING those movements.
                            Qualified Saddle Fitter with the S.M.S.


                            • #34
                              But let's talk about

                              But let's talk about real GP, not the ones we have seen at the WEG2006 from tooooooo many people. For me it wasn't fun to watch 83 rides from which only 30 imo could be addressed at a GP-ride. The rest was doing a PSG test and try to survive the PAPI.

                              And I agree with the earlier posters that every horse can do (more or less) the heavy tour movements, but mostly when they want it to do themself and on the spot they choose themself. The hardest part is to glue all these movements together, and believe me in the GP there is NOT much time for preparing for the next movement. And last but not least it takes two horses to become a good GP-rider.


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Horsedances View Post
                                But let's talk about real GP, not the ones we have seen at the WEG2006 from tooooooo many people. For me it wasn't fun to watch 83 rides from which only 30 imo could be addressed at a GP-ride. The rest was doing a PSG test and try to survive the PAPI.

                                And I agree with the earlier posters that every horse can do (more or less) the heavy tour movements, but mostly when they want it to do themself and on the spot they choose themself. The hardest part is to glue all these movements together, and believe me in the GP there is NOT much time for preparing for the next movement. And last but not least it takes two horses to become a good GP-rider.

                                Exactly right Theo


                                • #36
                                  So is the horse only considered Grand Prix if you can actually pull a test together? But could most horses with three good, correct gaits and conformation learn to do the movements then? I don't think the OP was even implying that it might be easy to get to GP or wondering if she would be able to take him there but just in general, why couldn't her horse learn GP with whoever (insert name of your favorite GP trainer). I understand her question and it is somehing I have thought about.

                                  When some of you say that most horses wouldn't be able to "sit" enough for grand prix, do you mean to be competative or just period? Could most horses with a good trainer (again say your favorite GP trainer, ever) be trained to do the GP movements without perhaps not well enough to win or even score remarkabley well but to where it at least has the training? Or would that be considered the housewife GP? I am not talking about training a horse to do tricks but training a horse correctly but that perhaps might not be cabable of pulling off the incredible sit that a competative GP horse would need.

                                  After giving this more thought, I think I would agree with slc2 that the most important limitation (having to do directly with the horse) would probably be the horses soundness at that kind of level. The rider/trainer being the biggest limitation overall.

                                  Someone used the analogy of basketball. Sure none of us here could make it to the NBA but most of us could learn to play a decent basketball game!


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by Jenn2674 View Post
                                    So is the horse only considered Grand Prix if you can actually pull a test together?
                                    Yes, that is my definition of a GP horse. The Tests are what determines the level of horse's training, imo. You can ride the test at home; it doesn't have to be done at a show.


                                    • #38
                                      "So is the horse only considered Grand Prix if you can actually pull a test together?"

                                      Yes. Otherwise any horse that can manage a step of piaffe becomes a GP horse. A horse needs to be able to put it all together- as is required within a test- and be able to complete the movements at the very least to be considered even a schooling GP horse. That means 15 1's, 9 2's, a recognizeable pirouette, piaffe passage and the transitions between, counter changes in the canter, lock to lock half passes, the whole shebang.

                                      I don't believe every single horse born in the world can make it to this level, but I do agree that more horses would be able to do so if the riders were capable of training them. Whether that means a horse which can do the movements or a horse which can competitively do the movements to me seems moot- most people who can train to this level won't put in the time and work involved unless the horse is talented enough to be very show ring competitive.

                                      So, few folks are attempting to train the level backed camped out horse or the downhill low necked horse, and it's hard to know whether a horse such as this could manage to learn to do the GP. Horses can surprise you, just like people if they wrap their minds around something. I would not be shocked to hear that a very unusual comformed horse was able to do a credible GP test.


                                      • #39
                                        So, Nuno, who never showed didnt ride GP???

                                        And interesting imput here. I once rented an old film from German embassy (in Atlanta). It showed typical (army) officiers training (dressage), outside. Lungeing/jumping/dressage/etc. It showed horse after horse doing pillars and levade. They were expect to do that (apprently). Average horses, perhaps less than that as far as their type, but with wonderful scope. It also showed all to two tempis (because there was still a debate about including ones).
                                        I.D.E.A. yoda


                                        • #40
                                          Most likely a combination of many things:

                                          Physlical ability of the horse
                                          Mental ability of the horse
                                          Training of the horse
                                          Physical ability of the rider
                                          Mental ability of the rider
                                          Training of the rider

                                          And mostly

                                          Luck to match Horse and rider with all the qualities above

                                          And money to get them together and keep them together...and of course get them to show...

                                          It's a tall order...I think playing lotto has better odds!