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Why can't my horse do grand prix?

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  • #41
    I agree. Practicing the movements in isolation is not very challenging. If a horse is a 'Grand Prix' horse it means the horse can perform a GP test and score a 'team horse'; type score. The other kind is purely exhibition riding, and can be structured to conceal, rather than reveal, the weaknesses in the horse's training. The tests are designed to expose every flaw or hole in the training, there is a reason extended movements are followed by collected ones, and the test systematically tests every single part of the horse's training; there is no place to hide.

    And as the Spanish and Portugese riders said in interview, riding exhibition is not anywhere near as difficult as riding a test.

    Having a trainer ride the horse sometimes and having a lot of lessons isn't always bad. It depends on the trainer,, the student and the horse. Some people learn a lot in these arrangements.

    In one case back home, a trainer advised a very slight, weak, inexperienced training level rider to buy a powerful, heavy, large grand prix horse with a lot of gait. The trainer showed the horse alot, benefitted a great deal from the exposure, and the student took occasional lessons on him...and after six years of not being able to control the horse or do the FEI work she hoped to do, she gave up and sold the horse.

    Another student, very similar in build and experience, bought a very aged small quarter horse that someone, for fun, had taught all the Grand Prix work. he was too old to be shown and the movements really weren't very correct and weren't (ever) done with any collection. The student enjoyed riding and felt no time pressure or goals, and the lack of show quality didn't bother her. She could plop around on the horse when the trainer wasn't there, and spent the rest iof the time with her young kids.

    An ambitious young rider was given nearly two hundred thousand dollars by a doting relative to buy a horse. She had ridden first level at local shows on thoroughbreds and quarter horses. She bought a very powerful horse that had been trained to Prix St Georges and was quite young and had a lot of potential to go on, but was not the easiest ride. He was hot and very strong. She was very strong, healthy, tall kid who loved to gallop and feared nothing. She got with one of the toughest coaches in the business and took 5 lessons a week on that horse and another two lessons each day, one on a green third level horse and one on an old schoolmaster, and the pressure was incredible, she didn't have any time between lessons to practice, and she was expected to 'do it - NOW!'. she did great. in a year, she was riding and showing third level, in another year, the FEI. and she worked her tail off, went on to be a professional. The trainer worked her hard and trained her hard, but didn't take advantage of her.

    No one situation is always right for every person and just because someone is with a trainer doesn't mean it's a bad situation. As long as the person is honest with himself (or herself) the arrangements can work very well.

    Comment


    • #42
      Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
      So, Nuno, who never showed didnt ride GP???
      I have no way of knowing whether he did or not. All I know of him are the photos I've seen on the net and a few videos of him. Based on them, I would say he was not capable of riding a good GP on those particular horses.

      Comment


      • #43
        Touche ToN!

        I'd say it takes training at least one horse to play with the GP moves without having it ridden too much by anyone else so you have to fix your own mistakes and learn by them and take the time to keep the horse sound. Plus a competitive GP ride at least at National level that really can piaffe, passage extend and sit with power and movement to spare...then you have one tiny tiny idea of what it involves and you can start.

        Comment


        • #44
          I remember hearing somewhere Nuno did compete, but only on a handful of occassions.
          I also believe I read something about him separating what he did from "competition riding."
          Here's a quote from him that may shed light on why he didn't compete much, if at all:
          "When you get off your horse,
          it is not the people who looked at you or the judge.
          It is the horse that turns around and by his supple body
          and kind eye that is seeing the riding I gave it,
          as the one tribute I take as a student."
          -----
          Personally, I no longer get much out of going to shows. I've done fairly well over many years and had a couple horses that won almost everything. I just don't miss it. I get so much more happiness riding around my own arena working with my young horses.

          Comment


          • #45
            Originally posted by twnkltoz View Post
            I understand that the majority of horses (and riders) never get to the grand prix level. Why is that? What's so hard about the upper level movements that some horses can't do it? Or, is it that the horses can perform the movements, but lack the flair (or whatever) to be competitive?
            Most horses of normal conformation and willing temperament can learn to do the various movements that constitute Grand Prix, given a rider of sufficient knowledge, tact and skill. However very few have the strength to do them well enough to be at all competitive.
            In the 'old days' (25 odd years ago) there used to be a lot more skilled riders around and far fewer super talented horses, and you saw alot more 'ordinary' horses doing GP. Some better than others.

            So given, adequate normal conformation, a willing temperament and the right rider most horses can learn most of the movements that constitute GP.
            yours
            MW
            Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
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            • #46
              Originally posted by Melyni View Post
              In the 'old days' (25 odd years ago) there used to be a lot more skilled riders around MW
              In the USA?----I totally disagree with this statement.

              Comment


              • #47
                Dressage does not claim to be a panacea. It does claim to *improve* a horse to the best of the horse's ability, within that horse's physical and mental limitations. All horses have limitations, and dressage cannot overcome a horse's physical and mental flaws. Also, GOOD dressage will make these improvements, and few people are capable of riding the kind of dressage that will actually create a difference in a horse.

                Originally posted by Two Simple
                So if that's the case, then I would thoroughly expect ALL horses to be competitive at GP! And since they're not, then DON'T claim that your sport so greatly improves all horses! Because it doesn't!
                Somehow, I think this is the attitude that gets you "clobbered". Improve does not equal all horses being competitive at GP. I don't know where you got that generalization.

                Comment


                • #48
                  if i advertised a product that would 'improve your golf game' would you insist that means you'd beat tiger woods?

                  it's just not a logical statement. two simple, you love to complain about dressage so much that it's quite incredible. i hope it brings you a lot of pleasure to do so. the dressage literature is not exactly going out and forcing people at gunpoint to do dressage, there's not really a lot of prosteletyzing going on. not any more than in any other discipline.

                  and no. doing dressag doesn't mean your horse will be perfect. it says improve.

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    Originally posted by ToN Farm View Post
                    In the USA?----I totally disagree with this statement.
                    25 years ago I was in Europe and saw quite a few.

                    The USA is not the the world y'know! There might have been fewer around in the USA but elsewhere there were plenty. ANd there were some in the USA, but not often recognized.
                    Chuck Grant who trained a Saddlebred to GP (not competitive but the horse(s) did do the movements
                    Lendon Grey who trained Seldom Seen, a Connemara/TB.
                    Hilda Gurney who trained a TB (Keen) to a very competitive level of GP.
                    And there were others, that's just off the top of my head.
                    MW
                    Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
                    Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
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                    www.knabstruppers4usa.com

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                    • #50
                      Originally posted by Two Simple
                      You still didn't speak to the pandemic issue that generally GP horses are not manageable or rideable to the general old joe blow. Why? Why does the horse increasingly become more difficult to ride and unable to be handled by average horsemen and women? slc just mentioned it a few posts ago. I've read it 1,000 times on this board. "GP horses aren't for beginners." "GP horses are special. They're different. They're athletes, not pets." yadda yadda yadda. WHY? Why is it that a discipline which claims to IMPROVE a horse so much, creates a monster that only olympians can handle?

                      I can put a beginner kid on my experienced trail horse and she'd carry the kid safely and happily all day. Why can't your GP athlete do that? Why is he too hot? Too "special" to do this? It makes no sense.

                      Dressage people CONTINUALLY claim that dressage makes a horse more rideable. Does it? I hardly think so! Instead they increasingly become more hot and difficult and require a "PROFESSIONAL." This is why you see all these warmblood owners hanging off the shirt tail of their PROFESSIONAL. They hire the trainer to ride the horse, to show it, to handle it, to market it to the public. The trainer makes the decisions. The owner pays the bills and never gets to enjoy their horse because they can't even ride the thing! I just can't understand this.

                      Sure, your T, 1 and 2 riders will be doing their little thing with their horse, and that's fine. But once people progress to 3, 4, I1, etc. they end up with this horse that nobody can ride except the PROFESSIONAL. Makes no sense.

                      As far as I see it, dressage really does nothing to make the horse a better all around citizen, or more rideable. And THAT is my big gripe with dressage! People have this vision if they just ride dressage, their horse will morph into an angel, when in fact they generally get increasingly more difficult to handle and ride as they progress. And that's fine, but don't claim that dressage is the holy grail of the horse world.
                      TwoSimple, would you put a beginner rider on a top notch reining horse? A well trained WP horse? Cutting horse? Hopefully not. As a horses training progresses, they become more and more tuned to the aids, and a beginner's crude aids will confuse them. Now, assuming that horses have individual personalities, some take that confusion, and shut down, some take that confusion and their heads pop off- and the rest fill the space inbetween. There are TONS of horses that you can take to GP that are perfect schoolmasters, perfect for AA's. You still have to ask correctly, but they won't put you in the dirt if you make a mistake. There are also horses who need a pro with their whisper soft aids to ride. That is in ALL equestrian activities, not just dressage.

                      I used to ride a WP Arab mare for my Uncle. She was "thought sensitive" with me. When I was done showing her, I had to retrain her so her owner could ride her. It took a while, but I was able to de-sensitize her enough so he could take her on the trail and have a blast with her. He would never be a subtle rider, so she had to learn how to listen to his aids and not freak out. She was virtually unshowable after that because she wasn't nearly as immediate and "on the aids" We could do schooling shows, but class A was out.

                      One of the things I am working on with my horse now is "immediate' answer to me giving him an aid. I'm asking him to off of my leg 100% of the time with a whisper quiet touch. That is what is needed to advance in my training, that is what most beginner riders can't do for their horses. The rider is as responsible for much of the ride.

                      Of course, this has all already been said to you before, you just like to come in and stir the pot. It's too bad you are unable to understand.

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        Here is a video of a horse that today most people would not even look twice at to do GP on and some folks might tell you a horse of his type could not even do it correctly. I hate to say it but what I saw on this video...other than the average moverment, was just as good as what I saw on some of the videos Theo put up. This was Seldom Seen's retirement ceremony in 1987 and I hope this is inspirational to everyone with an "off breed" who wants to take their horse as far as they'll go. This video was posted on UDBB yesterday and so far on that thread Lendon Gray even posted about her experience with Seldom Seen. Here is a quote from her post:

                        "And as you see from the beginning of the video he was an extremely average mover. I agree totally that there are many wonderful horses that could be developed to be very succesful competition horses with correct and careful training. My interest in Dressage was always to use it to make whatever horse I had, a better horse. I got my biggest thrills from taking an average or even sub-standard horse and making him a decent horse. What a treat it was to take that downhill funky mover and get a 60% and be 10th in the class. That was more gratifying than going to the Olympics. The Olympics gave me fame; my training of "alternative" horses gave me satisfaction."

                        http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...dressage&hl=en

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                          if i advertised a product that would 'improve your golf game' would you insist that means you'd beat tiger woods?

                          LOL!

                          Yes, IMPROVE and compete at the highest level are 2 VERY different things!

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                            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.
                            LOL, what percent of the colts foaled at Piber are even selected to train?
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                            • #54
                              very few, carol, and the people at the riding school are always griping that they can only take very few each year.

                              as for why a grand prix horse isn't a beginner mount, that's a ridiculous question and a ridiculous idea.

                              a trainer teaches a horse to respond to the tiniest aid, to invisible aids, to a whisper of aids, and to have so much power that if you ask it can leap through the air on its hind legs, trot in place, or leap forward in gorgeous passage, respond with all his power in an instant, on a hair trigger response, and to respond with so much impulsion to every leg aid or eveyr perfectly coordinated rein aid that he is right up in the bridle, and you think a ham-handed beginner who doesn't even know how to half halt, or to balance his rein aids with his leg aids, can ride him? it's a ridiculous requirement. so is it a ridiculous requirement to expect a horse that is fitter than a race horse and tuned to respond instantaneously to the most skilled rider, to slog around like a dead head when the environment is reactive. it's silly. it's a requirement you have, two simple, and that's fine, but it's nuts. it's just not logical. it's just another one of your attempts to downgrade the riders you see when you look around you, and to justify how much you complain and pick on other people.

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                very few, carol, and the people at the riding school are always griping that they can only accept very few each year. look at the piber website and see what's for sale to the general public. like any breed, only a small percentage are suitable for taking into training for a career in upper levels of dressage.

                                as for why a grand prix horse isn't a beginner mount, that's a ridiculous question and a ridiculous idea.

                                a trainer chooses the most reactive, hot-off-the-aids, light, balanced, athletic horse he can find, with an abundance of energy and desire for forward impulsion, teaches a horse to respond to the tiniest aid, to invisible aids, to a whisper of aids, and to have so much power that if you ask it can leap through the air on its hind legs, trot in place, or leap forward in gorgeous passage, respond with all his power in an instant, on a hair trigger response, and to respond with so much impulsion to every leg aid or eveyr perfectly coordinated rein aid that he is right up in the bridle, and you think a ham-handed beginner who doesn't even know how to half halt, or to balance his rein aids with his leg aids, can ride him? it's a ridiculous requirement. so is it a ridiculous requirement to expect a horse that is fitter than a race horse and tuned to respond instantaneously to the most skilled rider, to slog around like a dead head when the environment is reactive. it's silly. it's a requirement you have, two simple, and that's fine, but it's nuts. it's just not logical. it's just another one of your attempts to downgrade the riders you see when you look around you, and to justify how much you complain and pick on other people.

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  Originally posted by Two Simple
                                  You still didn't speak to the pandemic issue that generally GP horses are not manageable or rideable to the general old joe blow. Why? Why does the horse increasingly become more difficult to ride and unable to be handled by average horsemen and women? slc just mentioned it a few posts ago. I've read it 1,000 times on this board. "GP horses aren't for beginners." "GP horses are special. They're different. They're athletes, not pets." yadda yadda yadda. WHY? Why is it that a discipline which claims to IMPROVE a horse so much, creates a monster that only olympians can handle?

                                  I can put a beginner kid on my experienced trail horse and she'd carry the kid safely and happily all day. Why can't your GP athlete do that? Why is he too hot? Too "special" to do this? It makes no sense.

                                  Dressage people CONTINUALLY claim that dressage makes a horse more rideable. Does it? I hardly think so! Instead they increasingly become more hot and difficult and require a "PROFESSIONAL." This is why you see all these warmblood owners hanging off the shirt tail of their PROFESSIONAL. They hire the trainer to ride the horse, to show it, to handle it, to market it to the public. The trainer makes the decisions. The owner pays the bills and never gets to enjoy their horse because they can't even ride the thing! I just can't understand this.

                                  Sure, your T, 1 and 2 riders will be doing their little thing with their horse, and that's fine. But once people progress to 3, 4, I1, etc. they end up with this horse that nobody can ride except the PROFESSIONAL. Makes no sense.

                                  As far as I see it, dressage really does nothing to make the horse a better all around citizen, or more rideable. And THAT is my big gripe with dressage! People have this vision if they just ride dressage, their horse will morph into an angel, when in fact they generally get increasingly more difficult to handle and ride as they progress. And that's fine, but don't claim that dressage is the holy grail of the horse world.

                                  For the same reason the beginner driver is not taught to drive in a Formula One racing car.
                                  The GP horse has been fine tuned to follow delicate shifts of weight and subtle aids. Little kids and beginner riders can do neither of those until they have developed the motor skills and balance to sit still and quiet and only move the bits they need to move to give an aid. As well as having to develop the ability to follow the horses movement wihtout impeding the horse.
                                  BUt you are wrong to say that all GP horses are hot monsters, a few might be at the top of their careers, but most of them are not. I have had several that retired from the show ring to teach less skilled riders and who in their later years became very good schoolmasters for kids and one who even works in a handicapped program.

                                  The principles of dressage training do improve all horses, as in, make them more ridable, more supple and better able to interpret and follow the riders signals. You can use the priciples of dressage to teach a horse to be supple, obedient and balanced under the rider, and NEVER set foot in a little 20 X 60 rectangle with a set of letters around it.

                                  The term dressage is from the French word "dressur" which means to train! It is also used to describe a competition wherein you perform a specific set of movements in an arena, which might (or might not) involve use of the principles of dressur!
                                  The principles of a training system should not be confused with the performance of a specific sport.
                                  YOurs
                                  Melyni
                                  Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
                                  Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
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                                  • #57
                                    After the last WEG

                                    After the last WEG2006 at Aachen, the Dutch Jumping Team won the Gold Medal and another Dutchman riding for Belgium the individual Gold Medal, there was an interview with these riders. The most of these riders stated that they had many benefits of the dressage-trainings they got from Coby van Baalen the last years.

                                    But also: In the Netherlands you first have to score points in dressage before you are even allowed to start jumping.

                                    Theo

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      Ahhh...Two Simple...perhaps it is your definition/perception of the term rideable. Yes, a GP horse does have to be rideable in the way another poster described...responding immediately to very subtle aids, capable of great levels of collection and power. The movements are so demanding and in such rapid fire in a GP test that the horse has to be rideable. It also takes a very athletic and in a sence energetic, powerful and sensible horse to succed at this level. Likewise, the rider needs similar qualities...this is truly an athletic endeavor.

                                      Correct dressage will improve a horse...in the sense of helping them use thier natural athletic abilities...straightness, etc. It will not make them "dead broke", trail safe or deadheads. It also by no means will guarentee GP success for them

                                      So, no, many upper level horses are not suitable for beginner or poor riders for the very same reasons they are so successful. I for one have no problem having a hotter FEI horse...and I respect that the help of my trainer keeps him rideable. Perhaps dressage is just not the sport for you.
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                                      • #59
                                        Originally posted by Two Simple
                                        Of course not! But then those disciplines don't claim to make a horse more rideable do they? So it must be true then, that dressage makes the horse LESS rideable!

                                        No, dressage is about training, not just the horse, but the rider too. My horse is much more ridable than he was when he was "just a trail horse". I am also a better rider. I can move him over with a change in my weight, turn haunches, turn the forhand, he's more adjustable at all gaits, and I can pick a spot when we are jumping, he's quick off of my leg. He's using his hind end better because he has been taught how to. This is a horse that had thousands of trail miles before I got him, he is a better trail horse for ME and a better jumping horse and a better riding horse in general. He is also sounder and stronger than he's ever been. Dressage is what gave him back muscle, not riding inverted along the trail.

                                        A WP rider will claim that their horses are well trained and isn't the entire idea of WP being a horse that is enjoyable to ride on the trail... western ... pleasure? Well, that Mare I used to ride wasn't a pleasure for a rider who wasn't trained to ride with subtle aids, when I retrained her, she was a pleasure for her owner, but no longer a winning show horse, and less of a pleasure for me to ride because I had to work at asking her what I wanted.

                                        Dressage is about training, not creating a dead head, that is what Dude Ranches are for. 8 different clueless riders a day. That will make a horse a good trail horse, or insane.

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          Another example may be

                                          Let's have a look at Steffen Peters horse Floriano.

                                          The connection between the neck of Floriano and his head is very small and thin. Only very good riders can keep him On or Before the vertical. During the GP of Steffen at WEG2006 we saw that even Steffen had some problems to solve this fact. Because Steffen has a very soft touch and a wonderfull seat he could manage a good ride on Floriano.

                                          However I am almost sure that with a beginner this would have become a disaster.

                                          Theo

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