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Hunter to Dressage..

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  • Hunter to Dressage..

    Ok I have a 10 year old almost 11 year old TB that was bred for the hunter world have been doing that very successfully over the years she was very successful in the IHF.... I just moved to a wonderful stable were the primary focus is dressage.... So I am working with a amazing dressage trainer and she really likes my horse... But I am starting to think I am nuts or that my horse is going to think I am nuts... because she has mastered the hunter thing and now I am throwing her for a complete loop and asking her to do the dressage thing.... She is built like a hunter naturally am I crazy to be asking her to become at least a lower level dressage horse now... Help me out I just am probably freaking over nothing but I just want to make sure I am not asking my horse to do something totally different then what she was trained and/or bred for... Thanks for all your advice!!!

    PS This horse is like my child!! If she didn't love to work so much I would be totally happy keeping her as a pet!!

  • #2
    I think there's LOTS of horses that weren't bred and trained for dressage that not only manage to do it, but are better for it. At the lower levels, it's flatwork that is a good basis for any discipline, and it's good for the rider too. As long as you give her time to figure out that the rules have changed and you don't try to cram her into a frame in the name of dressage, I think you will probably both benefit from some dressage lessons, and probably even improve as a team. Then over time, you can decide if you are enjoying dressage and want to pursue it, or if it was a fun change of pace but really the hunter world is more what you enjoy. Just take it slow, and try to take an attitude of "Try this, you'll like it!" with lots of praise as you are teaching her new things, and I bet she will catch on pretty quick. If she seems bored with all the flatwork, see if you can incorporate work with poles or cavaletti's to help her understand what you are asking of her by going back to something she is familiar and comfortable with. Good luck!!
    Gallant Gesture "Liam" 1995 chestnut ottb gelding
    Mr. Painter "Remy" 2006 chestnut ottb gelding
    My Training Blog: www.dressagefundamentals.com


    • #3
      I keep all of my hunters at a dressage barn, young and made.
      If your mare is made you should be able to do dressage at home and then still pick up and go to a hunter show at whim.

      My made one has a personality that made him most suspicious of the switch (out of the three), because he loves to go in the hunter ring and say, "I GOT THIS LET ME DO IT."

      He spent a little while wondering why I was being "so bossy" and not "just letting him do it", and "whatever, I am offering THIS you should be HAPPY WITH IT," which is his response when he doesn't fully understand something, but that is his personality, not the discipline.

      Once he figured out what I was after he threw himself into the work and now my trainer says there is no reason he shouldn't go at least PSG. He now sees everything as yet another opportunity to show off his most excellent mad skillz and finds that lengthenings, for example, suit his ego brilliantly.
      The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
      Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
      The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


      • Original Poster

        You guys are awesome!! Thank you... I always need reassurance... My trainer has been awesome about the whole deal too she even told me last night... Your mare has so much potential she just doesn't know what we are asking for yet... but she will and she will be successful because she LOVES to learn... She told me right now she is riding her like a 4 year old when it comes to frame and stuff because she is use to a long and low hunter frame not a higher dressage one... So it sounds like it will be a great thing for both her and I... My plan was to for sure take the winter off from jumping (Maybe a fence here and there because she loves it) and focus on dressage, and go from there... I know my trainer thinks the mare has it in her not only from looks and movement but from trainablity so who knows what the future holds... Thanks again for being my crutch!