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Is this realistic for a horse?

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  • Is this realistic for a horse?

    Last spring I sent a mare I was prepping for sale off for "90 Days" of training with a young professional who I both trust and admire for her patience with "young" horses.

    This mare of mine was 5 1/2 at the time, but she had received NO u/s training, NO lunging. She'd worn a bridle 3 times -- all at inspections or shows. I'd put an English saddle on her once. I'd handled her alot and she was/is a pretty mellow gal, but she certainly hadn't gotten any "dressage" training.

    So obviously, she was very, VERY green.

    The trainer, per my instructions (and her own inclination) took her time with this mare. She was "worked" 5 days a week, but one of those days was a trail ride at a walk and one was a session in a free-jumping chute. So the mare was only worked in an arena 3 days a week.

    Horses being horses, the mare also chose this time to whack a front leg on a gate, so she got another week off with stall rest (she was slightly gimpy).

    So all in all, she got a TOTAL of about 35-40 actual TRAINING rides in the arena. This UTube video was taken on the last day (it's edited down ALOT).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmGztGTKZzM

    I was very pleased with what the mare was doing -- W/T/C quietly in both directions, took her leads correctly, was starting to reach towards the contact. She was working quietly, with no fuss, no spook, no silliness.

    But I've shown this video (the extended version) to two people who know "dressage" better than I do (or at least they claim to). One is the owner of a Grand Prix stallion (and rides at a lower level herself), the other is an amateur rider who has ridden up to 2nd Level.

    Both made comments which implied the mare should be farther along -- stuff like "well, she's obviously on the forehand."

    Well, where else should she be after only 35 rides? I mean, you couldn't even build up the muscles to BE collected in that short a time. Isn't that correct?

    NOT interested in a critique of the rider. IMHO she's very good and I really liked the way she works.

    But I'm interested in the comments of riders/trainers/owners who have seen plenty of green "dressage" horses started. I usually sell mine as weanlings or yearlings, or get them started by "cowboys" so my experience in this area is minimal.

    So tell me folks: after such a brief period of training, is this mare where you would expect her to be?

    As an aside, I brought her home and took her out on the trail twice (walk, alittle trot) and she was a jewel...no silliness at all. Personally, I was more thrilled with that than I was disappointed in the fact she wasn't doing tempis yet ,<g>.

    I am selling her as a dressage horse (because that's how she's bred), but to me that reasonable attitude OUTSIDE the ring is worth alot!

    PMs are fine if you feel you simply MUST say something snarky about either the horse OR the rider. But what I am honestly looking for a wider view than my experience I can offer.

  • #2
    I have not even opened the video because I can tell you that less than 90 days under saddle does not begin to scratch the surface of getting the horse working like a dressage horse. Tell the Grand Prix owner to start a few of her own before she makes these uneducated remarks.

    Comment


    • #3
      For a horse with 35 to 40 rides, I think she is going fine. For a mare coming 6, yes I agree she is behind. Not that I have a problem with starting them later, but it may not be seen as a positive with a lot of potential buyers.

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      • #4
        I agree with Angel. 45 rides is nothing
        Every time you ride, your are either teaching or un-teaching your horse.

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        • #5
          Personally, I think it is impossible to answer your question without knowing how the mare was before training and, actually, riding the mare to see what her tendencies are.

          Given your info, these are my personal, what-do-I-know thoughts: I think that after only 90 days of training, this mare is on the right track. She is mostly rhythmic and she's forward. She is using her back to the extent that she can right now, and I would NOT say she's much on her forehand given her level of experience. I do see her trying to bear down on the reins, though, and try to BE on her forehand, and I see the rider very tactfully not allowing this without making a big deal of it.

          In the canter transitions, your mare raises her head and braces her back. Again, I commend the rider for not making a big deal of this. It'll go away as she gets stronger and mentally gets with the program. Many a trainer would try to correct this and end up stifling the mare's desire to go forward in the transition.

          Anyone who says this mare should be further along, or who thinks this mare needs more aggressive training is nuts, IMO. And I would like to know one good reason why you should err on the side of pushing her rather than on the side of providing her with a solid foundation. The kind and sensitive and patient riding she gets now sets the foundation for her attitude about the work for the rest of her life. I think she looks great, and I think the rider is giving her a quiet, patient ride - exactly what ANY inexperienced horse needs! And I'm thrilled to see that she's gently jumped and ridden on trails.

          BTW, if you are selling a 5 1/2 year old dressage prospect who is a big greenie, I guarantee you will do better if she's greener with fewer issues than slightly more advanced with resistance issues.

          my two cents,
          IMO,
          J.
          Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by kkj View Post
            For a horse with 35 to 40 rides, I think she is going fine. For a mare coming 6, yes I agree she is behind. Not that I have a problem with starting them later, but it may not be seen as a positive with a lot of potential buyers.
            Well, actually I never intended to sell her. She was the first WB I ever bred and she is very dear to me. I planned to ride her myself in dressage and breed her some. In fact, she's had two foals, both of which scored nicely. Her '06 colt by Sempatico was 15th in the NATION o/o the 600-some foals inspected by RPSI.

            But Life takes funny turns sometimes...I am shutting down my breeding program, and this mare is honestly wasted on me in terms of riding dressage. I do SOME dressage, but my focus has turned more towards endurance. So I have an Arab/WB mare that will suit me for both those sports. And the mare in the video is sound AND seems to really crave far more attention than a broodmare usually gets.

            So, although she has great babies & is a good mom, I think she'd rather be a working gal <g>.

            I don't care if her buyer has big-time dressage goals or not...I'm not so sure the horses that belong to those people are always the happiest. I just think this mare would like to do something other than stand in a field and pop out foals.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by J-Lu View Post
              Anyone who says this mare should be further along, or who thinks this mare needs more aggressive training is nuts, IMO. And I would like to know one good reason why you should err on the side of pushing her rather than on the side of providing her with a solid foundation. The kind and sensitive and patient riding she gets now sets the foundation for her attitude about the work for the rest of her life. I think she looks great, and I think the rider is giving her a quiet, patient ride - exactly what ANY inexperienced horse needs! And I'm thrilled to see that she's gently jumped and ridden on trails.
              Thank you SO much for this answer! It's pretty much what I was thinking -- like, what's the frigging RUSH here?!?! I wanted the whole experience to be a happy one for the mare, because she has such an honest heart.

              But, like you, I was thinking "what do I know...?"

              Check this out if you want to see what a wild gal she is...

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UdD_TFISwo

              Comment


              • #8
                I think she is doing very well for her level of training. She is forward, in an appropriate frame for a green horse and I like very much that the rider is not trying to crank her in at this point and letting her go in a relaxed manner.

                You may think it is odd but I am training two ex-PMU mares for client. One is 14 years old and I rode her for the first time a couple weeks ago. The other is 10 or so. A horse is never too old to be trained as long as it's sound. Both mares are great students and are doing very well.

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                • #9
                  I've started/backed, etc a handful of babies and olders... Looks good to me for 90 days U/S. I wouldn't worry about what the other people said... Probably don't actually know where a horse should be after that much training.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Showing a sale horse video to anyone invites negative comments, because in case they or someone they represent might subsequently want to buy the horse, they'd want to negotiate the price DOWN. If you just want flowery praise, show the video to your non-horsey friends and family. But if you show it to dressage people, expect some criticism.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I second whoever said a greenie with no resistant issues is better than a horse with more training and issues.

                      I'd be PERFECTLY happy to have a horse that went around w/t/c without having learned to resist the bit, go behind contact, etc., especially after two months. I'm not a young horse expert at all, but I can tell you from my experience trying to break bad habits in trained horses, it's a HECK of a lot easier to put good miles on than redo bad ones.
                      So I think she seems just fine.

                      I'm also a big fan of starting the bigger/heavy horses later. Despite my love for OTTBs, I don't like that they are started so early [with respect to racing, not that they go to off the track careers soon after "retirement"].
                      Last edited by melodiousaphony; Dec. 5, 2007, 09:53 PM. Reason: clarity
                      ~T3DE 2010 Pact Clique~

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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Dixon View Post
                        Showing a sale horse video to anyone invites negative comments, because in case they or someone they represent might subsequently want to buy the horse, they'd want to negotiate the price DOWN. If you just want flowery praise, show the video to your non-horsey friends and family. But if you show it to dressage people, expect some criticism.
                        Actually, neither of these people who made comments were "shoppers". I can't really say what their relationship was to me or the mare without getting too personal.

                        And,as far as I'm concerned, any BUYER who doesn't like where she's at in her training isn't the kind of person I want to sell her to in the first place.

                        Again, I'm not looking for wild praise of her ability -- I strongly suspect she isn't going to make this year's Olympic team -- I just wanted a reference check on what one can honestly expect from this amount of training...that's all.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have been watching the progress of a six year old, just started u/s mare. She has 60 days under saddle now, and is walking and trotting (cantering when offered but hasn't been asked yet). Her owner would LOVE to see her going as well as your mare is. I think you have a great "greenie" getting the appropriate amount of forward and training.

                          Not sure what the "dressage" people you showed the video are thinking. I very much think you are on the right track!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            She is right on track and a lovely girl. I have several young horses right now, some younger some older, and she looks to be going very nicely. I think the girl riding her has done a great job! DO NOT LISTEN TO YOUR FRIENDS! Also, 3 days of arena work and a trail ride and free jump is EXACTLY the way to do it. You do not want young horses to get board with the same old same old. You want the "What are we gonna do today!" Actually, I am hoping to show my horse GP next year and that is pretty much how I work him, minus the jumping 'cause he doesn't have any talent. I don't want him to resent the work. Best of luck with her!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              FWIW

                              from my very limited experience helping a few breeders/friends on occasion with their young ones I can say that the experience of marketing a dressage prospect is daunting until the horse gets enough mileage to have at least schooling show scores that substantiate it's quality.

                              There are a some really, really nice dressage prospects I didn't have the resources at the time to buy that are now really rhythmic hunters - in one case the mare HAS nice scores at First level but was sold as an equitation mount. And she'd never jumped 3'6" either. Somehow the hunter buyers have more confidence in their assessment of the animal.

                              Agree with the others that you're on the right track. Good luck with the mare.
                              Forward...go forward

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Your mare is going VERY well for a couple months under saddle. I would be really happy with the progress at this point.
                                Not to be rude, but I would consider your "friends" ignorant on this matter.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Your "friends" should shut up unless they actually have some knowledge to impart. Which in this case, they don't.

                                  Your mare is going fabulously well for the short time she is under saddle- I think she is lovely, and am not surprised she has bred such lovely foals either.

                                  Even with her slightly advanced age, I would have no qualms about buying her as an FEI prospect with the work she is showing here after a couple of months.

                                  I really like the video of her in the tent! That was halarious!

                                  Find nicer and better friends. and don't ask these for any more opinions about your mare. She's a jewel.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by mazymind View Post
                                    I really like the video of her in the tent! That was halarious!

                                    Find nicer and better friends. and don't ask these for any more opinions about your mare. She's a jewel.
                                    Actually, it was a plastic hay tarp...a REALLY BIG tarp! Like 20x30 ft. I wanted to do something to show how easy going this mare is, so I had footage of me opening an umbrella over her head, walking her back & forth across the tarp, wrapping a sheet around her head -- and the grand finale was wrapping her whole body in that big, plastic tarp and walking her around.

                                    Honest to goodness, I had never tried that before! I had rubbed her with a tarp once or twice and of course she's had a blanket on, but I just figured if it didn't work I would just have footage of me being trampled as she stampeded off.

                                    But she didn't care. I had treats, so she suffered through the humiliation of being wrapped up like a pound of ground round....

                                    What I think is so funny is the "gallery" behind her. All the yearlings gathered to watch the show...I have wire fencing that you can't really see in the video, so it looks like all those other horses are just loose.

                                    We had alot of fun shooting that -- I bet DQs all over America are having a heart attack (or looking down their nose at me BEFORE they have their heart attack) over covering a VALUABLE dressage horse up in a hay tarp...

                                    Too bad the footage is so badly lit. Unfortunately an unexperienced friend was doing the camera work and she kept pointing the shutter too high, so the camera was judging the "light" by the sky behind us.

                                    As for the "friends" who made these comments -- what can I say? Both of them win ALOT in the dressage ring (one as a rider, the other as an owner). Both have been to Germany many times, watched top riders & top horses and the one with the GP horse obviously has seen "the best of the best" ride & compete.

                                    But again, this is why I'm going towards endurance and away from dressage. No one who has read any of my posts has any question about how I feel about what is (often) seen in the competitive dressage arena these days. Honestly, if this mare wasn't 16.1 and a WB, I'd keep her for endurance....'cause you're right, she IS a jewel.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Not my business but...

                                      Originally posted by Kyzteke View Post
                                      ....

                                      But again, this is why I'm going towards endurance and away from dressage. No one who has read any of my posts has any question about how I feel about what is (often) seen in the competitive dressage arena these days. Honestly, if this mare wasn't 16.1 and a WB, I'd keep her for endurance....'cause you're right, she IS a jewel.
                                      I feel it's a bit of a shame that you are moving away from dressage and selling this mare. She is a jewel, but you also seem to be the type of rider that she deserves; tactful and committed to not pushing through the basics plus you have a sense of humour! You sound like you're not going to keep her bubble wrapped because she's a dressage horse but will get her out to have some fun.

                                      You are a very compatible match.
                                      Supporter of Freedom of Screech
                                      Member of the EMG Diaspora

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Perhaps the comments were more directed at her age, not how many rides she has on her? I would say yes--ideally for 5 1/2 years old she's behind if she's just getting started under saddle but for so few rides I think she looks just fine.

                                        I just wonder if that's what they are referring to. Personally if I see a horse at 5 1/2 or 6yo that isn't already going under saddle, I wonder what's wrong with it.
                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                        "There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it"

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