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Thoughts on this prelim prospect?

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  • Thoughts on this prelim prospect?

    I'm horse shopping and went out to see this little 14.2 Morgan (I'm about 5'3"). He's 12 with tons of try. He formerly competed at 3-foot jumpers.

    I think I'm set on him, if everything goes to plan (and we all know how that goes!). I like him lots — he's got THE gelding personality that is hard not to fall in the love with. But wanted to see what others had to say about him

    He's been sitting in a pasture for five years so he's extremely out of condition. But despite that, his gaits were lovely and, while his back was pretty tight, his jump was clean. Very sweet and keen. He made me feel super safe with his jumping style. I think in the right condition with good flatwork, he'll definitely wow!




    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/_j...k/IMG_6315.JPG (no release *smacks self*)

    And his adorable face:

    And here he is "back in the day," jumping a 4-foot oxer:


    I have a full time job and obligations, so I'm looking at never getting past prelim . Right now, I'm schooling training level dressage with the greenie I'm working with. I'm a former jumper (up to 3'9" at A show level) and have really been getting into dressage the last two years. Me on another horse riding dressage recently: https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/_j...A/IMG_6946.JPG
    Last edited by AzuWish; Mar. 28, 2011, 10:29 AM. Reason: add the old pic

  • #2
    has he ever done anything outside the ring?

    You never know how they'll be out in the open until you try them...

    He's very cute, though!
    The big man -- my lost prince

    The little brother, now my main man


    • Original Poster

      Asterix, you bring up a valid point! I don't want an arena weenie on my hands.

      According to former owner, he has "he's trail ridden, done ditches and chased cows. Although he wasn't thrilled about ditches at first, he got to the point that he would canter up and jump it without hesitation."


      • #4
        I'll answer for Azu since I used to own him.

        He's done trail riding, galloped ditches, and chased cows when they got out I've never seen him stop at home, or away (his first show was 2'6" with no faults), although his first few times he would stop and sniff the ditch before hopping it.


        • #5
          I currently have a 13.1h Haffie/Morgan in training, who has a ton of jump. I'm running Prelim on a 15.2h TB. Teddy was 14.2h.

          So there are plenty of little Prelim horses, but 14.2 _is_ considered small for a prospect, though you will likely get 'cute points' in dressage. 12 is a bit aged for a prospect. I'm not sure if it's good or bad that he's done nothing for 5 years?? Less wear and tear, I guess, but.... 5 years?

          The photos don't scream Prelim prospect to me, but some horses have an indifferent jumping style over tiny fences. My TB still looks pretty casual at Prelim.... He's never been xc, and assume since you don't mention it you haven't either? Any chance of putting him through a jumping chute to see how he looks over bigger jumps, or taking him out and seeing how he reacts to ditches/water/banks? (edit to ad: saw subsequent posts, so, how he reacts to water and banks, and ditches after five years off!)

          Getting him to Prelim will be a STEEP learning curve, with both of you learning EVERYTHING (and unlearning some things) and the time limitations possibly imposed by his age. Just suggesting you be realistic. Are you working with a trainer? What do they think?

          That said, if I had a petite student who was looking for an UL prospect and they were absolutely broke, a dirt cheap horse with "try" is a good place to start. Assuming he's DIRT cheap. With the economy these days, an older, out of condition, basically green (yeah, he's jumped 3', but he's tense, inverted, and is going to have to learn flatwork), non-hunter-type pony is just not a big seller. I'd definitely check the giveaway forum before I'd shell out $$ for one.

          Third Charm Event Team


          • #6
            SM, my friend LUFFS her Morgan! I don't know if he'll even make Training (jump maybe, speed unlikely) but he's cute as a button and like you said, all full of try. DO EEET!


            • Original Poster

              Bax! *hugs*

              TC, did you see the updated OP with him over a 4-foot oxer?

              All great points and appreciated.

              I've been working with a cross-training type instructor the last year (mostly focused on dressage) and clinicing dressage. I think I've only had three jump lessons in the last year and two of those were on uber green ponies so they don't count towards my position!

              I'm moving (which is how I can now afford two horse; my other horse is likely retired before she got started) but I will probably continue to take dressage lessons and clinics when I get to my new location. We'll see who I can find in the area for jumping/cross country.

              It's Charleston SC if anyone wants to chime in. I "know" Michele Folden and another dressage instructor there and would probably be working with them.

              I don't expect to get to prelim in a year. I'd be happy to get this guy going beginner novice in a year! lol


              • #8
                I think there is a big difference between jumping a single 4 ft oxer and having the speed + scope + endurance + bravery to make it around prelim XC... I look at prelim for ponies as Advanced for TB's... many can do novice some training and very few prelim+... I have to be honest..I dont see prelim in him...but he is out of work... He is cute, but he looks kindof breedy and from his few pics looks like he has alot of work to do before he would even be competitive at novice...he also seems on the older end for a prospect..maybe if you wanted something to do lower levels, but by the time you get him to the level you want he will be getting up there in years... (sorry to be harsh, I have had too many horses not suitable for the job I want them to do and it is just stress and a heartache when it doesn't work out)


                • #9
                  I do like the big oxer pic!!

                  I think if you love him and he's sound, he could be a fun horse for you. I wouldn't think of him as a "prelim prospect" -- the two of you could go prelim, if he's still got that jump in him, takes to dressage, and can learn to be a proper xc horse.

                  But that's a lot of "if" -- so I would think more about just having him as a horse partner to learn eventing (am I right that you would both be learning together?) with.

                  You could have lots of fun getting comfortable and confident at BN and N. By then you'll know whether Training is something both of you could tackle...by the time you are confirmed at Training, you can take a look at that Prelim goal.

                  I'm not trying to throw cold water on this project -- it's just a long way from "jumped a few ditches" and "rider learning dressage" to Prelim for any pair.

                  Just buy him and have fun, and see how it goes!
                  The big man -- my lost prince

                  The little brother, now my main man


                  • #10
                    He looks cute and is probably a lot of fun...but he doesn't scream prelim prospect to me based on the photos.

                    I think you need to be honest about what you want and what is attracting you to this horse. Ask yourself and this horse's connections LOTS of questions.

                    Do you actually want to go prelim, or is that just a would-be-really-neat ambition? What kind of budget do you have? Is his age going to be an issue for your goals? Why has he been sitting in a field for 5 years?

                    There is nothing wrong with wanting a particular horse and being willing to work with him/her regardless of his or her limitations. But if your heart is set on making it to prelim, you may want to keep looking. To me, this is a very cute pony but you are going to be running against the clock given his age and you have no idea whether he will even want to be an event horse.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by asterix View Post
                      I do like the big oxer pic!!

                      I think if you love him and he's sound, he could be a fun horse for you. I wouldn't think of him as a "prelim prospect" -- the two of you could go prelim, if he's still got that jump in him, takes to dressage, and can learn to be a proper xc horse.

                      But that's a lot of "if" -- so I would think more about just having him as a horse partner to learn eventing (am I right that you would both be learning together?) with.

                      You could have lots of fun getting comfortable and confident at BN and N. By then you'll know whether Training is something both of you could tackle...by the time you are confirmed at Training, you can take a look at that Prelim goal.

                      I'm not trying to throw cold water on this project -- it's just a long way from "jumped a few ditches" and "rider learning dressage" to Prelim for any pair.

                      Just buy him and have fun, and see how it goes!
                      Good Advice - Who knows what you and the horse will want to do in 2-3 years? If you really have a connection with him - buy him. Morgans are such great horses and he just may end up being a great horse for your kids and/or husband.
                      "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                      Courtesy my cousin Tim


                      • #12
                        well, it's hard to comment on an "off" type of prospect unless we are there and able to feel him go.

                        I would say no.
                        But Mark Todd said no when he first saw Charisma. He had traveled pretty far to see the horse so he had a feel in the saddle anyway and liked his rolling motion so much that he gave the little guy a chance.

                        But Charisma had much better jumping technique and was already proven at Prelim or Intermediate I believe.
                        That pic of him jumping 4' made me say, "ewww". No use of neck or back. No height over the fence. And landing too quickly. Which makes me think (from just that one pic if that is how he jumps) that after a few times at that height he would decide that his back was cramped and stop.
                        Especially being a little guy, he needs to put his nose below his knees to keep his body sound when jumping 3' and up.

                        The little guy has been out to pasture though and is not fit so it's hard to get a true tell of how he might look when slick and musceled.

                        I think he might also be a bit hard for dressage too. His neck is not put on great and he will be hard. You might want a horse that is naturally a bit more relaxed (he shows the poor way of using his neck and shoulder in the jumping and the flat pics), willing to flex and help you out a bit.

                        He's a major project for sure and his age doesn't give you a ton of time.

                        But if he's safe and fun (though you said he's hard to get a long with) and you love him then good!

                        But his hard personality won't do you any favors when it comes to making him all around a soft horse.
                        Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by Backstage View Post
                          Do you actually want to go prelim, or is that just a would-be-really-neat ambition? What kind of budget do you have? Is his age going to be an issue for your goals? Why has he been sitting in a field for 5 years?
                          Yes, prelim as a "omg that would be super cool if some day like five years from now we could get as high as possible and I'm thinking that as 'high as possible' as prelim because I don't have time/funds for much more"

                          My budget is in the ottb range

                          Age is not an issue. I competed my 25 year old jumper and as long as they are sound and happy, I don't care about age.

                          He's been sitting in a field, as I understand it, because he was the family horse and the kids who are younger and still at home don't have any interest in riding anymore.

                          fooler/astrix, I like the way y'all think! lol

                          And yes, lots of what-ifs, and we'd be learning together. But I feel like I couldn't luck out any better with my price range (free to $500) with a safe and willing pony!


                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by purplnurpl View Post
                            But if he's safe and fun (though you said he's hard to get a long with) and you love him then good!
                            Whew I'm having a tough time keeping up! lol

                            What I meant in the OP was that he has that gelding personality that is hard not to fall in love with ... as in he's very charming and workmanlike!

                            To be honest, I didn't like what I saw when I drove up. I was really put back.

                            But when I saw him move and then rode him myself, I really fell in love with his movement. I keep riding these naturally unbalanced greenies who take so much work to get suspension out of ... it was nice to have a horse already balanced with suspension that isn't even fit.

                            And riding him, I really felt that "click," you know?

                            Thanks for the input everyone! These are all good tough questions to ask myself. Much appreciated

                            A moment where I got him to stretch a lil and relax over his back:

                            Last edited by AzuWish; Mar. 28, 2011, 11:28 AM. Reason: add pic


                            • #15
                              I also wanted to add some additional info as to why he's sat. My sister who rode him and showed him (pictured in the 4' shot) moved away to college, and there really wasn't anyone else to ride him. I'm 5'10" and look ridiculous. My mother has had him, and she hasn't wanted to sell him, so he's sat since she has this "dream" that one of the other kids will want to ride him.

                              I've finally talked her into finding him a new home, so he's VERY reasonably priced (aka dirt cheap). He's been sound his entire life and his legs/conformation overall is very functional. He wasn't started until he was almost 5 and prior to that had only done halter (breed show), so he was started slow there which should help give him a few more good years.

                              He does have a more upright neck, and its been one of his main issues. IIRC the 4' shot was his 15-20th time through (couldn't get the camera timing right), and it was a 2'6" vertical to the oxer. At that point I was trying to work with my sister on actually giving him a crest release and seeing if he would start stretching and using his neck more.

                              I'm not going to say he'll be able to go out there and jump around a 4' course competitively, but he's definitely got the heart (at least back in the day) to compensate for his physical limitations. He's also very forgiving, poor guy will take anything from any angle and tries his best even when his ride would bury him, or take such a sharp turn that he didn't even have half a stride to judge the fence....typical speedster LL jumper.

                              Also, even when speeding around, he's always stayed quiet and doesn't pull or rush, he goes in a rubber mullen happy mouth.


                              • #16
                                I think he's very cute and if you have the "click" with him and enjoy him, why not?

                                The biggest risk I see in taking on a horse that has done nothing for 5 years is that you have no idea of how he will stand up to regular work.

                                I've known a few people who've bought horses in this situation and some of them were fine while others just couldn't stand up to it.

                                I'm not crazy about his jumping style, especially over the oxer, but it's hard to tell much from just one photo and the desire to try means a lot. I, personally, wouldn't want to face a prelim fence on a horse this small if he always jumps like that but you'd have to wait and see. Sometimes a solid fence brings out a better jump. My Trakehner was sloppy over stadium fences but very safe and careful XC.

                                If you would enjoy the journey and like the horse and he's the right price? Not a bad choice.
                                Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                                • #17
                                  I'm going to agree with the folks in the "he looks super cute and fun, but I wouldn't bank on Prelim" crowd. I say if you enjoy him a lot, think he would be a fun partner to have and learn with, and he's in your price range, you can't go wrong. But you need to prioritize if your goals lie more in progressing up the levels or in learning and having fun at the levels your horse can handle.

                                  I will say it gets slightly bothersome when people see a small horse/pony and say, "Well, Teddy did it!" (not saying anyone in this thread is going there, but it definitely happens). Teddy was the product of years of hard work and specialized breeding. He was also a bit of a freak of nature (P. Wynn has said so herself!). Your average 14.2 pony isn't going to have the conformation or athletic ability to handle Prelim+, and heart only gets you so far.

                                  That being said, as the fitness increases, he may pleasantly surprise you. I'd set your sights low for now (one step at a time!) and see what happens when you get there. My current mount is just under 14.2 and I took him out of a field at 11 years old (same story: owner lost interest). He was a driving horse, so I broke him to ride and we've been learning eventing together. I never thought he might be capable of Prelim, but the further along we get, the more I think it's within his abilities! However, even if we don't make it there, he's so enjoyable it overrules any competition goals
                                  "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"


                                  • #18
                                    He's really cute and I like Morgans a lot. But I think asking if he'll go prelim is a little pre-mature for both of you. Maybe he will and maybe he won't. Will you enjoy riding him right now? And be willing to see how far he'll go? If so, go for it.

                                    The photo of the oxer makes it look like it might be the top end of his capacity, but it's hard to tell.

                                    He's on the small side, so he'll have to work harder as the jumps get bigger- what is his stride like? If he's got a little stride that will make the jumping more technically difficult than if he can reach out and do a larger horse's stride length.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Hilary, it's hard to judge his stride now because he's so out of shape and tight through his back. I'm really hoping that I can access his back with proper flatwork and give him a slightly bigger canter and better bascule. Plus, I hope that I can give him a better release (I wasn't quite trusting my foundation in the pics and planted my hands, yuck).

                                      mg, you're right on premature. Like I said, that's like what-if-a-bunch-of-coolness-keeps-happening scenario and we really do well with our flatwork. If I get him, I plan to invest a full year of dressage with him before going into any kind of jumping program. I know he can jump, now I just want to improve him as much as possible, you know?

                                      So maybe posting prelim prospect was silly since that's like five years out and lots can go wrong. But I wanted honest opinions and I sure got them Great food for thought, y'all.


                                      • #20
                                        My gut reaction is that he may be a novice level prospect at best. The reason I say this is 1) his jumping style is not very impressive. Yes he did (at one time) jump a four foot oxer, but I would be quite surprised if he could put together a course of 3' fences giving his style (and what little we are seeing here). 2) his size, yes SOME very small horses excell at the upper levels of eventing, but they tend to be more TB in blood/type, and at this size, stride and speed will play a big factor as wel as scope over fences. 3) age, if he is 12 and "out of work for five years" that is an issue. a 12 yr old that has been in work, ready to go out and start eventing this year, might be able to get up the levels fast enough to make it worth while. But if you feel you need a year of dressage work and that prelim is "five years out" you have a 17 - 18 yr old horse and frankly that is not an age I would be wanting to start prelim with. If it wer me, I'd look for a horse that is at least in the 15.2 hand hand range, with a naturally longer, looser stride and either younger, or that is doing "something" as a 12 yr old. Just my honest opinion!