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What makes a great/good event horse???

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  • What makes a great/good event horse???

    I know for most of you this probably sounds like a stupid question but for me it isn't. I am a breeder of mostly dressage horses but I have a horse in training with a jumper rider who has suggested perhaps this horse should be an event horse. He jumps great, has fab movement for dressage, is bold and brave over fences, loves to gallop and is happy doing some event course jumps just for fun.

    So what should an event horse be like??? This boy is tall, 17-1, stunning conformation, Holsteiner and TB breeding, hense registered warmblood. Any suggestions??
    http://www.talloaksfarm.net ---"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts." --- Winston Churchill

  • #2
    Sounds like he could be a great eventer!

    I had a big eventer (18hh TB) and it's hard for horses over 17hh to be agile and athletic. What I really look for in an event horse is that they have heart. All horses have some short fall, be it physically, mentally or some type of limitation, but if they have heart with a tiny bit of cockiness thrown in, they tend to be great eventers! I look for a horse that is inquisitive and likes to figure things out. When I found my upper level gelding, I described the horse as "having a switch that can be flipped". In race horses, I look at the ones that finish the race--preferably winning--and then walk back like it's no biggie that they just kicked some serious butt, rather than jumping up and down like idiots.
    A friend of mine says that if a horse is a winner in one "arena", they'll be a winner in others. So, if they won on the track, they'll win at whatever they put their minds to. Yours being a WB is a different story, but they have to show that attitude.
    The best thing to do is find a trusted event rider or trainer to take him out for a good XC school. I'd say that if he figures things out rather fast, he may make a great eventer, but unfortunately that isn't always the case. I have one of the slowest learners and I think he may make a phenomenal eventer because of how he hangs onto concepts once he grasps them.

    Good luck!!!
    Keep your feet on the ground, but always look to the stars!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by talloaks View Post
      I know for most of you this probably sounds like a stupid question but for me it isn't. I am a breeder of mostly dressage horses but I have a horse in training with a jumper rider who has suggested perhaps this horse should be an event horse. He jumps great, has fab movement for dressage, is bold and brave over fences, loves to gallop and is happy doing some event course jumps just for fun.

      So what should an event horse be like??? This boy is tall, 17-1, stunning conformation, Holsteiner and TB breeding, hense registered warmblood. Any suggestions??

      Lots of TB/Hol crosses at the top of eventing. It is a very good cross for an event horse. But basically...a lot of the same qualities that make a top dressage or jumper horse are what many look for in an top event horse. The one main difference is they need to have a good gallop. I like them to be very light and cover the ground easily. Big stride is good as long as I think they will be able to shorten it. But the gallop is what makes a top event horse. You don't want to feel the ground shake when they gallop past you in the field!
      ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Your comments so far have been very promising and I am delighted. Even though he is half Holsteiner he looks like a big English TB with a tremendous ground covering stride which looks so easy for him.

        How high are the fences an eventer will have to jump?? I know you have different levels, so what are they?? Sorry again to be sounding so dumb!
        http://www.talloaksfarm.net ---"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts." --- Winston Churchill

        Comment


        • #5
          Nothing to add that wasn't said better - but good for you for encouraging your horse to find the sport that best suits him!! We eventers are a fun bunch and always love newcomers - horses and people

          Comment


          • #6
            I PM'd you

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by talloaks View Post
              How high are the fences an eventer will have to jump?? I know you have different levels, so what are they??
              Not a dumb question at all! The following are the max heights (except drops, which can be bigger on the landing side). There are also rules on width, and to some extent on which questions can be asked at each level. Some competitions, especially earlier in the season, are significantly below those maximums. It's fairly common for an XC fence to be shared with the level above or level below.
              Beginner Novice: 2'7"
              Novice : 2'11"
              Training: 3' 3"
              Preliminary: 3'7"
              Intermediate: 3'9"
              Advanced : 3'11"

              There are also unrecognized levels with varying names below Beginner Novice, for green horses and/or riders. Anyway, I think having an experienced person school him XC would be a great idea! At the lower levels (Novice and below), I consider a good/great eventer to be one who will pack the rider around in all three phases, is easy to manage/control, and just really knows and loves his or her job. Obviously, at the upper levels, athleticism, heart, and other things come into play more.
              Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.

              Comment


              • #8
                I've only evented at the lower levels, but here are the other things that I look for:

                The confidence to go out on course alone. Some horses are braver than others. I've ridden horses that are fine in a group but are just plain chickens when you take them out on a course. Others don't seem to notice because they are locked onto the next fence.

                Sure-footedness. My Trakehner gelding found every root to trip over in the woods. In contrast, my TB never seems to put a hoof wrong.

                Endurance. I haven't had a warmblood mix, but my warmblood was harder to condition than my TB.

                Your horse sounds lovely!
                Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                Comment


                • #9
                  talloaks, I was also breeding for dressage but have somehow produced horses that are not only lovely dressage horses, but also have considerable jumping talent. This has gotten me to thinking that conformationally, perhaps the dressage horse and the jumper are not so different. My 6-year old Trakehner (Graditz x Ith) is doing Novice in his second year of eventing. My trainer/rider is a diehard TB fan and could not believe the gallop my guy had the first time they did cross-country. He's clever and brave and loves his job. That said, at 6, he is still somewhat (?) of a baby mentally and she is moving him up much more slowly than she would probably do with a same-aged TB. My three mares are brave enough to do eventing, but whether they have the speed remains to be seen. One is doing the jumpers (after doing dressage for 5 years), one has just started jumping (after doing dressage for 4 years), and one is still deciding what she wants to be.
                  ~Another proud member of the TrakehNERD clique ~

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My TB/Dutch (dressage lines) is 5 and just the opposite of what people say WBs are (though considerably smaller than your guy at 16.1h and very compact). Horses not off the track seem to take some time to "find their gallop," as it were. When he did though, it was like being shot out of a crossbow, this horse does not even touch the ground. He is incredibly agile and athletic, very catty. Brave and inquisitive, very playful and enjoys having a job. He is very smart, and figures things out quickly, he only has to do something once to remember it (sometimes a bad thing! haha the day we taught him to jump, he jumped in and out of the field about 4 times, he was so proud). People say scope comes from a longer back, but this horse is not lacking in that department, despite his very short back, its all in his angles, he is built on springs. He is a bit full of himself, which I imagine will only increase as he gets older.

                    I absolutely love him and he was picked for the ULs. He was bred with eventing in mind, but his top half is all dressage. His damn is OTTB and evented through Training and did some jumpers and apparently had a wicked jump on her.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have a big (17.1 on a short day), all German, all WB, bred for dressage horse who has turned out to be terrific up through prelim (probably as far as I'll have the guts to go). He's PLENTY agile, due to his years of dressage training and his uphill build.

                      If you are looking to aim this horse for an event market, keep in mind that "event horse" covers a lot of ground --

                      * "upper level prospect" -- a horse that might be tough to ride but has enormous courage, independence, quality gaits, and a terrific gallop and scope.

                      * amateur's horse -- great brain, sense of self preservation, honest and genuine, athletic if not a world beater, tractable enough to be rideable but bold enough to overcome some lack of direction from the rider.
                      Within this category you still have horses who might max out at the lower levels, or horses who could safely compete with an amateur at the upper levels, if not be competitive there.

                      My warmblood, for example, has become a GREAT amateur's horse. The fact that he is probably too big/heavy to make time and stand up to the conditioning he'd need at the upper levels is completely unimportant. He was never naturally bold but has taught me how to ride to give him confidence -- but at the same time he's very very safe -- a great jumper and extremely careful. He can win the dressage and never comes down to a fence out of balance or having blown me completely off.

                      But that same horse probably does not have the "fire" to be an upper level horse, much less the speed.

                      So, certainly it sounds as though your horse could well be a very nice event horse indeed. Someone who knows the market could give you a better sense how he should be "aimed" in terms of fit.

                      Recent trends in the sport have made horses who are really competitive in the dressage more valuable than before, at all levels.
                      The big man -- my lost prince

                      The little brother, now my main man

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                        You don't want to feel the ground shake when they gallop past you in the field!

                        Exactly!!! I really look for a horse who is a "quiet" mover...I do not want to hear it's feet hit the ground whether that be on the flat, jumping or galloping.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Brains
                          Athleticism
                          and Heart.


                          Most horses have two of the above, very little have all three. If you find one that has all three and actually stays sound then you have a Supreme Rock or a Charisma.
                          http://kaboomeventing.com/
                          http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
                          Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by purplnurpl View Post
                            Brains
                            Athleticism
                            and Heart.


                            Most horses have two of the above, very little have all three. If you find one that has all three and actually stays sound then you have a Supreme Rock or a Charisma.

                            That is probably the most eloquent thing I've heard said in quite a while. Thanks for such a nice and concise post.
                            Keep your feet on the ground, but always look to the stars!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Whisper View Post
                              Not a dumb question at all! The following are the max heights (except drops, which can be bigger on the landing side). There are also rules on width, and to some extent on which questions can be asked at each level. Some competitions, especially earlier in the season, are significantly below those maximums. It's fairly common for an XC fence to be shared with the level above or level below.
                              Beginner Novice: 2'7"
                              Novice : 2'11"
                              Training: 3' 3"
                              Preliminary: 3'7"
                              Intermediate: 3'9"
                              Advanced : 3'11"

                              There are also unrecognized levels with varying names below Beginner Novice, for green horses and/or riders. Anyway, I think having an experienced person school him XC would be a great idea! At the lower levels (Novice and below), I consider a good/great eventer to be one who will pack the rider around in all three phases, is easy to manage/control, and just really knows and loves his or her job. Obviously, at the upper levels, athleticism, heart, and other things come into play more.

                              And don't forget that these numbers are deceptive. Stadium can be a bit bigger at Prelim-Adv in the international classes (FEI rec. ones) but xc is very fast and fences very wide (or very very skinny), with combinations and terrain questions. Many top level event horses have the scope to do the Mini Prix in jumpers....and a few have gone on to be grand prix jumpers. You really want them to have quite a bit of scope. Advanced is the highest level of our sport and is just as tough to get a horse to that level and successful at that level as it is to get a Dressage horse or Jumper to Grand Prix. And many event horses who have shown they didn't have what it takes to succeed at the highest levels of eventing....have gone on to the highest level of dressage or jumpers....and a rare few did it all!
                              ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                HEART

                                and

                                GENEROSITY

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  You all have come up with some super descriptions and ideas for me to consider. Does anyone know of any professional eventers in NJ near NYC who could try out my boy to see if that is his direction in life???

                                  Also, what is the jumping phase like, jumpers or hunters?? Sorry once again to be showing my ignorance!
                                  http://www.talloaksfarm.net ---"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts." --- Winston Churchill

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    The jumping phase is like showjumping.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      The courses are like show-jumping, but do not have a jump-off. Also, penalties are incurred for going over (or too far under, depending on level) optimum time, rather than the fastest clean round winning or getting bonus points.
                                      Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Go to USEA

                                        If you are looking for trainers to confer with and want to know more about the sport of eventing and its purposes, I'd urge you to go to www.useventing.com . If you go to LINKS, you'll be able to look at barns in the area. There's also a whole page in the rules about fences, what types can be at what levels and so forth.
                                        The other thing to think about is that different riders have different types of rides that they are most compatable with. Some enjoy a hotter horse--like an OTTB, while others are more suitable with a WB X, like your gelding.
                                        I can honestly say I'm a TB person, but not just any TB, there's a certain bloodline that I seem to have seek me out and vice versa. The breeders of my two full brothers were Trakahner breeders in Germany and keep telling me I need a Trak, but I just don't know if it would be a good fit.
                                        Just something to keep in mind when you seek someone out to check your gelding out. The right person will absolutely love him and bea ble to get you on the right track with him while someone that doesn't mesh well will be negative.
                                        Good Luck!
                                        Keep your feet on the ground, but always look to the stars!

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