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dressage or jumping background preferred for an eventing prospect?

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  • dressage or jumping background preferred for an eventing prospect?

    Just curious about everyone's opinion- I'm not horse-shopping or anything, just for my own education!

    When shopping for a new eventing prospect, would you be more likely to look at horses with a strong background in dressage with a little bit of jumping, or a strong background in jumping with a little dressage?

    I guess what I'm asking is, all other things being equal (such as talent, temperament, natural jumping ability, etc), you you rather pull a possible eventing prospect out of a h/j barn or a dressage barn?


  • #2
    For me jumping, just because it would allow me to better assess scope/bravery etc. which are so important to eventing potential, and hopefully see it jump over eventing level heights.

    Dressage, at eventing levels, I think is within the reach of almost any horse, so while a dressage background is a great headstart, it doesn't necessarily predict overall eventing potential as well.


    • #3
      Originally posted by oharabear View Post
      When shopping for a new eventing prospect, would you be more likely to look at horses with a strong background in dressage with a little bit of jumping, or a strong background in jumping with a little dressage?
      I'd look at both!

      That said, I'm almost two months into a horse search and have sat on 23(!) so far, so I'm getting the idea that maybe I'm not being particular enough before I go to look...

      I'm shopping with a modest budget for a youngish prospect to go Training, max. If the horse has done at least a little jumping I can make a pretty good guess if it'll be able to go Training or not -- someone looking for an Advanced horse will obviously have different requirements.

      I've been more partial to the horses with better dressage -- they're just nicer to ride, IMO. I tried a few hunters and I felt they'd be tougher to retrain -- they did not like any type of feel on their mouth at all. I tried a jumper who'd been drilled on short approaches, etc, and had essentially been taught to tip-toe toward the fence, then one or two strides out bolt and hurl himself over. I don't mean to imply that's the norm with jumpers -- that was just my experience with a more trained jumper.

      Also, I don't mind putting the jumping work on them -- I have easy access to lots of cross-country stuff, and can do gymnastics all winter. All of it is easier if there's a great dressage base, IMO.


      • #4
        r.matey, what patience you have!

        I looked at one horse in May, loved it, vetted it, failed vet.

        Back on the hunt in October, I tried out 3 horses, loved 2 of them. My first choice vetted so I bought him, but would have been just as thrilled with the 2nd choice.

        Mostly I was looking for green-ish TB eventing prospects that were fairly cheap, and luckily I found one that already had some eventing mileage (BN/N) under his belt.

        I wouldn't expect any of the horses I select from an ad to have specific "dressage" training, but I like to see that they've at least been started over cross-rail/2' type jumps so I can get a rough idea of how they go.


        • #5
          Define "strong background" in either discipline.... if for instance you mean REAL jumping not yahooing around at 2'9" and careening into the corners to get lead changes, a horse with a 'strong' jumping background should have more than adequate basic dressage training for an eventer, and the jumping would be readily assessable. Whereas a horse with a strong dressage background might be a bit overtrained for the needs of the average amateur adult event rider (considering Prelim is just touching on 2nd level work).

          If you mean correct basics, hard to put correct basic jumping on a horse without correct basic dressage, so.....

          Third Charm Event Team


          • #6
            Depends on your goals. If you want to win consistently - particularly on a national / international stage, strong dressage is needed. I you just want to get out and get going quickly, the more jumping experience the better.


            • #7
              how far do you want to go if you want something decent then they not cheap
              and i would tend to look at there back ground ie parantage as most top horses are related and still on the international circuit

              so if i wanted something top notch then i would look at there proven background of the parents see howmany points they won and what they won
              and see if any other top notch riders have any off springs whereby i could get an idea of what the outcome would be

              obviously it depends on the dosh

              this is my daughter new babies daddy

              Last edited by goeslikestink; Dec. 8, 2009, 07:37 PM.


              • #8

                I want to see a horse that is safe (no hanging knees), no stop, and calm over fences. I'd really like to see a horse that has done some XC. I once bought a horse that would jump anything in a ring (former low jumper) but was a complete chicken out XC. I've also bought horses that turned out to have no real aptitude for jumping.

                As for dressage? With some training you can usually coax an accurate and pleasant test out of a horse that doesn't have outstanding gaits and still do well. There's a lot you can do to improve a horse on the flat that doesn't involve bravery.
                Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                • #9
                  agree with Bogie - but you really need both if you want to be competitive on the big stage.


                  • #10
                    I mainly look for a horse that is built for jumping, not matter how much they have done. As for dressage I look for the same things, are they nice movers and do the have to potential to be a nice dressage mount in eventing. This is a key concept in my opinion, because what you ideally want a horse that you can get a nice low dressage score on and hopefully go clean on cross country and stadium. But if you still knock down a rail or have a refusal or two you will probably still be pretty well of as far as placing goes.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by eventingismylife View Post
                      But if you still knock down a rail or have a refusal or two you will probably still be pretty well of as far as placing goes.
                      I'll agree with you about the rail, but a refusal or two cross-country? No way. 20-60 penalties is going to knock you pretty far down no matter how nice your dressage is, not to mention one usually incurs time faults while correcting refusals.

                      As per the OP's question, I can't really answer from experience because my mare was green in EVERYTHING when I bought her . I can say though that her boldness and her enthusiasm for jumping were probably more important to me than her potential aptitude for dressage, although of course I wanted something that could move decently.


                      • #12
                        i prefer a horse with a strong jumping backround. Most of the horses with strong dressage backround dont think for themselves and are a bit clumsy (what i mean by strong dressage is a confirmed dressage horse, like already showing 1st with respectable scores).
                        "Let the fence be the bit." - Phillip Dutton


                        • #13
                          I think all three phases are important, but in looking at a horse, I would evaluate jumping as primary. Two of the phases are jumping, so there is one reason. A brave jumper is also important because those cross country jumps do not fall down!

                          Dressage can be improved through training. Ability to jump cannot. Bravery can be increased to a certain extent, but only so much.

                          Some of the criteria depends on the level as well. If the rider is a perpetual Novice level rider, then dressage abilities gets a bump up in terms of importance, but the horse still has to be willing to jump anything put infront of it. At Prelim and above, dressage would take more of a backseat.


                          • #14
                            Honestly, I think it depends a LOT on the horse, the rider, and your goals.

                            First horse, I was an inexperienced eventer, bought an ex-foxhunter from Ireland. That horse would have jumped a Sherman tank, with or without me. Absolutely NOTHING phased him. Super confidence builder. Plenty of ability to do dressage but was a tough ride for me in that regard -- as one dressage judge said "lots of enthusiasm, but it doesn't seem to be for dressage."

                            Second horse, again I wanted a brave jumping horse. I got a German dressage horse who had JUST started jumping, at age 9. He has fabulous jumpers in his pedigree (yes, he has papers -- what can I say, he was a dressage refugee!!) and is super scopey, but brave he was not. I learned a TON on this horse, and when we finally went Prelim (took me probably a year or more longer than it would have on the first horse), we had really earned it. I think he would have been a disaster as my first horse but as a second horse he has been wonderful.

                            Green horse, here I would look for three good gaits, natural jumping ability, forward thinking mind. worked out so far for me.

                            I will say this; for all that we eventers think that dressage can be taught and jumping is natural, and to some extent this is true, moving my "dressage" horse up the levels, as it were, over fences was made VASTLY more successful because he was so uphill, so balanced, and so able to use himself correctly.
                            The big man -- my lost prince

                            The little brother, now my main man


                            • #15
                              For your average amateur, I still believe jumping ability is first/foremost. The only thing likely to get hurt in the dressage ring is your ego; the same isn't true XC. Thus, I look for youngsters who naturally want not only to jump the jumps, but want to look out for themselves - that self-sufficient ability to find an extra leg or to keep themselves out of trouble is irreplaceable. The dressage might not be perfect, but accurate and obedient are very teachable and will get you pretty far - I won/placed quite a few events at Training on my dressage score with a horse who has been widely described as "great jumper, god-awful on the flat". Doesn't always work at Preliminary, though we're still often in the ribbons, but being able to finish on your dsg score will always get you pretty far, plus you'll be safe and have fun.


                              • #16
                                My first eventer was a dressage horse that I trained to jump. He was great in stadium but a chicken s&*% on XC and it got really frustrating to do well in dressage and then get the ineviatable 20 XC jump penalties. I also had a Holsteiner that was a beautiful mover and who was indifferent to XC.

                                I sold both of them and for my next horse I looked for one that had a solid XC record and lousy dressage. I found not one, but two that fit the bill and I have done well on both of them (Novice/Training). I have found that even a dressage score that puts you at the bottom of the pack can lead to a big move up if the jumping phases are double clean.

                                Dressage is a lot easier to fix then a lack of desire to jump XC and/or go clean stadium. Just my 2 cents, but I would go for the solid jumping any day.


                                • #17
                                  uhh, neither! Honestly, for ME, if I'm looking at prospects I rather it be barely broke or not broke at all (or fresh off the track, depending on the case). I've ridden "prospects" out of both types of barns (h/j barns and dressage barns) and have worked on making them eventing material. Tell ya what, they all come with baggage that I then have to deal with. I've learned now from experience that the only bags I want a horse of mine to carry are the bags I give him!!! (For the record, while some have been right pieces of poo, they haven't ALL been horrible, just none have come along as nicely as the ones that are nice and truly green).

                                  But, I guess if I had to choose, I'd go with jumping.


                                  • #18
                                    For me a strong jumper would be better, because I have more confidence on the flat but need a horse that can 'take care of me' over fences. I've ridden some horses that were really bad to fences and they have destroyed my confidence. I would rather know I'm going to have to improve the flat work where I have to confidence(if not the knowledge) to work on issues.

                                    I would want a horse that is brave and honest, but I really want one with a sense of self-preservation as well. I want a horse that won't look at everything on course and isn't timid about the apperance of fences, but I do want one that will stop before taking a jump it was presented to dangerously. Same as I don't want one that would hang legs, I want a horse that has a good mind to take care of itself. Rather have a refusal than a fall anyday.
                                    You can't fix stupid.... but you can breed it!


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                                      uhh, neither! Honestly, for ME, if I'm looking at prospects I rather it be barely broke or not broke at all (or fresh off the track, depending on the case). I've ridden "prospects" out of both types of barns (h/j barns and dressage barns) and have worked on making them eventing material. Tell ya what, they all come with baggage that I then have to deal with. I've learned now from experience that the only bags I want a horse of mine to carry are the bags I give him!!! (For the record, while some have been right pieces of poo, they haven't ALL been horrible, just none have come along as nicely as the ones that are nice and truly green).
                                      Same here. I tried out about 15 horses this spring before I ended up with my unstarted 2 year old. She turned 3 at the end of June and has been so much fun and she is very very brave. I love her to pieces! I saw her on a lunge line and that's about it. I tried out one horse (her owner/trainer was a H/J person and also foxhunted a little) who was 3 months under saddle and the horse already had some training I would have to undo.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                                        I've learned now from experience that the only bags I want a horse of mine to carry are the bags I give him!!!

                                        This goes for men as well.