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Parallels between young horse dressage and western

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  • Parallels between young horse dressage and western

    I was just reading the Horse Magazine article about the Bundeschampionate 2011

    and as many here have commented the previous champions who become Grand Prix horses were...Damon Hill...no others. However the number of young horse champions who sired young horse champions is quite high. Economically this makes sense as anytime you can get the money earlier instead of later the breeders benefit.

    In the stock horse world the money begins in Futurity classes and most big money is over by the time the horses are 5yos. All stud fees, mare purchases, inutero sales, embryo transfers, cloning and young horse purchases...and market dumping for those not competitive in futurity classes...is feeding the wealth provided by futurities. The only thing not paralleling the stock horse world is the money is not there...yet...to make the dressage young horse classes more important than Grand Prix accomplishments for breeders. I can't be the first one to realize this...do you think this will happen in warmbloods like it has in stock horses? Certainly the money is there now as far as stud fees and numbers of mares per stallion. What happens next? The associations are looking out for the breeders...will they continue in this direction? PatO

  • #2
    The money is NOT there. Highest stud fee is 5-6K? I have seen another 2-3 at 3k, rest are under 2k. WHERE is the money? There is no prize money either.

    If money was put into GP, then we would have a different skew on the breeding/training world.
    Horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.


    • #3
      As above. I do have to laugh when people get all worked up by "high" stud fees in the dressage world. The AQHA stud fees for top stallion are often 2-3 times higher than "champion" dressage horses. Five figure stud fees are not uncommon among reiners, halter horses and cutting champions.


      • #4
        Additionally, WE have the Olympics to aim for while the Western folks really have nowhere super prestigous to set as a goal for "upper level competition" that I am aware of.

        Keeping the absurd prize money out of the equation at least has one benefit to the dressage world

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        • #5
          Originally posted by TrinitySporthorses View Post
          Additionally, WE have the Olympics to aim for while the Western folks really have nowhere super prestigous to set as a goal for "upper level competition" that I am aware of.

          Keeping the absurd prize money out of the equation at least has one benefit to the dressage world
          Perhaps you haven't noticed but Reining is an FEI sport. FEI World Championships and all that.
          And I think Reining would be a Western type competition. So THEY do have some 'super prestigous' events to go for.

          The Dressage World certainly has good prize money at events like WEF Dressage. 250K in Florida.

          And with all the money tossed around in GP jumpers a 5K stud fee can be a bargain.


          • #6
            Ps I'd go to a prestigious world breed show and win a horse trailer any day over what dressage shows offer
            ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~


            • #7
              I do think dressage breeding is fracturing into two pieces:

              young horse class producers and upper level producers. There are very few stallions who sire horses that excel at both.

              To quote Chris Hector again

              "Bailador de Amor is by the Grand Prix maker, Breitling out of a Dimaggio mare, and even with the mega-experienced Johannes Westendarp in the saddle, he is never going to be a Young Horse class star, they finish in 11th place on 7.9, but looking at the horse’s power and strength, and taking into account his breeding, if you had to bet your life savings on which of the finalists is going to go Grand Prix in the next four years, this is the one you would bet on, which kind of raises the question of just what* qualities these classes are supposed to reward?"

              It doesn't take a crystal ball to realise that the easy money is in breeding and producing young horses so this style of breeding is going to get bigger and bigger over the next few years. Will it be harmful to the general population of dressage horses? Yes is my opinion. Very.

              Add into the mix the blind eye being turned to OCD and major conformation and temperament issues by several of the big studbooks at the stallion licensings for the past few years and we have a recipe for modern Warmbloods to garner a reputation (which is already there in whispers but the way things are going these whispers will turn into shouts) for poor soundness and difficult temperaments.

              I'd love to be wrong but the unsoundness part of things is already widely talked about by vets. Proximal Suspensory Desmitis is now so common it's abbreviated to PSD on dressage bulletin boards and everyday riders knows what it means. There are clubs and cliques of riders whose dream dressage horse is off work with lameness. It's such a shame for everyone concerned and shows no signs of stopping any time soon.


              • #8
                Ok, so someone please elaborate on PSD.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mzm farm View Post
                  The money is NOT there. Highest stud fee is 5-6K? I have seen another 2-3 at 3k, rest are under 2k. WHERE is the money? There is no prize money either.
                  I'm confused by this post. The money is in selling young horses at high prices.

                  Originally posted by stolensilver View Post
                  I'd love to be wrong but the unsoundness part of things is already widely talked about by vets. Proximal Suspensory Desmitis is now so common it's abbreviated to PSD on dressage bulletin boards and everyday riders knows what it means. There are clubs and cliques of riders whose dream dressage horse is off work with lameness. It's such a shame for everyone concerned and shows no signs of stopping any time soon.
                  While I agree with your post, I think there's more to PSD than breeding. My horse had that problem and he was bred from two sound working parents, with many horses that held up behind them. Farriery and hoof form plays a HUGE role in this. Long toes and low heels puts many horses at a much higher chance of PSD than if the horse has good hoof form. With all the development that's happened in our area I believe it's much harder to get a good farrier than it used to be, and that's probably true in many other areas as well.

                  Another factor is how the horse is ridden. So many dressage horses are just balancing on the backs of their legs because they are not being allowed to move through their bodies. It's painful just to watch it.


                  • #10
                    Again, please elaborate on PSD, I am unfamiliar with it and how it is manifested.


                    Okay, I found this:



                    • #11
                      That's a good summary. With a vet that knows what he or she is doing blocks are a good way to diagnose the problem, followed by ultrasound and MRI.

                      PSD in back pretty much looks like hock problems at first glance. My horse was affected in one leg and surgical intervention was required. When he was painful he couldn't track up with that hind leg at the trot, especially on a circle. Now he is fine. When ultrasounded a year or so ago the ligament appeared normal.

                      Underrun heels, which can end up with the foot pretty much in front of the leg, are super detrimental to horses with loft in their gaits.

                      I don't know if that helps but that's my experience with PSD.


                      • #12
                        PSD is multifactorial, a bit like OCD. It is also becoming increasingly common and according to many vets (anecdotal evidence only but worth asking your own vet for their opinion) more often seen in Warmbloods than other types of horse. Many mares are retired early because of it and bred from which may be relevant as to why it is becoming more common. Far more horses become permanently lame due to soft tissue injuries than OCD.


                        • Original Poster

                          Actually most of you are thinking of it backwards from how I meant it.
                          Right now there is a ton of money in cutting, reining and western pleasure futurities. The competition money is in 2 yo to 5 yo...big time money. Their whole contest planning is about getting the youngest horses possible into competition so the breeders and trainers make money early. The stud fees for the big stallions is over 5K. The top producing mares sell multiple fetuses per year. The stallions and mares are rated in money won by offspring per year...the top stallions are over a million dollars cumulative. The big selling is done before 2 yo futurities and then again after. They are working to improve money for horses older than 5. There are whole new competitions rising for Working Ranch which is a multi purpose competition simulating real demands for ranch work.

                          They get tons of money early, the competitions are designed to get value out before you have to keep them to grow up like racing 2yos.

                          What I see in warmbloods is increasingly the same goals, increasing the value of young horses first by setting up competitions for them. Now the stallions with all the excitement are the ones whose offspring do well in these young horse classes. So far there is not the money of the western world...maybe proves the warmblood society honchos aren't all THAT smart if they can't follow the precendent of the QH world. Right now they are getting the big dollars for the horses who look like great candidates for the young horse competitions but the QH world then has the chance to get the money back in prize money...the warmbloods not so much...yet. PatO


                          • #14
                            Columbus. Trying hard to know where you are going with this?

                            I admire the AQHA for a whole lot of reasons - watch the World Congress - and besides the fabulous prizes, they announce full breeding down to 15th place! And 15th place gets good money! But then I come to the cutting, halter issues: pushed young, maybe steroid pumped, finished young. Won't opine about Reining as suspect different and saw at WEG so not in the group discussed.
                            Perhaps I misunderstood - but to suggest slow to mature WB get pushed at 2 or 3 with " big money futurities". When in the QH world in some disciplines these horses are done at 5 - ?. And halter horses are cripples?

                            My idea? Affordable young horse development shows! Affordable and dedicated young horse trainers!
                            "Her life was okay. Sometimes she wished she were sleeping with the right man instead of with her dog, but she never felt she was sleeping with the wrong dog."



                            • #15
                              I cringe to think of dressage horses turned into futurity stars..... it is just crazy to eat up animals that way just to make a buck.

                              as for WB soft tissue lameness..... my opinion is that a majority of this kind of thing is training based - not confo based. any horse would break down given how many of these horses are trained.....

                              if i can have one wish, it would be for dressage to take a step *back* in terms of popularity ..... the drive for it to be a spectator sport is ruining it and a lot of really nice horses.


                              • #16
                                Where to start. First off unless you are a stallion prospect most warmbloods are turned out until they are 3 or 4. The nature of top sporthorses should mean that the best years are 8 and up, with many competing at highest levels in their teens. That is the end game. So completely different than QH's. Not saying it's good or bad, it's just the way it is. Upper level in jumping, dressage, and eventing is never going to be 4&5 yo's.

                                If you want to see differences in the very same breed than look no further than the TB. Flat and National Hunt racing. Kauto Star has been at the top of his game since he was 5&6. He's now turning 12. The big money for NH horses is as foals and 3&4. Most NH horses are raised just like Warmbloods as their best years are 5&up. No need to push early.

                                Yes you are right, there isn't the money for young warmbloods as there is in QH's. I don't know a thing about how they run things so I can't comment. But I'm seeing too many horses pushed young as it is and I don't think it's good for horses making it to the upper levels in warmblood disciplines. It's all a question of what your end game is as a breeder and owner as far as what kind of schedule your horse is on. You want the cash early you breed and push for that. You want a sound partner to make the upper levels you go accordingly.

                                As far as the ligament situation is, I don't think it's all down to breeding. Bad blacksmiths, being shut up in a stable all day and only out to work are not conducive to the overall health of a horse. Being pushed to fast to early also contributes. When watching that dissection of the TB racehorse it's all too apparent how a simple misstep can lead to a blown tendon. While I'm not saying breeding isn't playing a part, it's not the entire reason.

                                While watching SJ last week my husband said I've only just realised that at 7&8 those horses can still be considered babies, near enough. It's very hard explaining these things to a flat racehorse person. He thinks by 3 they should be over babyish qualities and should be focusing on their job at hand. I would expect QH people are of a similar view.

                                Anyway, interesting topic.

                                COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

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