Saturday, October 9, 2010

No serious dressage rider will ever consider buying a Haflinger,


My title is a direct quote from this wonderful article. I also found the quote below very interesting...


"More annoyingly for Kirsten had been the judges' differing opinions about her horse. “Some were happy to finally see such a well ridden and talented Haflinger, others were convinced this breed shouldn't be in a dressage ring," she recalls. Kirsten told me 40 points difference between single judges had not been uncommon, sometimes there had been even a 4 points difference in a single movement."

In regards to my title. First I don't think I am very serious about anything! Where is the fun in that?
Second of all I do not agree with the idea that only the warmbloods should do dressage. Dressage is for everyone! Will every horse be competitive at the higher levels? No. Every horse will benefit from being ridden by the principals of classical dressage however.

Real dressage is not a breed(s) of horse. Real dressage to me is not even a discipline or a sport. Dressage is a way of training a horse. Dressage is a philosophy.

For serious dressage riders it is not about the ribbons it is about the process and the journey. and luckily that journey is open for any horse and rider partnership to enjoy.

For those dressage riders that are only interested in ribbons then my advise to you is do not get a haflinger. Anyone though who enjoys a challenge but also enjoys a calm, sensible, and simple ride? I say have you ridden a haflinger lately?

17 comments:

  1. I think of dressage as helping each horse, regardless of its breed or athleticism, to move in the most effective way.

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  2. I love your post and couldn't agree more. It's what I love about dressage - it's for every horse and rider, regardless of competition aspirations or not. I wanted the size of a warmblood (I'm tall) and I certainly enjoy him, but I LOVE to see other horses competing and love it when judge's give them their due. Rogo (my warmblood)was beaten by a sway backed pony in one of his first walk trots, under an FEI judge, and I was thrilled!
    Anyway, I'm rambling, but this is such an important concept and I'm glad you wrote about it. I wish judges would mark fairly as it would make the sport much more interesting, and more humane for the horses too.

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  3. ps - loved the article and also your new banner photo.

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  4. thank you Carol! I agree I wish judges would score more on correct training, and hard work and not on the basis of breed or gait biases.

    I am glad you like the article, i thought it was a nice story. Also Bodhi and I are hard at work our two days we get together a week!

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  5. Great article (thanks for linking) and post. I love halflingers - so cute and such personality. One that I know personally is the head mare of a twenty horse herd. She regularly leads the others on escapades after opening gates.

    My favorite quote: "Kirsten says Stardust performed outstandingly every time he had covered a mare right before." Giggling :)

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  6. "Real dressage is not a breed(s) of horse"

    This is one of the best things I've seen written about dressage ever.

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  7. Excellent article, thanks for passing it along to us! I got tears in my eyes reading about the horse that no one wanted, and how attached she became to him right at the start. Reminded me of the story of a big bay horse that I know...

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  8. Ugh, it's like racism for horses. Someday I will compete in dressage with my quarter horses so I'm reminding myself ahead of time that I'm doing it for the journey and not bits of ribbon.

    BTW- A few weeks ago I jumped my first course ever on a Haffie!

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  9. Puh that is complete snobbery to say that!! Go Haffies :) I've had great rides on them and think they are gems

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  10. It boggles the mind how often people assign a discipline to a specific breed. Although I do agree that some breeds are more suited for certain tasks, I'm not a big fan of absolutes. I'm more inclined to try a little of everything and see where the horse's talent and interest lies, and go from there :o)

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  11. Amen!! I was told a lot of the same stuff about Vez, my half Morgan/half QH. We weren't ever what the judges were ideally looking for but it was that much sweeter when we pulled off a big win. The measure of a horse is in his head and heart, not his bloodlines :)

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  12. I couldn't agree with you more. It's not about the ribbons but about the journey with your horse and the partnership that is formed through your work together. There is definitely snobbery and racism in dressage and many other disciplines, a certain breed of horse for a certain discipline, whoever makes the rules should know rules are made to be broken. All breeds should have an equal chance to do their best and be judged accordingly.

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  13. i'm totally with you - dressage is for everyone, and it is a philosophy, not a breed class. i've heard the same things said about arabians and quarter horses, even thoroughbreds, etc. none of it's true unless you're in front of a judge that doesn't know any better (sadly that's most of them these days.)

    the trouble is, our current competitive dressage world is so caught up in form over function that they feel it necessary to breed horses with big 'perfect' gaits so they don't have to train them! now they've gone overboard and are breeding/training incorrect form for even more extravagance.

    dressage was never supposed to be about conformation, movement and all the flashy elevation and flailing around these top warmbloods are doing. it was supposed to be about the best training and partnership possible with the horse you have!

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  14. you have to keep things in context. this was a time where ponies, let alone haflinger, weren't considered dressage prospects.

    I don't necessarily agree with the judges, but I understand the mentality.

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  15. Nice post! Well put! Klein and I know your pain ;)

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  16. Hey, if a Mustang stallion can win in the dressage competit
    ion at Devon, then I'm sure a Halfie can, too! I think a lot of people have the mind-set that only warmbloods are appropriate for dressage & hunter/jumper...but, when I started taking h/j lessons, I rode Appaloosas, Morgans, QHs, Appendix QHs, TBs, an ex-cart horse from the Amish, a POA, etc., etc.

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