Andalusian Dressage Prospect, Really?

by Donna DeYoung

Just because it's an Andalusian, doesn't mean it's suitable for dressage...

Please be patient while I rant ...

One of the things that really bugs me in this business is so called "breeders of Andalusians for dressage" selling outrageously-priced horses FOR dressage when NONE of their horses or themselves COMPETE in dressage or have ever seen a dressage saddle.

It's one thing to own a herd of Andalusians and out of those dozen or so foals each year that are born you pick out ONE or TWO that look like they have talent for dressage and sell them as such. Or to sell the foals of mares and stallions that are already proven under saddle. That's honest horse breeding. It's another thing to say you have the only ones and the best ones in the whole USA, possibly the world, for producing dressage. Yet none of these so-called wonderful horses have proven themselves in the dressage ring yet. And most never will because they're not even broke to saddle...

Studs that are great studs but never get off the farm ...

If someone says, "our stallion is trained in dressage but he doesn’t compete. His breeding schedule is just too important." Run, run very fast away! Proving a stallion’s performance is very important. It should be MORE important than making money through stud fees and the sale of his foals if you are at all honest in the horse business!!! If you buy a horse from a person who lies about their intentions, you are just taking a leap of faith based on that breeder saying and thinking they know what a dressage horse is. 

Height matters. Sometimes.  Another rant.

If someone says, "our horses are slow to finish." you may wonder just how slow? Do you want to ride a 15.2 hand tall horse or a 16 hand tall horse? YOU decide. Consider the honesty of the person selling and ask them point direct questions such as how many offspring of this horse are 15.2 hands and under vs 16.2 hands and over. If ANY of them are under 15.2 hands, odds are your foal could be small too. He's not just a "slow finisher" unless slow means never.

Fake movement seen in young foals...and lots of horses.

Winging and long backs, as well as hocks that bend behind the point of the butt are common faults among breeders trying to breed larger Andalusians for dressage. What is often mistaken for "dressage movement" is actually a fake trot where the horse is pushing himself along rather than using his body correctly. Stop being in awe over the better horses in their herd just because they can move. Start EXPECTING good movement in everything you see.

Learn what "good movement" is by studying examples of warmbloods and athletically built horses bred for sport. These horses wouldn't stand up in the show ring or in the breed evaluations if they were bred with poor connections and fake movement.

Fake and exagerated movement is common in young foals. Without the adult weight to hinder them, foals often move better at a young age than they will later on in life. In other words, you had better "over shoot" when picking a good mover than under shoot.

Here's another pet peeve.

Watch out for people who can't read and write. If they make simple grammar mistakes don't you wonder if they can read their horse’s pedigrees? Do they know how to calculate the chances of color vs grey? Do they know the difference between a cannon bone and a hock? Can you honestly buy a twenty-thousand dollar horse from someone who can't spell "dressage"????

And finally ...

Please remember, upper level dressage horses are not just "born". Even the grandest horse with dressage potential cannot be called such unless he has endured the criticism of the dressage competition ring. 

Seriously, do horse owners in Germany call all their horses upper level dressage horses? No, only the ones who have earned the title. 

Watch out for people who say they have upper level dressage horse stallions - it may only be a title they wish for...

Skyhorse Ranch - Andalusian horse breeder in Texas with Andalusian horses for sale. Breeders of PRE Pura Raza Espanola horses with cartas from Spain. Selling black, grey, and bay Andalusians. Recommend Andalusian stallions at stud. Pictures, history, facts, and info. Spanish Andalusian horse farm. Bloodlines from Spain in the USA.

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