Dressage is an excellent form of horse training that can benefit all riders at different levels of riding ability and types of riding disciplines. This sport also helps a horse learn about relaxation, agility and the proper way to carry itself. Those who may be interested or are thinking about getting a horse to participate in dressage usually ask what breed of horse would be best for this type of sport.
Any horse can be a good candidate for dressage but first, an owner should set goals and expectations so he or she can determine which horse would be the best prospect to meet those goals. If owners are in touch with their goals and they take time to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a prospect horse, it can help in finding suitable candidates to accomplish those goals. However, this is not to point out that the horse that you are currently interested in does not possess the capabilities to learn the basics of Dressage.
The Importance of Temperament and Conformation
Temperament and conformation are both important factors to consider when looking for a prospective horse for Dressage. However, everyone should realize there is no such thing as the perfect Dressage horse. While all horses can receive dressage training, not all of them have the ideal characteristics to become elite at dressage. This is where temperament and conformation come in.
Dressage is a mentally and physically challenging sport and the participant should be willing and eager to obey commands. Some horses might not last long during the training, especially when the routines become more challenging; they turn stiff and would be unresponsive to cues, but there are those that seem to enjoy a good challenge. Besides, a training session is a lot more productive when you deal with an obedient horse. You need a horse that is receptive to your voice and touch; one that readily works with you without resentment and hesitation. Commonly, riders tend to go for a horse that will complement their personality. Another thing to note is a high-spirited horse – which is likely to display poise when they take on the show ring. This would likely get the participant excellent marks for showing focusing skills.
On the side of conformation, the athlete should possess what is usually referred to as an “uphill” appearance. The horse should be an epitome of symmetry, strength and balance. It should look proportionate in terms of the length of its front end, the back, and its hindquarter. Conformation has an influence on the horse’s gait and balance. There are certain conformation faults of a horse that may interfere with the training, but some unwanted attributes can simply be fixed with the right physical therapies.
Which Breed is the best Dressage Candidate?
As previously pointed out, any horse can participate in dressage but if you are serious about being competitive when it comes to this sport, most horse owners prefer Warmbloods. This breed has the power and vibrancy required for dressage. Still, keep in mind that every breed has its own genetic weakness that can or cannot be fixed.
Getting a horse of any breed so long as it has the ideal conformation will make it easy for the training process. When looking for the best candidate, do not merely stick to breed – remember temperament and conformation. For instance, horses with small and weak hinds may not be able to sustain the challenge in the advanced level of the sport, or the croup should be slightly lower than the withers.
Harnessing and Focusing on the Strengths, Improve Weaknesses
Instead of spending so much time trying to correct your horse’s weaknesses, focus more on its strengths. A dressage test will assess all types of gaits of a horse. If your horse trots beautifully and perfectly but walks weakly, do not break the trotting. Simply focus on gaits your horse is naturally good at and fix other movements as best as you possibly can. Aside from making the most out of your horse’s strengths and doing the best you can about the weaknesses, it also helps to know that a nicely groomed horse with a skillful rider can create good impression.
Choosing the Best Prospect
It is a daunting task to choose the ideal Dressage athlete. It may require the assistance of different people. Good coaches and trainers will also play an important role in developing the skills of the horse and the rider. When things are done right, the training can be an enjoyable challenge. If you are a novice in the equine industry, consult your local dressage trainer to help you make an informed decision. These professionals know their way around the sport and can help you understand how important it is to develop a good horse-rider relationship in this type of equine discipline. These trainers can also point you to the right direction of people who lease ideal dressage horses. Working with them closely can help them evaluate your skills and capabilities in riding so they can also find the horse that is of best interest to you.