Sunday 15 January 2012

Mmm - MMM! I love a sweet lemon, don't you!

I have had a change of heart.  

I know, I know, a while back, I said one of the most idiotic things I hear said often with respect to dressage is that "dressage is just flatwork", usually uttered by hunter people.

Well, I was doing a little bulletin board surfing in preparation for my next few posts to refresh my memory on what made me decide to look at the laundry list of crossbreeds that I eventually headed out to see next on my shopping spree of 2003.   

And while reading, I recalled a sentiment which is even stupider than this. 

Someone, somewhere on Chronofhorse, said this regarding riding off-breeds:

It's fun! Anyone can do well with a great, expensive horse, a good trainer doing all the work for them, and enough money. Those people are a dime a dozen. 

Face it, nowadays, you just have to have a bazillion dollars to compete with the big boys who are too chicken to try to deal with the non-standard breeds.

MMMmmm!  MMMmmmm!  Oh so SWEET!

(I particularly love the "too chicken" part)

Fortunately, I was not partaking in the thread at the time - because my answer would have been something along the lines of:


And responses like this are generally frowned upon on bulletin boards.  Some people find them rude.  

When asked why I ended up buying the cross I did, the answer is pretty simple. She was the fanciest, most athletic horse that met my requirements - and with the most potential for dressage - that I looked at within my budget. And she turned out great.  

But I am not too proud to admit that if I had the money, I would have flown on over to Holland and picked out a Sandro Hit x Gribaldi dam line or whatever the hell was trendy that year.  Well, If I had the money I wouldn't have been buying a 2 year old in the first place, I would have bought... well, something like my horse is now, years and $$$ later, and ready to show PSG - you get my drift.  I didn't seek out the breed, the horse just fit the bill.  

But contrary to this attitude... there seems to be this hard core contingent of people out there who, for some reason, like to wear the "off breed, not meant for dressage, downhill, ewe necked, bench-kneed" horses like some sort of hair shirts to be proud of.  "Yes, it's not easy being me, but I suck up the challenges and not only that...I LIKE IT THIS WAY.."

Stop doing this.  You sound like idiots.  

Now don't get me wrong, I have no issue at all with people who own horses not particularly well bred for dressage who love them, and do their best with them, face challenges, some days want to kill the horse and themselves and those around them, but eventually enjoy getting to wherever it is they end up along the dressage spectrum.  Good for them. (I consider myself to be in this group).  

But this holier-than-thou, off-breed riding rebel thing is just weird.  

Imagine that you decided to pack your things and head out for a nice day of skiing at Whistler, or wherever it is you ski, and on the gondola you ran into someone who looked at you with slight disdain, and announced that "yah, any asshole can ski black diamonds on those new fangled shaped skis..Pfft.  Wimp.  What are you, chicken?  Real skiiers prefer the challenge of tackling the slopes on 1973 Rossignols.  The kind with the tethers, instead of brakes on the bindings, so when you fall, the skis flail around and peg you in your helmetless head.  Now THAT is skiing".  

See you back at the chalet, pussy

You would think this person was a total whackjob, and if they turned left off the chair, you would make a point to turn right, staying as clear of them and their hot tub time machine getup as you humanly could for the rest of the day.  

But somehow, in the minds of this weird little contingent of dressage nutbars, this line of thinking is honourable, even preferred. 

Somehow they have this strange belief that announcing  "Yah, we bought horses not bred for dressage because we are HARD CORE. Not warmblood riding pansies like Anky and Edward".  


 "Yah, I am a middle aged, out of shape woman trying to master an Olympic discipline - but that just hardly seems to be setting the bar high enough.  I think I will buy totally inappropriate equipment to make it just a bit more of a stretch goal... who wouldn't" will totally explain the fact that they are not yet short-listed for the national team, and goddammit, that is exactly the way they want it. 

(You really couldn't get away with this in any other Olympic sport, as you would quickly be called out as being...full of smoldering crap.  You can either run fast, jump shit, whatever... or you can't.  There is no horse to blame your inadequacies on).  

Here are a few of my thoughts on this, if you care:

1.  You are wrong.  Not anyone can "do it" with a good horse, a good trainer, good karma, good luck and enough money.  

Just ask Katie Price.

My Crank is really coming along. I will practice Spank later tonight  in the bedroom

2.  There is a reason this sport IS an Olympic discipline.  It is really hard. 

Just ask one of the many higher level trainers out there, who, despite good horses, good sponsors, good opportunities - still just never seem to be good enough to make the cut.  

THESE people really ARE a dime a dozen.  Funny that...

3.  Lastly - the thing I really don't get... If their horses really are impossibly poorly designed for dressage - why do they feel it is anything other than cruel to try to force them up the levels?

Why is it something to be proud of?  At least the wank with improper ski equipment is likely just going to kill himself.  If these people really do get some kick out of pushing an inappropriate horse up the levels - they are also hurting the horse. 

Frankly - you might want to do everyone a favour and pick a horse that is built to do the job - whatever breed it may happen to be.  Or at least pipe down about your weird "self flagellation in the form of dressage" fetish.  If you want, I can suggest some others that are probably more fun.  


  1. -somedays want to kill the horse themselves and those around them-

    Yup sounds about right
    Throw in raging Pms, a perch/ TB and it sounds just like my situation

    Thanks for making my evening curmudgeon

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  3. Sorry, my cold-addled brain didn't really get that one out properly. Here's what it's supposed to say-
    I think you make a good point. IMHO, these people really aren't any better than those who think riding A) isn't a sport & B) isn't work. Basic dressage is really just good training, but as you progress up the levels it can become quite physically taxing & IT'S A LOT OF HARD HARD WORK! In the same way a cob will never win The Rolex 3D, your chances of finding the same cob competing at Devon are equally slim. It's not being 'breedist', just honest.

  4. These folks are almost as obnoxious as the "any horse can do Grand Prix," people. Unfortunately, when somebody tries to say something sane to these individuals, like... "most upper level riders have warmbloods because it is way easier to find a suitable horse, and it makes sense to choose more of a sure thing," it gets smacked down as breed bias and negativity.

  5. While I work with a lot of 'off breeds' I'd give may left tit to have a purpose bred warm-blood (hell, may as well give them both, wouldn't want lack of symetry to detract from that fabulous trot)

  6. Thanks. This was hilarious.

    I have a TBxWB mare that came crazy and unstarted at 5 because that was what I could afford. She actually looks like a tame horse (most of the time) now a days, but I rest assured that her physical ability will take me just as far as I ever want to go.

    People who buy hairy downhill cobs baffle me.

  7. Totally get it! Some people need to understand that some horses simply are NOT built to do certain things. No matter how much you try to force the issue, it just might not happen. Some breeds are specialized to excel at certain jobs and while a "one-off" horse might excel at it too, it's likely not the norm.
    All the more power to people that want to try new things with their horses but you have to have realistic expectations. I realize my oh so pokey appendix mare would likely never make it past 1st level....and probably not be scoring well at that. That's just who this horse is.

  8. I had no idea who Katie Price was. After some Googling, she appears to be a UK celebrity (singer?), and the equestrian press doesn't try to hide their distain for her!

  9. This may be the best thing I've ever read. Thanks!

  10. Yup, it's one thing to do the best job you can with the horse you can afford; carefully observing both your and said horse's limits along the way. Most of us are not made of money and there is a lot to be learned from this process. But the holier than thou attitude of some of the converts to non-trads (read unsuitable) horses is beginning to bug the heck out of me. I just don't want to get crucified, so thank you for being braver than I.

  11. I love that someone bumped the referenced thread the day this post came out.

    I remember being amazed when I saw that post originally. I ride two "off-breed" horses, but one is a very suited to dressage TB... who is my first dressage horse, and who I don't expect to have warmblood-like suspension or gaits scores. The other is my mom's trail horse who I'm playing with and seeing what she can do for fun, not because I think I can make upper levels with her.
    My next horse is 95% likely to be a WB because... I want to actually try to do well showing, and will only by non-purpose-bred if it is still super suited for the job.

  12. Interesting article. I think that the real problem is that most ammys are lousy, in the eyes of the judges at least. It doesn't really matter what horse you are on. I showed FEI on a very off breed last year, and got crummy scores between 55 and 60. However, the other ammys on magnificent imported warmbloods also got between 55 and 60. In a three day show, out of about 30 PSG and I1 tests there were a total of 2 scores in the 60s. I think that many ammies are fooling themselves if they think that dropping big bucks on a super fancy horse is really going to make that much difference in the scores. How much is it worth to get a 59 instead of a 57?

  13. I love reading the comments, keep them coming.

    And Anon Jan 19 09:38 AM... come on, you are one of my friends putting me on, right?

    While eating my lasagna, wearing my obscene shorts, this was THE topic amongst the judges... "ohhh, pooooor you! You had to judge the PSG Adult Ams all day, I think I threw up in my mouth a little just thinking of it, they are SOOOO BAD...!"

    Uh.. hellooo - PSG adult am here - I am right here - yep, me, listening... volunteering...paying your salaries...

    But I thought I would save this for another time, since it was already a pretty bitter bitchy rant. Maybe next week...

  14. Well, that's what happen when you hire the entire coven of witches from "Macbeth" to judge your show! I could hear the cackles from X.

  15. Oh the dreaded off-breed movement lol! Take off your bra and just let em hang if you wanna ride a sewing machine trot for the rest of your life! lol

    Being an off-breed owner for reasons obvious to anyone in line behind my price check at Walmart LOL I started an offbreed blog (Typoes galore) but it was because I was interested in riding offbreeds of everykind and showing progress (just that a little bit of progress with each guy and gal :) - Not everyone makes it to upper levels obviously). If anyone offered me an upper level horse to ride... Well I would never be on a dressage board again probably! But instead I am at a barnful of this and that's ... No hate for the WB, but we ride what we've got eh>?

  16. so where are the rest of the blogs???? This is July.