A little snark for your Friday

“Val is an 8 yr old registered Clydesdale mare broke to ride and drive. She is truly a gentle giant. She is riding 2nd level dressage and is a jumping machine. She is extrememly well broke and has incredible manners. She requires NO rein to turn her, just leg pressure, she roll backs, side passes, piviots, shoulder in, shoulder out, collects, backs, picks up her leads, lead changes, jumps 4 feet easy. I can use her for novice begininner lessons and I feel comfortable putting small kids on her. She is broke to drive single, double and in a quad. I have dramaticly discounted her price jusrt becasue I am sitting with 9 horses currently and need to thin the herd before winter. Val makes me money in my riding program and leasing her out, but would love to find her a forever home. This girl has had a TON of professional training and you would be the talk of the town with a horse like her. She is truly impressive. Don’t let this girl pass you by.”

Thank you craigslist for yet another gem.

We love ads like this. It came with pictures of the horse being ridden western, jumping a cavaletti and hooked up to a cart but unfortunately I couldn’t attach them.  (JG: Done!  Check out the alt-text for my thoughts.)  And now to snark!

First of all – WTF is a “shoulder out”? Wouldn’t that put you on top of or even outside of the little white fence? I guess we can safely assume the seller means haunches in (travir). To which we say good for you little draft mare! You can bend! -making the logic-leap that they’re doing it correctly.

Secondly – If this horse is making you money, why are you selling her? Either the seller lied and isn’t making any money with this horse, or the seller lied and the horse isn’t doing everything the ad claims! A draft horse that can’t jump, do dressage AND drive (by the way, if you’ve ridden a carriage horse you know that they’re typically stiff as boards!) that is shocking! The slightest of feathers could knock me on my arse right now, that’s how much shock I am in!

Don’t get the wrong idea about us – we like draft horses. They are very good at what they were bred to do, which is muscle around really heavy objects. They, however, were not bred for agility or speed – both of which are tested in dressage and jumping. We’re not saying it’s impossible for a draft to do well in these disciplines, we’re merely saying that genetically speaking it’s more difficult for them than say a Thoroughbred.


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Posted on September 16, 2011, in Bad Horse Ads and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. I think the basic Horse advertisement measurement conversion has come into play here… you know, when you go look at the “16.2 hand Black QH” and it is really 14.3 and bay?! (and the seller says “well I don’t have a stick, but he’s just HUGE!”)
    Another personal favorite is the H/J prospect “schooling” 3 foot fences…. Which is true, if what they meant was schooling AROUND the 3 foot fences while they spook and refuse crossrails. This actually applies to dressage too… running-sideways-through-my-aides = leg yield and won’t-walk-so-constantly-prances = piaffe!
    I also love the ads that list a horse as 15.6 hands… at least you can brace yourself for the impending idiocy that you will be subjected to in the rest of the ad!

    • Or when schooling 3 foot means that when you go over a crossrail they overjump it by 2’6″. (Seller – “See, they went AT LEAST 3 feet in the air!”) This one doesn’t even bother to list the horse’s height, ’cause apparently that’s irrelevant. Or they don’t know what it is.

  2. A shoulder out is referred to in dressage as a counter-shoulder-in, it is basically the oposite of a shoulder-in, something I’ve tried only once and failed at. But I highly doubt that a Clydesdale can do this kind of lateral work. I could be wrong, of course, but these guys don’t sound like dressage experts to me.

  3. Horror of horrors, I was wrong! Monica you’re right! A shoulder out is the opposite of a shoulder in. My mistake – a shoulder-in or -out is done on 3 tracks (see whereas a haunches -in or -out is done on a set of 4 tracks, 1 for each hoof (see Learn something new everyday – although I wish I had done it without publishing it on the internet!!! JG is NEVER going to let me forget this :S

    • Hey, everyone makes mistakes, I’m good with understanding riding exercises in my head but then I take forever to figure out how o actually do them. My theoretical knowledge in horse riding, along with the fact that I’m strongly opinionated has got me in trouble already, because some people apparently thought I wanted to appear as someone who was very knowledgeable and experienced and then my riding didn’t live up to those standards, so I was attacked in almost every single most. Ah ambiguity, the gift of the internet…

      Here’s me making an attempt to do a counter-shoulder-in and failing completely xD

  4. Depending on its level of training, I don’t see why a Clyde couldn’t do a shoulder out/in, especially a smaller one. A friend of ours had a small Clyde gelding who was actually smaller and narrower than my DraftX girls, who can both do lateral work. The older mare went to second level successfully and my younger mare (Belg/QHx) does shoulder-in and counter shoulder-in pretty well. They can be flexible, but it takes more training than it would with other breeds.

    Now, do I think this mare can do lateral work without seeing it myself? That would be a no, ghostwriter. She looks pretty large and has a shorter, and thus stiffer, neck.

    I’d love to try to teach it to her though, I miss having a fullbred draft in the barn! 😀

    • OK, so I didn’t phrase it very well. That’s what I get for posting at nearly 2 a.m. I don’t think it’s impossible for a Clyde to do lateral work, but given their conformation, it’s not exactly an easy thing to achieve with a Clyve.

  5. What were they asking for this oh-so-talented mare? I’m sure there are some Clydes who can do all that, but they’re rare as hen’s teeth. (And people who are inclined to put that kind of training into a draft are even rarer.)

    • The ad, unfortunately, did not mention a price. We would be very interested in that as well! Might be further fodder for our snark!

      There are absolutely some draft horses that can do the movements, but even just in terms of proper bend it’s harder for them. I (DE) am all for the gentle giants – I’ve been toying with the idea of just getting a horse that’s great on trails when I retire my boy (who is 17.3hh!) but, as JG can attest, I probably can’t ride without trying to school at least a little bit of dressage! 😉

  6. If you look at the size build of any wild horse and compare it to warmbloods and drafts, you can see how different the proportions are. The thing is, while warmbloods are good at jumping, it is actually not good for them to do it because they are not built for a lifetime of soundness like say, a mustang is. Natural selection works very well and there is a reason why the vast majority of wild horses don’t get over 15 hands. Carriage horses develop a “stepping trot,” which is why they feel stiff. This reduces the shock on their legs, because in theory, their proportions suggest they should barely be able to hold up their own weight comfortably. That is why I hate seeing draft horses being jumped and doing dressage at shows- it is awful for their soundness. Frankly, everything is. They are great for pulling things, but other than that, they should be left alone.

  7. I agree the ad is crummy and if that mare can do 2nd level dressage I’ll buy her myself, but I just have to interject on behalf of all the talented, athletic drafties out there! I have an eight year old TB gelding with lovely conformation and a seven year old belgian x mare who has the neck the size of a mack truck. Her legs are stumpy. Her hind end is half the size of her massive front end. Her front feet paddle like a son of a gun. And she could dance circles around my gelding any day of the week. Were drafts originally bred to be dressage and jumping stars? No. But neither were thoroughbreds. Don’t judge a
    horse’s potential athletic ability because of their breed. Drafts need lovin’ too.

  8. Michaela, actually you are quite wrong. I have had two equine exercise physiologists one of which being Dr. Hilary Clayton (she wrote Conditioning Sporthorses) confirm that with proper care and maintenance a draft can jump safely and soundly up to 3’6″. I am eventing a full Percheron safely and soundly right now. She has never been a carriage horse though. I got her as a 2 year old blank slate. I ride with a Polar equine HR monitor to map all her HRs during the work and cooling out phase. Bill Pressey, another renowned equine exercise physiologist has taken a look at her HR readouts and found them impressive as well. Her work and cooling rates are no different from a light horse. We recently competed at The Event at Goose Downs and were 2nd in the Novice division and the day before we competed in the New Event horse class (a professional evaluation of potential for a lower level event horse) and we won. We have NO problem making UNDER optimum time on XC. At Goose Downs there were light horses NOT making the time in our division. I had to slow my horse up TWICE on the course. It was a breeze for her because we condition properly. So, you might want to rethink your close minded idea that drafts are only good for “pulling things.” There are some out there that should absolutely being doing much more than “pulling things.” This is why I love the Eventing crowd. We get nothing but support. Everyone loves my mare where ever we go. The Air Force is actually half sponsoring us this year for Three Day Eventing. You can also read about that on my blog too.

    Here is the post from the recent horse trials at Goose Downs.

    We’ve completed 3 other horse trials this year successfully and we still have two more to go. When my girl gets her medal from USEA this year, I’ll make sure to post that too.

    I’m not going to say anything about Snarky Rider’s post because atleast at the end they acknowledge that there may be a draft or two out there that can compete successfully at disciplines that are not usual for them.

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