You’re special. Like, stop eating the paste special?

Since when did competing at first level dressage become an achievement?

Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and take a look at the key movements in First Level Test “D” (the hardest of the first levels).

There’s some leg yielding, some 15 meter circles, some lengthening of the stride (at all three gaits to boot!), a loop, a simple change, some stretching at the trot and jazz hands for the big finish because you’re done! That’s it! That’s all she wrote!  The fat lady has sung!

At this level you can get away with a leading shoulder in the leg yield or a faster gait instead of an actual lengthen and still make up enough points to score in the 60’s.  -not too shabby.  So, to me, this seems like some pretty basic training.  As in, any horse that can walk, trot, and canter off a rider’s commands can compete at this level.  Agreed?  Good.

So then why are studs being advertised as “Trained and shown in first level dressage and winning first place”?  That’s like saying your kid is the smartest in the “special ed” class – what do you want? a medal? Con-fucking-gratulations.  I don’t mean to be insensitive (ok, I do, but only a little bit) but that’s not really something to brag about.  That factoid doesn’t make your horse a more valuable stud than any other riding horse.

“ONE OF A KIND GYPSY STALLION.Trained and shown in first level dressage and winning first place.Maximus is just like riding a gelding and handles like one as well.Maximus is a proven stallion with many fine gets on the ground.Serious inquires,approved home only.Call for Price,photos and more info.”

(The above ad is from Dreamhorse and if you’re familiar with their format then you know this horse’s stats were in a chart.   I didn’t feel like copying it over.  It’s useless for the purpose of this post anyways.)

Then again, you could choose to go this route…

“Tucumcari has excellent dressage movement, is a good jumper, and always works with his hocks well up under him. He loves to work and truly enjoys interaction with people. When his first crop of foals were born they were FANTASTIC!!! His foals are tall and elegant. They are gorgeous movers, and they all have Tucumcari’s incredible upright Friesian neck and Friesian looks in a pinto package. All of Tucci’s foals have been pinto with exception of one foal that is a beautiful black (looks Friesian!). Tucumcari is very easy to handle and ties, loads, is ridable and jumps, and is current on shots/coggins. We are getting out of breeding and looking to sell him to a good home”

…and not mention any competitive accomplishments.  That’s a viable option, I suppose.  Although not a very good one.

Oh and just a tip for the first owner: a Gypsy Vanner competing at first level dressage isn’t exactly a rare commodity.


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Posted on November 24, 2011, in Bad Horse Ads and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Yeah. There’s only one horse in my friend’s barn that couldn’t do a first level test, and that’s the 10 year old TB with 90 days under saddle. He doesn’t quite understand ‘canter’ yet, but he JUST worked out the difference between lengthening and going faster, has solid leg yields and can trot a 15m circle without losing balance. Now to sort out the canter issue…he’s such a cutie.

  2. Well, at least they mention training? That’s gotta be a plus, right?
    Showing in first level dressage is, however, more of a rider achievement than a horse’s I would say. You don’t really have to go beyond basic training to get a horse to respond for aids to do the 3 basic paces, do some lateral work and extend the paces a bit. But it beats having no training and having – insert famous show horse name here – as a great great great grandfather, right?

  3. I’ve always said that “any” decent horse can be competitive up to 2nd level. After that, there has to be some good equine under you to be competitive. It’s like saying: “Jumps 2′ courses.” Pretty much “any” decent horse should be able to do that.

    The fact that the horse competed in 1st level doesn’t make me think he’s a more worthy sire than one who hasn’t. It just means his owners were competent enough to put SOME training on him. It doesn’t mean he’s a superior equine prospect, it just means that his owners bothered to put some riding time into him.

    Like Monica said, it’s an achievement for the rider (and good for them!), but doesn’t tell you squat about the horse.

  4. Hey at least they are both started and usable. They sound like they have decent brains on them. granted that doesn’t make them a stallion prospect but there definitely worse out there.

    “OMG look at R gorjus colord hores, Hes one years old and has 5 butiful babies. U shud bread 2 him 4 the bargan prise of $500!”

    • This is true! And at least the owners are being honest about the level of their training and not trying to claim they’ve got something more than basic training.

  5. I wonder if it’s targeted at people who don’t realize that ‘level one dressage’ is the lowest level, not the highest. I could see bragging about it if my horse and I were brand new to dressage in a ‘hey, we did it!’ kind of way. Not exactly sale ad material, though.

    Physically I kind of like the second horse. He’s not overly bulky or overweight like a lot of Frisians, although all their videos are in the wrong aspect ratio so you really can’t tell anything about his conformation. He could probably do well with more training than ‘is ridable’. I’ll reserve judgment about him being stallion quality, though.

  6. Now, come on, a Gypsy Vanner that is actually fucking BROKE is practically a miracle in of itself. I mean, compared to all the Gypsy Vanner stallions standing at stud in this country, the first level horse probably is one of THE most well trained Gypsy Vanner stallions around!

    What? You want to compare to other breeds and their accomplishments? Well, now you are just being a meanie… 😉

  7. At first level the horse should be going correctly on the bit. Their hindquarters need to be engaged, they need to maintain a soft suppleness and be light on their forehand throughout the test. You can’t find that in intro or training, so if my horse was above those two levels I would advertise it. Sure, first level should be considered easy if you have a well trained horse, but it isn’t “special ed”. That’s intro level. First level is at least high school, second level college, third level grad, and fourth level doctorate. At least for me, and my fellow dressage riders.

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