'I could go out tomorrow and buy a Novice level dressage horse for £6000 if I wanted.' Discuss

SlinkyMinxy

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As per title.

Or, if you prefer: 'Ill-fitting saddles don't cause lameness'.

These comments arose during a rather heated discussion I had with someone today.
 

ycbm

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As per title.

Or, if you prefer: 'Ill-fitting saddles don't cause lameness'.

These comments arose during a rather heated discussion I had with someone today.
I actually agree that ill fitting saddles most often don't cause lameness. I make the observation from the sheer number of ill fitting saddles I see on horses that aren't noticeably lame and the number of yards, especially racing yards, where the rider has a saddle which is used on whatever horse they ride.

I also think she's right about a novice dressage horse for 6k if the horse isn't going to be capable of elementary, or won't hack, or is difficult to manage, or has a bad vet history.
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My fluffy cob has done novice dressage after we got thrown out of my quest prelim for too many 70%+ scores.
Technically he is therefore a novice level horse. Our maximum score has been 65%🤣
Op, it really depends what they mean by a novice level dressage horse. Don't think I could ask as much as £6k for fluffy (he's not for sale though)
 

Celtic Fringe

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Yes - but he is 21 years old! Horse is owned by a friend, was evented by my son and has some VERY good training. His current job is to train me, although I'm unlikely to ever enter a dressage competition! Owner won't sell though as the horse is one of his home-breds and he wants to keep them together but I can ride whenever I like.
I'd agree that a saddle CAN make a horse un-level or 'shuffley' because they are uncomfortable and sore - possibly more likely with a dressage saddle than a jump or racing one? If the saddle is really awful then they are likely to go lame due to longer term damage to back/withers/shoulders.
We once tried a side-saddle on my old cob which was definitely too tight and he was VERY uncomfortable (was great in one that fitted though!).
 

EllenJay

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As per title.

Or, if you prefer: 'Ill-fitting saddles don't cause lameness'.

These comments arose during a rather heated discussion I had with someone today.
Personally, I can‘t see the point of allowing a stupid discussion to become ”heated”. All that achieves is everyone become entranched in their own position, and won‘t change anything.

Yes, you can buy a dressage horse that can perform at any level. The actual question is “can you ride it”
Ill fitting saddles don’t necessarily cause lamesness issues, but it won’t allow the horse to perform to the best of its abilities.
 

Red-1

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Recently bought into cob culture.
Rigs could be piloted round Novice dressage, he cost under 1K, once I had sold the saddle, even at COVID prices. (in my avatar).

His saddle isn't a perfect fit, bit it is adequate and he is sound. It would be better 1/2 inch shorter.

Although I have commented on this thread, I wouldn't have been upset with someone expressing their opinion IRL, led by their experiences.
 

Leam_Carrie

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I guess a lot depends on the rider if a horse can do a novice test. My horse with the pro rider would probably do a nice novice (when fully back in work) where as with me it was prelim… or intro.
My horse not liking her temp saddle caused a lot of issues. So do think saddle fit / or perhaps horse being happy working in the saddle is key. Can’t work out which issue caused which, but so far we’ve treated her back, front feet and hocks. Back was easiest fix.
 

Jayzee

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On the saddle point I think a lame horse may possibly not have a saddle that will fit well - due to slipping or similar for an even gait.

Agreed I think 6k would be possible to find a horse to do novice, as a similar comment said most horses should do novice with correct training and not necessarily be talented for dressage.
 

sbloom

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So many horses that have gone lame have been asymmetric for some time, overloading structures which eventually break, looking like a sudden injury. The saddle will have struggled to fit. Not the only route to a saddle looking like it's caused lameness, and yes, in the long term perhaps a saddle could cause lameness (other than bridle lameness) but it's a super complex area and it's very easy to blame the saddle. Saddle fitting is an exercise in mitigation.
 

SlinkyMinxy

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Out of interest why did the argument get heated? Do you just not get along with the other person? I googled novice dressage test and I can't say it looked to me something that any averagely well schooled horse would not be able to do with a reasonably competent rider.
It arose as part of a compensation claim. I can't really go into too many details as it looks like it is going to end up with lawyers involved :(. The comment about the novice dressage horse was made as a comparison to the horse involved in the claim, who is actually schooled to Elementary/Medium level but has never competed as the owner isn't interested in that side of things.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on this thread. It's been really interesting to read the range of opinions and experiences.
 

Rowreach

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So many horses that have gone lame have been asymmetric for some time, overloading structures which eventually break, looking like a sudden injury. The saddle will have struggled to fit. Not the only route to a saddle looking like it's caused lameness, and yes, in the long term perhaps a saddle could cause lameness (other than bridle lameness) but it's a super complex area and it's very easy to blame the saddle. Saddle fitting is an exercise in mitigation.
All of this, although a poorly fitting saddle can be likened to us wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes. It may cause a temporary alteration in movement, relieved the second the saddle is removed, or as sbloom says, it could over time result in a more permanent way of going/lameness.

There’s been considerable research done (I’ll try and find you some links OP) regarding the correlation between poorly fitting saddles and left forelimb lameness, suggesting that the way a horse holds itself to minimise discomfort from tree point pressure from a “tight” saddle results in the overloading of the limb.
 

sbloom

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All of this, although a poorly fitting saddle can be likened to us wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes. It may cause a temporary alteration in movement, relieved the second the saddle is removed, or as sbloom says, it could over time result in a more permanent way of going/lameness.

There’s been considerable research done (I’ll try and find you some links OP) regarding the correlation between poorly fitting saddles and left forelimb lameness, suggesting that the way a horse holds itself to minimise discomfort from tree point pressure from a “tight” saddle results in the overloading of the limb.
I think that, because of sampling and its implications, it would be hard to eliminate the fact the horse was crooked before the saddle was fitted, and in fact if the horse had been straight the saddle wouldn't have caused issues. I've not seen the original research but I do think there's often an issue with validity - correlation versus causation, and the interpretation offered in the press.
 

SEL

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My shetland could do a novice level dressage test..... it might not get a decent score, but nobody would die and she was less than £500.
I see no reason in time why my freebie thelwell pony couldn't do a novice test - once I've worked on the wall of death canter. We wouldn't set the dressage world alight and bitless would be interesting, but its only W,T,C after all ;)
 

LEC

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But the Shetland might die of shock when LEC attempts dressage on her 🤣
Luckily I have a good friend who is lightweight enough to ride mules and Shetlands...... Unfortunately at 5'9 I can stand up with the shetland so would need roller skates. The test might take 45 mins as well and we know dressage is boring enough without it taking that long.
 

Birker2020

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I make the observation from the sheer number of ill fitting saddles I see on horses that aren't noticeably lame and the number of yards, especially racing yards, where the rider has a saddle which is used on whatever horse they ride.

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Agree in part. Two examples : the pro rider who rode the new horse I bought had a 'one saddle fits all' philosophy as does the pro rider where I am now, shove enough padding underneath and they can't feel a thing.

But sometimes horses can be bilaterally lame and incredibly hard to spot, so it isn't necessarily that the saddle fits the horse or not, its whether lameness can be kept to a minimum by good riding, a load of filling and difficulty in spotting a lame horse. Not saying you can't spot lameness YCBM, just saying sometimes its hard to see.

And like a recent conversation with a vet, where I was told that sometimes when ridden by a pro rider, the repercussions by not moving nicely and playing up are worse than the pain of a ill fitting saddle. Not saying all pro riders are like this by the way! :)
 

Squeak

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Depends how good a rider they are, but for average joes there is a vast difference between horses getting 62% at unaff novice and those scoring 70% and upwards at BD. So its a vast camp to fit a horse into ;)

My thoughts exactly. I'd have thought that pretty much any (sound) horse could go out and do a Novice, there would just be a huge variance in what they would score.
 
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The old wisdom used to be this. Any horse with a good enough rider can go as far as Medium. This becomes the point at which poor conformation will limit any further progress. Any rider can go up the levels given a good enough horse, but most amateurs will stick at Elementary. That is the point at which the rider who is used to turning out a pretty performance at Novice with a nicely tucked in nose will get test sheet after test sheet saying “horse not working over his back” and decide the whole thing is too much like hard work. The above sentences are a direct quote from my old trainer, God rest his soul. So based on that, yes, I could buy a Novice dressage horse for under 6k, but if you wanted something that will go above Novice with an average amateur rider…write your own cheque, someone will pay it :)
 
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