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of dressage to FEI with this lovely gift from Glorious. Flirt and I did well at training and first level with very high scores, even winning the USDF ISR Training Level Horse of the Year in 2001. What didn’t occur to me at first was that given her conformation, she was probably better suited for hunters. Unlike her parents, Flirt was unfortunately not built uphill enough for any kind of collected work, and the written comments from numerous judges confirmed my suspicions. It was a heart breaking decision since I had raised her myself and I had such high hopes for getting to FEI with my homebred girl, but I felt Flirt had hit her limitations with dressage, and would be a much happier horse in the hunter ring.

As dedicated horse owners and trainers, we must be sure that the path that we choose for our equine partner be the best one for him. The symptoms that our horses may perform better in another field can present themselves in a variety of ways. Clues from your horse that he might be happier in other work can be obvious such as refusing jumps; or backing down the center- line at x after your halt and salute; or always going over the time allowed on the cross country phase of a 3-day event; or bolting out of control in the marathon phase of a CDE. Subtle clues that he’s unhap- py or ill equipped for his job might be things like constant soreness or lameness, repetitive ulcers, or con- sistent low scores.

its toll somewhere in his body. If after most workouts your horse is covered in lather, consider the fact that he just might not be as well suited for the work you’ve chosen for him as you or your trainer may have first thought.

“As dedicated horse owners and trainers, we must be sure that the path that we choose for our equine partner be the best one for him.”

As a rider/driver do you most often think that all judges are crazy? Are you always disappointed with the results of daily workouts, lessons or events? Sometimes we humans are so caught up in our own desires and dreams that we are indifferent to our horse’s plight. The amount of time and money that you’ve invested may make you determined to extract from your animal a performance that he’s just not able to give. If you find that you need lots of extra equip- ment to force your horse into physical postures that just don’t come natural to him, this is probably taking

Warmbloods by their very definition have been bred to be able to perform reasonably well at either jumping, dressage or driving and most excel in these disciplines. Every individual though is more or less suited to one discipline over another. Most are chosen fairly early on by trainers and/or owners for a certain future discipline based on their conforma- tion, gaits and abilities. What these horses are really able to do though, cannot be fully revealed until they begin to train under harness or sad- dle, since much is affected by how they are trained, and how this train- ing affects both their physical and mental development.

I have also observed that a horse can be a round, stunning natural mover at liberty and become a very differently moving horse when faced with carrying a rider’s weight. If you’ve come to the conclusion that your horse might be better off in another field then trust your own judgment. You will have two choic- es: part with your horse or consider changing disciplines yourself if you can’t bear the idea of parting with your equine partner.

Fear of change may stop you from

seeing the situation clearly. Speaking from experience, it is a great pleasure to do the right thing and perhaps let your horse move on to a new owner that will use him for his best ability. If your attachment to your horse is too great for you to bear letting him move on, then consider changing disciplines yourself, so that you can enjoy your horse at his best.

As a trainer, I’ve found many successful sale horses at a lower than market price because they were not doing well in the work that their current owners had chosen for them. Just like in our human relationships, the rela-

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