I have to a lot of Dressage Days, Club, State and National and the one thing that I notice and wonder about, is that the majority of all Riders are sitting on Horses that are less than SUITABLE for Dressage and many that can’t go on in Dressage.

Further, this lack of education within the Industry, on how to buy Horses that are ‘fit for purpose’ condemns many of our Friends to a Life of Hell and of course the Owners to disappointment and frustration. How would you like being made to enter the Sydney to Surf if you weren’t up to the task?

Dressage is probably the most difficult of Horse Sports with Years involved in getting up the Grades and probably at least 7 Years to get to the top. People don’t get many chances during their Career as time goes fast and before you know it, you are starting to get Arthritic, especially if you are a serious Player. Hips or Knees going early on for many.

So what should you not buy or what should you???……….


Basically, conformation is everything. It starts and ends with it and the build of the Horse dictates many things.


This will influence your experience, your frustration levels, your progress, your scores and much more.


There is no doubt that Geldings are more reliable and LESS RESISTANT than Mares


If you are serious, buy them Young for they get Old quickly and soon pass their optimum effective Age.


Breeding is a complete Lottery. You can never guarantee getting what you want no matter how good you are at the Game. It is far better to buy Young Stock that are on the Ground and let the Breeders lose all the money, besides, you can see precisely what you are getting and what you want, but now, back to CONFORMATION

Frozen Semen and Chilled is the Stuff of Gamblers and in the majority of Cases, it fails. Buy on the Ground.


Don’t buy:

    • Quarter Horses (are built for getting down and dirty with cattle, have horrible movement and bounce on back Legs)
    • Frieshians
    • Arabs (wrong build – rump high – straight back Legs – can’t sit)


If you have serious Plans for Dressage, you have to be riding a Warmblood. If you are a Casual Dressage Rider however, consider the following:

    • Australian Stock Horse or Cross
    • Percheron Cross
    • Clydie Cross
    • Cleveland Bay (although can be ‘behind the Leg’
    • Cob Breeds (normal Dressage and Pony Dressage)
    • Riding Ponies (Pony Dressage)
    • The Standardbred or Crosses. (These Horses can move as wel as Warmbloods but need work)


Don’t buy Horses that are shorter in the front Legs than the back

Don’t buy Horses that are RUMP HIGH

Don’t buy Horses that are long in the Barrel

Don’t buy Horses that are short in the Neck

buy like this


5 Months

Don’t buy Horses that are straight in the Shoulder

buy this NZ Medium Champion


Don’t buy Necks that come out of the Body like this

buy them the opposite way around

Winning first ever Official Test 6 weeks after being broken in.

Don’t buy Horses that have straight back Legs

Don’t buy Horses that are ‘weak behind’ for this is a sign of Unsoundness.

buy like this

Don’t buy Horses with Rumps that slope off like this

DON’T EVER BUY A HORSE WITH A CLUB HOOF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is almost always an unsoundness, a reason for an unbalanced Horse in the work and probably FLYING CHANGES problems after you have worked 2 or 3 Years to get there.

Don’t buy Horses that stand like this. They can’t ‘SIT’ like others.

Don’t buy Horses that sand with their Necks like this. They cannot maintain a Head Set as they are not mechanically designed for the job.

Don’t buy Horses that trot around like this with the Neck or with Necks that come out of the Body like that.

Don’t buy Horses with uneven Muscle Tone. It means Veterinary Problems in a large percentage of cases. or at least a one sided Horse.

Don’t buy Horses with a degenerated rear end compared with a large front end. Almost always caused by Unsoundness.

So in other words, BUY ON CONFORMATION and you will be far more successful and be riding a much happier Horse that is “fit for the Purpose”

To NOT buy a Horse designed for the job of Dressage, is unfair upon the Horses.

I am listening….are You??


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