My very good friend’s horse is broken (her words). It is an utter tragedy. This horse is a lovely character, he is handsome and well bred (Rubinstein), a great mover who had fantastic potential; a real gem of a horse and very much loved. Out of respect for my friend I will not go into detail but I tell you this because the irony is weighing heavy on me.
Looking out for another horse, insult is added to injury (no pun intended) due to how appallingly difficult it is to find a young warm blood here in the U.K. with pure gaits. I am not suggesting it is easier on the continent either! Pure gaits are so important in dressage because they help create a supple, symmetric horse; developing a healthy muscle structure that supports the spine and the ribcage evenly through every expansion and contraction. Asymmetrical, short stepping horses develop muscular restriction with every step that impairs their health and thus training progress.
Now I do not want to open up a can of worms, because I have forming views that I do not like, have not completely and fully researched and as yet are unproven. The fact is that we are seeing more and more horses coming to our small yard with asymmetry issues, so much so that in the past 6 months we have begun to specialise in post op, rehabilitation with at least 5 x spine surgeries, 2 x suspensory ops, 2 x dental ops, every single horse some level of remedial farriery – I could go on but it is waaaay too depressing.
So, turning to the search for a backed four year old who is ready to start his/her career the focus is one the whole horse and pure even, active gaits.