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Can My Thoroughbred Do Dressage?

Can I do dressage with my Thoroughbred horse?

Well, of course you can!

Yes, Laura... I've read your blog posts and heard everyone else's generic thoughts on the subject - "Yes, every horse can do dressage!" Blah, blah, blah...

But can my Thoroughbred really do dressage? Like for real? And be competitive with Karen and her $50,000 warmblood she imported from Europe last year?

YES! Absolutely yes. Let me tell you why...

When evaluating your Thoroughbred's potential to be really competitive in dressage there are a few key things to consider:

  • Conformation and Movement - If you're looking for a competitive future dressage horse, there's no getting around the fact the horse needs to move well. While some Thoroughbreds will move as well as a big, lofty warmblood, the reality is most don't. BUT that doesn't mean your horse can't be competitive.

I worry less about how big the movement it and more about how balanced the horse is. Balanced is very different than flashy... Your Thoroughbred doesn't need to have the loftiest trot in the world. Fancy trots can be learned and developed. Balance tends to be a little more intuitive and harder develop. Does your horse show clear rhythm in all three gaits?

  • Your Horse's Mindset - How the horse thinks and solves problems is even more important to me in a horse than how well he moves. It's a safe bet that many Thoroughbreds will not bounce like a warmblood... that's not a deal breaker! But that's why it's even more important that the horse has a solid brain and WANTS to do the work. I've developed many, many different breeds of horses for dressage over the years and it's tough to find a horse with more heart and athleticism than a Thoroughbred.

  • YOUR Mindset - This is probably THE most important factor. Do you believe in your horse and his ability to be a competitor? Do you believe in your ability to be a savvy leader and help your horse to develop to the best of his abilities? Notice I said "savvy leader" and not "best rider that ever walked the earth." You do not have to know it all or have everything figured out but you do need to believe in your ability to figure things out. (Having a good trainer or coach helps, too!) When you trust yourself to be able to figure things out, your horse will trust you in that, too!

Thoroughbred horses are some of the most gritty, athletic horses you'll come across. And they have more heart and "try" than darn near any other breed. What they may lack in ideal "dressage" movement, they easily make up for in how hard they're willing to work for you once they trust you. And a fun bonus? You'll pay pennies on the dollar compared to a warmblood with similar talent and/or training!

Looking for a new dressage partner? Don't turn up your nose at a good Thoroughbred horse. CLICK HERE to learn what I look for when looking for a Thoroughbred dressage prospect.

Do you have a great Thoroughbred (or other non-traditional dressage horse) and you're ready to level up your game? We'll talk about the GAME PLAN next - stay tuned!

Are you and your horse ready to dive in now? Contact me HERE! Let's build you and your horse your own CUSTOM TRAINING PLAN. I offer both online and in person coaching. Let me help you and your horse feel confident going down centerline this season!

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