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Breed recommendations

22 replies

Doublechocolatetiffin · 31/03/2021 16:22

I'm going to buy my next horse soonish and would love some guidance as to what breeds to look at. I love dressage and previously had a hanoverian who I rode to elementary level. She was super to ride but I ended up having to sell her as she was too dangerous around children.

I know every horse is different, but if I'm looking for an dressage focused all-rounder (something that I can jump and hack too) what breeds would you recommend? It has to be sane and suitable to be around children. I don't want to spend the crazy money that dressage horses are at the moment, but will have a healthy budget for a horse. It doesn't need to be a serious competition horse just something I can enjoy at home. Can anyone recommend a good breed to look at?

OP posts:
lastqueenofscotland · 31/03/2021 16:37

Realistically for that you are looking at high 4/low 5 figures for a nice competition all rounder.
My friend has a 3/4 hannovarian 1/4 tb and she’s flashy with a lovely pop.
KWPNs seem popular
ISH seem vvv popular at the moment too.

I personally adore TBs and you get plenty that are nice enough to do dressage, and aren’t completely cooked in the head. My current ex racehorse is an absolute angel, she’s not mega flashy but we’d probably get up to novice easily enough (I’m a bit of a thruster and don’t have the patience for any schooling beyond that!), and she’s a lovely forward but sensible mare to jump, and very clever when this idiot jockey keeps asking her for stupidly long ones, she just ignores me and figures out a much more sensible option!

They are also excellent value for money and the vast majority of them are much much saner than their reputation would suggest.

maxelly · 31/03/2021 20:52

How big/tall are you and what size do you want ideally? If you are little enough I'd recommend one of the larger native breeds, both Welsh Ds and Connemaras would do your job well, they tend to be different types, Connie's are sharper and hotter, intelligent/sensitive types, Welshies have bigger movement but even bigger opinions IMO, they can go nappy and spooky like a WB if not well managed. Both breeds do v well in grassroots/PC eventing, jumping, dressage, most Welsh might start to struggle for scope and stride length to comfortably BS beyond Disco and most Connie's jump well but probably lack flashiness/paces for dressage beyond Ele - but from the sounds of things that would be OK for you, or either of those breeds crossed with Tb may give a little more size and quality hopefully without adding too much sharpness.

If you really want a full up horse, agree that ISH or anything with a good dose of Irish would fit the bill, or don't discount a full TB. It's a boring answer but honestly I probably wouldn't write off any breed, just look for a horse that ticks all your other boxes and don't worry too much re breeding?

EmmaC78 · 31/03/2021 22:07

I am a big TB fan too, I have an ex racer and although he has his TB moments he is a kind boy that would turn hi hand to most things. I would look at TB crosses too. My last horse was a TB x Welsh and was another lovely horse.

Doublechocolatetiffin · 01/04/2021 07:36

Thank you everyone that's useful. I'm not big so I've set a max height of 16hh and ideally bigger than 15hh. I definitely want something with a bit of movement, even though I may not compete much. It was the expressive paces of my mare that kept me interested for hours in the school. I know this is a piece of string type question really, but it's such a huge market out there.

OP posts:
lastqueenofscotland · 01/04/2021 08:27

Roughly what’s your budget OP as in this ridiculous market that’ll be the main indicator
18 months ago I’d have said just get an Oldenburg but I don’t think you’ll get a nice one that hacks for less than 15k atm.
My friend is looking at the moment and went to see a young WB who was 10k who’s literally just w/t/c round the school and he’s VERY quality but has done nothing else, not even a v short hack in company once. He was sold while she was giving herself a day to think about him.
The market is insane

Pleasedontdothat · 01/04/2021 12:04

Our new one is ISHxHolsteiner and she sounds exactly the kind of horse you’re looking for. She’s got beautiful movement and is very expressive but is also sane and sensible enough to hack out in company or alone - dd can take her for a cobweb-clearing blast in open fields and she’s got lots of oomph but also has brakes. We got her from a private seller who was moving abroad so we got her for much less than she’d have gone for with a dealer so they are around - it took us four months and two failed vettings though ...

FanFckingTastic · 01/04/2021 12:11

I've recently bought a nice ISH (she has a little bit of TB thrown in back along the line too) It's early days for me, but she sounds like the kind of thing that you might want. She's quite flashy and although she's a smaller horse at 15.2 she rides much bigger, with big expressive paces. She's very sweet and willing - so much so that my 9 year old quite happily deals with her and rides her - but she is also very bold. Won't say no to a fence and lots of scope x country. I'd definitely recommend the breed. Good luck horse-shopping!

HappyGirlNow · 01/04/2021 13:01


I've recently bought a nice ISH (she has a little bit of TB thrown in back along the line too) It's early days for me, but she sounds like the kind of thing that you might want. She's quite flashy and although she's a smaller horse at 15.2 she rides much bigger, with big expressive paces. She's very sweet and willing - so much so that my 9 year old quite happily deals with her and rides her - but she is also very bold. Won't say no to a fence and lots of scope x country. I'd definitely recommend the breed. Good luck horse-shopping!

ISH as a breed is a combination of thoroughbred x Irish Draught lines. So all have some element of thoroughbred in them.
HappyGirlNow · 01/04/2021 13:17

My 17hh plus ISH’s passport says 61% thouroughbred but I can’t see it myself 🤔 he’s pretty broad. He’s very level headed when ridden and has Cruising lines but again, that’s not evident from his jumping!

I have a retired Oldenburg, bred from dressage royalty, who’s a beautiful mover, believe they’re good jumpers too, but quite highly strung.

Our KWPN type horse is a bit spooky but relaxed in other ways.. believe they’re good all rounders..

FanFckingTastic · 01/04/2021 19:11

@HappyGirlNow I am aware that the ISH breed has TB in their bloodlines. I was pointing out that my ISH has a full TB Grandparent and therefore has a little bit more TB than others. In my opinion this is a good thing and makes for a nice horse.

Doublechocolatetiffin · 01/04/2021 22:45

I'm not tall so I wouldn't want anything big, 16hh max. Budget of around £10k although a bit of flexibility in that. I'd probably rather buy young and put the work in to make a nice horse than buy something ready made. There are the usual warmbloods to look at, but they are stupidly expensive at the moment. Although I am not in a hurry to buy so could wait to see if prices normalise a bit when lockdown is over and life returns to a bit more normality. ISH sounds quite interesting. I'd be wary of full TB especially ex racers due to the strain put on their young legs, plus their feet are so often awful. I've had my fill of abscesses with my last horse. What about andalusian? I don't know much about the breed.

OP posts:
Soppyspanieleyes · 02/04/2021 23:19

I'm another TB fan, although our boy has never raced. My 14 year old went straight from a 13.2hh pony to him and he looked after her every step of the way. He needs to be treated with great patience and kindness but gives twice as much back and can work beautifully on the flat as well as having a great jump, as long as he doesn't feel pressurised into anything. On the ground he's the biggest gentleman. I'd rather deal with 17hh of him than 14hh of our (stroppy and highly opinionated ) native (who I also love to death)

lastqueenofscotland · 03/04/2021 00:15

I’m personally not a fan of the Spanish breeds. My mum had them when we were growing up and my enduring memory of the one she let me ride was that it as so completely over the top in every way.
It was mega flashy and should have done well competing but it’s competitive career was scuppered by it being very spooky, you couldn’t hack her alone (I mean you could try but you’d spend most of it skitting about going e-e-easy girl to no avail and it was a chore), and she had a real buck.
You have to work their brains as well as their bodies at all times and I don’t know many that do buckle end hacking...
not a fan at all Blush

Bloodyfuckit · 03/04/2021 00:44

Feet can always be improved.

I wouldn't fixate on breed tbh. Go on horse quest, put your search criteria in and see what comes up. See what catches your eye. You're going to be looking at Irish horses, tbs, D crosses etc. As already said, market is super hot right now and anything good gets snapped up for good money.

Bloodyfuckit · 03/04/2021 01:02

Find out what vet issue was, then get this snapped up! 249940 on horse quest. Can't link for some reason.

Postapocalypticcowgirl · 03/04/2021 12:26

I agree, getting fixated on a breed is not the way forward. That said, if you want a slightly left field suggestion, I know some people who have had real success doing dressage with Welsh Ds.

I think a lot of the traditional dressage breeds are not for everyone- some people love Iberian/Spanish horses, some people really don't get on with them.

I'm not convinced the prices for quality horses will come down that quickly, especially as it is not that easy to import from Europe at the moment.

lastqueenofscotland · 03/04/2021 12:38

Agree with @Postapocalypticcowgirl I don’t think prices will come down much at all.
A lot of good British breeders quit for various reasons, the Irish breeders are fast getting wise to how much more they can sell quality horses to the US instead of the U.K. and importing from Europe is so insanely expensive it’s only worth it for very pricy, very quality horses.

Sarahlou63 · 03/04/2021 12:53

Have you considered a Lusitano? Generally 15-15.2, lovely temperament, good all rounders and very hardy. For £10k (including shipping) you could get something like this;

A bit bigger than you're looking for but gives you a good idea of quality.

Doublechocolatetiffin · 03/04/2021 14:30

Urgh, my replies keep not posting. Thank you for all your recommendations. It's good to have a bit more insight into some of the breeds. I'm definitely not going to narrow it down to just one breed. But it's very useful to hear about people's experiences of them so I know what to look out for when viewing horses. Especially if there are breed traits that could be a downside if not matched to a suitable home.

OP posts:
GuyFawkesDay · 03/04/2021 14:46

What about a Connemara/TB? Tend to come up 15.2hh or nearabouts. Connies tend to be smart, sensible and hardy types and you'll get the benefit of their native good doer tendencies with any luck.

They're often really good all rounder horses who can turn a hoof to lots of disciplines

Tocktickclick · 03/04/2021 14:55

I'm thinking that if you are horse owning around a family, you really need the sort that is happy about being picked up and put down to a certain extent. The 'movement' is all well and good, but you can also enjoy the challenges and thrills of dressage training on something a bit more bog standard. So I'd suggest thinking in terms of temperament and conformation before thinking of specific breeds.
Pony/TB crosses or ID/TB crosses can have a lot of quality.
Have you come across Cobs Can! by Omar Rabia? It's an excellent book which discusses the joys of dressage with cobs (and his methods work with all horses really) It's filled with wonderful pictures of him demonstrating his training on his lovely cob mare, among others.

GuyFawkesDay · 03/04/2021 15:01

I had a well bred section D as a teen and we got up to novice/preliminary level dressage. He had lovely paces and movement. Did lots of showing at county level. We had loads of fun. He wasn't a big jumping fan but would do an occasional course.

Got fat on fresh air, was a joy to look after other than watching his chub and grass intake in spring. Simple and straightforward chappy.

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