I put my pelvis out and twisted my sacrum playing Wii. When I showed up at my chiropractor’s office she was hobbling around in a walking foot cast, her fourth week. No, she didn’t break her foot playing Wii – that would have been hilarious – but neither did she break it doing something risky like skiing, climbing or descending stairs, or even running to make her plane. I won’t out her on my blog. Suffice it to say, I didn’t feel nearly as badly about my injury.
Anyway, here I am in bed, full of muscle relaxants, and grumpy from the pain. Because I believe in sharing, I’m going to take my grumpiness out on an unsuspecting equine ad.
Irish TB 9 YO Gelding 16.1HH $18,000
Irish TB 10 YO Gelding 16.1HH
River is a 16.1 hand 10 y.o. Irish TB gelding who has shown in the hunters but has potential for dressage, hunter paces or jumpers. River is a lovely mover, generally winning the hack, with a lovely jump and auto changes. He is always brave and never looks at the jumps and has fantastic flat work. Stick and spur ride. Great mini-medal type! Eligible pre-green, top ribbons at Hits, Vermont, etc. Finished 4th overall at his first Hunter Derby October 2011 out of 35 entries. He likes trails, easy to tack, groom, lovely personality. Good for farrier, trailers well, good in a group for turnout or in a stall, steady mount for a man, woman or teen.
At first glance, this looks like a pretty decent ad. The horse is wonderfully groomed and in good flesh, the photo is a good conformation shot, and the background doesn’t distract. The text of the ad is well-thought out and tells relevant points about the horse. And yet…
Is this horse 9 or 10? The title of the ad says 9. Directly below that the ad says 10. In the body of the ad the horse is 10. Perhaps a typo, but it would be an odd one to have. Either way, 9 or 10 isn’t a big deal, but remember I’m grumpy.
…but has potential for dressage. Why the owner felt a need to put this in, I don’t know. This horse has no more potential in dressage than any other randomly chosen TB of Irish, or American, or Australian, or English heritage. If a horse can’t ‘easily’ do medium dressage without a lot of ‘professional training’, then it doesn’t have ‘potential for dressage’.
Medium dressage, in case there’s any confusion, is not Training Level, or Level 1, or Level 2. There’s a huge step up from Level 2 to Level 3. It’s that stage that separates the men from the boys and is much like the difference between Training Level Eventing and Preliminary Eventing (in Canada). Most horses top out at Level 2 dressage, like most horses top out at Training Level Eventing, making them low level horses. That’s not a bad thing. Most owners/riders don’t have the skills or ever will have the skills to progress higher, so there’s plenty of opportunity for low level horses.
What stops this horse from that ‘potential for dressage’? Its racy TB conformation; downhill build and straight leg behind are the two main points. The low point of shoulder, upright shoulder, low set neck, and high knee also play a role.
Stick and spur ride. What? Does that mean you have to ride the horse with a whip and spurs to get him to go?
Okay, so I found this ‘Spur Ride’ video on You Tube:
Oh, and here’s a ‘stick ride’. Not a great head, imo, but the spots are to-die-for.
$18,000. WHAT? Is that a price premium for basic ground manners? It can’t be for any extensive training since it is still Eligible pre-green. That had me scratching my head. What comes before a green horse? Shouldn’t it be ‘eligible untouched/wild’?
After some digging I found out that Pre-Green has mostly to do with the height of the fences, and a little bit about the horse. See page 8 of this link – https://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2013/17-HU.pdf
Basically, we’re talking a lower level horse here, but what had me really chuckling was a) it makes no difference what a horse did at 3 years of age in the ring (and don’t tell me nobody has ever jumped a 3 year old this height in a class before), and b) there’s another ‘reinstatement’ rule allowing experienced horses at this height to compete in this class as long as they didn’t jump more than 4 times in competition at that height prior to September 1, or didn’t jump this height after September 1 of the same year. WHAT?!
It’s no wonder the regular folk get so frustrated with the Hunter World and the ability of those with money to buy made horses, stick on their child or paying client, and clean up. If that’s not a rule inviting such activity, I don’t know what is.
My guess is that the premium pricing is because of temperament. A horse being a steady mount for a man, woman or teen, especially if it can also jump the lower levels without much rider input can certainly command a rich price.
I question this horse’s soundness. And no, I don’t think the horse is head bobbing lame, but there’s some real issues going on with this horse’s body.
The odd muscling behind the poll signifies an issue. The large lump at the base of neck is also an issue. Neither should be there, and neither is ‘normal’. The line of muscling in front of the scapula is also ‘extra’, and the wither has a lump of muscle on the front half of it and none on the back half of it.
While this horse is telescoping its neck in this photo, it’s not quite right. The uneven, flat development of the horse’s crest supports that. The neck is out of alignment, significantly. And I suspect it has been that way for quite some time by the incorrect muscle patterns of the neck, shoulder and wither.
That disruption extends into the horse’s back with a tight, angular topline, saggy abdominal muscles and too much breast muscling. Despite being of downhill persuasion, and with the straight hind leg, the horse’s posture should be better for one competing in the show ring. He’s got a medium back with a ribcage that carries back very well adding flexibility and strength. His loin is short and deep, and he’s got a great hip and solid pants muscling. This horse has not yet been ridden off his forehand. Good thing he’s got that dressage potential.