Who *currently* has a SOUND dressage horse over 15?

Spinoff from the ultra depressing German vet discussing flawed breeding thread. Who currently has a sound serious dressage horse (2nd level +) over 15? And what are their bloodlines? Does such a thing exist?

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How sound is sound? Basically most horses that age need maintenance of some type, especially high performance horses.


I’m guessing she means actively still competing or being ridden.

It would be interesting too to track in an excel sheet or something, who has been formally diagnosed with ESPA or ECVM, and pedigree. Wonder if this is on FB yet?


Yes, routine maintenance is one thing and just fine. Being so off that one would get rung out of a dressage test is another.


My 16 year old Trakehner gelding is still going strong at 3rd level and eyeing a 4th level move up this season. He’s by Huno and his dam was by Bajazzo.


Wonderful! A unicorn!

I didn’t see the original thread. Can someone link it here if that’s allowed? Something I’ve noticed is that so many horses are bred for big movements now and hyperflexion, so many dressage breeds seem more prone to injury.

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I did. A wonderful SWB gelding by L A Baltic Inspiration out of a Chapman mare. Did not need hock injections until 18yrs old. He was a big boy (wide) and a big mover! A bit hot and a lot of fun.


Well, when I watched the CDI at Global a week and a half ago, there were several 15+ yo horses competing in the Grand Prix Special.

My trainer had a horse who didn’t retire fully until he was at least 23, although he did keep stepping down some levels. And a friend competed her last GP horse until he was into his upper teens.

Good maintenance and getting on top of issues early with good veterinary maintenance makes it absolutely possible.


The barn I am out has multiple horses over 15 still going strong.

My opinion is that yes the horses genetics and confirmation does play a big part in soundness, but so does training. I know of trainers who’s training causes lame horses all the time.

It is one thing for minor maintenance issues, but if a trainer consistently has to completely retire horses by 15, I would take a long hard look at the training or things like footing.


Since maintenance is OK, we currently have 2 in the barn — a 15 yo PRE at PSG and a 20+ yo branded Hanoverian of unknown breeding at I 1 schooling the GP. They are maintained immaculately, especially the older guy as he is 18hh. He is definitely sound enough to compete at that level.

my trainer is meticulous in making sure the horses are strong enough to do what we are asking them to do, and is very on top of potential issues. Vet, body work and saddle fit are a huge part of our program. Asking a horse to do something that makes them hurt is no way to dressage — how can a hurting animal be relaxed? It’s fundamental.


I’m leasing one in his early 20s (GP schoolmaster). He’s not without his old man aches here and there, but he willingly totes me around while I learn UL movements. I’m optimistically aiming to compete PSG by the end of this year with him (although that honestly depends more on me than him!).


Yes. I know of some as well. And unfortunately, they tend to do well at the shows, but once their horses get to be 14-15, they are held together with duct tape and bute. :frowning:

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Hesitant to post anything as I dont want to jinx myself - 22 yo PRE going strong. Not fit enough for anything upper level but that is more on me than him.


Thank you! I took a quick read. It’s definitely a concerning issue. My own horse was diagnosed with DSLD at 14 and while he is not line bred, It was and has been a devastating diagnosis, emotionally and financially. Too many dressage bred horses are developing severe conditions at early ages and I really hope something gets done about it; however, it seems the research funding isn’t quite backed yet to find a solution. When I look for another horse, I’m definitely focusing on finding horses with lines proven to be sound past 15, so I’ll be paying close attention to this thread.


Sound 17yo mare - confirmed 2nd*, piaffes daily, has working pirouettes, no maintenance** (apart from dealing with asthma), currently barefoot but may be shod again if we get a dry summer. <- the barefoot thing is especially pleasing as she foundered a few years ago.

Heinz57 aka Canadian Sport Horse - grandsire Art Deco, damsire Weinstein. Dam’s dam side is TB. Sire’s dam side is a mix of Belgian Warmblood, TB, Westphalian, KWPN. Dam was an X-RCMP broodmare (Han x TB).

Pertinent to the other thread perhaps - what you can’t tell from baby pix - this girly’s hind pasterns do not do this in adulthood! image I estimate this image was taken at about 4 months old.

*effing changes - if we had those we’d be pretty much a decent 4th+ because I’d get off my ass and tidy the pirouettes up. lol

**literally zero joint maintenance, but I did have her stifles internally blistered in the spring at age 8 and 9 after her first two winters of work indoors on shite footing. She was green broke and a bit wild at 7 (and on) so too firm footing wreaked havoc on loosey goosey ligaments.


Not mine but there is an Irish Draught or Sport horse competing at FEI.


I see this too :frowning: I’d love to see a return in popularity in classically-derived methods and/or methods with emphasis on proper biomechanics, along with an alteration in competition judging. I left competing some time ago because I was so disappointed in what was being encouraged. I believe judging is far too subjective right now and allows judges to reward unhealthy training methods and movement.


Knocking on wood… a lot…

My OTTB is turning 21 in March and we are entering our third year showing GP. Still in search of the last 60%. We have a LOT of 59’s…

He does require what many consider a lot of maintenance, but he also was bred to run and not prance :slight_smile: