“I have a question about dressage judges and breeds of horses. Do most judges take into account the way of going of different breeds? Should they? I have heard the owner of some PRE Andalusians state that it is always hard for his horses to score well because most judges prefer the Warmblood way of going, and might penalize the Andalusians for their natural difference in foot action or speed.”
Axel Steiner replies:
The short answer to both of your questions is, “No.”
The longer answer: Dressage training is beneficial for most breeds of horses. However, dressage competition is judged on standards based on the conformation and movements of European warmbloods. These standards and requirements are codified in rules books all over the world. (See the US Equestrian Federation rule book.) Therefore, it is not that a judge might “prefer” a warmblood, it is more that the non-warmblood may have difficulty meeting the established standards for the level being shown. Breeds that are not bred specifically for the gaits and movement of dressage competition may have trouble achieving those standards. In order to become more competitive, several non-warmblood breed organizations are now striving to breed their horses in such a way that they more closely meet the competitive dressage standards. You can see this already in some of the very competitive Friesians, Andalusians and Lusitanos that are now coming into the sport.
Thank you for a good question.
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