I have a very talented Lusitano mare who sometimes gets comments about her being tense. However, before this last weekend, she had never had a score as low as 51% which I think was unjustified and insulting. She has been winning consistently with scores in the mid 70’s all summer .
The mare is not tense, she is very enthusiastic in her work and very up in the shoulder which means her energy comes right from behind and she propels herself across the arena. She has natural self carriage and four wheel drive. She does not daisy cut and she never trails her hind legs .
When she does get tense, she literally caprioles through the air , lands and then does a couple of levades so I think I know when my horse is tense and when it is not and she is usually very relaxed whilst competing .
I have spent 4 years training this mare with the help of an FBHS and a very experienced BHSI and at home she is doing psg level work but it seems that in the most basic of novices,, some judges, generally ones not used to the Iberian way of going “see” tension that isn’t actually there and I am getting very frustrated .
I understand that to some judges, Lusitanos are like Marmite but as they are the original dressage horse of Europe and most German Warmbloods contain some measure of Iberian blood , I think that they should be given proper credit and judged for what they are and that judges should be able to recognise the difference between tension and enthusiasm .
My mare loves to work , she is kind , clever and her trainability and intelligence exceed that of the average warmblood and I don’t know how to overcome what I can only see as judge prejudice towards Iberians .
Do you know of any first class trainers with real experience of the breed who I could take my mare too , to help me with the issue of her “enthusiasm” and ill-conceived views, by some , that she is hot and tense ? We are now ready to teach passage and piaffe . Thank you .
Answer from Tricia Gardiner:
I sympathise with your experience re the judging of your horse. It is a problem that crops up throughout the dressage competition world.
It is difficult to comment on your mare’s way of going without seeing her, but certainly the Lusitano breed can often move in a way that does not conform to the accepted F.E.I. description of the basic paces and usually, the more advanced work is easier to judge than the basic Novice way of going. I know from experience that this breed of horse has great “trainability” and are very enthusiastic about their work with a marvellous temperament. It all comes down to their basic paces that causes the controversy.
If you would like to contact me I would be willing to make a journey to see her as I am interested in training all types of horses. Another trainer who may be able to help with this type of horse is David Pincus.