You can almost write the ringside dialogue as a horse enters the dressage arena. “Ohhhh. Look at that one. He’s (you can fill in the blank here) Dutch, German, French, Swedish. He looks really nice.” And he likely is very nice, for without question, the Warmblood invasion has peacefully conquered much of the dressage world.
But hold your horses! What’s that at “X”? It may not be a horse of a different color, but it certainly is a horse of a different breed. The Andalusian, Lusitano, Friesian, PRE, Morgan and Arabian are enjoying high degrees of success and ensuring that variety is indeed the spice of dressage life.
Does the breed influence the score and should it? Ask USEF “S” judge Sandi Chohany of Hampshire, IL. “I don’t care what you bring in, just bring me a good horse and present it to me and I’ll judge it. I’m judging the horse, not the breed. If the horse is picking them up and putting them down the way the Rule Book says, it doesn’t matter if it happens to be a Pinto, Appaloosa or a mule.”
The vivacious Chohany joyfully rides all horses, but to her amusement, at age 61, she’s been given the unofficial title of “Arabian Queen.” She’s also campaigned Hanoverians, Holsteiners and the like with top prizes in jumpers, three-day eventing and now dressage.
By Stephanie Stephens