Dressage for the Model Horse: A Gait-By-Gait Analysis
by Jamie Stine
There are tons of trotting horses out there, both OF and AR. The OF horse that comes to mind immediately is the Cleveland Bay, who is doing a lovely forward trot, nicely on the bit, listening to his rider. I love this mold; he’s easy to show, he can show in almost every English class as well as in harness and other things, and he’s quite correct for an OF. He can show in dressage up to 2nd level, because his trot is somewhere in between a working and medium trot, which is first called for in US 2nd Level Tests.
|Breyer Cleveland Bay photographed by Erin Corbett|
Strapless is also a lovely OF who can be shown in dressage. She’s also trotting forward, but her frame is much longer, which makes her suitable only for low level tests; she’s also turning, which means that her positioning in the arena needs to be accounted for, but she’s got such a lovely, soft expression that if you place her in a corner of the arena or on a circle, she does very very well.
|Breyer Strapless painted by Danielle Feldman and owned & photographed by Jennifer Buxton|
Giselle is also trotting, nicely flexed but with an open throatlatch and a high poll, but she’s not going as forward as Strappy or the Cleveland Bay. She can also show in lower level dressage tests.
|Breyer Giselle/Stage Mom photographed by Jennifer Buxton|
And who could forget the Peter Stone Palouse? There are lots of lovely FCM Palouse’s with their head and neck fixed to be more on the bit, and these can be shown in the same way as the Cleveland Bay. But even the uncustomized Palouse can be shown in an Intro or green as grass dressage test. She’s trotting forward, calm, and nose poked out , not really anywhere near on the bit, but fulfilling the requirement of “traveling freely forward.” She makes a good intro horse, or a horse with a child rider, similar to Shirley.
|Peter Stone regular and head down Palouses photographed by Jennifer Buxton|
And if you like to show in mini scale, the Stone Pebbles Warmblood is doing a nice training or first level trot.
|Pebbles Warmblood photographed by "PolarVrtX"|
There are also the G4 “Dressage” and “Driving” stablemates, both of which are trotting. The Dressage warmblood is making an extended trot – he’s better than the old Breyer Hanoverian, but he’s still not QUITE correct; he’s lovely for an OF doing an extension, though. The Driving horse is making a nice, straight working trot, also on the bit, and is pleasantly forward and looks quite happy to be working for her rider. Both of these guys are very nice for their size.
For an OF that can show in upper level (4th Level and above) dressage, you can’t beat the Stone Spago in resin or plastic. Spago is making a trot half pass to the right and can be shown in 3rd level all the way up to Grand Prix. He is collected, bent correctly, and stepping under the rider’s seat with his left hindleg.
|Stone Spago photographed by Erin Corbett|
And finally, for Intermediare II and Grand Prix, you have Salinero. Salinero is passaging, which is one of the most collected forms of trot. He is poll high, nose on the vertical, hindlegs stepping under, front legs elevated. He can only be shown in upper level dressage, because passage is only shown in the very highest of competition levels, from I-II up to Grand Prix Special and the Freestyle.
|Breyer Salinero photographed by Erin Corbett|
Fortunately for AR showers, there are many, many trotting resins out there that are suitable for dressage. For the lower levels, we have Eberl’s Shirley, who is trotting energetically forward, if not on the bit. She could be shown with a youth rider in an introductory level or even dressage suitability setup. I can also see her packing around a para-dressage rider, if someone wanted to create something like that.
|Eberl Shirley painted by Chris Nandell and owned & photographed by Jennifer Buxton|
There are tons of sport type models in all sorts of frames… Continuing with the lower level theme, we have Godiva, again by D’Arry...
as well as several minis by Brigitte Eberl, like Bacardi and Brandi, who are both trotting forward; they could be used for lower or middle levels of dressage for the mini shower. There is also Pasha by Sifton, and the Peter Stone Chips Warmblood, available in both plastic and resin versions.
|Godiva owned & photographed by Rachel Piece|
|Brandy painted by Jeannine DeCuir and owned & photographed by Sharon Wishart|
|Bacardi painted by Jeannine DeCuir and owned & photographed by Sharon Wishart|
For the big guys, we have Absinth by Brigitte Eberl, as well as several other warmblood or sport type sculpts by her. Absinth is probably the easiest to get though, as he’s being cast in the states. He’s perfectly acceptable for dressage up to 3rd level, but I really like to see him shown in the FEI Young Horse classes. Absinth to me is not a seasoned competition horse, but a youngster just starting out. Other people may see him differently though.
Willoughby is also a lovely and fairly correct dressage horse, executing either a large medium or smallish extended trot, depending on the level. Again, he can be shown anywhere from 3rd level to Grand Prix quite successfully.
|Willoughby painted by Cheryl Calentine and owned & photographed by Kellye Bussey|
Another “old standby” is Kathleen Moody’s Utopia. Though Utopia is somewhat dated, he is trotting quite forwardly and turning slightly, which makes him suitable for dressage up to 2nd level. Most people show theirs at training or first level, which are, of course, completely appropriate.
|Utopia painted by Cheryl Calentine and owned & photographed by Jennifer Buxton|
If you prefer a bit of Spanish flair in your trotting model, you’re in luck! Again, Brigitte Eberl has sculpted many many trotting Spanish horses, though most of these are difficult to get due to small edition sizes. Some favorites are Arlequino, who is floating across the arena in a lovely extended type trot, Puro Oro, who is somewhere between a collected trot and a passage, depending on how you look at him, and Havano, who is definitely Piaffing, which limits him to upper level showing.
|Puro Oro painted by Sheryl Liesure and owned & photographed by Kellye Bussey|
For the upper levels you also have the incomparable Deputed Duke and Dinky Duke, both by Morgen Kilbourn. Either of these guys can be shown anywhere from 3rd level to Grand Prix. They are making a half pass, Deputed Duke (the big guy) to the right, and Dinky Duke (the little guy) to the left. (Dinky is a mirror image of Deputed Duke.)
|Dinky Duke owned & photographed by Anna Kirby|
There is also the incredible Lohengrin by Brigitte, though he is HUGE and will require his own tack. He is also Piaffing, so he may only be shown at Intermediare II to Grand Prix.
Another lovely Piaffing Pony in tiny size is DaCaprio by Stacy Tumlinson. Both Lohengrin and DaCaprio though require a little bit of customization to be completely correct; they both need their throatlatches opened and heads raised so that the poll is the highest point and the nose is vertical or just slightly in front, as per the FEI Description of Piaffe.