Kentucky 7 year old Tennessee walker ridden in snaffle wonder bit in trail saddle in  ring/round pen by  fair rider.

Question: new horse owner, need to know if my horse is to old to be trained for showing. she is a very high spirited horse and when I take her on trail rides, she tries to be competitive with the other horses. she wants to do everything other horses do only better. her brother has done very well in the show ring. Any tips?

From Panelist Carol


No, indeedy, your horse certainly isn't too to be trained for the show ring.  The great TWH Hill's Perfection was not even started under saddle until he was 5 or 6.  However, there are some other things that I would like to comment on:  First, in the show ring, your horse's competitiveness could be a detriment to performance instead of enhancing it, so don't take this as a sign that she wants to be a show horse.  Second, as a new horse owner,  I feel that your first and primary focus needs to be on being a good and competent owner/trainer for your horse, not on competition.  Spend at least another year improving and later if you want to give showing a try, have at it!  P.S. In the early eighties, the Plantation World Grand Championship was won by a 10 year old "pasture mare".

Carol Camp Tosh

From Panelist Lukka

A horse is never to old to take it to showing, or to learn new things.  If a horse is though very stuck in certain habits, if it's been ridden in a certain way for years, it is a lot more difficult to change it's way of carrying itself than if you're retraining a young horse, let alone starting a young horse. 

But if the horse does not need a lot of basic retraining (that is, if it carries itself well and does not have big temperamental obstacles) then there's nothing stopping you in training an older horse for the showring.  At the same time, success is not guaranteed, but that is the fact of life with all horses, both young and old.

Happy trails.

From Panelist Liz

Oh no your horse is not to old to train for showing. Her being competitive can defiantly work in your favor. Many great show horses are very competitive.  Having a spirited nature can help her to stand out more in a class if it is kept under control and she responds efficiently to your commands.

Learning to stay relaxed your self in the saddle will help in keeping her controlled.

I recommend getting someone to help you as a ground person to stay relaxed and teach your horse to respond to up and down transitions (faster & slower speeds) that will be called for in a class. Teach her how to stay on a rail and come off the rail when
needed with out breaking gait.

Teach a good smooth "how to back" . If you have never shown before , have someone that has teach you good ringmanship. Such as how to pass a horse correctly, use the ring to your advantage, how to keep from getting covered up in a bunch of other horses.

Have fun, if it is fun for you, it will be fun for your horse. Start out with some small shows just to get the feel.

Elizabeth Graves

From Panelist Laura

I don't think your horse is too old to learn anything new.  That saying about old dogs & new tricks doesn't seem to apply to horses.  You might want to attend local clinics, and/or look for a good trainer in your area to help you.  The things you need to  work on with your horse for the show ring are correct gait, consistant gait, and manners.  Your horse should respond well to your cues and stand quietly and back nicely.  Once you have that in hand, attend some fun shows, talk to people who already show for tips, and concentrate on having some fun.



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