The eventer I train with went down to Ocala one year with a group of other eventing trainers/UL riders. They liked to just ride the bridlepaths from wherever they boarded to dressage competitions & have someone meet them with the truck. She said the real dressage people would take one look at them sitting in their folding lawn chairs holding their horses with nary trailer in sight & go “You’re eventers, aren’t you.”
I would consider both of my riding horses just for fun horses. They’re both schooled to be ready to show when I want, but we only see a trainer once a month and it’s really only my large pony who is on my trainers plan for us.
My large pony is easily my more talented horse and is my main show mount. She does her job well as an eventer who dabbles in dressage and hunter schooling classes. But at home she goes out on trails, packs family members with some horse knowledge around, and is game for whatever hairbrained idea I may have such as barrel racing, mounted archery, or other nontraditional eventer activities.
My saddlebred would excel in the show ring but I just haven’t taken her out yet. She’s on the older side and is a been there, done that type of horse. I gravitate to her for ground work, trails, and when I just need something reliable. She’s the horse I trust to let friends ride who either are afraid of horses or have never sat on a horse. I school her in dressage and over fences but at the end of the day she’s almost my “therapy” horse as she’s just a joy to be around and a bit easier than my large pony.
At the end of the day, like others have said having two horses is tough. If you’re pressed for time then someone is getting lunged while the other gets ridden. Or the one who doesn’t get ridden just gets a grooming then turned back out. If you were to get a second then I would make sure it’s one that can go without a consistent program. Both mine can sit for weeks and come back like they haven’t had any time off but a horse I used to lease a horse who would “forget” his job and be difficult without a consistent training program.
It should be noted that I have a third horse who is a retired small lesson pony. He would easily be considered just for fun as he’s used to practice ground driving and provides endless entertainment with his antics.
We get compliments all the time because of how well ‘exposed’ and behaved all 3 of our horses are to just about anything and everything. We have always trail ridden and competed in a multiple of disciplines and that includes our (past) FEI level (as in competition) dressage horses (they’ve doubled down on competitive trail and hunter paces, etc). I do not have time for a hot-house flower and have selectively bred for horses that are relatively bold and sensible (at least the intended goal). While I have a ‘for fun’ horse or good ole ‘joe’ who I purchased for THAT purpose in mind, I can honestly say that I can put anyone on my current competition horse (solid 2nd level) and take them trail riding as well. My 3 year old also has a similar mind set and was selected because my intent is for him to serve double-duty. I needed another horse that I could put anyone on and yet still clean up well enough to be drug to a show without embarrassment. LOL, I honestly haven’t had too much of a problem creating or finding such types…but then I never miss an opportunity to train or provide all sorts of exposure and growing/confidence building experiences to the horses (extra space on the trailer when you’re just going to take a lesson on one?.. throw one or two more on just to hang out: not enough time to trail ride all 3?.. then saddle up one and pony another, etc). I think it’s easier to find time to deal with horses that you truly look forward to spending time with because they aren’t a fire breathing dragon or total drama lama.
In giving advice to the poster who asked about farming with draft horses, I suggested looking into minis. They can actually accomplish a lot with that spawn of Satan disposition of theirs. Got it in my head that “hmmm, I should get a horse-drawn reel mower & mow the lawn with a mini!” (Probably two to switch out between. )
It seems like most horses would thrive with this sort of routine!
How do you evaluate a young horse for bold and sensible? Vs just bold and obnoxious?
when we took Foxie on her first competitive trail ride at the first P&R she thought it must be the championship line up so she squared her stance, head up ears forward…looked very pretty… while all the seasoned horses had their head almost between their front legs in order to recover more quickly
She attracted a lot of attention from the other riders …What’s she doing? was their question…oh she just thinks this is a line up inspection for the championship since the saddle was taken off.
I think all the other horses were laughing at her… but she was a very quick learner and was beating them all in short time
I showed one of mine for a few years and just rode the other for pleasure. I kept them both at the same barn since I didn’t use a trainer but did it myself. I did make sure to ride the one I showed first during showing season but managed to get both ridden/ exercised every day.