Should I buy a horse if i’m not going to show?

I’ve been grappling with the idea of buying another horse, as my quarter horse gelding is now 18. I showed him and we worked through a lot together, he is a very special very broke reining horse. I’d love to have another horse as well trained as him, but i’m not very interested in showing anymore. I am still completely dedicated to training and working with horses. It’s my entire life, but I’m not very competitive and i found out that showing is just not for me. I feel that if I don’t show a horse I buy that’s pricier or well trained it will be a waste of talent. What are your thoughts?

Well, 18 may not be old for your horse, but slowing down and not needing to be fit for competition may just suit your horse fine anyway.
You may have several more years with him to do other than showing, if that is what you want to do now.

Horses don’t care, they don’t live to show off their talent.
Horses want a consistent, routine world that bring them comfort by being predictable, changes can stress them.

If you want another horse, maybe it would help you find the kind of horse that is chill of temperament if you want one that won’t need to be very active.

There is so much else we can do with horses than train them and show them.
Seems that finding other to do with your horse now is what would make you happier in your horse experience.

The way the world is changing with this virus, no one knows how the horse world will be after that.
If you are looking for another horse to do xyz with, there may not be xyz to do with horses for long time, so consider that also.


Lots of people own horses with no intention of showing! Some people buy show horses and then decide they don’t want to show, some people buy horses with the sole intention of trail riding them. I agree with the other poster, the 18 year old has lots of years left in him for pleasure riding if that is what you want to do now. If you want to spend your money to get a second horse to enjoy, that’s totally cool, buy what you want and enjoy them both.

Horses don’t know what they cost. They want consistency, a happy lifestyle that suits them, cookies and pets.


I love having well trained critters! I bought a fantastic cutting/sorting horse with a solid show record and have a blast riding him around my place (these days) and fox hunting him --he’s also good at mounted archery (really gets into the game). I never liked the “me” I became when showing —too competitive, too cut-throat, too unpleasant! But I do like riding and practicing —sometimes I have mental horse shows here ----I’ll harrow my ring so it’s pretty, repaint my dressage letters, and I might even wear a riding coat (I always wear helmet and boots) —then I’ll 'perform" for the imaginary audience in my brain --amazing how well I do every time!

To me the joy of horse ownership is doing what you enjoy —if that is just riding bareback around your home, then awesome!


We have found most Buckskins think they are to be admired at least that is my observation, the ones we have had are worse then teenagers doing challenge jumps off the cliff into the swimming hole, it is as they are talking to the other horses saying Is That The Best You Can Do, Watch THIS

As for OP, I have seen horses learn faster from watching other horses so getting a new one now while current one is still active might be an easier training

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Well, yes, individual horses are that, individual personalities and some are big show-owffs.

What I meant, to most horses, what they like showing is the routine to their lives and knowing what they are doing and having a task, but maybe not to the point of understanding talent and wins, and all that we humans appreciate in them and while showing them.

If the OP wants to retire her horse from showing, I doubt that he will stand in a corner of his stall/pen, head hanging low, sad, thinking he is not showing the world how good he is.

If you can afford a second horse in time money and effort without cutting corners with your old guy, why not? As for quality get the ability you need and the quality you can afford. Do you want to buy a green reining prospect and train it yourself or do you want a finished horse that you can school the moves on?

As far as the quality, buy what you can afford. A good horse is a good horse. A well trained horse is a joy to ride everywhere. The horse is not 'wasted" by not being used in competition.

What is your planned activity for the horse? I do “semi back country” riding :slight_smile: and for that you want a horse with stamina, courage, a good brain, excellent feet, and lots of forward, all improved by appropriate training and conditioning. Absolutely a well conformed quality horse is going to do better on long rides, all other things being equal. Either that or a straight out and out mustang that grew up in the wild and can gallop through deadfall on the darkest night!

Anyhow my point is that even if you are doing nothing competitive, buy the best horse suitable for your tasks that you can afford.

I sold my very good all-around horse years ago to someone that was only going to trail ride. At first it was hard for me because I though what a waste. However, I learned what a wonderful life she gave him. That was his retirement that he SO deserved! Since then, I’ve learned that horses just want to please us. It’s a wonderful team that we can have with our horses. I see what you are getting at, but like others have said above is also true. Our horses have no idea how much money we win, how many ribbons or trophy’s we’ve won, etc. They just know they did a a good job. Buy the horse that feels right to you, maybe that horse just wasn’t meant to be a show horse, no matter it’s training/experience. It’s possible talent for showing and competing may just be what makes a strong connection with you and allows you to have another great horse. Good luck in your search!

With you using the old boy in new ways, make sure he is shod appropriately! Ha ha Sliding plates are only meant for arena riding, offer no traction doing trail ride things. Heck, even flat keg shoes on dry grass can be very slick going downhill! Been there myself!

With such a nice horse, you can try the new types of technical challenges being offered, go trail riding alone or on organized rides, attend clinics… That is the great thing about a really broke horse, his training works everywhere! You and he will have fun doing all those things, expanding your skills if desired. As for justifying a pricy horse later, to just have fun with? Owning a horse with a pleasant personality, the ability to do any horsey thing you like, is WORTH IT, so you can enjoy getting them out often.

An acquaintance owns a QH from Carol Rose’s beeding, Diamond Sparkle is the sire. Mare was a 6 figure priced yearling. She really loves that mare but only uses her for trail riding with her friends! Horse is gorgeous, talented, extremely level headed, pleasant to work with. Could show and win anyplace, if they wanted to show. Lady says she just really ENJOYS riding this very nice horse, working with her daily, has lots of fun getting her out and using her. Some might see it as “wasted money and talent” for a trail horse, but the mare lives a happy life with excellent care.

Not a wasted horse to me!

I only want to ride a well trained horse now. Mine are show horses that also trail ride. And when I don’t want to show anymore they’ll still have a job. I run hot and cold about showing anyway. And now that all my shows are cancelled I’m glad they are used to the trails. People have expressed to me that I’m wasting a horse’s training but I know my horse doesn’t care.

I feel that if I don’t show a horse I buy that’s pricier or well trained it will be a waste of talent.

As long as the horse is competent at, and seems to enjoy, the work you are doing, it is ABSOLUTELY NOT a waste of anything.

There have been some years that I have been very involved in competition (and have the ribbons and pictures to show for it). There have been other years where i have focused on training and just enjoying my horse(s) without competing.

“Waste of talent” is when horses are neglected or abused.