Exactly. There are consequences that the HORSE will pay, not the rider.
Of course, you can always dope the horse up on painkillers later, right? Or have her hocks injected if she gets too bad.
Seriously, why not just get a younger horse who's proven that they're decent at running barrels, instead of putting an older horse through that?
Annie is NOT doped up. As far as I know, she has never been given pain killers. She has barrel raced her ENTIRE life almost every weekend since she was 4 up until she was 16. And THAT is what I am reffering to when I mean it doesn't come without its consequences. She has spent her entire life using the same muscle groups running at breakneck speeds. Of course that is going to take a toll on her, just like professional athletes who work their entire lives in thier sport. Soon they develop problems.
Btw, Annie has been with her concurrent owners since she was 16. Her owners before that abused her. Annie is still rideable and I believe she is working with a young girl that takes lessons with my previous instructor.
When she was in my instructors care, she recieved the best treatment around. She got acupunture, hock injections, massages on a regular basis, and on one occasion, she was taken to hydrotherapy. They did EVERYTHING to make sure that horse was comfortable. If that meant she didn't race one weekend, then she didn't race. She was given the best supplements to keep her bones and joints working properly. She was given proper farrier care by her husband, and they had a vet out a least twice a year to make sure her arthritis wasn't getting any worse.
Annie loves to barrel race/pole bend. My instructor has two daughters, one of whom primarily rode Annie. She would NOT put her daughters or students on a phsychotic animal.
As for the OP, I will clarify to you what I meant in my last post. If you are expecting to train a 15 year old horse to compete at national level and win world titles, sorry to say it won't work. But since you only plan on using your horse for local shows on the occassion, go ahead. It is a great idea, and she certainly isn't too old to go a few rounds in the arena. It actually might help keep her fitness up. If she enjoys it, and you enjoy it, go ahead.