Background - my daughter is 9, beginner rider. She has an aged pinto pony that she rides, and we also purchased a 5 year old quarter horse/pony for her last fall to use for 4H. She's borderline too tall for her pinto pony, and the pony can't go to the fair due to some health issues (she's fine to show, but being kept in a stall at the fair for a week isn't the best thing for her). The QH is young, but he has some nice training and had been ridden a lot prior to us buying him. His last rider was a 12 year old girl who sold him because she wanted to do barrels, and he doesn't like to go fast.
QH can be stubborn for my kid, but she's doing pretty well with him. She's ridden him at several practices at the fairgrounds with other horses, but we'd never taken him to a show. We decided last night to take him to a show at the fairgrounds to test the waters. Entered him in halter and showmanship, then signed up to ride the little pony in english equitation and pleasure.
QH was fine when we arrived, but started to get agitated when we took him to the waiting area. It was a huge class, way more people there than I expected. When it came time to enter the ring, he started kind of freaking out. Our 4H leader took him in to school him, and had kiddo stand with her. He wanted to turn around in circles, lots of whinnying, shaking his head, that sort of thing. Kiddo was disappointed/frustrated. Not because she didn't win a ribbon, but because he acted up and she couldn't handle him.
I of course am now kicking myself for not buying her a 20 year old horse with loads of show experience.
She did ride her pony in equitation. She did a nice job, but she was competing against all GIANT horses. Saddlebreds, TBs, and an only marginally controlled Friesian that I was afraid was going to run her over. Class was for 9 years old and up, and there was only one other kid her age (that kid has a lot more experience and was riding a 20 year old saddlebred that's been showing all it's life). No ribbon, but kiddo was happy because she knew that she had a really good ride.
So I guess it could have been worse. She is doing well with her horse at home and at practices, but seeing how he acted at the show really shook me. He would have been horrid under saddle. I think we will take him to afew more and just walk him around, let him soak it all in.