show vs trail - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-05-2013, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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show vs trail

Looking for a new horse.. probably a peruvian.. I will only pleasure ride, trails. etc. I know temperament and feet come first.. I do like certain looks and I want that too. I like the looks of the show horses. Can a show horse retire or just stop showing and be a fine trail /fun horse?
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-05-2013, 10:26 PM
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They can be whatever they want to as long as they are sound to do so.

Many show horses retire because they are no longer sound for the day-to-day hard exercises, traveling, etc. I'm not sure by what you mean, "I like the look of the show horses." Are you talking about conformation or how they are all groomed, etc. Because buying a show horse because its pretty is going to turn out bad and a waste of money, especially if you're just going to do trail riding. But not saying that you shouldn't.

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post #3 of 11 Old 08-05-2013, 10:31 PM
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IME show horses look just like pleasure horses if you don't keep up the immaculate grooming, and a pleasure horse can look just as good as a show horse if you're willing to do the grooming

Most horses can "change careers" from show to pleasure, but it can take some retraining. Horses that have spent their whole lives riding only in an arena can be unsure out on the trail.
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-05-2013, 10:38 PM
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I would say some horses can and some can't. I work with Morgans not Peruvians but some show horses have come to the trainer I work for and absolutely hated trails because they were only ridden in a ring and in shows. Others were fine and loved it, and some were in the middle. There was one horse who had shown all of her life and could not adapt to riding out on a trail. She would buck, kick, and rear trying to get away and into an arena. The trainers horse used to be a show horse and she retired him and he goes out on trails and is just an all around good fun horse for kids and adults.

I think if you really want a show horse to retire, go out and look at it but ask if it's been ridden at all on trails or someplace other than an arena. If possible I would ask to go out and try it on trails and just ride it around the farm and out of arenas too to see how it acts.

I would also check for soundness issues because while not all show horses are retired due to those I know a lot that just retired because they lost the 'young' look or the owners wanted to do something different, etc, some might have lasting damage from constant work or any injury. Good luck! :)
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-05-2013, 10:52 PM
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The horse I ride is a show horse; my trainer doesn't have any trails, but she does have two five acre pastures I'll ride him in every now and then. He loves being out in the open, but he also is very prone to spooking- he's used to being able to see everything on the ground and not brushing his legs on tall plants/grasses. Grasshoppers were interesting for him to meet. While he's by no means dangerous or disrespectful, it is more difficult to handle him out in the pastures than in the arena (at the canter; walk and trot he's still perfectly responsive).

There's no hard and fast rule that says a show horse can't be turned into a pleasure/trail horse. The only 'concern' I can think of is, like I said with my gelding, he's slightly more difficult to control because Look, all this open space mom! Let's go run! I can stretch my legs out real good!. That open space is a pretty big deal to them; some might adjust easily, and others might not know what to do with themselves. Depends on the horse.

He's a Saddleseat horse, and the first time he saw the neighbor's cattle (there was a bull/steer [idk, something with horns] and two cows), you should have seen the look on his face! Momma, those are even bigger than I am! What are they?!?!
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Last edited by Bedhead; 08-05-2013 at 10:56 PM.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-05-2013, 10:52 PM
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Once you bring show horses home and stop the show grooming, they look like every other horse. Just like a supermodel without her designer clothes and make up. It's all smoke & mirrors.
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-05-2013, 11:12 PM
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A horses success at a particular task is a product of the training that they've had, in addition to their physical and temperamental traits. So if you want a horse that's a good trail horse, you'll look for one that is responsive, quiet and been ridden extensively on trails. Some show horses have done this. However some show horses might not be quiet enough, or have the right temperament, for a trail horse. Others might have the right temperament but have no experience out. So it's certainly possible to

I think it's worth considering why you like show horses so much. They'll likely have good conformation and paces to be successful, but you can get many horses that have both those things that aren't show horses. Beyond that, their look isn't "natural". They're fed specific feeds to maintain the right condition, rugged and groomed extensively. In the ring a lot of them are wearing make up and other coat products to produce the final "look". Kept as a trail horse they're not going to look the same.

The second thing is a show horse is likely to cost a lot, unless you get one retired for age or unsoundness issues, which may also cost a lot in upkeep.

So think about what you want, why you want it and then decide the best way to find it. I'd recommend you look for good training, temperament and soundness first. You can get this with excellent looks but you'll have to pay more for it.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-05-2013, 11:56 PM
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I think what you should do is focus more on what you want to do, and find a horse who naturally has the talent and content to as you ask. You can find a great looking horse who is going to turn out terrible at shows, or at trails. If you're lucky you can find a horse who is happy and successful at both.

I was confused on your show statement as well, if you can clarify.

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post #9 of 11 Old 08-06-2013, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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show vs trail. Being new.. I thought that retired show horse would be prefectly trained for trail . Now I know this isnt true.. and now I know that any horse can look good like a show horse
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-08-2013, 03:51 AM
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Originally Posted by luke4275 View Post
Looking for a new horse.. probably a peruvian.. I will only pleasure ride, trails. etc. I know temperament and feet come first.. I do like certain looks and I want that too. I like the looks of the show horses. Can a show horse retire or just stop showing and be a fine trail /fun horse?
One of the really nice things about the Peruvian breed is that most of the show horses are also great trail horses. In the US most breeders actually do a lot of trail riding with their show horses. The reason they can do this is because the gait of a Peruvian is natural and is bred in. ANY kind of artificial "supplement" to "improve" or change the gait is FORBIDDEN. We don't use heavy shoes, weights, chains, stretchies or any other gimmicks or training methods. The show horse doesn't have to be "let down" to be a pleasure horse. Most of our breeders and owners do ride their show horses as their pleasure horses.

Also forbidden are mane and tail switches, make-up (there are breeds that actually allow make-up? sheesh...), any kind of artificial coloring anywhere on the horse including hoof coloring, Vaseline, etc. So the look of the Peruvian show horse is the look of the *real* horse.

One thing I would caution you on: though our breed has been promoted as being "easy to ride" because of the gait, they are NOT deadheads. The Peruvian is a hot-blood, a pure Spanish breed. Too many times for my liking I have seen them being re-sold by beginners who bought waaay too much horse for their level of experience and riding ability.
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