How do I know if it's the right time to look for a step-up horse?
OK I'm looking for some advice...
I'm an advanced beginner/early intermediate rider. I only ride western and lately I've been really starting to think that I'd like to get more serious about lessons and possibly showing. Right now I have the most amazing horse (my first horse) - 12yo BOMBPROOF mare that has been such a confidence builder for me. She is the sweetest, most gentle horse that anyone can ride; really as good as a horse can get. She is 14h and grade, though. I feel like this might be the right time for me to step up to something a little younger, bigger, and flashier :^) if I want to start showing. I'm already feeling so guilty for even thinking about selling Libby, though! She's been so good to me and my fears are that I sell her and they don't treat her right (I know I can do home visits, check references, etc., but it still makes me nervous), and I'm also afraid to sell such a solid, babysitter type horse and end up getting something I can't handle, and regret like crazy for letting her go. I can't afford two horses, though, and I realize that I won't grow as a rider if I don't challenge myself, but these are my fears...and I know I'll probably cry if/when I see her go! Any advice? How did you know when it was the right time to move on?
When I felt I was being held back at shows. But in your instance, your not even showing yet, why not enter the horse you trust at shows? The show world is a bit more than just lessons, if you did get a younger horse whose to say you wouldn't set yourself back? 12 isn't old at all, with a good solid horse you can either do 1 of 2 things 1) let your riding get slope because the horse is always taking care of you 2) focus on yourself because your not having to work with a horse and improve your riding.
Why don't you just start being serious about your lessons and start showing with the horse you have now, then later on decide if you want another horse.
To add on to what BR already said, there are tons of shows out there that are "open" shows, meaning that they allow grade horses to compete. I personally, would avoid the breed shows like the plague, they are expensive and you compete for points so there is no monetary compensation if you win (at least in the AQHA).
A good solid horse is worth its weight in gold. Keep her until you know she is not physically capable of performing what you'd like to do comfortably.
Thanks for all the advice. I should mention, her one bad habit is that she doesn't like to be crowded. She will pin her ears and has threatened and kicked a 5yo mare who came up too close to her rear once...so I am hesitant bringing her to a showring for that reason. Anyway I can work on this with her?
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