Does anyone know the longevity of competitive reining horses in general and, in particular, the ones ridden by the weightier riders? I confess that I do not follow the comings and goings in the discipline or really even know who all the competitors are. My stereotype of the upper levels is that a new horse is pretty much campaigned every year by those serious competitors and am assuming that that is because they are in the business of selling expensive horses or, alternatively, they need to be replaced because of health issues.
My experience in the reining world was under 2 years, but I worked for one of those "bigger" trainers (size wise & show record wise, lol.) These horses are taken care of like nothing I'd seen before! Their physical & mental health is carefully monitored. The intense training sessions are actually very brief, to preserve the legs & mind; These horses are bred to do this, so drilling maneuvers is not necessary if you get a few good ones in a day. Horses were often in ice boots, support wrapped for preventative measures, or given sessions in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber, but hock injections were occasionally needed. This particular trainer has since opened an Equine Spa & Rehabilitation Center to include an aquatred, Equissage, and magnetic therapy. The goal is to absolutely keep these animals fit, healthy, and happy in their job.
As far as longevity, this particular trainer's focus was on NRHA & NRBC futurities, so Mr. Big Guy is probably only competing on them for one or two seasons before the horse is sold to a non-pro or becomes breeding stock if they've proven themselves in the show ring. These are very valuable horses, so any new owner will likely continue with impeccable care to ensure a long career. Breeding stallions are shown as much as necessary to keep them in the public eye, but it is carefully balanced with the demands of the breeding season. I was seriously impressed with the care the reining horses at this facility (and all others I was lucky enough to visit, including Mr. McQuay's) and I was proud to have been a part of it.