For the person who wishes to show in the ring a more specialized animal must be sought. First, decide what category of showing you wish to enter. Usually a well-trained horse can be used in most of the performance classes. The same animal can be used for Western Pleasure, Equitation, and Trail-horse Class. Depending on the animal and its disposition, this same horse can be used in the Stock-horse Class. This, however, is a difficult class and takes a good horse and good hands.
Surely no one is going to try to show a horse without knowledge of horsemanship. To do so would be a waste of time and money because of the competition. The correct riding clothes and the right kind of saddle are important. An animal of good breeding and good conformation is important also. And most important of all is the willingness of the rider to work. To go into the show ring seriously takes many hours of practice and an effort at perfection. The horse must be kept in top physical condition and well groomed.
A good show animal is quiet and steady in the ring and just animated for the requirements of the class. A fiery animal has no place in western showing. There are two courses to follow in buying a show animal. A horse can be bought by reputation. This is one who has already collected trophies and ribbons or one that promises to be a winner. These horses are usually schooled and trained by a professional. The second way is to train your own horse.
If there is enough knowledge of horsemanship there is no reason why an owner cannot train his own horse. The experienced horseman usually prefers to buy a green colt and train it from the beginning. This, however, takes a long period of time and is a good idea only if the exhibitor is willing to wait.
In the ring, good sportsmanship is a must. The crowd is quick to boo the rider who takes his loss out on the horse. Therefore much depends on whether you want the rigors of the show ring or you want only the pleasure of equine companionship. Horses have their good days and bad days so at times will not work so well as they’re able. Decide what you can pay, and try to find the best animal to fit the price you can afford. Conformation costs, and so does training. Try, also, to find the most for the least. This is “horse-trading,” but, as with everything else, you usually get what you pay for.
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