Are You Ready for a More Challenging Horse?

These questions will help you determine if it's time to move on to a more advanced horse.


Have you ever wondered if your current horse is still right for you? Perhaps she’s given all that she has to give. Maybe she no longer offers you the challenge or sense of accomplishment that she once did. This is a common crossroad for a horse owner to face. It’s a decision that can be difficult to make–whether to hold onto your horse because it’s easier than letting her go. Unfortunately, that may result in higher expectations of the horse than she is capable of. This creates an unfair situation that can lead to frustration for both horse and rider. The opposite can also be true. Horses are just as often given up even though they still have a lot to offer.

Reining Paint


On the other hand, if there are gaps in your skills as rider, trading horses will only reveal that the horse you traded in wasn’t to blame. Making the decision to find a new home for a beloved equine companion isn’t just about whether or not it’s the right time. There’s an emotional component too. It can be very difficult to say goodbye to an old friend. It’s the end of a valued relationship, but for most people the hard economic reality is that it’s a relationship that has to end before a new one can begin.

If you’re uncertain whether it’s time for you to move on to a different horse, ask yourself these questions. If you answer “yes,” then it could very well be time to consider finding a more suitable mount.

  • Is your current horse holding back your education as a rider?
  • Has your current horse won everything there is to win and the challenge is gone?
  • Has your horse taught you everything she can?
  • Do you want to participate in your discipline or event at a higher level than your horse is capable of?
  • Does your horse have a physical or psychological problem that makes it difficult for her to perform the tasks you ask of her?

However, if you answer “yes” to the following questions, than the horse you have could still fit your needs.

  • Have you seen other people, perhaps a more experienced rider or professional trainer, get more out of your horse than you are able to?
  • Are you expecting more out of your horse than you are able to communicate to her?
  • Does your horse need more training?
  • Do you need to further your education on this horse?
  • Would learning how to work more easily with the horse you have benefit you as a horseperson?
Hunter Show


Furthering her education and yours may give you the challenge you’re looking for, or may be an opportunity to advance your riding and horsemanship skills. Either way, working with and riding your horse should be an enriching and fulfilling experience for both of you. If you’re not enjoying yourself, you horse probably isn’t having a good time either. If you think the right horse isn’t in your barn now but is in your future, then find a new home for your current companion and begin the search for your next equine partner.

Further Reading
Be Smart When Horse Shopping
Horse Shopping Step by Step


  1. It is such a hard decision to make and the timing is so important. Having some good questions like this will help levels of stress. When i was looking for grace it was so scary but i knew i needed a horse to be competitive on!

  2. I think we have a commitment to the horse we own and should take care of it until it’s life ends. If we can’t, then it should go to a sanctuary so it doesn’t end up in a slaughter house down the road.

  3. I would like to ask Dawn a question. Did you breed and break your horse? If you bought a horse it is because someone was willing to sell it. Many people outgrow there first horse. They move up to a more advanced horse and most often the first horse gets to be the next persons first horse. I have seen one pony teach three young girls to ride. He is on his fourth as we speak. Each of those girls loved him, but needed to move on before they pushed him yo hard and broke him.


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