Seven Reasons Why Senior Geldings are the Best Show Partners
“Isn’t he too old?”, “Won’t he go crippled soon?”, “You know he is 19, right?”
These are just a few of the many questions I get about my horse, Zippos Kat Man Do (Teddy) when we became a team last June. He has led me to achieve some of my biggest goals already in such a short time.
Yes, he is 19 years young. Teddy has a balding face of hair, really gross teeth, and sometimes his bones creak. He is grumpy and ornery and sometimes does not want even to enter the show pen. He can be lazy, quirky, and just straight up weird. Teddy has been there and done that, but makes you work for everything you have.
However, Teddy is also sweet, talented and the best teacher for me. His age allows him to be an excellent teacher, and he is always too tired to fight my own shenanigans. Teddy is a senior citizen, and many would retire horses at his age. But, why retire them when they love their job?
The past seven months have allowed me to chase my dreams and we have many more to accomplish.
These are just a few reasons why senior geldings are the best show partners.
1) They don’t run away…I mean can’t run away
Senior geldings are lazy. They do not want to work more than they have to. Just like people, they would rather sit in their stall or field and rest. That means they are much easier to catch when you turn them out. Teddy stands and soaks in the sun – side note, maybe he would rather live in Florida than Michigan? He would prefer to become a snowbird. You do not have to run around a field for 45 minutes until your breath gives out. Drop one of your reins? No problem. These old men do not feel the urge to throw you into a fence post. They’ve been around the block a few times and do not feel like running around those blocks again.
2) They are quirky
Rustling plastic bags, demonic baby strollers on gravel, and screaming children are terrifying. These old men can be very eccentric. This develops over the many years of show pen experience. Teddy is a quirky, quirky horse and finds most everything scary. Everything from the buzz of the announcer’s microphone to people getting on and off their horses. He is as weird as they come. These quirks make these geldings truly one-of-a-kind and stand out in the pen. My old man is a professional at getting his earplugs out. Then, I find them in my grooming bag, water buckets, sometimes even in his poop. Thanks, Teddy.
3) They never want to leave their stall
Why move if you don’t have to? Senior geldings believe leaving their stall is overrated – especially if their hay bag is still full. I can leave Teddy’s stall door open while tacking him up and he just magically stays there. Young ones always feel the need to explore, but not old men. They want to eat and sleep. The only time Teddy comes close to leaving his stall is when a Twizzler is involved. Even then, he only brings his front hooves up to the door and stares at me with a puppy dog face. Of course, he always gets the treat because he is the king.
4) It’s easier to bribe them with candy
To these old show horses, nothing is better than candy. Peppermints, Twizzlers, basically anything edible will serve as a useful bribe. Often when Teddy refuses to walk to the pen, I just wave a Twizzler in front of his face, then he magically walks. Senior geldings only manage to comply when food is involved. That is why I have a Costco size stack of treats on standby. Do not let them fool you…they will work for food.
5) They walk slower than molasses
Tired from running around the show all day? Well, you are in luck if you own a senior show horse. They walk so slow that turtles outrun you on your way to the show pen. No more dealing with a rushing horse who almost runs you over. Old geldings take their sweet time and enjoy the day. Teddy often refuses to walk, therefore, I hold a Twizzler behind my back and then he decides he better get moving. Picture this; a girl waving Twizzlers at her horse the entire walk up to the pen just so the horse moves. Yes, it looks crazy. There is a method to my madness.
6) They know their job, so you just sit there
This is my favorite. Teddy is very accomplished in the industry, so everyone magically assumes I just sit there. Yep, you got it. I do nothing, Teddy goes on autopilot, and I smile at the judges. He requires no prep work at all and no use of my leg or seat. Showing teddy is equivalent to riding the mechanical horse named “Sally” at Meijer. Old horses have been around the block more than once. Therefore, you don’t even need to know how to ride in order to be successful.
7) Old men do it better
All joking aside, old men do it better. Yes, my horse is older than me. Yes, he has shown this circuit for longer than I have been alive. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to be his teammate and love him for the rest of his life. Senior geldings are truly wonderful show partners who give their all and, as a result, do it better.
About the Author: Cat Guenther is a devout equestrian and a senior at the Academy of the Sacred Heart. She has been riding horses for almost nine years and has loved every minute of it. Cat started and runs her successful show clothing business, Behind the Bit Show Clothing. Her favorite classes are horsemanship, showmanship, and trail. She plans to attend Michigan State University in the future to study veterinary medicine and possibly also business. Cat is excited to show the all-around classes in 2019 with Zippos Kat Man Do aka Teddy.