Many breeders, riders and handlers indicate that showing and competing with the Spotted Saddle Horse is really an enjoyable experience. As with any type of horse or animals, there are those that love the attention, noise and bright lights of the competition and those that are more suited to just being a great pleasure riding horse around the farm or on a beautiful country trail.
Choosing the right Spotted Saddle Horse for competition depends a lot on what type of event that you wish to use the horse in. One of the most outstanding features of the Spotted Saddle Horse is that they are very versatile and respond well to multiple types of competitions and events. It is not uncommon to see a Spotted Saddle Horse competing one day in a cross country trail ride event and the next day in the ring in a pleasure riding event or a gaited class. Since these horses are naturally gaited they will always use the smooth four beat gait but they can be taught to use the showier gaits while in the ring, but they compete without the showy gaits in the more rugged cross country type events.
When looking for a show horse appearance and conformation is critical. The Spotted Saddle Horse tends to favor the conformation of the Tennessee Walking Horse which is one of the foundation stocks of the breed. Along with the spotted Iberian or Spanish style horses, the breed developed by infusions of Paso Finos, Peruvian Pasos, Mustangs, Missouri Fox Trotters, Standardbreds and the Racking Horse. Typically the refinement and elegance of all of these breeds tends to be found in the Spotted Saddle Horse and particularly in those that rise to championship horses.
Training the Spotted Saddle Horse for competition should be done on a timetable that meets the needs of the horse. While a calm and even tempered breed, pushing the horse too fast or entering them into events when they are not prepared either mentally or physically can have long term lasting negative effects for the horse. Many horses are relatively shy by nature, so a key part of getting a Spotted Saddle Horse ready for competition is to get them used to crowds, noises and lots of distractions. Some horse may also be nervous around other horses, especially if they are younger horses. Start by taking your Spotted Saddle Horse to local events and gatherings, even just fun trail rides and exhibitions. This is good practice for the horse in as stress free environment.
Once the horse is comfortable around new people, horses and events, it is time to plan to enter them in a competition. Start with a local event and work with the horse at least an hour a day for several weeks before the event to ensure that you and your horse are working well together. Since the Spotted Saddle Horse is a gaited breed, if you have not trained a gaited horse before consider hiring a professional trainer to help you with aids and cues to get the horse to use the proper techniques to accentuate the gait.