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All-Around Prospect

November 21, 2011

Looking for your next horse? Learn what AQHA Professional Horseman Kelly McDowall looks for in an all-around prospect.

AQHA Professional Horseman Kelly McDowall shares his insight on how to pick an all-around prospect.

To find out how Kelly trains his all-around prospects, check out the October 2011 issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal.


My starter all-around horse is ready to retire. When I got him, he knew it all and he taught me all of the all-around events. I’d like to buy an all-around prospect horse so that I can be the one teaching this time, but I don’t know what I should be looking for in a prospect.

What sort of things do you look for in an all-around prospect?


When I’m shopping for an all-around prospect, the horse has to have a little reach for trail, then flow and pace for western riding.

Some pleasure horses don’t have a middle gear – they can go really slow or fast. The horse has to be able to flow from slow to fast while maintaining its balance and cadence at the lope and without you having to help him. My favorite prospect is a really nice, finished, broke pleasure horse that steers well and that can lope around on a draped rein all day long, and that will slow down or speed up when I ask.

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When it’s time to start training my prospect to compete in all-around events, I break my training into different stages for the horse. The first thing to remember when introducing a horse to all-around events is to keep it simple and give him confidence. You have to give him time to figure out how to negotiate obstacles and the pattern.

– AQHA Professional Horseman Kelly McDowall

Learn how to add all-around events to your horse’s portfolio with Kelly in “New Games” in the October 2011 issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal.