Gil Galyean Shows Us How Western Pleasure Horses SHOULD Be Going – The Future Of The Sport!

Western Pleasure is a class with a lot of history. The riding style and horses have changed and progressed a lot in it’s almost 60 year history. A lot of people feel that the class has regressed and that we should go back to the old way. In this video, Gil Galyean the leading NSBA money earner of all time explains what he looks for in a Western Pleasure horse. “All horsemen are drawn to movement” Gil says. I think that’s what draws a lot of people into western pleasure, it is a movement class.

Western pleasure has been under a microscope lately, specifically the “movement” of the horses. This video shows people what a correct western pleasure horse looks like. “We’re looking for a horse that completes his stride” says Gil. “I don’t want to see a horse that’s like pausing, taking a stride, pausing, taking a stride. I want to see it flow across the arena”. Gil also goes on to specify that it’s not about being the slowest horse in the class! Western pleasure is about movement, and when they’re hobbling around it’s not pretty or comfortable! Lets all take the advise in this video, push our horses forward and show off their movement! It’s prettier and a lot more fun to ride 🙂

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46 Responses

  1. Jean Curtis

    I am so happy about this! No more pathetic plastic horses stumbling around staring at their front feet!

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      what a joke i have never seen anything as unnatural in all my life, the horses look totally un balanced stiff and awkward, the low head carriage being carried like this can not surely do a lot for the horses back. its called western pleasure riding but there looks nothing pleasurable for the horses on how there forced to move poor horses its just not right. cruel just cruel!

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        I can’t watch it either. It’s the most unnatural things I’ve ever seen. There is NO impulsion from the hind end and the whole horses are on their front ends.

      • Anonymous

        AGREED! No natural movement at all! This guy is a product of the show environment, thinking he knows what a horse SHOULD look like, when all he knows is what shows horses currently look like. The horse needs to push from behind and round up–that’s what brings the head down (not hours of having its face yanked on). One other thing…he preaches about a horse hitting its diagonals (from about the 9:00 minute mark), yet his horse hits her front feet way early! Seriously, slow the video down to .25 speed and tell me if that horse is nailing her diagonals.

      • Snowpony

        And he is one of the worst to ride, train and breed them to move like this. What a joke..

  2. Jo Johnson

    The movement is much better, I would love to see it without all the riders leg movement, it may just look like it but does the horse really need a touch of Spurs on every stride?

    Reply
  3. Judy

    I agree with Jo above…way too much banging his spurs on the horses sides…non stop.
    Gaylean’s horse has forward motion but just a tiny bit of TROPING.
    Very nice trot!!
    The two assitant’s horses do not lope…they definitely trope!!
    The one horse throws his head up….just how pleasurable of a ride is that.
    Sorry. I was expecting so much more from Gaylean. This is probably way, or one of many reasons AQHA is losing members.

    Reply
    • Susan

      Constant use of the spurs with every step is ridiculous, and where it is some what of an improvement in movement, (smoother) it still looks a bit like, “just stumbling along.” *Styles* in showing come and go all the time. Hopefully one day the *style* won’t be such a low slung head that I feel restricts motion, and has nothing really to do with rounding up the back. I compete mostly in dressage, but I do ride in Western Pleasure also, and I just find this entire *look,* movement, and constant/obvious spurring motion, a distraction and crude. Besides the horses look miserable moving in this UN-natural way.

      Reply
  4. Laurie

    I would love to see people put their ideas of “the perfect western pleasure horse” on here with their videos. This man has won over $1 million dollars in the NSBA folks. If you have something better, I would just love to see it. Most of the fussy complaints come from people who either (a) don’t have the talent to train & show a top caliber western pleasure horse or (b) don’t have the horse capable of doing it. Just last week I saw a complete bashing of a westerb pleasure horse. I went to the person’s facebook page out of curiosity and saw the most graphic example of rollkur that I have ever seen. If you don’t know what that is, you need to look into it. Remember, if western pleasure isn’t your thing, there are dozens of other quarter horse events to chose from.

    Reply
    • Teryl

      Thank You Laurie You have said what I wanted to say but you are much more polite then I was when I thought about responding. Any body can be a critic …put your knowledge and experience where your mouth is!! Criticize this man all they want but he is the only man to win a Million Dollars in this event so apparently he does know what he is doing!

      Reply
      • Nena

        If you criticize Gil I’m not afraid ro say you have no knowledge of the western pleasure horse or industry standards. Please, before you criticize, make sure you’ve tried it or are knowledgeable of the class. It’s very easy to see by reading who is the horseman and who is not.

    • B

      That is why…no pleasure here…you are the blind, paying a trainer that keeps this trend going…makes these horse look so ugly!

      Reply
    • Holly

      I used to show WP successfully in the 90s. I won’t do it now. The horses in this demo are canted and too slow. The amount he has won is proof that he is training/showing WP to the standard today – that IS the complaint! When Gil moves the out, she looks great! If they would speed up like they are in WR, they would be moving better as he demonstrated.

      Reply
      • Karen

        The extended trot was nice. The diagonals weren’t in sync at the slow trot. The lope was hard to watch. I keep trying to like WP but I can’t see anything appealing yet.

    • Anonymous

      And that’s the problem: Judges perpetuate this trend of unnatural, ugly movement by rewarding it in the show pen. Break the cycle, America!

      Reply
  5. Anonymous

    Looks like he likes to have them moving canted…at the canter to keep them slow

    Reply
  6. Abi

    It urks me how some people believe that the perfect western pleasure horse must be slow, To me a fluid motion is swift an easy going , not slow and half trot/lope. And not to mention the way of movement that these horses do is not good for their joints and in my opinion the average western pleasure horse appears lame.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      I totally agree. If a horse has to move that slow for u to be comfortable riding it, pick another sport. They have taken all the movement out of the horse. Its cheaper and more challenging to ride a carousel horse. At least that goes up and down. A horse should hop from diagonal to diagional when it trots, not walk in front and hobble behind. The pope is even more unatural. They walk in front and still can’t figure out what they’re doing behind. Where’s the sport in riding a horse that doesn’t move? I’ve ridden rocking horses that have more challenge.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        I have trained raised shown horses for 40 years and was so excited to watch this video-kiss your sport goodbye aqha -i quit a long time ago and after getting nauseated watching 3 minutes of your spurs hitting that horse am never going back -atrocious movements for a horse -I just don’t get it. Four beating?How many of you have ridden a four beater? You have ruined horsemanship with your peanut rolling throw the reins away lame looking presentation of a HORSE moving. Why does he win??? Ha now that is funny -People -it is not WHAT you know -it is WHO you know in Show Business! So so so happy to see how many others voiced their disgust about this travesty.Thank you for making my day!!!

    • cathy

      Iam learning to ride western pleasure. I want the fluid motion. Not one that looks like my horse is on his last leg and their nose to the ground. That’s not natural

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        If you what fluidity, get a dressage horse and learn how to ride.

  7. Me

    A slow trot is one thing but that slow of a lope in NOT fluid or natural looking. Come on people let the horse lope not just move around looking lame. It is hard on their joints and back. I don’t care how much money someone makes showing horses like this. It isn’t a true lope.

    Reply
  8. Rebecca

    When I saw the title of this and how it is the future of the class, I got a little excited thinking maybe western pleasure is moving towards a more natural carriage and movement. But this was disappointing. I see what he’s saying about flow and having matched stride length as well as proper stride counts, but I have never ever seen a horse move like this in a natural setting. Additionally it looked like a chore to keep his horse moving with all the leg bumping. When he moved it out into a true lope (or “extended” lope, ha) it looked so much more beautiful, fun and natural, and no less difficult to ride. I hope the future of this class continues to improve in terms of freedom of movement, but this didn’t really suggest that to me.

    Reply
    • Jaye

      So, so happy I’m not alone in this. You’ve echoed my thoughts completely.

      Reply
  9. Maureen retting

    Other than Gil”S horse, the other 2, same old twisted side winders crap.
    It’s BS. It’ll never change.
    They have ruined the QH movement.
    They have no desire to preserve thè balance and cadance. Everybody wants to create a unique movement to draw attention to their self. Its BS.

    Reply
  10. Marion

    why is that horse so crooked in the lope? Why can`t it lope on a straight line? any of them? it is not hard to teach straightness, but AQHA does not pay attention at all?

    Reply
  11. Jade

    This is not an improvement! These horses still look lame and miserable!

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      I agree with that. Over 20 years ago, I hung up my spurs, cowboy hat, and chaps and traded them for a dressage saddle, and jumping saddle and started 3 day eventing. There is nothing more balanced and comfortable to ride than a well trained dressage horse.

      Reply
  12. RSR

    These horses do look lame! How sad. I grew up showing in western pleasure and horses knew how to move forward in a smooth strong gait. I can’t watch this.

    Reply
  13. Del Legan

    Sad. From the title of the article, I was hoping that the AQHA was finally going to start placing horses that had real movement. This was painful to watch. NO horse in nature would ever move so slow. Wake up AQHA. This is terrible.

    Reply
  14. Anonymous

    Still don’t like the lope, too slow. Have the horse lope in a straight. rear end in line with the front end.

    Reply
  15. Nancy Mitchell

    I thought it was just me…..I don’t see much improvement from the “peanut rollers” …the heads may be higher, but the movement is still just as lousy as ever. I was REALLY disappointed. I agree this man is one of, if not THE best, BUT, just being the best of the worst isn’t saying much…..throw in some politics, and I don’t see anything that is a “pleasure”. The only thing worse in the industry right now are the reiners. They are SICKENING to watch. I quit….and so have many, many, many others. Sickening.

    Reply
  16. Disappointed

    This was not only disappointing, but insulting. Does he REALLY think we are this stupid. I also agree, the reiners need to clean up their act. Can u imagine what those horses go through being intimidating to work with their heads between their knees. AQHA DO SOMETHING, listen to the people you are losing because of this crap!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  17. Anonymous

    Horseaholic, who are you? What is your name? Why isn’t the author of this article listed? Why can’t I find any information on ownership of this website? What is your motivation? Seems to me your business plan is to cause drama and hits on your website so you can sell advertising? You sit there in the shadows and post things to icite hate. Shame on you!

    Reply
  18. anonymous

    I watched hoping there has been an improvement is Pleasure. This is just awful. The horses look crippled. Has any ever seen a horse move like this when he is loose? I see no free movement. Almost as bad as what they do to the Walkers.

    Reply
  19. Anonymous

    Wow. Same old stuff from the AQHA fraternity. This guy is teaching the same old pathetic movement, because he makes money doing it! He does not WANT it to change! So he gets in front of the group and tells them to do what he’s doing. He probably wears a set of spurs down to the nubs every month with as much as he uses them.

    Reply
  20. Anonymous

    This is cruelty. Their front legs are hobbled to their rear as yearlings to teach them not to stride out. AQHA encourages this treatment by placing these movements.

    Reply
    • Anon

      There is absolutely no way that happens. When and where did you see that happening? I have ridden WP for decades and I have never heard of such a thing. Ever. Or are you simply repeating something you have never actually witnessed or in other words, lying?

      Reply

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