Internet Outrage Over Western Pleasure Horses – New Video Shows The Same Horses From A Different Angle

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The Quarter Horse Congress is one of the biggest shows in the world and there is a video circulating around the internet shows a western pleasure class that has many people outraged. This video was created in response to that video with the caption:

“Many of you have probably seen the video of a western pleasure class from congress doing the rounds on Facebook . The footage has been shared and slandered by a lot of people; some who are active in our industry now, some who were involved a long time ago and others who have no understanding of what our western discipline is. I just wanted to share this clip showing many of the same horses, taken from a different angle and say how phenomenal I think they are. Western Pleasure, like any discipline, goes through its fads and fashions but in my eyes this video is proof that the industry has never looked better. Nearly all of these horses are balanced, correct and are covering ground with a strong, flowing movement. What more could you possibly ask for? Welcome to 2015.”

Here is the original video that’s been making it’s way around the internet:

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To view our original post and read the comments: http://thehorseaholic.com/western-pleasure-video-from-quarter-horse-congress-has-the-internet-outraged/

Do You Wish Western Pleasure Horses Had A More Forward Gait

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This is clearly an issue that people are passionate on both sides of. Where do you stand on this issue? Do you think that this is slander done by uneducated people? After seeing this new video, does it help put your mind at ease about the way western pleasure horses are ridden?

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100 Responses

    • Darlene

      Really , I think this is digesting to watch , Blanched ? Pretty to look at ? Hell no ! the horses look like they are in pain , why on earth would anyone want a horse to move that way , God made the horse perfect . These so called breeders should be shot .

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        I agree, they don’t look natural and as if they are in pain. Whomever decided this is how a Quarter Horse should look makes me sad for my breed, but then again, I am not a fan of the show circuit. I love my foundation Quarter Horses and respect them too much to put them into a show ring.

      • Beau

        Exactly, Western Pleasure IMHO LQQKs Stupid, I would never teach a horse “THAT” gait
        Bet the Ranch, Hoss (y)

      • Anonymous

        I know for fact these horses are in no pain. I am in 4h. I absolutely HATE the way that people have trained these horses and I will never train a horse to lope so unnaturally….. its not even a real gait. But pain? oh no no pain, I have been around horses long enough to see when they are in pain

    • Anonymous

      Peanut pushers still. We were in 4-H in the mid 2000’s, it’s still the same and the horses still look lame…. It really is painful to watch, no pleasure at all seeing those horses hobble along. 🙁

      Reply
    • Diane Lee

      The first time I saw this gait I was so saddened for the horse and rider as I thought they were leaving the practice ring due to injury!!! I was appalled when I found out that was the desired look. I can’t even watch the videos as it makes me sick to my stomach. The riders should be made to walk with their heads down and shuffle along, dragging one foot. See how they like it!!!! Pitiful!!! I will never go to a Western “show” again. Those people are daffy and I feel so sad for their poor, beautiful horses.

      Reply
  1. Jane Bellerby

    It may take many hours of training to get a horse that shut and dumbed down and slow and sooooo bored looking. It may take many hours to get such expressionless riders. No denying there is a level of skill involved. But where is the natural expression of the horse and rider partnership? Where is the joy, the fun, the reason for being with a horse at all? I have yet to see any horse in a paddock move like one of these but it is not uncommon to see horses move with life and joy and exhibit many so called dressage moves. This kind of horse showing is weird from my point of view and something tells me the horses are not happy or at ease. Competition is always someone else’s idea of what’s good enough. Surely we can make up our own minds? 🙂

    Reply
    • pete

      great comment “we can make up our own minds”
      So what gives you the right to tell me that how I have made up my mind that I am wrong.
      Personally I could not give a continental about your opinion but I don’t go on social media putting you down for having one so please keep yours to yourself and let me have mine

      Reply
  2. Cate RVT

    “Does this help put your mind at ease about the way western pleasure horses are ridden?” — quoted on your FB page. Absolutely not. Still is an unnatural, stunted gait on a horse that has been inhumanely tied down in training to get that gait.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      it is what took me from western pleasure to just enjoying my horse in dressage.i no longer even own a western saddle

      Reply
  3. Anne Berlin

    Blanced , correct??? No, this is shameful and the minute we stop rewarding these trainers with all this prize money for what they are doing to these horses the better off the “industry” will be.

    Reply
    • J-Alice HOFLER

      As one of the most successful English discipline QH competitors in Oz, I had an on-going dispute with AQHA re Western Pleasure (even tho I did win a few classes). Carrying that weight at that pace could not possibly be a pleasure for top or bottom (rider or horse). Rule Book says head to be no lower than withers. Why do winners have head at knee level? Most of my pleasure rides were through the Australian bush, and I would have an old-fashioned “fang” to clear my mind and my and Charlie’s lungs. (He was twice Runner-up Eventer of the Year, and was Hunter Horse of the Year, as well as finishing up his show career with Performance Gelding of the Year and Dressage Horse of the Year. The same trails I used strictly for pleasure were also used to cement tempi-changes (2-time) and counter half-passes with flying changes. Charlie was a true pleasure horse–he was a pleasure to ride from 3 to 24, when he was fully retired.

      Reply
  4. Lori Bready

    This different angle is supposed to make them look more balanced and forward moving?!? They all look lame and unnatural in their very stilted movement. This is shameful. The previous comments have it right.

    Reply
    • Nicole

      I know. I’m trying to figure our where the forward and balanced was.

      Reply
  5. Dorne Chadderton

    I’m no expert on western riding, but would hate any of my horses to look like that. They look like lifeless, cowed robots, and lame to boot.

    Reply
  6. Linda Agee

    I see nothing “pleasurable” in this. Almost none of the horses have their ears forward, none looks like they’re happy, or having fun. The gaits look awkward, uncomfortable.
    I honestly don’t understand why anyone would want to train his/her horse to go like this. Yuck!

    Reply
  7. Kimberly

    There is NO defense of this. These horses look lame. Period. Horses aren’t meant to be hobbled, they are designed to cover ground. Western Pleasure is not pleasurable to watch, nor is it pleasurable to ride for anyone used to natural movement. If judging standards don’t change soon, the outrage is only going to get worse.

    Reply
  8. Rebecca Peterson

    I used to show Western Pleasure (and halter) at AQHA shows. I left the industry many years ago after being frustrated by the “politics” and the unnatural movements (and unnatural look) expected from the horses. I had hoped – and truly thought – it was changing. It makes me very sad to see that it has only gotten worse. Just so darn sad.

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    How can you think this looks any better, they all still look lame. You western pleasure people just want to convince yourselves that this is OK, when it is not. A real shame what they do to these beautiful horses. How did it get this bad?? Who thought this was OK??

    Reply
  10. Marie Yates Nater

    There isn’t a horse in either video that I would trust to take me down a well groomed trail. They would trip over anything larger than a radish and go ass over teakettle. What is AQHA’s stated purpose of a *pleasure horse*? I wouldn’t find any of these shown a *pleasure* to ride – but maybe that’s because I don’t find riding in slow circles around an arena to be fun.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      These horses were never ment to go down a “well groomed” trail… Obviously these girls find this enjoyable.

      Reply
  11. Linda Wilson

    When my horse walks like that I put his feet in buckets of cold water & pray he’s not foundering.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      That is a very good comment, because I was just thinking that they looked also like they had their feet trimmed to excess as to make them look petite and tiny and they were just sore sore sore!

      Reply
    • Trish

      Amen Linda! FOUNDER is the first thing I thought and as my mare is floundering now I can promise you this is so offensive why would you want to take a horse whom is sound and make it move as if it is lame when many of us have horses who are lame and pray for recovery and ease of movement often times just to be able to keep them as pets and not to be ridden again yet they are riding these horses like this!! SICK

      Reply
  12. Stephanie Lewis

    I don’t care what angle this is taken from, these horses are NOT loping! The lope is a 3 beat gait, for those who don’t know, that means three of the 4 feet are moving or off the ground at the same time. You show me one of these horses that is doing that. There’s no true collection or rounding on these horses and they certainly don’t look pleasurable to ride. AQHA is supposed to be eliminating this kind of movement but is seems that it is getting worse instead of better!

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      That’s not what 3 beat gait means. Back right hind strikes ground, then left hind at the same time as front right…and as horse rolls through its momentum, the left front would be the last to hit the ground.

      Reply
      • tlm

        Thank you for correcting Stephanie Lewis. Your description is correct for the left lead. These horses are traveling in the right lead, so left hind, right hind/left front, right front. Regardless of the quality of movement, these horses are not 4 beating. The right hind and left front moved simultaneously on every horse in the top video. If they were 4 beating, there would be 4 separate beats, but again, the right hind and left front are moving together.

  13. Roper

    There’s a fine line between proper collection allowing the to move more easily/comfortably, to be ready for whatever their next movement is and whatever that is, that causes more pain and doesn’t look pleasurable! I like a low level head but I also know some horses aren’t built like that. I love showing ranch pleasure and horsemanship even western pleasure at open shows but I will never show a horse like that!

    Just do me a favor keep your lame looking horses out of the ranch horse classes! The classes that show what properly collected horse should look like!! Collected, performing a THREE BEAT lope not a four beat, natural looking forward movement!

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Funny, I watched Ranch Pleasure at Congress and believe it or not their were a couple in their and that’s a fear I have for this class. I’m waiting to see how quickly they will ruin it!

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        We have people enter their pleasure horses at the open shows a lot but most of the time they place high but don’t usually win. And I love that Texas 4-H does not allow exhibitors cross ranch and western pleasure at state with the same horse!!

  14. Crystal

    I don’t care from what angle this video is shown. It is NOT natural to move like this and it is painful to watch

    Reply
  15. Gail

    If you understand what the purpose of training horses
    then you realize that moving in this artificial way is harmful to the horse. I think that is the bottom line. The hind end needs to engage, the back to lift up to carry the rider, the front end to lighten. Otherwise the continuous pounding on the joints without the correct flexion in those joints, and strengthening of those back muscles those animals will be comprised and the usefulness will be cut short. If this will change owners, riders, need to be educated in the horses correct way of going to promote the best quality of gaits, and overall longevity and soundness. Judges cannot change unless riders, trainers, and owners start bringing a better quality of performance into the ring to be judged. Please don’t just follow the fad and do what everyone else does. Educate yourself, ask questions, and know the long term effects training like this has on your.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Judges only judge what they see, but they can make changes by being more vocal about what the trainers are producing for the ring. Training methods adapt because someone sees “the perfect mover” and they want to emulate that horse. This is the main reason so many horses have their head in the ground and do a 4 beat lope. This is the reason Tennessee Walkers use scoring and chains to get the big lick. (By the way, the first great big lick horse did it naturally.) This is the reason show hunters are so pokey going around a hunter course that doesn’t really mimic fences in the field.

      Reply
  16. susan

    is why i no longer ride western pleasure or even own a western saddle anymore. i ride english and my reiner westernpleasure horse now enjoys dressage

    Reply
  17. Laura

    While you’re at it, get rid of all the glitter crap too. This class is the most unnatural thing I’ve ever seen.

    Reply
  18. Carolyn Depew

    If you truly think this aberration of a lope is acceptable then you are part of the problem and not the solution. If you’ve got a true western pleasure horse it’s very possible to have a FORWARD moving lope, done with a rounded back, that doesn’t have a neck-bobbing, heaving manner of going.

    Reply
  19. AQHA4me

    Thank You who took the new video it is a much better view and class. To all you folks who say these are mistreated, abused, soul sucked out, lame, ect… These horses are BRED to go this slow and their conformation is that the head comes out of the withers lower. My horse could not pick up his head and carry like you want we carry level. They are moving much better than the 1st video. Did anyone think that these are different classes and levels of riders and or horses. There are several classes at congress for the different skill levels of the horses age, riders age and skill. So please do not judge and I am sure Dressage horses that have their heads all bridled up are a natural thing, or a jumpers equipment is not cruel. Any horse that is is competition has training at some level and all may be doing unnatural things. Please show some compassion for our sport as we show for yours. Do NOT BASH something you know nothing about or have never done.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Please note that many of the respondents to this video have shown western pleasure and left because of the false gaits required of these horses. So don’t keep whining that we don’t know what we’re looking at and try to pull the “respect us” card.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        They should keep showing how to do it correctly. Go to the judges and ask for an explanation and maybe have a discussion about changing they minds.

      • Anonymous

        You must take what those nay Sayers say with a grain of salt. It’s possible that they rode a horse not suited for WP.. I personally never had a true WP horse therefore I hated that specific class and usually begged my parents not to make me waste my energy by going in it

    • Jane Bellerby

      There is nothing to respect in this kind of treatment of a horse. The compassion I feel for the horses is that their riders, trainers and owners are so far back on the continuum of learning how to be in partnership with a horse that it means more horses will suffer the stupidity expressed in the above comment. Please put aside your ego, educate yourself and GET AWAY FROM THOSE HORSES.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        Jane, do your research! Yes some of these horses are hard to watch but if you’ll watch the pros ride the really nice rides it is natural! Very few youth horses/riders make this specific class look sexy

    • Pam

      I’ll respect your “sport” as soon as I see a western pleasure horse move like this out in the pasture, THEN you can call this ‘natural’ and ‘balanced’. Until then, I call it abuse! Jumpers will free jump, and dressage horses do lead changes and lateral movements on their own. NEVER will horse moved like this of his own free will. You should all be ashamed or your so-called sport.

      Reply
    • Chris

      Garbage. And the quarter horse industry is also busy adding to the oversupply of horses in this nation and the resulting horrific conditions horses sent to slaughter must endure.

      Reply
    • Connie

      still is unnatural, they do not move like this in the pasture. terrible just terrible !!

      Reply
  20. Anonymous

    A horse with true self carriage at the lope does almost no head bobbing. This is always the dead giveaway if a horse is loping slowly naturally. Too many people are afraid to show the judge their horse’s true lope for fear of passing others in the pen. Get over it and take the lead for change!

    Reply
  21. Randi

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see anything pleasurable about how those horses go. I wouldn’t want to imagine riding one of those horses out on the trail, this is pretty sad to see….

    Reply
  22. Jillian Prince

    I agree with everyone else. Could you please show the part where, “Nearly all of these horses are balanced, correct and are covering ground with a strong, flowing movement.” Because I can’t see a second of it.
    For a horse to be carrying itself properly it needs to push off from its hind quarter, these horses are pulling themselves forward with their front legs because they have been shut down, to a point that they won’t even move properly! That is a horses natural god given right, to be able to move, flow and flex. This is cruelty, just because they are not pulling on mouths, have 3 or 4 bits, its still the same.
    This is appalling. ITS TIME TO CHANGE stop supporting these events with sponsorship for prize money… as soon as there is no money in it there won’t be a sport.
    Im sorry I couldn’t do your opinion vote tick box option due to the fact that yes while I believe these horses should be more forward but they shouldn’t be “pushed” forward either.

    Reply
  23. Raeanna Thompson

    I once rode western for actual pleasure and on occasion I still do, but what changed me from the western show arena to english was the one time I trained my horse according to the rule book and lost to horses with their heads below their knees and basically dragging their feet. A horse is suppose to cover ground and beable to pick their feet up high enough to not trip over dirt. I was told I was going too fast by the judges. At least my horse wasn’t in pain.

    Reply
  24. SkyesTheLimit

    A lope is supposed to be faster than a jog, not able to be out-walked. The world of Western Pleasure for years has wanted smaller feet, smaller gaits, slower movements. The problem is, none of these things make for good horses, their conformation sucks because of their feet, the slow gaits don’t only look stupid, but incredibly hard to do. When you have long legs, taking smaller steps is something that is nearly impossible to keep doing. The good news is this world is slowly changing, not fast enough for some of ours liking, but it is changing.
    When the horses look like they all have a broken leg when loping, you should see the problem.

    Reply
  25. Anonymous

    Most of these horses look like the are lame! I started showing when this started coming in still and that’s when I wanted to go to something more natural like cutting and working cow horse. Plus how would the humans felt if they had to do something that felt unnatural to them and had to walk or run sideways with their face in the wall… I hate what showing has come too, and English isn’t that much different

    Reply
  26. Darcy

    The comments about these horses not passing a lameness test is totally untrue. Pleasure horses have to pass the same vet check as any other horse. There’s not some sub-standard vet check we use for pleasure horses so maybe you should refrain from making uneducated comments. We all care and stress about our horses joints and ligaments. We wrap their legs with green jelly, poultice, quilts, standing wraps. We add supplements to their feed to aid in their comfort and movement. If there’s any sign of soreness we use magnawaves, theroplates and equissage machines to ensure they’re comfortable and willing to do their jobs.
    These horses are bred to do this, they love their jobs. These horses could not go barrel race, show jump or do dressage just as those horses could not be pleasure horses.
    I find it interesting there is no big stand taken on the reiners. I personally do not have an issue but I would be sure that horse-lovers would be distraught at horses taught to stop by using a solid fence. And if you have a problem with the gait of a pleasure horse I’m sure you’d also have an issue with the gait of reiners
    Finally, as the winner of this class, I am disgusted with the bullying going on. My horse is 12 years old going strong and will live a long and happy life. I’m constantly asking for more pace while in the show pen. He couldn’t go much more forward than this because it’s not in his blood. He LOVES his job. My horse HATES when the trailer leaves for a show without him. He will race you to the pen when you go out and ride, but will have to be dragged back, even though there is food in his stall. I invite all of you to his stall to give him loads of treats and see how happy he is with his life in the show pen

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      And from what I read, someone stated that the “one who won this class had a more forward horse” so maybe you should continue this and try to beat others and maybe they will start to make their horses go more forward, and maybe it will begin to look better at least. I have no doubt you take good care of your horse. But I also know a couple of ex WP trainers, and they have told me that the training can really break down some of them. They don’t hold up long to the stress of what they are asked to do over and over. I would also like to know if your horse runs around like that in the pasture playing or just plain loping/cantering like a horse normally does. Even reiners will do slide stops, rollbacks and circles playing. And they don’t have to have their heads unusually low, as they are sometimes shown, but they do have a naturally low head set due to years of breeding for that confirmation. But they do run around in the pasture with it more elevated than when shown. Does yours is what I would like to know, or does he run around canted and super low and slow.

      Reply
    • Pam

      Though they may have different talents and abilities, conformationally/anatomically a QH reiner is the same as a QH pleasure horse or a QH barrel racer, so don’t fall for that “it’s what he’s built for” crap. It was how he was trained, or rather forced to act. Have you ever seen a QH move like this in the pasture? Nope, and you never will because it’s not balanced, nor is it natural or comfortable for him.
      So sad that you need to “wrap their legs with green jelly, poultice, quilts, standing wraps. We add supplements to their feed to aid in their comfort and movement. If there’s any sign of soreness we use magnawaves, theroplates and equissage machines . . .” etc at only 12 years old- seems like a lot of intervention for such “pleasurable” work. Oh, and don’t forget the bute, equioxx, banamine, etc etc

      Reply
  27. Lyndsey Lewis

    The vote is non-sensical because both are wrong. They look terrible!! Think of a horse in the wild moving free with the head up and seeing where they are going. It is not as simple as just pushing them forward and running them on their forehands.

    Look to horses natural movement. Look to the classics. Look to good ‘western’ riding. This show stuff with the horse’s head soooo low..ugh…and the gait so slow the animal looks crippled. How can anyone even be asking these questions!!

    Reply
  28. Helen

    WHY would anyone even consider making a horse walk round and round in a circle in such a ridiculous way, they are making fools of the horses. Am I really expected to believe that these riders and trainers are intelligent people that understand and care for their horses, if they had half a brain cell they would know that they look like brainless zombies. The Western Pleasure Horse was never bred to walk around in circles in such a mindless humiliating way, you can try and convince yourself as much as you like that you are doing something beautiful and exiting, you are not, you just look like mindless idiots. It is definitely causing mental torture to those horse and in all probability physical pain.

    Reply
  29. Anonymous

    Oh this is some “discipline” LOL; they looked CRIPPLED! A few seconds of this video is way too much!

    Reply
  30. Anonymous

    Most of these riders have many thousands of dollars invested in reaching this point in the AQHA competition. Consider the cost of a well bred horse, training, show saddle (which BTW, are all bedazzled with enough silver that can cost a king’s ransom). And, show blouses and/or vests that keep the Swarovski company very busy. Most of the time, these aforementioned necessities in the WP circuit are used for one season or less and discarded, because one must be at the top of the WP game with what’s “in vogue”. Sadly, this practice also includes the horse!! This horrific style of movement is something that will take years to UNDO!! Because next years WP class may have something else a connected trainer or breeder has made “all the rage”. Most riders at this point in the game could care less about the horse. Nor will it be their prize possession for many years to come. They simply “buy another one to show next year, if it didn’t get top honors at the Congress.

    Many AQHA owners love and own the breed for their versatility and loving nature. I am one of them that chooses not to subject my horses to this inhumane style of movement. And fortunately, I don’t have that kind of money to go through horses like tissue paper. What is scary is that these discarded horses will trickle down to the 4H level. And these kids don’t have the ability to change this style of movement. And, the horse will go from owner to owner, because its natural gait has been ruined. A real shame. Wake up AQHA!!

    Reply
  31. Bob Setliff

    There s NOTHING “strong and flowing” about their motion! They look like cripples that 99.9% of Vets would be saying they need to be put out of their misery because they are obviously in pain! STRONG AND FLOWING is when you watch our wild horse herds running across the range!

    Reply
  32. carolyn jonaitis

    oooo sparkly! and what lovely fake tails!

    and what dull eyes and ears on those poor animals. its a horror show.
    sad, and disgraceful. not a real horseman among them.

    Reply
  33. Anonymous

    Just a few years ago, I had one of the top AQHA wp horses in the country.
    Unlike most of them, mine came by his talent naturally, he did not have to be forced into performing well, and he was happy to do his job. There are very few like that – the rest are forced into it, many burn out, many are ruined mentally, physically, both or worse.

    Many judges mentioned my horse’s pleasant, ears-forward expression – it was a novelty, because so few wp horses have that.

    Because I have ridden/shown wp for 20+ years, I spent MANY hours mulling over who to send him to who would not cripple/ruin/kill him. Not everyone takes time to do that – they just want to win and the horses are totally disposable means to that end. For this reason (along with many others far too numerous to go into), I no longer show wp, nor will I again.

    It is a freak show.

    One comment I keep seeing that is complete and utter BS is that these horses lope or jog around at these speeds and move like that when they are out in the pasture (HA HA – like most of these horses get out at all – NOT!), and that their headset is naturally low like what is pictured in the show videos, and that’s how they carry their heads when they are at leisure and trotting or loping. That is absolutely false.
    When he went out into the pasture to play, you could not even tell mine was a wp horse. He bucked, ran and played with his head up in the air like ANY other equine, and he had as naturally-level a conformation as any horse in these videos.

    I participated in this game at the highest levels, and I’m not drinking the “it’s natural for them to move that way” BS Kool Aid any longer. It’s simply a group of people trying to convince themselves and others that forcing horses to move this way is all right. It’s not. I hope the newsworthiness of this issue, combined with some new leadership for AQHA, will force much-needed change in the wp division.

    Reply
  34. Anonymous

    You’re joking right? There is no difference from any angle. The horses are not moving out, they are loping lame with a four beat lope. It is so incredibly painful to watch and if you think this looks normal, you need your eyes checked and I think more than that. All in the hopes of a blue ribbon, a trophy and a sparkly bedazzled shirt. You should be ashamed of yourself. This is an unnatural gait that is forced upon the horse by tricks and torture.

    Reply
  35. Kate

    sorry honey, try again. there is nothing natural, strong or forward about that gait. No horse would naturally travel that way, the canter or lope is a three beat gait not a four. And no horse in any situation other than quite sick moves with its head so low. Horses are prey animals and need their heads up to feel safe. I know perfectly well what is done to them to “train” them to move that way and its sick. this is nothing but bad judging and egotistical people following fads. Go find photos of a national AQHA show from the 70’s and see the huge difference.

    Reply
  36. Anonymous

    Everything is so fake with this discipline it seriously hurts to watch. It looks like a bad zombie apocalypse in slow motion. The riders and their horses look dead, what’s “pleasurable” about that? I’m pretty sure it takes a lot of skill and dedication to reach this point, but that doesn’t necessary mean it’s right. I’ve heard countless arguments how people love their horses, how they love this sport, how they love yada yada yada. Loving your horse/sport/discipline DOES NOT EQUAL a healthy/sound horse. Why is this so hard to grasp for everyone? From what fairy tale story did you fall out of? Love is not enough, educate yourself!

    Reply
  37. Lila

    There is absolutely nothing ‘normal’ about how these horses are walking and I find it painful to watch. I can’t imagine the horses find it very comfortable to do it, either. Their heads are held artificially low and they walk as if hobbled. I couldn’t see clearly, but I think perhaps at least a couple were.

    Reply
  38. Anonymous

    Western pleasure is indeed a big topic of controversy in the horse world. It specifically attracts critics and horse lovers with the horses who lope that awful four-beat lope that makes them appear lame to bystanders (which in the actual western pleasure world, we call troping and many in my association find it horrendous). I show color breed horse shows namely Pinto horse and pinto has started changing it’s ways tremendously. If you are in the warm up arena on the rail you can hear multiple trainers critiquing all the horses and saying “did you SEE her? That is not a lope, that looks awful, way too slow” or “You see this one here? I like him, this one is moving out more. Color breed shows make up a good chunk of the western pleasure world and I just want to point out that there is some change, little by little. Unfortunately, Pinto, Palomino, Appaloosa, and other color breeds are large together but small individually and when it comes to western pleasure the AQHA and APHA circuits are where all the money is and where all the people generally look towards when they look to find the perfect example for western pleasure. It’s very difficult to change a discipline such as wp overnight especially in the AQHA and APHA worlds where there are judges who prefer the less-ideal western lopes, older/deadbroke horses whose training cant be reversed after its been done, and trainers who have a name already in the business and therefore are looked to when it comes to what horses should look like. My trainer refuses to ever show AQHA because of the extremes the riders and trainers take there. We only ever show Pinto and the occasional Paint shows here and there but thats all.
    Sorry, this paragraph was everywhere and not strung together particularly well but my point is that there are bad eggs and good eggs in every discipline and western pleasure is no different. The biggest thing about western pleasure is that trends are everything, it’s all about style and fashion. If it’s not “in” you don’t “win” (See what I did there? ;)) While there are people who win even though they shouldn’t at all, there are also people who win with horses who should. There are many people in the western pleasure world who take longs amounts of careful decision-making time to pick the best of the best foals for western pleasure who can move the way they should naturally with only the tiniest bit of speed change but no change to the gate itself. Their headset comes in time as they are softened into the bit so that riders aren’t yanking on their faces and can do things with little to no contact.

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  39. Barb

    This is a man-made gait. Any idiot can see that. Back in “the day”, when I showed WP, a horse had a natural, free-flowing, forward and pleasurable lope. Not this mechanical bob-headed, lame-looking whatever-it-is that they’re doing. It’s awful, nothing natural about it, and looks ridiculous. Never have I ever seen a horse in a pasture moving this way. I believe the purpose is to cover ground at a forward, flowing, pleasurable lope. Nothing about this is pleasurable.

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  40. Rosemary Schaffer

    Those of us who know this is crap, ought to go to as many Horse Shows as possible, and chant ‘DEAD HORSE WALKING!!!!’ during these Classes.

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  41. Jen Slater

    I cannot believe you thought this angle would make this class look better?? I saw the original video last year. What a disgrace. There is nothing natural about this gait. It’s a man made freak show. Nothing natural, innate, or flowing. It’s a disgrace and embarrassment to show any horse like this.

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  42. Anonymous

    When my horse walks like that, I get off, because, an unbalanced head shaking gait like that means they are in pain. I don’t have quarter horses though, but. wonder why when one has a horse bred for short bursts of speed, you would even think of doing that to them.

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  43. Christina Mills

    I don’t call that a lope..They are barely out of a walk…more like they shuffling along if anything. That just looks terrible.

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  44. Nadja K M Adolf

    They look like they are about to do a somersault as they attempt to go downslope on a level surface. They look like they are likely to fall on any surface rougher than a freshly groomed arena. I guess this is the AQHA’s way of trying to make HYPP look normal?

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  45. Anonymous

    When I was a kid, I showed a horse in 4H…western. I never placed. My horse held his head up…like a horse is supposed to…and he moved like he had some life in him. I switched to Saddlebreds…horses asked to hold themselves up and look beautiful. Once the horses were dragging their noses in the dirt, I had enough.

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  46. Anonymous

    they all look like wounded or crippled warriors limping painfully off the battlefield – a travesty of real riding

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  47. Tamara Coburn

    This could so easily be fixed. Come on judges stop placing these horse. If they all hobble along like crippled old people then don’t hand out awards. Stop perpetuating this sickening trend!

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