Western Pleasure Video From Quarter Horse Congress Has The Internet Outraged

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This video was recently taken and posted on Facebook and it has horse people in an outrage.  For years the western pleasure industry has been criticized and scrutinized for the way their horses go. More recently, the rule books have changed and they call for a more forward lope. This made the general public as well as many competitors very happy. I’m sure the horses were happy too. But when this video was released people were outraged. This video is from the Quarter Horse Congress, one of the biggest and best Quarter Horse shows in the world. There is a flood of negative comments on the video including:

“So sad! I see no progress in forward motion that AQHA keeps saying they are going to be asking for and judging. They all look lame and none of them are loping parallel to the wall. All have their butts in towards the center of the ring.”

“I hate to say this, and its just my opinion, but for what its worth….wellll, they look like a bunch of robots, riders and horses, nothing pretty or natural about either one.”

“Horses do not lope this way, it is like the Stepford wives horses or something…creepy”

“MOST BORING CLASS EVER! Show me a real lope!”

There were so many negative comments, I can’t possibly include them all. There were also defenders saying things like:

“lmfao hardest lope ever…..try keeping that lope together consistently…..anyone can run across a field cowboy style that’s cake!!!! Hahaha!”

“Looked like a solid class. Wish I was there”

“Oh please! Stop the criticism. Their world. Their purpose. Their horses. Why not?! Try putting that lope on horse — weeks to make. Months to maintain. Years to gain ‘elite’ consistency. If its not for you just skate on by. The world has enough armchair quarterbacks!”

Do You Wish Western Pleasure Horses Had A More Forward Gait

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Where do you weigh in on this? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Share this on Facebook if you wish western pleasure horses were pushed forward a smidge and traveled strait on the rail.

352 Responses

  1. Kalar Walters

    OMG!! They look horrific! WTH? That’s not loping, it’s a drunken stumble!

    Reply
      • Beverly

        I personally know of an incident where a farm that bred and showed Western Pleasure horses would tie the horses head up in the air, neck stretched up to ceiling and make them stand there tied for hours to make them lower their head when released. One of their horses collapsed while no one was in attendance and they found it dead with its head tied up. So sad.

      • Anonymous

        That was many years ago, or if recent, done by stupid people.

    • Anonymous

      Horrible. They all appear to be lame. Not a natural horse action. You stupid people why are you destroying a perfectly good horse?? Idiots.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        I agree,looks like they are all limping! Looks awful!!!!!

      • Valerie - www.paardensucces.nl

        I agree that this is sow horrible. I am a dutch horse behaviour therapist and I can see very clearly at the body language of ALL those horses that they are suffering from pain by this way of “walking/riding” (of whatever some people this call). It looks to me those horses back legs / feed are tied up together! Real shocking to see this video and even more with the knowing that this is one of the biggest and best Quarter Horse shows in the world, just embarrassing! Lhet’s stop this better today than tomorrow.

      • Anonymous

        I totally agree, the poor horses all look like they’re in so much pain!!!!!! Why would anyone want to do this to their horse?? POOR BABIES, FEEL SOOOOO BAD DB FOR THEM!!!!!!!!

      • Anonymous

        I totally agree. Got up and left watching the two and three yr olds. They look as there is no life left in most of them. Why do trainers want a horse so slow legged by cocking there whole body at a slanted angle of head in hip out. I have gone to Quarter Horse judging school and the description of a desirable Pleasure horse is a horse you would like to ride fixing the fence.

      • Anonymous

        Indeed they look lame. The head bobbing really emphasizes that appearance. I don’t understand the reason people find this way of going desireable. It’s not remotely close to the natural carriage or movement of any breed of horse.

      • Anonymous

        Makes me wonder if they were doing this on purpose for some reason… Sad really. So mean for the horses, I think they wanted to do it, but were not allowed.

      • Anonymous

        I too walked into a farm that needed someone to clean stalls and every horses head was tied up in the air.

      • Anonymous

        These horses are specialists, just like every other event. They have improved greatly in the last few years. They are sound, do the gait with the correct number of beats, and the judges get to reward the best.

      • Chris

        Not everything is “opinion” especially when it comes to the training and handling of animals, and if it causes them harm or pain. You don’t get to mutilate animals just because in your “opinion” it looks good. Between zombie western “pleasure” horses and abused Tennessee walking horses, the USA is an embarrassment in the horse world.

      • Racheal

        Most if not all showing is based on taking a horses way of going in the pasture and magnifying it to the desired discipline of riding. I don’t believe I’ve seen a horse canter that slow in pasture or while being ridden checking fence lines. Put a little John Wayne forward in them for gosh sakes!

      • Anonymous

        Improved???

        I don’t think so.. Maybe from the ugly peanut pushers, but now to the cripples of the AQHA world!! There is nothing natural, forward or flowing in this thing you all want to call a lope! Not even close. Its dang near a four beat gait. And most aren’t even tracking a half pass, its more like a four lane hop!!

      • Anonymous

        That looks ridiculous. It can’t be good for the horse doing an unnatural gait. It would be like a human limping for years. Something would be damaged.

      • Anonymous

        I felt sick when I saw this video..too bad there can’t be some sort of intervention to save these beautiful horses from the trainers/riders.

        What is happening at the Congress? I’m glad I didn’t attend.

      • Anonymous

        I thought the class looked absolutely amazing!!!! My pleasure horse loves to do the slow lope. You have to live it to love it!!!!!!!!

    • Marla

      I watched about 10 seconds of video the horses continue to look “broken” My paint horse can walk faster than they lope I have never seen a horse lope like that in the field so how will that ever be the natural gait of a horse. What people do to horses to train them to do what they want in my opinion is often abusive or at least mean. The reason it takes time to achieve the show lope is because it is not natural. One reason why I won’t show at
      breed level

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        I agree. What did those horses have to go thru to achieve that animation. I have seen gimmicks and training aids that are cruel. I like a horse that can do it all, not just hop around an arenaa.

      • Anonymous

        That was my thought too… Show me a horse at will doing this on their own… They don’t. This is not natural at all when free walking and trotting is faster than a lope.

      • Anonymous

        Well said Maria!
        The voice of reason. The video made me feel sick! Is there no end to torturing horses to win prizes? It’s a disgrace IMHO!

      • CORAL

        Apparently, most all of you have never had the priviledge to raise, or at the least ever ride one that NATURALLY lopes that slow. It’s called BREEDING folks! They are BORN that way! The GOOD ones anyway. I’m really sorry for you that you have not been fortunate enough to raise babies, or be able to go to farms that have babies, and witness them loping rocked back with their hocks reaching deep & shoulders elevated. It truly is a sight to see. My Superior Western Pleasure stallion came out of his mother rocked back with hock engaged to his front leg…he LOPES in his 12×12 stall for fun! He’s a lopin’ fool! He’s not a tiny horse either. We had to put an overcheck on him when he was a youngster, because he likes to hang his head to his knees. HIS CHOICE…NOT OURS! Just where he hangs it! And I ride him draping the reins to his knees! I sometimes get in trouble because HE LIKES TO LOPE SLOWER THAN THE REST OF THE PEN…not me…HIM! People will pass us & pass us & pass us & we get covered up! I have others that do the same thing. They are built right, bred right, and LOVE their job! Yes, their were some out there that were over-canted & some that were not cadenced, and needed pushed up…I agree. But, you are going to see training errors in any event. I have yet to find THE PERFECT HORSE, or rider. I certainly don’t own him, and I believe you never stop learning until the day you die! I’m sorry that you anonymous people had the guts to express your opinion, but not the courage to give your name. It’s sad, because there were sooooo many of you. And…it also makes me wonder how many of you show at this level…or at ALL???

    • Anonymous

      The fact that people are commenting the way they are is blowing my mind. That pen that you all are watching are the best maturity horses in the world. There are more world and Congress titles in that pen then u could ever imagine. Those horses have been elite athletes for years sound and enjoying their job or else they wouldn’t be the best year in and year out. Those horses have the best care in the country and anyone who comes on here and tries to paint it as anything but frickin awesomeness is either jealous that they will never have it or just uneducated and to ignorant to become educated to really truelly get it

      Reply
      • Anonymous2

        Have you ever watched the Warm-Up Pen? You’ll see how well these horses “enjoy” their job. They don’t willingly travel this way- this is the result of Jerking & Spurring on the horse until they submit. They are certainly exceptional movers with incredible athletic ability. Let’s just see them actually use it. And if you think they stay sound and happy “year in, year out”, simply step outside of the show world and into some of the slaughter yards around the country, and you’ll see where these tired, used up Western Pleasure horses really end up. That’s ignorance.

      • DebR

        The majority of those horses end up being the most crippled horses in the show world. They are NOT all treated with the utmost care and are more artificial than any of the old gaited show horses were with their soring and paraphernalia to make the go. There is absolutely NOTHING natural about this gate. When have you EVER seen a young horse playing in the field loping “shoulder in?” Because of what they do to make them lope that slow, they are getting hock injections before they turn 5. In years past those wonderful old western pleasure geldings were the new crop for the small fry and 13 and under riders. Now they are too crippled to last that long in the pen!

      • DebR

        PS…I am neither jealous of these riders/horses nor feel the need to make one go this way. Belly bands to cover spur sores, hock hobbles, and the accompanying bits are not in our training requirements. We are a rescue and you would not believe how many horses we get that are crippled “throw-aways” from auctions.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, no. Sorry used to ride western pleasure in the late 80s early 90s the horses didn’t move like this. The judges started pinning this crap so everyone Started training for it. Tying their heads down or round to their sides standing tied with their heads up in the stall for hours I could go on and on. It’s not normal and no matter how you try to present it and paint a pretty picture of how well their taken care of it will never be right.

      • Anonymous

        I can’t tell you how many times I see WP people in the warm up pen with their elbows out to the sides sea sawing the crap out of these horses! It’s gross. I have never seen a sound horse limp around with its head below the withers. If I saw that out in a field… I’d be calling a vet.

      • Anonymous

        The people who advocate the crippling soreing of the Tennesee Walking Horse share your opinion.

        But it us just as ugly

      • Anonymous

        Public perception is EVERYTHING! Even non Horse People are scratching their heads with eye brows raised asking all kinds of questions because they don’t understand what they’re seeing? I try and educate,but even I don’t know the answers? Pleasure Classes come in many forms in many different Breeds,but when is slow too slow for the Quarter Horse to the point that People’s perceptions have to question it in the first place?

      • LL

        To Anonymous, 1st of this is coming from 1st hand person account of attending yearly from 1987 – 1993. I won the “92” Amatuer HUS with a naturally talented QH, who was show since he was 2yrs old. I have won to many all-rounds to count with him. But I was the lucky one he always had a perfect head set and carried his tail perfect. That being said You are right This is the best of the best in the Futurities at the Congress. But do not lie or defend the bad TRAINERS which there are so many in the QH world. There is Natural Talent and those forced and brutally at that. It all comes down to the all mighty dollar. I personally watch a trainer after the vet said to have someone watch him, and keep him warm and hydrated. He took his blankets of and removed the water. BC he said he would get more from the INS, than caring for him. That horse was dead in the morning. Also if you go out to the warm up pens 2-5am you will see like I witnessed some off these trainer in the Quarter Horse Journal we growing up showing QH’s looking up to were totally repulse you watch them beat a few horses to the ground bc they did not keep there head on the ground. No BS Here!! Also the tails tuck up there ass, there is no reason to nerve block or other. If they do not hold it down enough look into another horse if it bothers you or you know the judge is not going to pin this. But after years and years of this treatment the damage to there tails is permanent. So you have a mare you can turn her out as a broodmare BC she can not raise her tail to shit.. So you explain how this is not Cruelty to QH’s. That what makes that one so special BC there had a natural head & tail set.. This is what an AQHA Champion is suppose to be. Not beaten into submission, Just as every colt born is not a breeding stallion and they should all be gelded. Better to have a great looking gelding than a SO-SO stud.. SO when you find a trainer with integrity that is not afraid to say this horse is not going to be what your looking for and they just take it to another trainer who says no problem 6m to 8m they’ll be good to go!!

      • Anonymous

        Put your name on this Anonymous! We are jealous? Really? You are a dumbass! Wake the hell up! Do I want a Championship with my horse like that? Hell No……a flipping statue and some cash?? Lmao. Oh and now notoriety for having the most jacked, crippled pitiful horses at Congress!! I don’t want it! Glad I got out of it! I look at it now and you disgust me! My horse is happy, sound, safe and like wise taken care of. How do you know your horse is happy? I think you need to change horse psychics! Lmao

      • Anonymous

        They are not loping in a three best gait, their heads should be level out of their withers & not bobing.Your champions suck

      • Artfulseamer

        most of the time it is a pleasure class and I must say where is the ‘pleasure”? I am glad to see the nose is no longer like a hunting dog but this idiotic painfully slow lope is just hard to watch. Yes I agree its hard to get that and keep it but why not put that effort into cowboy dressage? and let the horse travel naturally in the PLEASURE pen?

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, let’s see the warm up pen. I went to Congress, and watching their warm up was infuriating. If anyone tried to make my horse do shit like that I would absolutely lose my shit. This is horrible for their bodies, jerking them and spurring them – Yeah I have spurred my horse but I don’t make my mare bleed (or anywhere close to bleeding), and I’ve seen THAT at the Congress warm-up. Why? Cause the horse didn’t look enough like a limping robot. disgusting.

      • PB

        Oh, I get it. I’ve been behind the closed doors. I’m all too aware of how these horses have come to lope this way. So, let’s call a spade a spade. They are only World and Congress Champions because that’s the way they are judged and therefore the way trainers continue to train. On the one hand, they get the best of care. On the other, you know as well as I do, that these horses get tied around or up and that necks get botoxed so they hang on a drape. They get jerked around in the mouth and kicked around with spurs. In 5 years, their hocks are shot. Shot! The horses in that pen may be older, but they are the exception. A very very small percentage make it that long. So, what’s there to be jealous about? I’m not jealous. I’m mortified. THAT is NOT a lope. For the sake of the horses, it should be demanded by the judges, that these horse move forward.

      • Anonymous

        Dont know who you are but , I showed at that level for many years and have 3 AQHA World titles under my belt – 12 Congress – 21 National – and 1 AQHA World title …… I have worked at the top for the top. TRUST me when I say this ; The horses are NOT happy – they are depressed , over worked , over shown , and only good as their last win. Once they are not worth anything they are gone. Dont even get me started on Halter horses. THIS IS WHY I left the arena. NOT because I am jealous , but because the true nature of the magnificent animal is just a fraction of a soul and spirit once we get done with them . It isnt why I got into training and certainly took my love of competition.

      • Kelly W

        I wouldn’t go so far as to say western pleasure is abusive or cruel… There are abusive trainers and excellent trainers in EVERY discipline!
        I do not enjoy watching the class, nor have any desire to participate in it myself. I enjoy ranch pleasure personally because I like the challenge of the pattern and the more forward motion that is encouraged.
        The part that bugs me is that this is what is rewarded in the show pen. Other events like Horsemanship and Western riding have summer beautiful lopers in them…. Wish we could see more of that in the actual pleasure pen.

      • Ric Carter

        I was a working cowboy for many years, and sure as hell never saw a horse moving that way naturally. You sidewalk slickers keep ruining horses to amuse yourself. It sure as hell isn’t how a quarter horse works, and I damn well challenge you to ever show me one working that moves like that.

      • wcat

        Jealous? You’ve got to be joking! Plant yourself at a SHOT show “stock horse of texas” and see how horses should move. I feel so bad for these horses. Seriously.

      • Beverly

        People that show and train these horses to win, and puts tons of money and time into getting what the judges want to see to place them first are blind to what a real Western horse was bred for. I’m not as concerned with the lope but the placement of the head being almost to the ground. I personally know of an incident where a farm that bred and showed Western Pleasure horses would tie the horses head up in the air, neck stretched up to ceiling and make them stand there tied for hours to make them lower their head when released. One of their horses collapsed while no one was in attendance and they found it dead with its head tied up. So sad. They also cut muscle in tail to make tail lay flat and not move. Opposite of Walking horses where they cut muscle in tail and sit it to make it stand up. So sad.

      • LBadg

        The exact thing could be said and applied to the Big Lick horses. Any way you try to spin it, it is still sick and twisted. Their is nothing admirable or honorable in this horse discipline.

      • Zig Pope

        Bwahhhhhh! They are not elite athletes, they are broken in spirit and and fake, just like the crummy owners and alleged trainers who pretend this is natural.

        They do not have the best care, or they would not be moving like this. And when you are through with them, your “best care” will be your slap on the rump when you load into the trailer for their ride to slaughter hell. And YES I showed nationally ranked horses for over 15 years until the likes of this atrocity began.

        You are not horsemen/women. You are frauds.

      • Anonymous

        I agree! These are beautiful animals bred and trained for years to become consistent. I don’t see unhappy expressions, nor crippled three beaters. And to say they aren’t moving naturally is lack of knowledge. When you raise a truly great one they lope along side their momas EXACTLY like that!

      • Anonymous

        “those horses” that are willing to go at those unnatural gaits at an “elite” level, the ones that win titles i’m sure have fantastic care; only the best. my concern is for the hundreds of Quarter Horses bred each year that don’t make the cut. the ones that get dumped at auction to end up in kill pens. i find little “frickin awesomeness” about an industry that encourages unnatural movement that 90% of the horses it produces cannot attain.

      • Magz

        I have seen the “elite” horses, tied up all night so they can’t lay down to eest, BLED to make them lethargic and lunged many times a day.. NOTHING elite about that. Maybe YOU should open your eyes

      • Anonymous

        So if the foals “lope along next to their momas EXACTLY like that” I wanna see that video. Cuz right now I’m throwing the BS flag.

      • Chris

        If you idiots want to pick on someone go watch the Tennessee Walkers and see what they do to get them to move the way they do! These pleasure horses are bred to move the way they do. Yes I’ll admit some don’t look happy, but the majority LOVE THEIR JOBS!

      • HawkFeather Equine Performance

        I Rode/schooled/Coached WP and other disciplined horses for thirty years…the three beat lope has been gone for that many years. This is a bumpy four beat manufactured gait that looks RIDICULOUS. Almost 20 years ago, judges were supposed to be audited and fined for placing these horses….OBVIOUSLY THIS NEVER HAPPENED. Next stop, World Show….by then the horses will be moving backwards! We earned our Superior. I was on a 17h. horse…a big correct mover with a Dressage foundation. We earned our points at AQHA approved open and CSHA shows with great judges. He is a lovely bridleless Dressage freestyler who loves trail rides, water crossings, and teaching young Dressage riders now.
        Anyone with an iota of horse sense knows this is wrong…WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!
        The lope is a 3 beat gait…not a hip jarring 4 beat artificial gait!

      • HawkFeather Equine Performance

        You are so full of bullshit, I feel like I’m at a Bull Sale. No, these horses suffer road founder, colic, ulcers, live in 12 X 12′ stalls with 12 X 24′ turn outs!!! The passengers just show up to ride on show day. The TRAINERS ARE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, raking in the big bus, driving these WP horses into dull, checked out drones. The tro loping is bad enough…you should see them walk. It’s so slow that they look like they’re about to go to SLEEP. The tails are real horsehair, five pounds worth, from slaughtered horses that have gone before them….notice how they check these horses while looking to see what the judge is looking at? These riders haven’t ridden several hundred horses…they look pissed off…this is supposed to be Western PLEASURE. NERVE BLOCKS, BODY SWEATS, CATHERDRAL OR CORRECTION PORTS…RIDING IN FUTURITIES AT AGE 2?? Their bones are still modeling. We start mounting Dressage horses for short periods at age 4!!! The typical WP show horse rarely sees anything but a rail or a solid wall. Forget trying to travel in a straight line without those!
        The “Best of the Best” because of the trainers trying to get out of the hose what the judges want to SEE.
        Jealous….no. I showed AQHA since I was 7. I’m 54.
        I got sick of the crappy four beat lope. In AQHA shows, there’s no such thing as a proper three beat lope. You don’t know locomtion at all….you’re probably a boarder/passenger who cannot intuit or read a horse, ck. BPR’s, digital pulses, or see that these horses need to be left alone a. They are so lacking in the spirit they were born with, they resent it. I have thousands of big blue rosettes, too many buckles and high point awards to count, all-around championships, custom trailer awards, medals, sashes, silver plates, embroidered blankets, trophy saddles. My horse is 17h. He is a big mover, collects when I jiggle the reins, rides like a Cadillac in a three beat lope. I schooled him from a long yearling to his Superior. You are right about only one thing. These are elite athletes….but forced into the back jarring 4 beat l9pe. You obviously don’t see what almost everyone else sees here…maybe your little yapping purse dog is driving you crazy!!

      • HawkFeather Equine Performance

        You are so full of bullshit, I feel like I’m at a Bull Sale. No, these horses suffer road founder, colic, ulcers, live in 12 X 12′ stalls with 12 X 24′ turn outs!!! The passengers just show up to ride on show day. The TRAINERS ARE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, raking in the big bus, driving these WP horses into dull, checked out drones. The tro loping is bad enough…you should see them walk. It’s so slow that they look like they’re about to go to SLEEP. The tails are real horsehair, five pounds worth, from slaughtered horses that have gone before them….notice how they check these horses while looking to see what the judge is looking at? These riders haven’t ridden several hundred horses…they look pissed off…this is supposed to be Western PLEASURE. NERVE BLOCKS, BODY SWEATS, CATHERDRAL OR CORRECTION PORTS…RIDING IN FUTURITIES AT AGE 2?? Their bones are still modeling. We start mounting Dressage horses for short periods at age 4!!! The typical WP show horse rarely sees anything but a rail or a solid wall. Forget trying to travel in a straight line without those!
        The “Best of the Best” because of the trainers trying to get out of the hose what the judges want to SEE.
        Jealous….no. I showed AQHA since I was 7. I’m 54.
        I got sick of the crappy four beat lope. In AQHA shows, there’s no such thing as a proper three beat lope. You don’t know locomtion at all….you’re probably a boarder/passenger who cannot intuit or read a horse, ck. BPR’s, digital pulses, or see that these horses need to be left alone a. They are so lacking in the spirit they were born with, they resent it. I have thousands of big blue rosettes, too many buckles and high point awards to count, all-around championships, custom trailer awards, medals, sashes, silver plates, embroidered blankets, trophy saddles. My horse is 17h. He is a big mover, collects when I jiggle the reins, rides like a Cadillac in a three beat lope. I schooled him from a long yearling to his Superior. You are right about only one thing. These are elite athletes….but forced into the back jarring 4 beat lope. You obviously don’t see what almost everyone else sees here…maybe your little yapping purse dog is driving you crazy!!

      • muse

        The opinions of a few outweigh the sanity of the many. These horses that are currently considered the best of the best in WP are showing the world how an elite group of judges and trainers and even owners, are horrendously ignorant in how horses move naturally. The hocks, stifles, shoulders and knees are taking a severely toll in this artificially enforced way of movement. I guarantee not ONE of them ever moved like this while foals or as youngsters growing up. I’ve seen all the fads – the skeletal creatures who had been forced to stand with their heads tied up high for hours, forcing them to drop it low when in the class. The bloodletting to make the animal exhausted and once again carry their heads on the ground. This is just a new view of the same torture that has been going on for decades. LET YOUR HORSES MOVE!!! Don’t try to convince me they have all been bred to be in this “frame” and showing nicely “draped” – it’s all a farce – like the “Emporer’s New Clothes.” The owners and exhibitors have been sold a bill of goods that will cause irreparable damage to these horses they claim to love. Those who don’t show “”this way”” does not mean they can’t look at a horse and see one in pain. It’s time for some in the AQHA to take a stand for these poor creatures. Sadly, the rhetoric will probably continue as will the laming….

      • Anonymous

        Very well said!!! Every time of training and riding is unnatural depending on how you look at it.

      • Anonymous

        Very well said!!! Every type of training and riding is unnatural depending on how you look at it.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you! Someone finally said it. I’m going with the second option that they are ignorant..

      • Anonymous

        The way they are going doesn’t convey athleticism. Perhaps the folks who feel it’s appealing have been too close to this discipline for too long and it’s tarnished the perspective of the natural movements of a horse. I have a beautiful Zippo bred QH who was bred for pleasure. Even so, in his natural way of going, he doesn’t move or appear crippled and stiffled like these horses. I would never school him to move in such an inhibited manner. Very sad.

      • Glover

        And yet no one attacks the “natural” piaffe and passage or pirouettethe of the dressage horse……lolololol

      • Luvinlopin

        I’ve seen several comments here that are of bas I would like to see some of these horses maybe a tad more forward but if you watch closely the feed is horrible. Every 3rd stride of every horse looks hoppy because the feed appears to be off. If you have ever watched a horse running to the barn or just playing in the pasture, they usually cant their hip off to one side or another depending what lead they are on. Don’t doubt there are some trainers out there that still use some radical methods on horses but a lot of these trainers have been weeded out. I see a big improvement. Monday morning quarter backing seems alive and well on this forum. I guess I now remember why I have not been here for months.

      • Crystal

        Apparently you are one of those getting paid to make these horses look like they are crippled when they lope. There is nothing natural about this lope, yes I have spent 30 years of my life riding, training and showing. I have thankfully ridden multiple disciplines and breeds, none of them unless lame moved this way. But I guess you are going to say Big Lick for TWH is natural and needs to be left alone also. You need a reality check and no one to ever let you touch thier horse again. I have never in that entire time including watching videos of wild horses. NOT ONE SINGLE HORSE NATURALLY MOVES LIKE THIS. Jealous you are way off, those of us that have an issues are not getting pain to make our horses look like they are in pain. Because there isn’t enough money or trophies to want to do that break what is natural into a nasty broken down rusty toy looking crippled “lope”. How can you want these horses to keep moving in such an unnatural way that will cause problems later in life? These classes are supposed to show natural again I will repeat NATURALLY moving gaits. Not ones that have been yanked, cranked & sadly taught to go against what is (again) natural movement.

      • S. L. Trout

        Coward! You are an ignorant coward! You should NEVER, EVER own any animal. Best thing for you and your ilk would be to build hobby horses. You are not fit to be around anything that lives and breaths.

      • Deanna

        Wow that is so sad. You can’t even judge movement. Shame on AQHA. I showed in the 70s Thursday the 90s. So much better back in the day. The 90s were the turning point to this tragedy.

    • Anonymous

      No kidding. It was horrific in the early 90s when I was sickened by the classes, now they are nightmarish! This has GOT TO STOP! I am no ARA but I care a great deal about welfare. This is straight up abuse! Period. These horses are emotionless shells. I know what is done to MAKE them this way. I had enough college classmates who found out the hard way how this look is created. Many could never look at a QH show again, some left horses altogether due to the extreme abuses: bleeding, nose-hang haltering for hours, then lunge for more hours under 3-4 blankets for extreme exhaustion. These were eye witness accounts. I did not hear “rumors”, I talked to direct witnesses of these acts. This must end. Or Animal Rights will come in and it will be ended altogether. Your choice, QH folks. Grrr!!!

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        Amen and as a former trainer I can agree to everything you just said.

      • HawkFeather Equine Performance

        Totally agree. It doesn’t matter how many horses you’ve ridden “Miss Know Everything” up there. I’ve been a Trainer and Coach for over 44 years…and you don’t know “Jack”…..Whoever trained YOU to think this is the best of the best (judges opinions) is equally unqualified as you are…too afraid to give your name out “Anonymous”???

    • Anonymous

      Agreed. Nothing natural about this at all. I use to love watching the western shows, I dont even bother now.

      Reply
      • HawkFeather Equine Performance

        Hey Annonymous “Horse Show Judge”…who are you??? Embarrassed?… SO AM I…FOR YOU. YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND NATURAL LOCOMOTION!!
        YOU’VE PROBABLY NEVER SEEN A NATURAL THREE BEAT LOPE IN YOUR LIFE. YOU ARE ONE OF THE JUDGES WHO (if you ARE a judge) should have been fined and had your card taken away,,,,what an idiot!
        If all you do is praise AQHA, then I doubt you are the
        KING you claim to be….I feel sorry for any horse that has to carry your stinky ass ANYWHERE!!!

    • Anonymous

      That is NOT NATURAL…NO WONDER THEY ARE SO SORE!!! And I’ll POST MY NAME,!!!! LEE GOTT. HORSES DO NOT MOVE THIS WAY EVER!!!

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        What is natural in your definition then? Because I do not think that galloping towards a 4 foot jump and leaping over it, is natural. Nor do I think that galloping across a field jumping over a solid cross country jump, galloping for minutes upon minutes is natural either. Horses do not know how to jump when they come out of the womb, therefore not making it “natural.” Nor do I think pirouetting around one single foot with the horses nose to their chest is natural either. So, jumpers, cross country, dressage, and hunters is not natural. I’m sorry to let you know of this, but we bred one of our mates to a pleasure stud, and the 2 year old baby, with no training, just lunging and walking, has a natural level headset and is very slow legged. So please tell me what your definition of “natural” is then maybe I can understand your point. Congress is a very prestigious horse show, the largest single breed horse show in the world actually, and it is a dream to show at. Haters like all of you people, are what makes me keep going. Because granted we do slow their lope down a bit. Stupid little hunter and 4-H people.

      • HawkFeather Equine Performance

        Natural loping is a three beat gait, as opposed to this four beat BS we always see!

      • HawkFeather Equine Performance

        Yeah…just walk…love it. Only problem is they ask you to walk twice, for maybe ten seconds!

      • Anonymous

        that’s where they send the ones that can’t move like that.

    • Blanche Wemple

      To the lady who suggested the Arm chair , Great Idea , I’d rather sit in my Arm chair and watch CSI , than this disgusting change , I’m sure some of the Participants are not happy with this weird change, Horses look CRIPPLED, Cowboy Riding , yes , at least we are not messing with the natural flow of the Horse’s movement , If a Cowboy felt that movement under him or her , they would be checking their mount to make sure they were not injured , To Each His Own !!!!

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      As a former Quater Horse owner l can’t even recognize the breed. They look like drugged vampires.

      Reply
    • Bec

      Humans can be such fuc#wits. AQHA you should be ashamed. Taking a beautiful creature, voiding it of all personality and spark, creating an unnatural zombie-like shadow of a horse and rewarding their beastly owners. I’m appalled.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      So sad to see the live just taken out of those horses, I guess the riders would not be able to ride a horse that got out and moved. Surely if they have ever ridden a great moving horse they would not be happy getting on one of those dumbed up deadheads. And to think they probably paid a trainer lots of money to do that to a horse. Maybe now t hey have a way to make them so lame that they cannot travel any other way .

      Reply
    • AnnM

      I completely agree with Kalar. This is so unattractive and the horses look absolutely miserable. I guess this is called a 4-beat trot? Not sure, but it should not be allowed. Horses should be allowed to move out and should not be contained in such an uncomfortable position/gate. I don’t care what anyone says – these horses do not look happy!

      Reply
    • HawkFeather Equine Performance

      I Rode/schooled/Coached WP and other disciplined horses for thirty years…the three beat lope has been gone for that many years. This is a bumpy four beat manufactured gait that looks RIDICULOUS. Almost 20 years ago, judges were supposed to be audited and fined for placing these horses….OBVIOUSLY THIS NEVER HAPPENED. Next stop, World Show….by then the horses will be moving backwards! We earned our Superior. I was on a 17h. horse…a big correct mover with a Dressage foundation. We earned our points at AQHA approved open and CSHA shows with great judges. He is a lovely bridleless Dressage freestyler who loves trail rides, water crossings, and teaching young Dressage riders now.
      Anyone with an iota of horse sense knows this is wrong…WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!

      Reply
      • S. L. Trout

        Couldn’t agree with you more, Hawk! Most of these riders have been schooled on hobby horses. They wouldn’t be able to ride a real, spirited horse if their pathetic lives depended on it! Truly shameful!

    • Anonymous

      Absolutely ridiculous, this is not natural, I have yet to ever see a horse in the pasture travel like this or would I want too, these and the form of making them break at the poll in a complete un natural way is ludicrous. Disgusting

      Reply
      • Glover

        Dressage horses arent asked to break at the poll? Reiners? Cow horses? Ropers? Hell even barrel horses! The piaffe and passage of the dressage horse is soooo “natural” too. If your horse doesnt break at the poll hes not broke and will make for a tugging miserable ride. Have fun.

    • Anonymous

      That is just the reason I quit showing in western pleasure classes years ago . my horse was a real slow loaper but this is the most ugliest thing I have ever seen in my life

      Reply
    • Barbara Ward

      This does NOT look like pleasure in any way… more like drugged to insensibility or lame on both front feet. Those horses couldn’t do any kind of actual work, nothing but stumble around a ring. Pathetic. I don’t like stock breeds in the first place ,I would never ride or own a stock horse, and this just underscores my disdain. Arabians, up-headed, forward-moving, ground-covering Arabians for me!!__Barbara

      Reply
    • Patricia

      It’s a disgrace to the breed. Quarter horses were bred to be working partners on the ranch that also could be ridden for pleasure. These horses would trip over rough ground and not be the safe ride they should be. If you want a smooth ride, buy a gaited horse that is born to be smooth.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      Then they want to say the the Tenn. walking horses are treated cruel & inhumane i have worked both this is beyond real,,,,,,,,,,,,Ron

      Reply
    • Leslye

      The horses movement resembles the movement of a cow lumbering through the field. If that is the goal – then it has been achieved. But there is no beauty in it.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      That is an overall ugly video! Those poor horses, have you ever seen a hose in the pasture moving like that! I know I have not! Speed those horses up!

      Reply
  2. Carmen Slee

    Oh Dear!! That is so sad. I knew they mooched along with their heads on the ground but that’s even worse than I realized. The horses look depressed and handicapped!!

    Reply
  3. Jackie D

    I can’t pleasure trail riding at that kind of pace. Its not natural for one thing. I see no balance on the horse’s side. The rider can just be lazy and sit there. Awful class. When is this big org. going to change for the horses???

    Reply
    • Amber

      It takes a lot more to ride a pleasure horse than just sitting there. These horses weren’t bred to run around in a field and through trails.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        And therein lies the problem. They aren’t natural like they should be. Mans arrogance in full bloom making animal do something unnatural.

      • Anonymous

        So, they weren’t bred to just be horses…. Nope, once again MAN is the ROOT of the problem, thinking they know better than the creator…I truly feel sorry for the horses, they simply can NOT be comfortable limping along like that.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you Amber! Those horses are doing what they were bred to do go slow with their heads down!

      • Anonymous

        Amber so are you saying if these horses were turned out in a pasture they would move like this?
        They are not bred to move like this the are trained to move like this. Just sayin 🙂

      • Anonymous

        they don’t need to go fast or fancy, but have 3 pure gaits. That is the issue they don’t have pure gaits.. Anyone remember what pure gaits are? this is not good training, period.

      • Anonymous

        so true these horses were bred to be slow legged flat movers!!!!! They shouldn’t have animated action!!!!

      • Anonymous

        Again NO. Yes a pleasure baby will lope around the field with a nice flat knee and deep hock action. They are not 4 beating around with their heads flopping 4 inches above the ground. I have a retired zips chocolate chip stallion that won 64000.00 in the nsba and I can tell you when he lopes around his paddock he doesn’t look like these guys.

      • Anonymous

        I have 2 aged crippled QH on my property. They are incapable of normal gait without pain. Years of damage from unnatural use. And yes, they have both got ROMs for their efforts. In my opinion….not worth it.

    • Annonymus

      I am for one mind blown at how uneducated you are trying to make a statement like this. You have obviously never riden pleasure at a competitive level. The rider appears as if they are doing nothing, but the amount of tasks they are doing in such a little move (that is unnoticeable by the untrained eye) is amazing. These are all very talented riders and horses! They are all taking a normal length stride, they’re bred so athletically that this is not difficult for the horse to perform. Sorry we don’t all run around like bats outta hell.

      Reply
      • K

        Those of us against this abuse are uneducated? You’re living in a warped world. Just WOW. I read the comments first, and thought “really, how bad can it be?”. Then I watched the video….. As someone who loves the beauty, grace and athleticism of a horse in motion, this made me sick to my stomach. For those of you defending this forced torture, shame on you. Can you seriously not see how wrong this is?

      • Anonymous

        Thank you! Stupid people can’t be educated. They need to watch these Pleasure horses as babies and watch how SLOWLY they move naturally!! These are the same animal collectors that think we abuse our horses to get them this relaxed and slow. Stupid. The same ignorance that will go watch a jump off and watch the trainer crop the crap out of the horse to clear a wall or a dressage show and be in “Awe” of those movements! Someone said MAN is the root of the problem! Then every discipline we ride them in should be negative since everything WE do ON A horse is for OUR human benefit. A relaxed pleasure horse takes time, patience and the very BEST care to get them HERE. They could be pushed up a pinch more but I refuse to bash it as long as I and my colleagues are doing the right things. Do your research folks!

      • Jeffery

        That is crap. No horse, particularly a new foal moves like that. Even so Welcome to the world of abuse by the HSUS, you have ridiculed the TWH industry for years now it is the beginning of your turn.

      • Anonymous

        I can’t get over you people some class to pick to try to tear apart the non pro maturity some of the greatest show horses in the country are in that pen and have been showing for years, not crippled up. This post is full of uneducated people who truly have no clue what it takes to make a true show horse. Those horses are beautiful and extremely talented

      • Anonymous

        they all look crippled and so uncomfortable. How long before they are lame this is not a natural gate. Not jealous feeling bad for the horse

      • DebR

        If you feel so passionately about this why not post your name? How long have you been showing? How much experience/years have you spent in this discipline to judge the difference in training this style as opposed to those in say the 80s or 90s?

      • Carly R

        I think we need to open our minds a bit. Abuse will happen in any discipline. I am sure these horses are extremely well trained and the rider work very hard, HOWEVER, this has been acceptable in WP for too long. Accepted by riders, trainers, and most crucially the judges. The description of what is sought after is not what these horses are achieving yet judges still place them; guess what folks, trainers and riders will do whatever it takes to win first(majority of them anyways).

        It is up to judges to start JUDGING what is acceptable and what is not. Scared of backlash many do not. Welcome to the horse world. We can sit here and nit pick about everything but as long as this gait is accepted, judged, and placed higher than a more forward horse then this is what will be produced. First hand I see more sports injuries/ lameness due to pleasure riding then even barrel racing in my field of work.

        If you want this to change then do something. Educate without being condescending or extreme. If you are a WP rider then break out of the herd and stand up for better ethics, is your horses well being more important than that ribbon? As a trainer teach your horses and students that this is not right, and as a judge, for the love of horses stop placing this!

        I think all riders in this caliber(or I would hope) KNOW BETTER. They are WELL EDUCATED on horses, rules, regulations, riding skills, and training methods. I feel like lots tend to ignore this out of denial, fear of losing, ego, “because everyone else does it so it must be okay” mentality and because this is what gets you to congress/championship shows.

        We as horses lovers(and I am sure those people in the video love their horses) need to stop being crazy and egotistical and start protecting these generous, beautiful and kind creatures better. YES they have a job, YES you invest a lot in them, but DON’T get caught up in yourself!

        just my 2cents. I am not a pleasure rider, I don’t hate pleasure riders, I have respect to horses of this caliber and the people who got them here but things need to change(not only in this discipline but others too)

      • Anonymous

        Dont know who you are but , I showed at that level for many years and have 3 AQHA World titles under my belt – 12 Congress – 21 National – and 1 AQHA World title …… I have worked at the top for the top. TRUST me when I say this ; The horses are NOT happy – they are depressed , over worked , over shown , and only good as their last win. Once they are not worth anything they are gone. Dont even get me started on Halter horses. THIS IS WHY I left the arena. NOT because I am jealous , but because the true nature of the magnificent animal is just a fraction of a soul and spirit once we get done with them . It isnt why I got into training and certainly took my love of competition.

      • Anonymous

        I would take a reiner or dressage horse training before this.
        I rode WP for years …hunter under saddle. ..no difference.
        No this is not natural and anyone can train a horse to do something unnatural

      • S. L. Trout

        Honestly, but for violent behavior, your thinking is borderline sociopathic.

    • Anonymous

      You’ve obviously never ridden a horse like that because the riders are doing more than sitting there. It’s called using your leg muscles……which in any style of riding, they should be used in some manner. I’m blessed enough to ride all types of disciplines, and it takes more skill to ride the show horses than, for example, the roping horses.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        I like the maturity comment and how these horseshootings have been showing for years! Maturity or senior horses become that at the age of 5!

      • wcat

        It takes more skill to ride this instead of a roping horse???

        Bwahahahahaha!!!

      • Anonymous

        OMG….this makes me cry laughing… obviously you must be a very low level roper. Ever actually catch a steer?

  4. Wendy

    Poor things all look like they are lame loping like that. Let them lope at a natural gate like a quarter horse is supposed to do.

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    Quarter horse’s have such a beautiful natural lope. This looks awful and worst of all it’s not good for the horse’s health.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      no way its horrible they will never be normal and able to just be riding horse…you have doomed them to auctions

      Reply
  6. Maureen retting

    These big shows have lost so much attendance. Not just the competitor’s, but no one wants to watch it anymore. It’s like watching a TV, that’s no on. BORING. HORSES ALL LOOKING LAME AND PISSED OFF. BUT, THEY ALL MAKE THEIR TAILS DEAD FOR THAT. It’s all patheic. This people don’t even understand what all the fuss is about. The horses looked hammered on. Intimidated, stressed, dead, sad, it just goes on and on.

    Reply
  7. gayle

    That is definitely not a natural gait. It’s a cross between a sort of walk and sort of trot, with a real poor attempt at canter. It is not a gait that you could even use for trail riding or working stock.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      It’s not supposed to be the same gate as a horse ridden outside on a trail or the same as a horse used in roping or other purposes. We showed a great all-around horse who could compete in all classes seen at a show. He was a talented horse with by good trainers and riders. We haven’t shown for a few years and I do see some difference in these horses in pleasure, but most who are complaining have no idea what they are talking about. You don’t compare apples and oranges. If you only use a horse to ride outside, have you watched everything these horses can do. It is amazing. A bit more forward motion might look better, but you have to do what the judge wants to place.

      Reply
      • Pat

        I cannot believe so many people condone this type of abuse, who in the world decided that certain horses were destined to be Western Pleasure (?) horses, is it because they have no abilities for any other disciplines ?
        Don’t fool yourselves into thinking these horse’s look good, they are CRAP, I can see why so many people are claiming WP ROM”s and titles, the horse’s and/or the rider’s are not good enough for anything else but, they cannot competein other class’s , as for the judges, any judge that judge’s and uses these horse should be under disciplinary actions.
        Natural, my ass, there is nothing natural about the gates of WP horses anymore, can you imagine what these horses would be like under natural circumstances, useless !
        I love my horses and have bred, raised, trained and shown APHA~AQHA horses for years.
        I had moved to Wash. state years ago and had finished my stallion’s championship, I moved back to NV. I decided to show him in WP, the class was great, but I noticed all the horses were “Pushing Peanuts”, my horse was level and very correct, when the judging was done I was horrified, we didn’t even place.
        I left the arena and asked the steward if I could speak to the judge, the judge came over and I asked him why had he not used my stallion, what he said blew my mind, “We are not using horses like that anymore, you will never get any points on him”, I looked him square in the eye and told him, “Strange, I just finished his Championship, he has an ROM in WP and I am just running to finish his Superior”, with that this judge asked me if I would be showing in the Paint Orama in Reno, I said yes, he then told me “good, I will see he gets his final points there, I really like the horse”, guess what, I did not show him, that was my last show, I don’t make deals with judges, trainer’s or the devil.
        So for some that don’t understand a lot of this maybe now you will open your eyes and minds to what has been happening in the show ring.

    • Sharon Foster

      A nice class??? These horses will surely only last a couple of years. It is impossible for those legs to take that kind of pressure for too long. My God, the horses look like prisoners on a chain gang. Please set them free. Maybe the trainers and judges should try to imitate the horses and be made to go round and round the arena, see how they last.

      Reply
      • Rick Gates

        Someone mentioned the difficulty of “putting this gait on a horse and then maintaining it”. A lope is a natural three beat gait and shouldn’t have to be “put on” the horse. Why counterfeit a canter when the natural canter is great to ride and watch? Doesn’t make sense to me, just my opinion of course.

      • Anonymous

        This is a maturity class. These horses have ALREADY lasted 5+ years. A Certain Vino (who won the class by the way) for example is 12 and has been winning Congress and World Championships since he was just a year old so your argument about them not lasting is invalid. Try another though.

  8. Anonymous

    This looks down right cruel. That is not a gait. They all look lame and tortured. Why hasn’t anyone put a stop to this!!!

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    So many of you, actually probably 99% of the comments are from backyard horse owning idiots who have no idea what they are talking about. No idea about body mechanics or breeding. We don’t live in the 1800’s horses are not pulling us to the market or plowing our fields they are now bred for specific disciplines and shown as such.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      those poor horses couldn’t plow a field. you call everyone else idiots, I wouldn’t do that to a horse, any animal for that matter.

      Reply
    • Erin

      This is hurting the horse and their natural way of moving. They move slower than people. Its just not fair to the horse, its not a natural, but a stylized form of riding that isn’t hurting you, but think of the implications it has on your horses frame and bones.

      Reply
      • C.Eq.T

        As an equine chiropractor I can tell you that western pleasure is one of the least damaging disciplines going when compared to things like stadium jumping or cross country. Even dressage requires more taxing and damaging to the body maneuvers than a WP lope. People don’t understand the look so they call it bad when in fact in my professional practice what i have noticed is that these same people have no sweet clue what they are looking at no matter what the horse is doing.

    • Nat

      Sorry, that is a complete fallacy that the ones replying do not have any idea of body mechanics or breeding! Do you realize how arragont your response even sounds? It is blantenly obvious that the gait so called a lope/canter in that video is man made and unnatural to the horse. We understand that it takes a lot of training and work to master and maintain that gait, why? Because it is totally unnatural for the horse! We also understand breeding mechanics and how the pleasure horse industry has modified equine conformation to enhance this movement. Again unnatural structure causes multiple issues to the well being of the horse. I’m not pointing fingers or picking on just the pleasure horse industry because all disciplines have been guilty of modifying equine conformation. The reason the majority of us replying to the video is it is unnatural movement, which it is so obvious to us. We understand the sense of achievement it is to have worked so hard to have a competitive pleasure horse. However, what we are saying is to ditch the style as portrayed in the video with a more forward motion natural for the horse. Trust me there is plenty of natural movers out there, without the man made gaits.

      Reply
      • Rick Gates

        A very clear explanation Nat. Thanks. I’ve been training, judging, breeding, and using most breeds for 30 plus years. I am not one of the ‘haters’, just a fan of a natural moving horse. Not my first rodeo.

    • Anonymous

      bull Im not a backyard rider Ive been showing 12 years and i would never ask one horse to move like this. when my QH starts showing she will have a natural lope not this lame looking one. you can still have a slow moving horse without this look. i dont see a horse moving like this being able to go into a working pen. even the hunter/english horses dont move like this wonder how the class would look when the western horses dont look like they lame. nothing bad about when a reiner does his slow lope circle so why does the pleasure horses cant have this forward motion.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      My trainer has 24 year old WP horse that still shows. These horses are bred for this!

      Reply
      • Carmen Slee

        Yeah but what’s the point of it? To me it doesn’t show off the beauty of a qh at all. The horses all look so unhappy.

    • Anonymous

      I am far from a backyard horseman. I also do not ride western. With that said, I do know what a natural gate looks like, and this is not it.

      Reply
    • K

      But that’s our point. WHY in the WORLD would you want to do this to a horse? There is absolutely no reason for it other than someone’s sick idea of how to win a ribbon given by judges who have lost touch with reality (and compassion).

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      Then why are you calling other people idiots when you obviously never have ridden a horse that was actually moving in gaits that can be distinguished?

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      That’s always the excuse that is used when people get defensive. 😉 back yard idiots. Hhhmm not all are, keep defending it you only make yourself look foolish

      Reply
  10. Anonymous

    They look awful. They look like they’re all lame or hobbled. That’s horrible, heads hanging down to the ground. Belongs on one of the animal cruelty blogs.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Because many have hung with their heads up in the air, front feet juuust barely off the ground, in a covered, darkened stall for many hours. Then pints and oints of blood taken. At least that was the norm in 1992!

      Reply
  11. Aqha4me

    I love my pleasure horse and done well, I don’t understand why at local shows we don’t see the horses this slow but at the big shows they are much slower. I asked a judge once why do you place them if you don’t like it? Reply was if that if this is the only way they go in the pen you have to judge what you have. I know these horses were bred to do what they do and I have seen them lope like this in a pasture. My horse is not lame or mis treated he really likes his job. I also do 9 other events with him. Pleasure is the foundation to other events.

    Reply
    • Melissa

      “Pleasure is the foundation of other events”
      That is how we got here, Western Pleasure became a specialized event with big money futurities for 2 and 3 year olds.

      Reply
  12. Aqha4me

    Ps my horse was bred for the head set he could not pick it up if he tried. Just like a Warmblood is bred for his head carriage or gaits. I just hated the extreme bashing without the knowledge behind the comments.

    Reply
    • S. L. Trout

      Why would you breed a horse for this ghastly form? It is perpetuating a physiological fault! Quarter horses are fabulous athletes. What misguided people have done is created a mutant creature. That’s why not everyone should be allowed to breed ANY animal. They warped ideas about conformation, movement disposition, etc. should never be permitted to be carried out. I’ve never in my life observed a foal with the kind of head carriage that you people deem acceptable. It is MANMADE and horrific!

      Reply
  13. Anonymous

    The sad part about this video is the amount of negativity that has arisen from it. Quite frankly, that class consists of some of the nicest pleasure horses in the industry. To discredit something you know absolutely nothing about is disgusting. I have owned multiple AQHA world champions and won the Congress in the pleasure, and many of these horses naturally carry their heads with their poll at or just below the withers and move in a correct, collected slow lope.
    To call them “lame and tortured” is also disturbing on a multitude of levels. This class demonstrates years of hard work culminating in an opportunity to show at one of the most prestigious shows in the nation. AQHA has been under immense pressure to fix its public image because of allegations of horse abuse; to make unfounded comments regarding horses in a particular classes is not only idiotic, but also borders on libel.

    Reply
      • Anonymous

        Honestly? I know very little about Tennessee Walking Horses and would never support outright abuse of horses.

    • K

      No, the sad part is that people like you have no understanding of biomechanics and have apparently lost all sense of how a horse is built to move. Forcing a horse to move like this is wrong on so many levels. And THAT is why there’s an outcry – that “lame and tortured” (no better way to describe it) is disgusting enough that even people who aren’t ‘horse people’ can innately tell that it’s wrong.

      Reply
    • Chris

      I like how all you people who defend this weird, stilted, robotic gait and the abusive training that goes into its production automatically assume everybody commenting negatively is “ignorant.” Plenty of people here are experienced equestrians. And even those who aren’t know animal abuse when they see it. The Tennessee Walking Horse people have tried that “you’re just ignorant” ploy for years: “Oh, it doesn’t hurt the horse to have caustic substances applied to their legs and have all their bones, muscles, and ligaments thrown out of whack by thick heavy shoes so they walk like running ostriches! Silly people!”

      Reply
      • S. L. Trout

        Bless you, Chris! I hope I live to see the “big lick” Tennessee Walker classes be rubbed out from the landscape for good. And all those demon trainers and owners sent packing and prohibited from ever owning or caring for ANY animal again. They should all be sitting behind bars on multiple animal cruelty charges.

  14. Sue

    The one thing no one has mentioned about this Western Pleasure class is that EVERY ONE of these horses is bobbing their head a great deal! Some from obvious front end lameness, but most because they have to use their heads to counterbalance this unnatural gait. I judged and trained for many years but gave up in disgust when the trend got more and more extreme. Because of the unbalanced way of going, these horses generally do not last. They break down if they are “bred for it” or just trained to move in this manner because the move so heavy in front. The only way to change this is for the judges to place classes in live with the rules.

    Reply
  15. mary

    Many will blame it on the “man” but it is the judge who places these horses, who give the image that many may not want. I do have a horse who lopes natural, even at that he’s slow and he will “bob” his head when he’s under himself and dead on. I call it his groove, lol. The riders and trainers work for this image that the judge wants, spending hours in training. You can’t pull a horse from pasture and expect it to win a pleasure class like this. I would love to see them moving with the rail, instead of at it. But if you look at how these horses are really reaching under and moving it is an art. They have movement in their hips and are driving in a slow movement, dressage uses the same techniques except with a little more speed and higher head carriage.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Dressage doesn’t use speed…speed doesn’t have rhythm tempo cadence or schwung.. you say the horses are stepping under but they are not,there is zero overstep or even normal travelling. I know that the necks tie into the shoulder lower allowing for a naturally occurring headset,but these horses are not engaged or truly collected because true collection and engagement lifts the front end up… even if the horse is built with a level or downhill topline..

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        They can not collect, and this is not collection. If you notice, on some of the horses, the rear is tracked to the inside to give the “Illusion” of the rear reaching under.

  16. Jill

    I’ve been trying to watch the classes; I’ve seen some classes that look better and others where it’s same ole’ same ole’. This is a decade old problem now and it’s going to take time to reverse the mindsets. It needs to start inside the pen with ALL judges consistently not using these horses or DQing when necessary. If they get the gate enough maybe it’ll start in that they mean business. I think the grass-roots campaign for change can continue to push this subject as well and I thank Tom Chown for being a strong voice regarding this issue.

    Reply
  17. Amanda Gray

    If 91% of people agree there is something wrong with the way these horses are moving there might be something wrong with the way they are moving. Sure, they are well trained, they’d have to be to go from a natural lope to this crawl. I’m not blaming the horses and I’m sure everyone else isn’t blaming the horses. There is something wrong with the trainers and owners and judges who think this is okay. What they are doing is turning away 91% of the population and ruining, slowly but surely, the future of the QH industry.

    Reply
    • Rick Gates

      The American Quarter Horse is the best working horse breed in the world. JMO, but I think the numbers show that the equine public want to see this in their exhibitions and competitions. I’ve judge shows with QH classes and gaited classes. When I was called to judge, I always let show mgmt. know that I would be placing free flowing, natural stock horses over imitation ones. You will not see the gaits in the video in a Ranch working environment. This same problem is in every breed. I just want all breeds to concentrate on exhibiting the inherent natural gaits of their breed.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      I totally agree Amanda,
      I did not know what I would watch when I clicked on this, it brought tears to my eyes. The horses look miserable. They look unnatural and I do not see how this is called a natural foreward motion. My horses have free rein in the pasture, and NOT ONCE have they done this, and if they DID, I would call the vet IMMEDIATELY.The one lady said they were born for this…BULL MANURE!!! When they were babies, did they assume this natural walk?????/ Hmmmmm that I would love to see, and of course I will never see it because folks it does NOT exist…

      Reply
    • S. L. Trout

      Don’t forget spectators! If you can actually watch something like this and not wonder if something is very wrong, well, then, you are not ignorant, you are indifferent and that is dangerous thinking.

      Reply
  18. Anonymous

    Hmm .. Rolkur? Sorry but there’s always something in every discipline. Yes some people take it to extremes, however these horses are bred for this. I’m not saying they lope this slow in a field, but, they definitely don’t go anywheres fast. Try to force a horse to do that like everyone’s saying we do. See if the horse your riding is as relaxed as these horses in the video.. I have a western pleasure horse I show on the qh circuit and honestly we spend more time trying to pick his head up and pushing him forward.. it’s not forced for them to be slow and low. Case in point http://youtu.be/WoXvbtF3FvY

    Don’t judge others because they sin differently than you.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      This looks like an excellent class filled with top tier pleasure horses. It is a shame that negativity has to rise from
      this video–if you don’t like it, don’t watch it, but either way, keep your mouth closed! whether you like it or not, hours, weeks, months and years of people’s time and hard work went into these horses and your commentary that attempts to discredit this hard work is uncalled for and un-needed. If you prefer horses to move another way, move your horse another way. It isn’t your place to judge someone else for their preferences. You could be using that time to better your own riding and horse. Remember that bringing others down doesn’t raise you up, ever, and that jealousy looks good on no one. I personally love AQHA, AQHA shows such as Congress, western pleasure and the horses that do it! As I said before, this looks to me like an excellent class.

      Reply
      • K

        This isn’t jealousy on our part, this is disgust at seeing such noble creatures forced to move in a way that is so ridiculously unnatural. The negativity isn’t a shame as you say, it’s a reality, and it’s from horse LOVERS who can’t bear to watch these poor horses treated this way.

      • Anonymous

        I am not saying that you have to like western pleasure or ride this way yourself, but who are you to make comments on what someone else chooses to do? These horses are extremely well taken care of in top of the line facilities and are loved just as much as someone’s backyard pony is. Focus less or commenting on the riding styles of others and more on making yourself better. Then, you might actually be half the horseman you think you are.

  19. Anonymous

    How about intellectual and informed reasons why these gates are fundamentally disgusting? #1 the low neck posture forces the stance of the forlegs to be too far back. That kinematic overloads the joints of the distal limb and can turn off the remodeling process of the navicular bone and that results in navicular disease. #2 When the stance of the fore limbs is too far back it forces the hind limbs to adapt by either pushing off too far back, adducting or abducting to avoid striking the front foot. This creates loading in the hock joints when they are not in the close pack position which induces excessive stresses and we end up with hock issues. That is just 2 of the issues and there are more. Some yahoo said that the horse is sound at 12 and it’s been working since it was a yearling. A horse damn well better be sound at 12. Brag when the horse is sound 42! These gaits damage horses and if WP competitors want to deny that their horse who walks out of the stall all stiff and miserable is sound, then great. The guilt of having destroyed your horse’s body is a lot to bear. Just keep ignoring it and make sure you look real pretty at the next show. The answer is NOT driving the horses more forward. That is what the competition dressage world does and they are just as bad!!! The answer is educating people about what kinematics cause what lesions. Educate JUDGES to recognize what movement destroys horses. Stop rewarding movement that causes lameness. Educate vets in equine biomechanics. Currently they do not! It’s a mess all around. Slow is fine if the kinematics are correct!! WP definitely does not even come close to correct kinematics.

    Reply
  20. Paul Stewart

    I am the person who shot the video. It wasn’t shot to disrespect Western Pleasure. I was just a gentleman in the stands recording the video. I do believe the lope is artificial and should be more forward.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Would you like it if someone filmed your halter classes, “in the stands like a gentleman”, and proceeded to post it online and have comments such as these come from it? If you don’t like western pleasure and don’t like the jog/lope exhibited today, don’t show in western pleasure classes. simple as that. there is no need to knock these riders and horses or the judges. have fun with halter, and let them have fun with pleasure! that’s what it is all about and the negativity takes away from that.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        He didn’t start the comments. He just posted the video as a statement of where the industry is today. This is NOT what western pleasure was intended to be. IF it’s not called out, it will never change.

      • Anonymous

        What western pleasure was or was not intended to be happens to be your OPINION. You are entitled to your opinions, however you should also respect that others may not share it. People work extremely hard to achieve success at shows like the AQHA Congress and to have comments, like yours, attempt to bring down their accomplishments is what is truly sad and disgusting about this situation. Focus more on bettering yourself and your own horses, and less on posting commentary meant to be negative towards others. I am certain that you can find something better to do with your time than this.

      • BH

        “I am certain that you can find something better to do with your time than this.” I personally know this gentleman-and he is a kind gentleman. You obviously do not. Particularly with this comment. “Focus more on bettering yourself and your own horses, and less on posting commentary meant to be negative towards others.” Again, how about NOT making incorrect statements of whom you speak. I know this man-you obviously do not.

      • Anonymous

        I do not need to know the man who posted this video to know that what has come from his post is wrong. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but when it comes down to it, we all share a love of horses and riding. Just because we ride and train in different ways and disciplines does not mean that one way is better than another. Halter is no better than jumpers which are no better than dressage which is no better than pleasure. Everyone should stick to enjoying the sport they love and stop insulting and dragging down one another via commentary on the video that was posted.

      • Anonymous

        Not once have I ever bashed western pleasure. I simply posted a video on facebook from congress. Get your facts straight woman.

  21. Carla

    If you do not like what you see and it is boring to you, watch huntseat or ranch pleasure instead. These trainers work hard every day to make these horses the best athletes the that they can be. It takes a lot of strength for them to hold their gaits together. No matter how they are shown haters are going to hate.

    Reply
  22. Anonymous

    Absolutely pitiful……..I can find something to admire about almost all different horse sports. I’ve shown hunter/jumpers at A shows, studied dressage, team roped and run barrels. These kind of classes make me ill. Go hang out in the warm up pen, it’s awful. I can’t find anything to respect about this crap.

    For this to be the ‘standard’ and the best is awful. This is a lot of what is wrong with AQHA. Go the top QH shows and try to find an english horse that can actually hold it’s own at an open show. It’s not that the horses aren’t athletic enough, it’s the idiotic way they’re forced to travel.

    Reply
  23. Wow to both sides...

    First off, I come from the dressage world and I am very new to western pleasure. We changed over disciplines due to my health, and because my children wanted to try western. We purchased 2 western pleasure horses, a young unbroken gelding and a show seasoned mare. Our mare moves naturally slow…she jogs slow, she lopes slow, even when turned out. She is ridden on a loose rein, completely controlled by your body, and loves to go. She is a pleasure to own each and every day.

    I will say that in getting her, I found her terribly slow and artificial at first. I spent some time with a gentleman who breeds and shows reiner, and learned a whole lot about breeding! Then when we started to break my gelding (Zips Chocolate Chip baby) I could not believe my eyes. He did everything slow. There was no harsh training to bring his head down, and no forcing him to go slow. From the first time he was put in a saddle, till now he jogged and loped around like a turtle. When we do push him, he does stress out, he’s naturally not meant to buzz around.

    Western pleasure horses undergo no different training methods then a jumper, a reiner, a dressage horse etc. There is complaints about the bits used in dressage, the contact on the mouth, and the tightness of the nose bands. In reining, its the physically demanding maneuvers, and technics to get very un natural movements like spinning, and sliding stops. Every discipline has a down fall, everyone is a critic.

    In saying that, the AQHA has put unrealistic expectations on quarter horses in general. But to call people cruel, disgusting, and unprofessional is not solving the problem. Conversation, asking questions, and sharing knowledge does. We all have a common place, and that is our passion for horses, don’t create sides, work to find a common ground. Insults get the industry NO WHERE!

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      I too own a western pleasure baby that I would love to show in the all around events. The problem is he can hardly trot, it is very hard for him. Same with a canter. His worst nightmare would be to be an english horse.
      I do agree that somtimes the horses heads are too low and they can be overcanted. But overall the movent is not terrible, just some that are clearly better than others.
      Watch what you say about natural movement. Do arabians arch their necks in the pasture the way they do when shown? Do dressage horses do one tempe changes? Do roping horses gallop after cows and then slam on their brakes? This is all because we train and breed them for what we enjoy doing with them.

      Reply
  24. Anonymous

    The way I see it as long as its a true three beat gate let them go..judges preference…they(the judges) can always ask for a more forward lope

    Reply
    • Rick Gates

      I am not up to speed on any recent upgrades to the AQHA WP rules. Is extended or traveling trot and/or hand gallop included in the required gaits in WP classes currently?

      Reply
      • Rachael

        No. The judges can ask for an extended jog, or “lope with forward motion”, but you will never see a hand gallop. That is only used in the Hunter Under Saddle classes. I show APHA and the rules are the same for us.

  25. Linda

    Not a single one of those horses is doing a true 3 beat lope. they are all doing a 4 beat. I Have watched this video multiple times to make sure that I wasn’t just imagining that every single one of those horses wasn’t doing a true gait. If i’m wrong, please point out exactly which horse is actually doing a true 3 beat! and yes it takes years to teach a horse to move as un naturally looking as those horses and riders look…. I showed WP for years, and left the ring years ago because this was becoming more and more common and I was sick of seeing it………

    Reply
    • Rick Gates

      I too watched multiple times and none is performing a true three beat. You will only see this unnatural lope in high end WP shows, not in reining, horsemanship, trail obstacle, ranch horse, etc. I’m only commenting because the majority of the equine public seems to agree that this gait is undesirable especially in the everyday use of a QH. I’ve seen this happen in numerous other breeds usually specific to the gaits in rail classes.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      I watched several times also and I always count three beats at the lope, but for some horses I count four beats at the jog!

      Reply
  26. Sam Berendes

    I ride western Pleasure but I push for a forward canter, why do the horses have to do this?

    Reply
  27. Alix

    This is why I left western pleasure and went to dressage. I was sick of riding a bobble head doll in slow motion. I was also sick of having my horse resent me. Dressage has made my horse happy, willing, and confident.

    Reply
  28. Anonymous

    All of you with your hunter jumpers and dressage horses…post a video and let us pick it apart! I am willing to bet that you won’t so until then, mind your own business! Or those with their pleasure horses who they push forward to make it look to be what is in their opinion, natural, go compete at a show like Congress and let’s see how you place…or if you even get a call back. Jealousy is a terrible thing. This class looked awesome and was filled with top of the line riders and horses.

    Reply
    • K

      Why do you use the word jealousy? NO ONE who is a true horseman or horsewoman would EVER want to force their horse to move like this.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        Your opinion is your opinion. I can assure you that the trainers and exhibitors in this video are indeed real horesemen and horse women who love the sport.

  29. Autumn

    This is not the natural gait of a horse, you can’t tell me that these animals were born doing this zombie lope with their noses dragging the ground. Just because they are bred to do pleasure doesn’t mean they do not have some sort of speed. The training they go through is the reason these horses do not use their natural gaits, and speed. They are trained to do a zombie lope, and to drag their heads. In my opinion pleasure should be about the natural gaits of these animals and not the dramatic trained fantasy. This is just my opinion, they are not my horses, and I did not pay for their training, and so forth, But I certainly would never go or watch a show with them doing this.

    Reply
  30. Taylor

    I have had the privilege of competing on youth and collegiate judging teams and scribing for some amazing judges. I really want to ask how many people who have their opinions have judged/shown a western pleasure class? The fact is a trained eye can see these horses have a 3 beat gait, and are not over canted, horses with a deep hock and are collected will have their hip tipped in so they do not hit their feet. The part about and apparently no body saw the horses in the 90s with the true peatnut rollers and 4 beat lopes. WP had come a long ways, can it improve yes, but it is a great class for people who do not have the confidence to go much faster than what you see, and truely these are some of the smoothest riding horses out there. Moreover on lameness, especially at big shows all horses are required to enter at an extended jog to catch lameness and excuse horses that are lame from the arena. You may not agree with the class and maybe you do not even show it but educate yourself. Aqha offers a great video called Showing to Win Western Pleasure, great video.

    Reply
  31. Anonymous

    Ask these people how these horses are trained to do this. That will really pissed you off. So sad fake tails and all 🙁

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      The tails do not hurt the horses one bit. And they are bred to do this therefore, because of that, much of it comes naturally. Please educate yourself before posting comments regarding world champion quality pleasure horses and trainers.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      Ask these people how these horses are trained to do this. That will really pissed you off. So sad fake tails and all 🙁

      Reply
  32. Barbara

    The whole reason the western pleasure class was made in the first place was to find the best horses to ride all day on the range. Horses that were comfortable to ride with cadenced gaits and manners. The horses needed to be able to move forward and come back into hand when asked (i.e. kicking up the speed when going after a stray cow on a cattle drive and then following the herd at a steady pace to keep the cattle moving at a steady pace). These horses are so far from what the class was originally suppose to represent. I even tried competing in this at one point and got so disgusted that I opted out. My horse (who was bred for this to the 9s) was so uncomfortable and cranky when training for this and we still weren’t ‘in control enough’ (aka not slow enough). It’s true that every discipline has faults, but just because others have them doesn’t make it any more excusable for this one to continue with practices that disrupt the natural movement of the horse that mankind has fallen for in the first place.

    Reply
    • K

      And the ironic part is that it’s called Western PLEASURE. Pleasure for who exactly? Most definitely not the horse. Those of you who keep defending it, educate yourself on equine biomechanics.

      Reply
    • K

      PS Barbara, kudos to you for allowing your eyes to be opened on how your horse felt about it, and stopping the insanity.

      Reply
  33. Heather

    Whe I was first introduced to western pleasure I thought as many of the people on here did…wow that is wrong. Then as I learned of the difficulty of mainting this tempo, the amount of training it takes and the type od horse it takes it made me change my thinking. Not every horse is cut out to do this. Many gaits as people are saying are unnatural…they have to be taught. The jog is one example of this, it has to be taught. To teach a horse to jog is relying a horse’s balance and body machanincs. Ask anyone who has ever trained a young horse…they lack balance and want to go fast. These methodical gaits show extreme blance and training. My dressage mare does a really nice collected canter about this speed…very difficult, lots of training, and she has amazing balnce. Is it natraul for her to do it…no. She does love doing it though.

    Reply
    • K

      Your mare does a nice COLLECTED canter. That is wonderful! But there’s nothing about how these horses are forced to move that shows TRUE collection or any impulsion, or anything else that is beautiful about the way a horse is meant to move.

      Reply
  34. Dori

    NO!!!! Head to low. This is not a Lope! Too much stress on the horse. I showed this to my Husband who is not a Horse Person and he was angry. Almost looks as if they have been sored.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      This is western pleasure. If you and your non-horse-person husband don’t like it, don’t watch it. Very simple. The horses are not sore and have no more stress put on them than in any other style of riding.

      Reply
  35. Erika Gilbert

    There is NOTHING Natural about their gait. It is disgusting to watch. There is abuse involved to achieve this movement. Its Big Lick for Western Pleasure. What is wrong with people.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Absolutely nothing is wrong with a single person in that show ring. They are showing horses in a discipline of their choosing. You should do the same and stop being negative towards others. What is disgusting to watch is fellow horse lovers tear down hardworking trainers and riders and attempt to diminish their accomplishments.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        Sorry – but look at the general opinions on this video. If it’s such a top tier class, you’d think that posting a video would bring praise. This is nothing short of awful. These are NOT horsemen. The discipline of their choosing has become nothing more than a joke with politics and gaits… defend it if you want to….but you’re still going to be wrong.

      • Linda

        I would be absolutely embarrassed to call anything like that an “accomplishment!” As one person put it, it is the “Big Lick” of the Quarter horse world period! I could care less what the “trainer” thinks is an accomplishment and I would hate to think about what some of these people pay a “trainer” to get that kind of gate, never mind what they have to do to achieve it!! These people are NOT horse lovers, they are ribbon and trophy lovers!

      • Anonymous

        Linda, what the trainers are paid is none of your business. The horses in this class look awesome as do the riders. People need to
        stop being petty and jealous. Focus on yourself and maybe you’ll wind up as good as you seem to think you are.

  36. Rachel Hay

    This is a travesty of horse training. And unfortunately, it seems that Hunter Equitation is not far behind. I am glad to see the Western dressage increasing in popularity.

    Reply
  37. Rick Gates

    From just my common sense approach, the majority of QH events revolve around the using horse, for which this breed was bred. From everything I have seen on here and in the show world, the vast majority see the ideal representative of this breed as a combination of all of the events outside of just the ‘pleasure’ class. Just like a lot of other breeds, the majority of owners do something other than rail classes with their horses. This issue seems to be fueling the ongoing battle of which horse is the ‘representative’ or ‘breed standard’. I don’t have an answer. I just know that continued debates, without a solution, like these are not good press for any breed.

    Reply
  38. Alli H

    I show APHA and this is one of the nicest groups I’ve seen in a long time. No major peanut pushers, no hopping horses; they’re all pretty much nice and steady. I see nothing wrong with this and I don’t understand how so many people do! Go ahead criticize me, whatever. Some of these are trained to do this, but for some it’s natural. I know I can put a green rider on my horse and she’ll pack them around like this all day. As for everyone saying this is too much stress on a horse, what about cutting or reining, or barrels, jumping even; they all create stress on joints. Point of the matter if you don’t know what you are talking about, don’t comment, and if you don’t like it, turn it off.

    Reply
    • Denise Shirey

      Their wrongs don’t make this right. This manufactured gait also creates terrible stresses on the joints and bones.

      Reply
  39. Kory

    I think that each horse is an individual. Some of the horses in this video do look mechanical and are moving slow, others appear to be moving in a natural rhythm. I absolutely love western pleasure. I think that if a horse has a lifted rib cage and a stride that is natural for them, the speed of their movement is relative. There are a great many factors to consider when evaluating a horse. I personally own a horse who is naturally very slow legged. He is a very slow loper, which I love and appreciate.

    Many of us commenting on this video were not at the event. I actually see horses moving in a pretty straight manner, unlike the trends in the past with a pronounced hock split or hip was pushed forward, resulting in a crooked horse going down the rail. If I had been at this show, I would have loved every minute of watching this class. Western Pleasure is not a class for everyone, or every horse. Every class has horses that both appeal and don’t appeal to judges and spectators. Everyone has a personal vision of what they would like to see in a western pleasure horse.

    I personally feel it is harmful for the industry to see so much negative. Horses should move forward in a way that is comfortable and natural for them. Many horses have a natural carriage that is slow and collected. Those of us who compete in this class, look for those specific types of horses. A manufactured lope is not something I enjoy watching, but a natural mover has grace and beauty.

    The bottom line is that industry trends change, although they change very slowly. We should all be part of the solution, not contribute to a problem. Negativity doesn’t solve anything, it only creates more negativity.

    Reply
    • MB

      You make a lot of valid points. In my opinion, the horses that exhibit the best movement are those that move in the most natural manner (and of course, move correctly with regards to western pleasure). We all have preferences as to what we would like to see, but overall this is a nice group of horses.

      And you are absolutely correct in saying that negativity just breeds more negativity.

      Reply
  40. Anonymous

    They look like of bunch of robotic horses. How do they judge them when they are just different colored clones of each other. .

    Reply
  41. Cindy

    This Pathetic Practice Needs To Change Now! New rules have been put in place… Yet Judges refuse to enforce them! Why have rules if not enforced. Instead of continuing to promote the persons/trained who Refuse to move on with the times… Penalize the Judges who refuse to enforce New Giuidlines…then Maybe we will see some change.

    Reply
  42. Eva

    I don’t care how the horses are trained. I doubt they are hurting…..It is simple enough for me. IF I were shopping for a horse and saw these for an example, I would probably say I wanted a different breed. I KNOW they’ve been trained for this, but isn’t showing the horse a way of promoting the breed. I don’t like what I saw, so I move on to something else. Another potential Quarter horse owner lost to a bad ideal of the breed.

    Reply
    • Barbara

      I’m not a fan of Western Pleasure, but I don’t think that would stop me from owning the breed even if I were new. There are many other disciplines Quarter Horses or stock horses can do (cow horse, speed events, hunter jumpers). Nothing against owning other breeds, but if you are passing over Quarter Horses just because of this video, I would advise you to continue to research what else the breed is capable of considering their versatility.

      Reply
  43. Anonymous

    People forget they are working with another being, not some kind of machine.
    These movements are not natural for a horse

    Reply
  44. Anonymous

    ALSO, LOOK UP WHAT A HALTER HORSE IS
    A CLASS THAT WAS ONCE FOR HORSES TO COMPETE IN FOR AN IDEAL CONFORMATION HAS CHANGED INTO A BODY-BUILDER CLASS
    LOOK UP THE HORSES LIKE
    “SERIOUSLY SECURE”
    “SIR COOL SKIP”
    PEOPLE ALSO BREED FOWARD GENETIC DISEASES LIKE “”HYPP”” WHICH PARALYZES A HORSE

    Reply
  45. Ann Hards

    It is not just the lope, is it the whole concept and way of moving at every gait. That said, I agree with the people that say level it alone. This debate has been going on for a very, very long time and nothing has been or will be done about it by AQHA. The situation is being managed much more effectively by the membership. They are walking away in droves. Somebody commented to me that this is because of the recession. Wake up folks. The number in WP have been dropping dramatically since long before the recession started and well, the recession is over and the WP numbers continue to drop. Ultimately, when the numbers get low enough, the sponsors will go elsewhere and the class will implode because it is what it is because of the elite crowd that makes money on it (it doesn’t trickle down very far however) that keeps it going at all.

    Reply
  46. Paul stewart

    No, I don’t have a problem with people recording my beloved halter class. People talk bad about Halter. There are things in halter that can use improving. This class was a live stream world wide, so you sound like an idiot saying how you would you like if someone videotaped halter and people made comments about it negatively. It happens all the time. I posted the video to say hey I’m a congress currently watching Western Pleasure. Again get your facts straight, the intention was never to bash western pleasure

    Reply
  47. Ashley

    I come from the Saddlebred world, and have to contend with accusations that the way my horses move is not natural, manufactured from cruelty, etc, etc. I can tell you firsthand that those accusations are complete and utter bullsh**, my horses move the way they were bred to move, and if they don’t have the ability to lift their legs then no training tool on earth is going to turn them into a high-steppper.

    So could someone from the QH world please get on here and explain why this awful four-beat “lope” is preferred in the pleasure classes, but you would never see any of the wonderful “working” horses I was there to watch last week move in such a way? And please don’t say that it’s because any idiot can get on a moderately well-trained pleasure horse and ride without having to have any actual riding skills, making it the big money-maker class for trainers, so the trainers “dumbed down” the lope….

    Reply
  48. Marie

    This is UGLY, UGLY, UGLY. Yes, like so many have said it is NOT natural, but it’s also downright ugly. This is not a natural gait at all. Please AQHA stop the madness and go back to having people show off the natural beauty of horses moving naturally. I always call this the broken lope. Horrible!

    Reply
  49. Anonymous

    I hate watching horses move like this, it is not natural and the person that says anyone can run across and arena but this is difficult to continue, well hell yes it is difficult, it is not what a horse is meant to do!!! Let them be horses, I also hate the low head, horses are not meant to be bloodhounds sniffing the ground as they move. This is UGLY!! Start judging a horse for a horse, not this robotic animal they are trying to show as a horse.

    Reply
  50. Wendi

    I used to show Appaloosas. I’ve been around horse most of my life, but I have never seen this. Such a shame to take a proud and beautiful animal and break it’s stride into a hobbling gate like this. I thought they were lame when I first saw this video. I agree with the person who said they would be calling the vet if they saw an animal walking like that in the pasture. What kind of sick and cruel judges decided this would be the thing to reward? There is nothing noble in this practice.

    Reply
  51. Anonymous

    I’m a qh breeder, former champion rider and judge, now equine worker. I do not agree with this style of extreme riding. Puts far too much uneven pressure on the horse’s skeleton/joints and muscle groups at different points regardless of what the extremists claim it being “natural”. Notice most of them are crabbing sideways? No bend at corners? Shuffle hop at the hind? Swinging cannon? Exaggerated poll bobbing? It’s compensation for moving in an incorrect frame for which horses were never designed to hold.

    And the zealots call it a “training triumph” to force a horse to move like this.

    Painful to watch.

    Reply
  52. K. Bodrock

    Horses are phenomenal creatures. We can train them to do most anything for us. Just because we CAN does not mean we SHOULD. It is my personal opinion horses should move naturally. Meaning, they should walk trot and lope the way they would without a rider hampering their movement.

    Reply
    • Cindy

      Awful. I would not place any of these horses. They all are traveling lame. And should get the gate.

      Reply
  53. Wendy

    Those horses look lame and lifeless. You should be riding the back end of the horse, where the power is. These horses are not engaging their hind legs. Lope is an three beat gait. They are 4 beating. This is NOT horsemanship! Shame on AQHA for allowing this.

    Reply
  54. Anonymous

    These horses and riders work hard to achieve this motion to me it always looks funny like the horse is limping definately not a natural gait or fluid motion . I do know how much hard work this takes and the horses I have seen that do this at the boarding barn are very pampered and usually are top dollar horses . Good for them just not for me . Why are there not pictures of the horses that do barrels on there they take much more abuse than these horses ever will!!

    Reply
    • FJ Thomas

      Barrel horse folks pamper their horses just as much if not more than pleasure. They wear soft rides, use chiropractic, acupressure, wear magnetic blankets (PHT – not the cheap stuff). They tend know much more about nutrition as well. Barrel horses run for 15 -17 seconds. Their warm up is just enough to get the edge off because they need their energy to run -vs- Pleasure horses get lunged for 30 minutes and warmed up another thirty and spend 5 minutes in the ring. And barrel horses get to be a horse and get turned out.

      Reply
  55. Linda

    ALL for the love of a ribbon, trophy, a judges opinion and bragging rights…………but at the expense of the horse and total disregard for the mental and physical ramifications to the horse they claim to love! I will never get it and as far as I am concerned they rate right up there beside the “Big Lick” walking horse people!

    Reply
    • Denise Shirey

      That’s exactly what I said… It’s no different than the Big Lick. Poor horses.

      Reply
  56. Anonymous

    It appears that these people who are nothing more than passengers have subjugated these horses to some horrible constrictions to make them use their muscles normally used for carriage in their locomotion. Those horses’ backs are probably very sore. Do they even know that without the head up, the shoulder muscle is carrying the entire front weight of the horse. The shoulders are ot connected to the spine, the the entire weight is on muscle. This is wjy AQHA supports and promotes slaughter. It is obvious they are not concerned with the long term survivabiity of the quarter horse individual. And whooee, who has the contract to sew those costumes?

    Reply
  57. Susan bellinger

    We can all see that this is WRONG….but nothing changes. As long as the JUDGES keep placing these poor creatures…it will continue. NO SELF RESPECTING Q.H would ever move like that given a choice. I have no problem putting my name to this .
    SUSAN BELLINGER A.I.R.C.

    Reply
  58. joanne craighead

    If i saw a horse running across the field like that i would think it was lame!! I thought they were going to mark down the horses that used that gait in the arena years ago!Whats with these idiot judges?I’ll stick with open shows that do not use that type of lope.

    Reply
  59. FJ Thomas

    AQHA has been trying to change this for 10+ years. If they really wanted it to change, it would have changed by now – if you change the judging and the placing, people will start changing how they train their horses and what they pay to put in the show ring. It’s that simple, but you also lose numbers in the show ring. It comes down to politics.

    I quit showing WP years ago because it became more mechanical and fake. Someone said that these are the best of the best — yes, these might be the best of the best for what they’re looking for in THIS pen but these horses are not moving straight, nor are they moving naturally. I’ve seen horses that naturally lope with lift before they’ve been cranked on and they don’t move inhibited like this. Take a look at a collected dressage horse.

    Makes me sad because AQHA show horses are nothing like what the breed was founded on — a natural horse that was the most versatile. Been looking for a change since AQHA announced it years ago. Ever year I hope & every year I’m disappointed. I’ll stick to my ranch classes – at least we don’t get comments that it’s fake!

    Reply
    • vickij

      I totally agree. Besides western pleasure, you see the same thing in western riding and trail, to a lesser degree. Trail is a joke and should be re-named Obstacle Course. So many people are leaving the show ring for other disciplines and competitions because of it. Walk the rows of stalls at any major show and you see depressed, unhappy horses. That’s why we left and our horses are much happier. AQHA needs to come up with a program to license trainers and provide required professional education. No more abuse from trainers that abuse these horses just to appease their rich clients. Not every trainer is like that, but too many are, and it’s the horse that pays. Nobody will turn anyone else in for abuse. That’s pathetic.

      Reply
  60. Cheryl Standridge

    It hurts me to watch this false, forced slow gait! Where is a natural 3 beat gait? I can’t stand to watch this. It is so fake and animated. It needs to be a true gait. My stallion has such a slow lope that you would think he were going to stop the next beat….but it is a true lope. Not this walk/trot/?? thing….

    Reply
  61. Anonymous

    To be completely honest, many of these horses do enjoy their job. They are bred to do it, this is all they have ever known, they will lope similar to this in the pasture, and they have a hard time doing anything else. Yes, some are trained incorrectly by jerking on the reins and spurring them, but many are simply trained with pure collection and consistency. They are beautiful like this and speeding them up would be ok too. Do not bash these horses or their training until you have done it yourself or have experienced it first hand. Some great moving horses in that pen!

    Reply
  62. Anonymous

    It makes me sad that there are so many negative critics. People hiding behind a computer screen. Why don’t you go buy a show horse, train it the way you like it, and go show it. Your negative words behind a computer screen do nothing, get out there and put the work in to make a difference, or else sit behind the rail, silently, and just watch.

    Reply
    • Ric Carter

      Why don’t you go work on a real ranch, and see what a quarter horse does, and is supposed to do? All I see with the show people are a bunch of posers, who don’t care what they do to a horse, as long as they look cool to their fellow concrete commandos. What a pitiful bunch of loosers, with their long maned lawn ornaments.
      A quarter horse is a working horse. Go develop some other breed to abuse.

      Reply
      • Terry Morris

        Amen buddy, my point exactly in my post above. Good job, I my opinion MOST of these high maintenance competitors couldn’t stay with a real ranch horse on an average day out here!!! Ever try to chase down a mule deer??? I have , we tried, but that darn deer knew every pot hole there was in 2 counties, we stayed close, but he won!!! Now THAT was a rush!! hehehe

  63. sonett

    I know absolutely nothing about horses so I don’t know if my opinion means much…but to me all those horses look very tired.

    Reply
  64. jennifer

    This is pathetic. Brings you back to the days when you would go back in the wash racks at Congress and other “AQHA” shows and the water would be pink because they “bled” the horses to make them more lethargic…yes…that did happen. My daughter (who does hunters age 10) is sitting on a lovely foundation breed mare that had won World halter in her younger days. She has lovely BIG hooves and quite a hind end. Last week (she is only in the heads up division) the show management at th he show commented on her beautiful forward lofty trot and “warm blood llike canter” Now yes there may be different blood lines but watching this makes me SICK! Th he kinesiology of the horse goes against all of this!!!!! And to boot..we tried to show at a little PO dunk show supposedly run by AQHA rules…and they all (ADULTS) not only made fun of my daughter in her “english” clothes…in which supposedly she was allowed to show because it was an unspecified Walk trot class open ( which i might add they dont even offer in AQHA unless its challenge) told her they wouldnt even judge her! AQHA…Take a flying leap if this what you are going to put your beautiful through and if its how you treat your youth that arent in your circle. RANT DONE .

    Reply
  65. Anonymous

    What kind of bond can be made with a horse when all they know is a cruel owner? Whoever started this has no clue regarding the allegiance a woman or man has toward their horse. Years ago, if you rode for pleasure
    ( and we did a lot of that along the Blue Ridge Parkway) and noticed animal abuse, I tried to steer clear of those ???horsemen???

    Reply
  66. Anonymous

    This has to start with the judges! let them announce before the class that they’ll not be judging the “peanut rollers”………….. then watch how quickly things change! This Western Pleasure is horrible to look at & must be torture for the poor horses who have to move this way.

    Reply
  67. Anonymous

    I showed western pleasure for many years at the national level in AQHA.
    A few years ago, my horse was Top 5 at the Reichert, the Congress and the World Show.
    I was fortunate, because it was easy for him, he was happy doing it.
    For years, I bought into the culture that this is OK. It’s NOT.
    The people involved in the wp have all drunk so much Kool Aid for so many years that they think this is normal. It isn’t. AQHA exhibitors are a closed society who live in their own little universe and who discount anything others who reside outside their world say as being ignorant and uninformed.
    The rapidly dwindling numbers of those participating in the western pleasure classes are the writing on the wall. It used to be 50 people crawling around the arena on sad-looking animals, then 30, then 20. Now a show is “lucky” to have 5 or so in a class.
    For years, I’ve said as an AQHA member and exhibitor that we needed to police ourselves and clean up halter (which has now imploded) and wp – which is on its way due to the delusions of participants that the horses should look like this. They shouldn’t, and it’s shameful.
    I’m actually relieved that this video went viral and that 93% of the people responding said the horses should be more forward. I agree, and IT IS TIME, AQHA, TO CLEAN THIS MESS UP!

    Reply
  68. 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
  69. Lorie

    What is everyone’s opinion??
    I think the judges keep placing them over forward moving horse, if they want it to change then shouldn’t it start with the judges to stop placing them?? I have a forward moving mare and looks amazing but they will place this lame looking horse over me.
    what do you think should it start with the judges to STOP placing them??

    Reply
  70. MissRodeo2013

    This is exactly why I left the western pleasure arena, and stepped on to the rodeo road… all I have to say is shame on the judges, trainers, and owners..

    Reply
  71. 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.
    Also, this video is a 1.25 minute snippet of riding. How about all the footage you missed of people petting their horses and horses having fun doing their job? And don’t tell me you didn’t see any of that because I’m here every year and see so much joy and compassion for horses from their riders or trainers. This video shows horses being reprimanded, comparatively the same disciplinary measures used on a dog. These are large animals and with out discipline can be dangerous. Every style of riding reprimands their horses.
    I noticed you like reiners based on your profile, I find it interesting there is no big stand taken on their training methods. I personally do not have an issue but I would be sure that a horse-lover such as yourself 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 too.
    You state that you do not wish to be the target of drama but you are the epitome of drama. You have taken it upon yourself to post a video you know will upset a lot of people so you have instigated the drama and started this charade.
    Lastly, I believe you have to pay an entry fee to come in and watch the congress so we all thank you and appreciate your support of The All American Quarter Horse Congress.

    Reply
    • Ric Carter

      I’m going to come right out and say it, whoever would do that to a horse is a no good son of a bitch.

      Ric Carter
      Somers, Montana

      Reply
    • Anita Forry-Moonshadow

      This is insane! It is NOT natural!! No horse would lope like that on its own.
      And furthermore. .. your supplements are needed to try to give these poor animals relief from the horrible unnatural gaits you ae forcing them to preform.
      I used to show at this level many years ago, and when I just saw this video, I just said out loud to myself oh my God, no!”
      So horrible. Looks like animal abuse.
      Participants in this should not be allowed to own one of these beautiful creatures.
      Horrible, shameful, and NOT SOMETHING PLEASANT TO WITNESS.
      Shame on you for doing this.

      Reply
    • Denise Shirey

      Darcy, I call bullshit. I’ve seen how trainers “train” these horses, and its shit. Let’s go back to horses. Horses do not “love”. They are not capable of human emotions. Read “Evidenced-Based Horsemanship” by Martin Black. Horses survive. Horse submit because they want to survive. These horses have had no choice but to submit to this crap. Take off the bling, take the fake tail off your horse, put him in a pasture for a month, with not stalling, and then take a trail ride at a real canter.

      Reply
  72. Amy

    This is horrible. They all look like they are lame sick and sore. This is not natural. The little princesses on board should learn to ride a real horse with a real gait. What is this all about, its horrible. How much pain and suffering does these horses take in training???? More than we know.

    Reply
  73. Terry Morris

    Not only would I EVER put one of my horses thru the torture it takes to get them to do this, but you couldn’t PAY me enough money to show my face riding like that. I would almost be you that the very VAST majority of these Equine Specialists couldn’t stay with a real RANCH horse out here in Nebraska. We ride the range, rope cattle, check cows in rough country, you name it. Our horses are Quarter Horses, aka COW horses, those poor things in the video are nothing but tortured robots, they have given up being spirited and excited about their jobs, they are simply breathing rocking chairs. How many of you folks reading this really truly know what it would take to MAKE a horse do this all the time with no complaints obvious????? I think most of you would be appalled at how they are “”TRAINED””. It makes me sick to my stomach to watch this crap, and they call this horsemanship. I call it Bull Shit. !!!

    Reply
  74. Anonymous

    Shank and spur, shank and spur, repeat until your horse moves like it was shot in the shoulder.

    So lame. Literally.

    Reply
  75. very disappointed in AQHA

    I hope the AQHA will take notice when we all contact them directly and let them know we want to see change. Here is their contact page: http://aqha.com/utilities/contact-aqha/

    Now put your money where your mouth is and tell them what you really think about is way of going in WP! Together, we can make a difference.

    Unbelievable that they would allow this nonsense…

    Reply
  76. very disappointed in AQHA

    I hope the AQHA will take notice when we all contact them directly and let them know we want to see change. Here is their contact page: http://aqha.com/utilities/contact-aqha/

    Now put your money where your mouth is and tell them what you really think about this way of going in WP! Together, we can make a difference.

    Unbelievable that they would allow this nonsense…

    Reply
  77. Kate

    this shows the progression of style over years and how it goes from a normal preference to the extreme. The judges are to blame for this as people wouldn’t do it if they weren’t rewarded for it. I showed recognized western pleasure all through the 1970’s at a tri state level. And won a lot. Our horses cantered, but the winners were the ones with the slow relaxed lope. The kind of lope that a horse can keep up for a long time on the trail or range. Horses that had their polls below the withers were penalized. A few had that 4th beat to their gait and it was more of a natural specific to the horse thing. You didn’t win automatically if you had it, but people started picking it out and breeding for it. But time and fashion and stupid judging has taken its toll so this is where we are 40 years later, an obscene gait and deformed horses. And girls who cant sit even this nicely. (wtf?) And no sequins allowed in my day, but tons of silver on the tack. But not that much, those saddles must weigh over 50 lbs! I wonder what the trot looks like, it too was supposed to be slow and relaxed but not the walking dead… poor horses.

    Reply
  78. anonymous

    I just don’t understand how this is called WP. When I look for a pleasure horse this is not what I would look for, if i saw a horse moving like this I would suggest they call a vet and I would not want it. It don’t even look like a pleasure to ride. They should be judging on a horses natural gaits and abilities not these man made gaits and unnatural poses. I bet most of these only know arena and to actually take it outside of the arena for a “pleasure” ride would be about a disaster, and I bet most of these riders have only ever climbed on a horse to enter a show ring so they just don’t know what it is like to ride a real pleasure horse. Sad to see what these shows are turning into, sad to see what these horses are forced into doing. Of course it takes a lot of time to perfect these un natural movements because they are not natural. I have seen some horses that are born with beautiful natural gaits that should be in these shows,, but have never seen a horse born with these un natural gaits. These shows should be focused on the natural movements and natural confirmations of these horses not these man made horse robots that will be used for a couple yrs to win a few tittles then thrown away when they break down since they are not ment to move in these ways. I remember how much enjoyed watching the shows years ago and anymore I even care to watch video clips like these of them. These shows have gone from showing off your horse’s natural abilities to a circus to see which horses can do the best tricks or bulge out the biggest. At one time I would of paid good money for a horse coming out of the show ring, but not anymore , very sad the image they are forcing on these horses.

    Reply
  79. Ali B

    As an Englishwoman I have never been to an American horse show, but what I can’t understand is why anyone would admire this way of going and breed/train for it in the first place? Quarter horses were originally bred for their speed – after all that’s how they got their breed name. So why this emphasis on this ridiculous way of going? These horses would never be capable of any of the tasks the breed was originally developed for. The same goes for the “Big Lick” it doesn’t just look ridiculous it looks damned uncomfortable for the rider. Just where is the “pleasure” in any of this?

    Reply
  80. B

    Out of curiosity do you people spend this much time bitching at saddlebred people because I’m pretty sure their horses don’t come outta the womb with their heads held 15 feet in the air and high stepping like they do? What about dressage horses, I haven’t seen a lot of horses jogging in place without being told to?

    Reply
    • Denise Shirey

      That doesn’t make THIS right. Three wrongs don’t make a right.

      Reply
  81. Zoe Franchino

    If you can find a horse that does that naturally, on it’s own, and not injured, then let me know. But in the meantime, good luck with that!

    Reply
  82. Tiffany

    PLEASE everyone write a letter and flood the AQHA office. I myself have written a letter and intend to post it and the address all over facebook so people can simply print, sign (if they wish) and put a stamp and pop it in the mail! Something needs to be done and the only way to get it done is to cover them in paper, they could care less about the thousands complaining on the internet!

    Reply
  83. Jane Pierce

    Completely Absurd!
    read the article, voted and an overwhelming response in the vote to yes for a more forward lope. they all look lame!! this is just as ridiculous if not more so that what the gaited horse people do- when did it become fashionable to be so absurd?? the world is truly going to hell in a handbasket…

    Reply
  84. Stacey Colon

    Dumfounded beyond belief does note even BEGIN to describe what this is. I cannot believe the AQHA condones this. These horses look like they’re trying out for a spot on the Walking Dead! What the heck is wrong with the AQHA? And while I’m ranting, I’ll throw in the super over-muscled halter horses that walk like pogo sticks in halter classes! Ugh! STOP THE MADNESS, AQHA!!!

    Reply
  85. Anonymous

    Why can’t horses be judged on natural movement. This is bad, no horse moves like this naturally when out in pasture. But the western pleasure is not the only “bad guy” there are other disciplines like Dressage that overflex their horses. I show for my personal best and never win against these types of Western pleasure horses but know my horse is giving me his best and that is the greatest reward.

    Reply
  86. Anonymous

    I would love to get ride a horse in there that moves the way it should just to run circles around them.

    Reply
  87. Anonymous

    Most of the folks that are negative on here have not the faintest of clue. True show horses are athletes! As people tear each others discipline down I will say that I haven’t seen a horse perform a complicated dressage maneuver or a +1 reining spin in the pasture. People want to talk about natural as if we as humans live naturally in the world today. Whether your discipline is dressage or reining or cutting or pleasure etc….. You will have a variance in quality of animal and trainer, it’s what makes the world go around. But the horses that do well and are prepared well are athletes and deserve that credit. Everyone wants to sit here and stir S#!t over something that they know little about. It would be the same as if I tried to judge Olympic figure skating.

    Reply
    • anonymous

      My daughter shows in horse shows. We would never teach our horses to do that to win. It isn’t athletic to limp around the arena! It is painful for the horse and unnatural. When have you ever seen your horse when your horse do that out in the pasture?? My guess is NEVER. We show in the same discipline as you do and I still don’t think it is right. I have horses that are well rounded, we do all sorts of things with them. So don’t think that the negative comments are only coming from people that don’t

      Reply
    • anonymous

      My daughter shows in horse shows. We would never teach our horses to do that to win. It isn’t athletic to limp around the arena! It is painful for the horse and unnatural. When have you ever seen your horse when your horse do that out in the pasture?? My guess is NEVER. We show in the same discipline as you do and I still don’t think it is right. I have horses that are well rounded, we do all sorts of things with them. So don’t think that the negative comments are only coming from people that don’t get it. I get it and I don’t like it.

      Reply
  88. Kim Hice

    Don’t blame the trainers or riders.. Blame the judges who place these horses. Coral, congrats on your stallion, and what’s his breeding?

    Reply
  89. anonymous

    They all look literally lame. If my horse was out in the pasture “loping” like that I would call a vet! That is not a natural lope. Have you ever seen your horse do that when not in the show ring?? Totally needs to change in the show world. If that is what it takes to win a western pleasure class these days…..I will stick to just doing the best we do at a normal lope. If you can’t tell if they are loping or trotting when you see it from behind, you are doing it wrong. Looks painful for the horse!

    Reply
  90. Anonymous

    THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE TRAINERS, IT IS THE JUDGES THAT DON’T HAVE THE BALLS TO PLACE THE HORSE THAT IS MOVING FORWARD. THERE.FORE THE TRAINERS DON’T CHANGE

    Reply
  91. rebecca

    If you cannot tell a natural foreward moving lope, from galloping cowboy style, from the loping dead shown here, you shouldn’t be on a horse. The damage you people have done to a breed my own dad helped develop, would take generations to undo. Too bad so many of you are too young to remember what the ideal quarter horse looked and moved like.
    Big name trainers that made this garbage fashionable should all be shot for animal abuse.

    Reply
  92. Teddi Harllee

    I viewed this AQHA Western Pleasure Class and was totally disgusted. The AQHA western pleasure riders look like some kind of over-dressed Prima Donnas on these poor horses’ back and they looked physically challenged….actually vulgar, due to the forced movement (4 beating “lope”) of the AQHA horses. The spirit of the American Quarter Horse’s image was not where to be seen. These AQHA horses appeared to be tortured into some sort of severe physical and mental submission. I have competed in this class in the past when it was a true pleasure to ride an AQHA show horse. I am ashamed of the so called horsemen, judges, showmen, AQHA personnel included, and anyone else that promote this type of forced, artificial movement of American Quarter Horse! And, the reiners are following in the same ugly footsteps.
    This is insane and cruel!

    Teddi Harllee
    San Antonio, Texas

    Reply
  93. Anonymous

    Ok the amount of hate that western pleasure gets is kind of ridiculous. Yes, there IS abuse in the western pleasure world, if you look hard enough you can probably find barns and people that don’t have a clue what they’re doing and just do whatever they think is effective giving no regard to the horse. BUT YOU CAN FIND AB– USE IN EVERY SINGLE DISCIPLINE THERE IS. Dressage? Easily there are people who abuse. Jumping? Yes, you can find abuse there too. The Tennessee Walkers? Obviously. Barrel Racing? Yep. Working Ranch horses? Yes. Carts? Yeah. Racing? Hell to the yes. Shall I go on? When you see people with their arms out to the sides “see-sawing”, a majorit

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      I didn’t realize this went through I just noticed… I redid my comment in the next comment. Sorry!

      Reply
  94. Anonymous

    The amount of hate on Western Pleasure is ridiculous. Is there abuse in western pleasure? Yes, I cannot tell you that there is not or I’d be lying. There’s stupid people that do what they do because it seems effective with no regard to the horse. But that doesn’t mean that it’s ALL abuse. And also you can find abuse in every single discipline there is. Jumpers? Yep. Dressage? Hell to the yes. Working Ranch horses? Cowboys aren’t all nice. Tennessee Walkers? Obviously. Paso Finos? Yep. Carts? Yes. Barrel Racing and Rodeos? Mhmmm. Racing? YEESSSS. Polo? Yep. There too. Shall I go on? The point is that no matter what you do discipline wise you can’t claim that your entire discipline is made up of saints. When people are in the warm up ring and are “see-sawing” by bringing their arms way out on either side then most likely they’re riding in a snaffle and the see-saw is to PREVENT hurting the horse. Snaffles pinch really badly if you pull straight back or on both reins at the same time. The “see-saw” is sliding the bit through their mouth. Don’t even get me started on the entire bit issue. Western Pleasure riders are extraordinarily light. We ask for softness. In truth, if a western pleasure horse has been trained properly then they should technically respond slowly off of how the rider sits (Lean forward and they move forward, sit up and they slow, relax and they slow their pace). All pleasure horses should technically be able to be ridden brideless. Does that mean that they will be perfect? No. Some horses are very dull. But they should be able to if they are responding nicely. You all hate on western pleasure riders but our reins are long so that the horse doesn’t have too much contact. Many other disciplines have near constant contact with their horses mouths. Do you think that someone constantly pulling doesn’t hurt? Anyway I’m getting off track. Another thing: A western pleasure’s hip is pushed in because it helps them reach forward so that they don’t get sucked back and sore. If their hind legs are directly behind their front, how far can they reach? Now swing their hip in just a bit. Now how far can they reach? Exactly. Is it difficult for them? Yes, probably. But that’s why we build it up little by little and it’s also why we tend to choose athletic horses. We ride in bling outfits because what’s wrong with a little glam? No one on a really high level does it tacky. It’s all very professional just a different type of professional than hunters and dressage riders. If you don’t like it then don’t wear it. Perhaps it’s an acquired taste. In truth, many judges look for the happier looking horses. Just because their head down doesn’t mean that they are sad. On the contrary you will find that if you look closely at many top pleasure horses that their ears are pricked forward and some may even sneak peaks around the ring checking out what’s up. Others just love their job. If these horses didn’t love their job I personally don’t think that they would end up in that show ring at the World Championship/Congress Horse Show. I mean, come on. Any horse person will find that every horse just like a person has a mind of their own. That’s a 1200 lb animal with a mind of its own. If the horse didn’t want to be there, it wouldn’t

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  95. 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!

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  96. Denise Shirey

    This is no different than the Big Lick with the Tennessee Walkers. I heard Ray Hunt say one time during a clinic in Florida that if he saw a horse lope like that in a pasture, he’d have to shoot it. This is not natural. It is artificial. Fake gait, fake tails. Riders with zero balance on completely unusable horses mentally and emotionally tortured for years to perform a “trick” that some folks thought was neat.

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  97. S. L. Trout

    Glad to see people still commenting. I just learned about horseaholic. You won’t see “anonymous” postings from me.

    What I witnessed here should be immediately outlawed but of course, there are so many super wealthy QH people who are in the pockets of state, county and local officials that it will take virtually a horse-lover’s civil war to stop it. Anyone, I repeat– ANYONE– with half a brain would look at this and ask….Is that how quarter horses should move?
    All I see is a class of beautiful groomed horses mounted by people who only pretend to ride. They’re more concerned that their outfits are designer-created than they are with the beautiful animal they’re sitting astride. These people are in a class of their own–shallow, ignorant, and convinced they are living the dream–the beautiful folk! Now, if this video outrages you, stop and think about what the trainers do to get this horrific, submissive attitude. Believe me, you would throw up and get a bit angry. I honestly can’t comprehend how people can treat horses this way and actually believe it’s their right to do so. If I had my way, they would all be rounded up, loaded in a double-decker animal trailer, driven to the nearest ocean, loaded on a freighter and then one by one, pushed into the ocean. I have no remorse for someone like this. They are beyond redeeming value, other than to feed the oceans’ creatures. And I wonder just how many would spit them out!

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    • Anonymous

      You are reprehensible…. and sad to say at one time I was ignorant like you… please go burn in your own little personal hell.

      There are people who show quarter horses that love their animals a lot. That have worked for literally years to achieve balance, collection, and more body control than you can imagine to bring a horse to a point that on a long loose drape that horse will move out slow and collected. It has taken my horse years of work and guess what??? I don’t drug, I don’t tie, my horse does it because that’s how they are bred!!

      What type of showing do you do then? What sort of horses do you ride? Honestly I don’t care, you are nothing more than a buzzing and annoyingly reactive triggered gnat. So go and rant about your dream genocides of trainers and owners and I will go back to showing on my little old horse who has no soundness issues, and moves slow in pen and in pasture

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  98. Karen Vincent

    I’m sorry, but they look like they’re drugged. That’s not a natural gait for any horse. What’s wrong with horses moving naturally??????

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  99. Anonymous

    What… is the matter with you people?… 5 bucks says most of you have never showed truly competitively or are a fan of another discipline and like to take it all out on WP because you don’t understand it. Sadly I used to be one of you people until we got a little slow moving QH mare and showed her nationally.

    She is as spritely as anything in the field and is a very happy horse, but when you get on her she WANTS to go slow. Her ears are forward and demeanor pleasant and you could ask her to lope a hole in the ground to the left and she would do it. Her right, not so much yet but she still tries hard. Same with her jog in every direction. She does it happily. We have NEVER tied her, drugged her, or in any way abused her. To suggest that a WHOLE CLASS had this done shows you are inept and stupid and need to actually think about how does one train a horse to be slow…. it’s breeding.

    Just like how a jumper is bred more often than not to jump, a reining horse to rein, and a cutting horse to cut a cow with intelligence, the pleasure horse is built to go slow. Hence why more than likely your backyard bred, not sure on the lines, or different type of horse can’t go that slow…

    And don’t even get me started on the Bullshit comments saying that all look lame… and that it’s not natural… please… to me a piaffe is much more unnatural and don’t get me started on the correctness of all that tightness and over-flexion I see in dressage horses.. These animals are all moving out on incredibly loose reins. The move out willingly and quietly. Are there some trapped in their tails and not engaging their hind ends? Yes! Yes there are. Are there some over cannted? Yes!! But those will not place. A good horse moves slow and controlled with at most a slight tip of hip to the inside. You know, forming an arch with his body in correlation with his leadad allowing him to be fully collected. And as for the head and neck movement as I saw in several comments.. that head is not them being lame, as you have obviously never seen a truly lame horse lope, it is them using their body to counter balance their motion behind. Now some bob much more than others, guess why???? They don’t have the training or do not possess the breeding for as natural and good of self carriage!! My mare runs with her head low out in the pen and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t look the same as when I ride her. She naturally likes to hold her head low. You can forcertainly a horse’show head down but they will.never have the look of someone that’she body does it naturally.

    And honestly I could go on, but none of you I know will listen.

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  100. Wendy

    I show Western Pleasure but I don’t like how most of the horses are trained to not have a true lope. I always tend to be faster than everyone else in the show ring because I want my horse to go into a true lope, not what they were doing. You should be able to easily distinguish what gait the horse is in. To me this is a disgrace.

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  101. Carla

    First of all, to every “Anonymous” comment – good, bad, or indifferent – grow up. Little keyboard warriors pounding out “answers,” saving the world’s horses one “anonymous” opinion at a time (*huge eye roll*).

    Secondly, if you seriously don’t like the way a discipline is judged – I don’t care if it’s Big Lick Tennessee Walkers, or Western Pleasure, or Racing, or Halter Horses, or the freaking Budweiser Clydesdales…go get your judge card so YOU can start picking the winners. Complaining anonymously from behind a keyboard won’t help. Start changing who picks the winners and what judges are looking for, and then you effect REAL change in the industry.

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  102. Mira Lea

    Someone wrote: ‘…Try putting that lope on horse — weeks to make. Months to maintain. Years to gain ‘elite’ consistency. If its not for you just skate on by…’

    Of course it takes ‘weeks to make, months to maintain and years to gain’ … that is because this is not a natural gait for the horse. A balanced horse is not meant to move as if it has severe arthritis where it looks as if each step is excruciating painful. smh

    Reply

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