Extension at All Gaits

AQHA horse-showing judges will be asking for lengthened strides in western pleasure classes in 2013.

AQHA horse-showing judges will be asking for lengthened strides in western pleasure classes in 2013.

The stigma about passing is about to change. Judges are moving toward a quality before quantity approach in the western pleasure division. If a rider can build up the quality of their horses movement, they will score better at all gaits. Journal photo.
The stigma about passing is about to change. Judges are moving toward a “quality before quantity” approach in western pleasure classes. If a rider can build up the quality of her horse’s movement, she will score better at all gaits. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

In your 2013 western pleasure classes, expect your AQHA judges to ask for lengthened strides in all gaits – walk, jog and lope. That comes straight from the AQHA Judges Seminar December 11-14, 2012, in Dallas, according to AQHA Senior Director of Judges Alex Ross.

“We want exhibitors to start preparing because they are likely to see this throughout the year,” Alex says.

“We’ve requested lengthened strides at (AQHA World Championship shows) for several years, and now we are asking judges to call for the lengthened stride at weekend shows if needed.”

The term “lengthened stride” was suggested by top-100 western pleasure riders attending the western pleasure seminar in 2008 at AQHA in Amarillo.

Every year, AQHA conducts a continuing education seminar limited to approved AQHA judges. The annual seminar covers a different set of classes each year; the 2012 sessions covered western pleasure, ranch pleasure, halter, performance halter and reining.

AQHA Professional Horsemen and judges David Dellin of Purcell, Oklahoma, and Gary Trubee of Fredericktown, Ohio, conducted the western pleasure educational sessions. Here’s a little of what they said:

Judgment Call

“We’ve made the judges well aware that in our (AQHA) rulebook (Rule SHW 408), it states that they can ask for a lengthening of stride at both the walk and the lope, in addition to already asking for the moderate extension of the jog,” David says.

“We’re asking them to ask for that when judges see horses with interrupted walks – a walk with pauses or breaks in the four-beat-rhythm – indistinct jogs lacking correctness or cadence, or horses loping with negative characteristics such as head bobbing, dwelling on the outside front leg or lacking cadence.”

AQHA Professional Horseman and world champion exhibitor Dave Dellin and National Snaffle Bit Association Executive Director Dianne Eppers go through the basics of the expectations in the western pleasure discipline on AQHA’s “Showing to Win: Western Pleasure” DVD. Learn how to stay competitive in the show ring with the advice of these AQHA and NSBA judges.

The point is to place a priority on correctness and cadence in the gaits over degree of difficulty in a slow speed.

“As exhibitors, we cannot give up correctness or quality of gait to try to achieve a certain degree of difficulty in a slow rhythm,” David explains. “Be correct in the gait first.

“I think about it in this way: If you’re judging a reiner spinning, if that horse leaps around in its spin, it doesn’t matter how fast he turns, it’s still a negative score because he wasn’t correct in the maneuver. But if he’s correct first, then you can start climbing up the scale of pluses as you add the degree of difficulty in how fast he does it.”

Correct Movement

Gary stresses that asking for the lengthened stride is not about increased speed.

“I hate that word when it comes to a pleasure class,” he says. “It’s about moving forward with flow and pace. We need to change the attitude among many exhibitors so that western pleasure is not a slow contest, it’s a movement contest.

“It’s an event that should be judged on movement and not speed. If you start talking about speed alone, you can go to a truck stop and find anyone to judge it for you.”

Asking for lengthened stride for horses to be more forward is an effort to emphasize correctness of gait.

“One of the biggest negative trends we’ve seen is horses not jogging with a two-beat gait,” David gives as an example. “Some horses are just poor joggers, but there are a lot of horses that could have a positive jog if they had an extra half gear more forward, so their diagonal pairs are really clean. Exhibitors are sacrificing that because they are jogging too slowly.

See how just a small change can alter your entire western pleasure performance. Watch as the same horse is set up in credit-earning and non-credit-earning situations on AQHA’s “Showing to Win: Western Pleasure” DVD. Topics covered include over-canting, passing, gait transitions, cadence, consistency, expression and more. Learn about horse judging standards through the eyes of a judge.

“But by our rulebook (rule SHW 331.2.4), just to be average, you first must have a two-beat jog. The quality is assessed and from there – how smooth a jog, confidence and expression, topline – all of those other characteristics come after that.”

Gary adds: “The degree of difficulty is in the horse that’s moving correctly and going at a proper western pleasure speed. Secretariat (TB) was a great mover, but he was too fast for this class.”

What to Expect

Gary listed what judges might do in a class.

“At the beginning of a class, a judge might announce that he/she will ask for lengthened strides in the class.

“You might be asked to enter the ring at an extended jog. I like to do that as a judge because I think it frees a horse up from the first.

“Judges will probably change around their gait calls – that also frees up a horse in his movement.

“And passing is 100 percent acceptable as long as the horse is correct in his movement. I’ve been showing pleasure horses for almost 50 years, and part of the problem has been this stigma about passing. We are asking the judges to change that.”

Gary adds that you could also find yourself showing more in split classes.

“A judge might need to split a class to give exhibitors more room to show their horses,” he says. “You can’t move well in a traffic jam: If you’re driving through downtown Dallas, you’ve always got one foot on the brake and one on the gas. If you’re driving from Dallas to Amarillo, you can keep your foot on the gas the whole way.”

David encourages exhibitors to be confident, too.

“When a judge calls for a lengthened stride in a gait, there might be two or three horses in the pen already moving correctly,” David says. “Those horses don’t need to change.

“If you are exhibiting your horse so that he is performing to the rules, you don’t need to keep asking for more forward and chase your horse up out of a good, balanced position. When a judge calls for the lengthened stride, that’s when you check yourself, ‘Is that what I’m already presenting?’ ”

Big Picture

“I think the class has improved greatly over the past few years,” Gary says, “but there is room for more improvement.

“We need to change attitudes the public has about this class. When you look at what the mass horse media says about it, it’s pretty condemning. If you don’t have a product that the general public wants to get involved in, you’re in trouble.

“If we can clean up the gaits so horses are hitting a two-beat jog and they’re loping down the rail without being over-canted and dwelling on their front ends, to where other horsemen – whether they are reiners or whatever – can look at it and say, ‘That’s a good moving horse,’ that will help.”

Gary adds that the pieces are in place for western pleasure to grow positively.

“Right now, we have the best-bred horses for it, their necks are hung on them right, their hocks are set on them good. We have great trainers.

“And (western pleasure) gives a horse all the basics he needs to go on to western riding, horsemanship, trail, whatever. It is the first class for a horse’s long, productive show career.”

DVD Discount

Being a member of the American Quarter Horse Association gives you access to an incredible number of special deals and savings on day-to-day purchases. Use these savings to pump up your game at the horse shows this year by purchasing the “Showing to Win: Western Pleasure” DVD. Members receive a discount on this DVD, as well as discounts on numerous other products from Quarter Horse Outfitters. Buy the “Showing to Win: Western Pleasure” DVD today, and make this show season be the one that you won’t ever forget.

50 thoughts on “Extension at All Gaits”

  1. A world champion that goes in a sideways crab and four beats. Most disgusting. The AQHA is all about money and people of wealth. Western pleasure horses are not judged by the rule book. The judges also show these crippled horses and those are the ones they place. After the Tennessee Walking horses, western pleasure horses are the most cruel treated. Money keeps AQHA from stopping this mistreatment.

  2. I just hate watching western pleasure! What’s nice about watching a crippling trot and canter on a 2yo!

  3. Hello – it is amazing how the racehorse world is judged for racing 2 years old – look at the quarter horses – riding them at 2 years when they are not fully done growing and there bones are still growing – and you want to know why you have so many hock problems with your western pleasure horses – let them be babies and finish growing before you make them walk, jog and lope at an unnatural speed

  4. I don’t like the unnatural beat of the horses either. Is the extension in the walk, trot, and lope to put the horse in a more natural gait? Why call for the “extension” at each pace, why not just have the horse work in his natural gait. I agree that 2 year olds are not ready for the ring either. They need to grow and mature in the bone first. Such a beautiful animal the quarter horse is but as in anything money and politics play into the direction the breed is going.

  5. Whatever. I will believe this when I see it. If “no name Joe” shows his horse at the extended gait, and “Mr. famous” keeps his head bobbing 4 beater on the rail at a slower pace, “Mr. famous” will still win. Politics will always prevail.

  6. I will believe it when I see it as well…. agree with betty…. too many good ol boys and too much politics and money…. thats why we left AQHA shows and go to open shows…. can ride my horse naturally and enjoy it and still place and win….. I cannot will not and dont see any sense in riding a horse that lopes sideways or bobs its head and trots so slow I can tell if its trotting at all…. I love the arabins and the way they flex at the poll and trot slow but collect adn pretty and the canter its heaven on earth to ride…… I ride quarter horses and mine are fairly slow but have TRUE gaits and jog and canter very nicely with out all that side winding or head bobbing. This would be a god send if it actually catches on …. (too many paid off judges and politics though for it to really take effect, maybe the organization should start fining the judges for not upholding the standards when judging? )

  7. This change can only come from the judges themselves. People will not change their horses if the judges aren’t placing them according to the changes that are being made. I absolutely agree that AQHA should start holding judges accountable (i.e. fines, suspension, etc) if they do not uphold the standards the organization has set as the rule.

  8. If judges encourage a more correct, natural movement in the pen, you’ll see more folks start showing again.

  9. Hahaha!!!! I’ll believe it when I see it!!!! The biggest joke I have ever read, I’ll be shocked if it ever gets pushed along. I’ll also be shocked if its followed in the show pen. Money and politics is what AQHA is mainly all about they like to screw over the people who can actually ride and the horses that can actually move.

  10. I was just at a show over memorial day weekend and the winning wp horses were loping sideways and lots of bobbing in green, senior and junior. Amateur classes looked better but doesn’t seem the judges are changing.

  11. One of the reasons that I quit showing years ago – cound not stand to see such bad movement and “SILVER” win time after time. Another problem I have – WHY does AQHA have a Halter class and a PERFORMANCE halter class?!!!! A true quarter horse should be more than a stand & model horse!! If the horse is true / correct in his conformation, then he can do other events. Money & bribes have ruin the quarter horse!

  12. Agree with everyone of you! AQHA is joking around with us arent they? AQHA – Listen up – please Show us just one judge that has the guts to enforce “walk with purpose” and “Lope with forward motion in a 3-beat cadence” etc. No wonder Dressage schooling shows have become flooded with stock horse people, we are sick of the WP crap and dead-looking horses cruelly trained to go unaturally and as if they have no brains. That is why I am training western dressage and will continue to do penning and ranch pleasure – walking with purpose, ground covering jog and trot, and 3-beat lope and a head set to see where the horse is going! I ride a foundation QH and he would never put up with it.

  13. All I can say is that it is about time the judges do this. Also pick those poor horses noses up out of the dirt. No sense in taking an hour for a Western Pleasure class that is not a pleasure to watch. When the judges start picking horses with normal movement and head carriage then maybe the class will be worth watching.

  14. There must be a reason why now AQHA is basically starting a whole new “division” to entice the ranch horse folks into the fold because those of us who like a good all around can do horse aren’t going to its shows because we want more out of our quarter horses than standing up straight or loping like he/she is drugged out of his/her gourds. Now there is “Performance” division. I believe I could get my mare to lope like the WP horses (not that I want to), but I invite those pleasure horse folks to venture over to my side and in one day do conformation, pleasure, trail/reining, cutting, and working cow all on the same horse. Isn’t that what the original quarter horse was supposed to be?

  15. That was the most disgusting lope I’ve ever seen. This is exactly why I would never go back to Western Pleasure. There is no pleasure in working a horse like that or watching it.

  16. The original quarter horse, mentioned above, used to do it all and then came the giant body and tiny feet and the demise of the real quarter horse. So much abuse all in the name of the almighty $ and the who’s-who of the “horse world.” Ranch rodeo/versatility will save the American Quarter Horse and is one of the best things to happen lately!

  17. The judges are in control with how the WP horse is shown. The trainers will train them the way the judges place them, it is as simple as that. Good luck getting the judges to change their mindset.

  18. I agree with y’all! I am so proud of my beautiful quarter horse that has a trainer that enforces quality of movement. We will never “trope” but she has still done well. I am also proud of the way I ride…I don’t just sit there. I’m almost embarrassed to tell people I do Western Pleasure because any human being can see that a horse shouldn’t look broken while loping. Maybe we will never be at the World Show..but that is one ribbon I’m proud not to have. So happy that change is on the wind…all changes take time.

  19. That four-beat, sideways, half-cocked “lope” on that two year-old was pitiful. Shame on the AQHA for rewarding this! Instead of heading for the World Show, please people turn those babies out in the pasture and let them grow up! My horses don’t get ridden until they are four or five or even older. My 30 year-old 14.2 hand foundation bred has his Open Superior All-Around and he never had anyone on his back until he was six. Now at 30 he is still rideable and driveable and he still canters or lopes in three beats, trots in two, and walks in four. He could still be shown except the AQHA thinks he is dead due to his age and they make too much paperwork to have him re-declared living every year. All our horses would last longer if we would wait, let them grow up, and let them move like a real horse. What’s the rush to jump on a two year-old? Where’s the “pleasure” in forcing babies (or any horse) to hobble around like that? Ugh.

  20. I agree with all of u at a show ythis weekend same crap picking the tropers. I would never train a hose that way it’s ugly. You wonder why bother you know before you go in the slow troper will win i hope this goes i affect fast the judges are to blame they have to stop using those ill gater horses fast it will be a hoot to see if these can extend they are to scared to go forward for fear on being ripped on. And spired till they bleed. Wake up aq your loosing people right and left. I think people should call in the judges that use these horses and fine them and send them back to school. I hate it when those so called want to bed just rip and tear there fasces off. The pup lic sees this and donot understand it they just see abuse. Nothing more the trooping has to go now. Then maybe people may come back. Maybe. Get after the judges now inform them that you pick those troping ill gained things loose your card. And people have start reporting them then and only then this will work untill then these horses have to be roped on and spured. To death untill this happens. Wake up aq or you will have no members. Then where you be. That is my feeling about this

  21. I am selling my beautiful western saddle , as I agree with the above . Why have our pleasure horses started to move like jump starting cars , bobbing heads unatural gaits. Its really sad and not natural AT ALL !!

  22. So sad the way that poor filly had to bob her head to keep moving. This looks pitiful, not pleasurable.

  23. AQHA judges and the powers-that-be are you reading any of this? Do you have the guts to make the changes? We have the guts to no longer support AQHA and go elsewhwre. Since my boy is double registered, I’ll keep my FQHR and skip the AQHA if there are no changes after this year. That’s a promise. Would lover to hear back from you!

  24. AQHA please wake up! Look at all the comments above. Then ask yourself why ranch sorting, trail challenges, barrel racing, etc are becoming more popular and western pleasure and western eq (old school, what is it called now?) are dieing out? It is painful to watch western pleasure. The horses look miserable. Look at the classes that are becoming more popular. Reining, cow work, versatility ranch horse, ranch pleasure, classes where the horse is actually MOVING. And don’t get me started on trail. Sticks on the ground and how slow can you move over and through them.

  25. I only show open shows, but this crazy heat set and 4 beat in a basket lope is also rewarded in this type of show. You see trainers jerking their poor horses mouths and spurring at the same time, talk about mixed signals. I also agree that if the judges would just quit placing these horses and go back to what the quarter horse movement was supposed to be, maybe then things would get back to a normal movement. I hear the term lope with forward movement at a registered show and then the exhibitors move at a snail pace of maybe a two foot stride… That my friends is no forward movement. Get with the program, quit ruining the quarter horse breed.

  26. AQHA…it’s time to go back to the source…take time to go back and read the OFFICIAL AQHA rulebook that states how horses are to be judged in AQHA classes- this goes for English too- and then hold all the judges accountable to judge to that standard?? Obviously, the judges are ignoring the rules. Why have rules if they are not enforced?? The question is why don’t the judges place the classes according to the OFFICIAL WRITTEN RULES? Who decided that canting a pleasure horse was a proper, natural gait? What horse have you ever seen cantering at will that cants his hindend?? Why do judges reward the trainers for teaching the horses to move this way?
    What are the consequences to judges for NOT following the rules?? Apparently, there aren’t any…or there aren’t any that are strong enough to change the current pool of judges placings.

    Your comments about asking for lengthening of strides in western
    pleasure in 2013 is comical. I have been attending shows for 6 months and have yet to hear ANY judge call for a lenthening of stride at the lope.

    The information that comes down the line on these forums is NOT being applied in real life. Until AQHA gets its act together, nothing will change. Current members are very discouraged with the way this organization is being managed, the changes that are being made, and the lack of accountability…at all levels.

  27. So AQHA had to “request” that their judges start asking for “lengthened strides” at shows? Hmmmm, because NOW they realize that something might actually be WRONG with what is going on in the ring?
    Hmmmmm, again, why do they think they have to give their “exhibitors” the heads up on this? I thought you were supposed to train for anything and everything to be asked of you and your horse in the show ring.
    My guess is that AQHA is having less participation in certain classes where being “pretty, slow, and abnormal movement is the norm”. And they are losing money to shows that reward real horses with real movement, doing what real horses were bred for.

  28. Everyone has made true comments, but if we ever want to move forward within the industry we need to make positive changes with postive attitudes and work together as an assocaitons to ENSURE that these changes are made and are continued with. Hold the judges accountable as mentioned, change the rules to enforce these changes worldwide, as whatever the US are doing the rest of the world will follow suit. We need to remember what it is about our association and industry that made us passionate to be involved with in the first place. I am also disheartened with what i see but i am not ready to give up!

  29. It is sad to see these poor animals labor over an unnatural movement. I quit going just because I couldn’t stand the abuse.

  30. I applaud all the comments above. I train my own horses. Can’t afford a trainer. Don’t want a trainer. I train all of my horses to be all arounds. Their movements may not be at snail’s pace but they are correct. My daughter has shown all around all her life. When she turned 14 she was disgusted with the judging. All she did after that was speed. She is now 23. She hates AQHA shows. She now trains her horses for barrels and poles. No judge, just a time clock!! We have quit showing AQHA a couple of years ago since all the classes have turned into pleasure classes (horsemanship, trail, western riding and HUS). I have several horses in training (all arounds and speed). I break at 2 yrs and train at 4 yrs. We now show at open shows and NBHA. Have more fun and it’s quite cheaper. I have always said when showing is no more fun, it’s time to quit. So we did. Thank you AQHA for running us off.

  31. It seems to me that it is impossible for a horse to properly do an extention without having the horse bridled up. I would just like to see a WP horse travel properly. Don’t need to look like a show hack. Just a nice moving horse that looks like a pleasure to ride.

  32. Deanne

    I agree with all the comments above. I was faithful every year going to the Congress and liked pleasure horses because I had a pleasure and halter horse. I got fed up with watching the way these horses were moving and being judged and haven’t gone for three years now. When I bred my mare and she had a beautiful buckskin filly my vet checked her as a two year old and told me keep any training at a minimal as her knees weren’t closed. How many of these young horses at two in the show ring have the same.

    I do not agree with putting 2 yr. olds in the show ring. They need to allow to grow.

    I notice a lot of entries at club shows are down to only a handful of horses if that in a class.

    Why? I do a lot of ring stewarding for judges and the judges that do the judging are always picking the Quarter horses rather than looking at the other breeds that come to the show.

    The way western pleasure horse are going and being judged has gone on far to long. I have my doubts whether this new way of asking for extension in their gates is going to work in the show ring.

    Good luck. Judges have to change.

  33. I used to like to watch the horse shows, but have to agree that I stopped watching the pleasure horses because it just makes me sick to see what people are trying to call a ground covering 4 beat walk; two beat trot and 3 beat canter/lope. I have not seen a pleasure horse in the show arena in a long time that I would like to take home and ride because when I ride I want a horse that is moving like he is going somewhere and enjoying it. I like to see a horse with his neck out straight from the withers, vertical flexion at the poll, cantering straight down the rail, moving in an easy yet ground covering stride. When I was an apprentice judge in another association that is what we were taught to look for in a good pleasure horse; when I was working as an apprentice trainer I was told to get that free forward movement and not try to slow the horse down to much, find where he is comfortable and develop it. I hope your Association can come back to honoring the horse.


  35. I agree with Alison. I don’t own Quarter Horses, so watching the mechanical gaits in WP and other similar classes is a little disheartening to see. HOWEVER, I don’t think AQHA is necessarily to blame for the way the division has gone. They are just an organization trying to maintain the integrity of the breed for years to come, just like any other breed association. Like many of you said, the JUDGES are the ones who ultimately make the decision in the class. Whatever the judges place is going to be the model for how people train their horses. To me, the fact that AQHA is at least TRYING to change the direction this class is going shows that they do care about the breed and the public’s opinion. Granted, there could probably be more done to hold the judges accountable for placing the unnatural or poor movers. They are not ALL bad and corrupted by politics. It’s just the ones who are who have made it difficult for the division to change.

    That being said, big changes like this take time. You can’t just snap your fingers and make it all go away at once. Look at the TWH association. It took years upon years to bring about the changes they needed. In their case, it took something big to get the ball actually rolling. I sincerely hope it doesn’t come to that in this case. BUT, seeing this post makes me a little hopeful. I will say this. Be at least a little bit optimistic. Pessimism won’t do much to better the breed. Pessimism has nearly crashed some of the smaller associations I’ve been a part of. Be positive, if this is something you like, support it!! Don’t just have the attitude of “I’ll believe it when I see it”. Like I said earlier, I don’t have Quarter Horses, but I am certainly going to call AQHA and tell them “thank you” for at least getting the ball rolling on this.

  36. I am going to guess that everyone here who commented have never been successful showing a pleasure horse, could you be a little jealous?
    Are pleasure horses the only ones showing today that have lameness issues? If you think so then you are out of touch. Pleasure horses are the only ones actually judged on soundness. When was the last time you saw a barrel horse or Reiner trot down the middle of the arena being judged for lameness, or better yet turned out for being lame! If you think that they don’t have just as many lameness issues as a pleasure horse….think again!,
    As far as “natural” carriage, when was the last time you saw a horse running in the pasture with his head between his front legs and come to a sliding stop. Do you think they pet those horses into doing spins and slides?
    Show horses are pampered animals, there’s a lot of PEOPLE who would like to have such good care.
    If you “care” so much why don’t you go out and do something about those horses who are starving due to neglect….yea you know what I’m talking about, there’s probably some you’ve seen right down the road,

  37. Jay, I’ve ridden “exceptional” pleasure horses by today’s standards as well as won top honors in several other disciplines including dressage. I have no jealousy towards WP at all, I think it disgusting. Crab crawling and improper gaits are just WRONG in any discipline. I mean seriously, if these folks want to ride a gaited horse, go buy one. Leave the QH to the WTC we know and love. Modern pleasure is not a pleasure to watch or ride in my opinion and many others. AQHA really needs to get back to its roots.

  38. Jay, I live in north Texas right around the TOP WP trainers in the nation! I have raised world champion WP horses & have won on a national level thru AQHA, NSBA, & other breed assns. What is being done to these horses to get them to win is disgraceful. We raise these horses to trust, etc… yet they get daily abuse to the point that you walk thru most barns and they are depressed, exhausted, & sore. The comments above ARE reflective of our industry and it DOES need to be changed if we want the publics opinion to change and new blood to return to the industry. But the reality is that no matter what tule is in place, the judges will place the pe of movement that the trainers will strive for. Many ARE colleagues & will ‘help’ each other to gain points. THAT IS POLITICS! So until judges are willing to step up and buck the system, we will see very little change unfortunately. These are REAL issues in our industry and we need to address it.
    I do wonder, does AQHA really read these? What sort of accountability will be enforced with judges? If things remain the same…. NONE! :/and
    I love this industry and have spent decades in it, but while we have amazingly talented horses, we are treating them horribly to showcase it.

  39. And since this article was specific to the WP industry, I dont find it odd that we are not addressing other disciplines. I also dont see a need either…. lets look at what the article discussed and NOT muddle it with extras. Theres plenty within our industry that needs to be fixed.

  40. Change starts with the judges. Period. People are only going to do what gets them rewarded in the pen.

  41. I know i must be very naive, i am over 50 and have been riding for about five years. I have a quarter horse i have shown in local shows with success. I have never done anything to hurt her or change her gait. We just walk, trot and canter and turn around a few times, line up and back up. I have never used any painful techniques and would never. We warm up with walking and trotting. She moves forward at a walk or trot based on my voice request. Her gait is her own natual movement that she uses to come in for feed, to play in the field or to walk with me to her favorite clover patch.
    I paid 200 dollars for my silver free saddle and plan on continuing to ride at a natural barefoot gait and just enjoy it for as long as i can. She and i know when we did great and you can bet that if i am riding her i will have big western pleasure smile

  42. I recently went to a local show (not registered) and contemplated showing in English, thinking this would be my only option, because I have a good pleasure horse, but not the crippled looking 4-beat loping kind. It was a pathetic show with less than six horses in a class. Only one was a half-way clean loper. I am glad I didn’t take my mare. She would have stuck out like a sore thumb with the malnourished, beat down plodders. I wish it would change for the breed. I will stick to team sorting and things that the real American Quarter Horse were made for. There is no room for an athletic horse in today’s pleasure class. I was also disappointed to see an adult walk-trot class. What is next? Adult lead line?
    The big trainers are going to have to change and have the change acknowledged by the judges before this whole movement will follow through.

  43. Must change the judging, its that simple! I cant stand to watch the circus they now call Western Pleasure….time for a change.

  44. Our 4-H Fair a couple of weeks ago had better movers this year and I was pleased to see it! Only a couple of tropers. The horse that was the most consistent placed the highest. there were a few slow goers, but most of the horses were loping 3-beat and I was pleased. The jog seemed to have sped up a little too. Thank God!!

  45. I suppose this could be called progress, to aknowledge how poor the gaits have become. And it is some encouragement to those of us, not in America, western showing with slightly faster horses (or appaloosas) who always lose to quarter horses carrying their heads with the “tip of the ears below the withers consistently’ who four beat at the lope. There is no substitute for a horse that moves the way nature intended while still displaying fine training

  46. I just came from 2013 quarter horse congress. It does not look like anything is fixed. The gaits were slow and very ugly. I also find it interesting that 4 judges placed the top 15 completely differently . In most disciplines it should not be that hard to get somewhat of a consensus of the judges. Is it because all the horses looked equally terrible ?

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