I hear so much criticism about the Western Pleasure class I just wanted to say I really have a hard time seeing any negativity in the video. I was really happy to see such great movers. Of course a couple of horses may get out of frame but the riders know the rules and try to abide by them. After all a horse is a horse and if they were all rule book “perfect” there wouldn’t be a competition. The days of a peanut roller and a crippled looking lopers are over. AQHA is educating everyone on what the rider needs to know from A -Z. From the barrel racer to the hunter jumper, showmanship to driving ect. What a great association with ultimately the horses well being priority. I’m loving the true forward motion with the lift, hock and cadence required to present a very pretty picture. AQHA has worked diligently to educate its readers. The controversy on head bobbing is still out there for many. I like to think of it as a pendulum which helps to balance these exceptionally well bred Western Pleasure horses. Even our personal Western Riding horse who moves very forward has his long neck “pendulum” moving up and down as he rides. I see this as well when he gallops across the pasture. His movement is effortless for him and not man made. If you see a horses head bobbing to the knees and no lift in the forehand the horse isn’t being ridden properly and will probably shuffle and the hock will probably not be reaching under for good balance. I see this all the time with inexperienced riders and horses that are not particularly bred for the WP. If a poor moving horse wins the class its because of what it was compared to in the field of horses in that class was no better or worse. Its all a learning curve in my opinion. From experience I know a good WP horse loves going slow and most of the time you have to push them foreword. It also has natural bred born into them movement. A gorgeous reaching front leg and a look says to the onlooker “good mind…no rush … no worries.” That’s personally speaking my kind of horse. You can also spot potential WP prospects out in a field of yearlings. They are obviously really great movers. Many of them go to the show pen with all that natural ability and the rider just needs to stay out of there way and let them do their job as it is a great entry level class and then they can advance to other classes such as for the Amateurs and Select riders who require a horse that can do 2-3 or more classes such as Showmanship, Horsemanship, Western Riding. Hoping my opinion doesn’t offend but possibly open another perspective.
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