I downloaded the patterns from AQHA and yesterday tried the different patterns. It was so fun! No competitions around where I live, but it was a throwback to the old days. No bling allowed, apparently, or fake tails -- and the accompanying article specified that forward motion was required. No pitty-pat movers or anything resembling Western Pleasure.
Has anyone here tried it? I saw a Ranch trail video on youtube and it looked like lots of fun, too. A real gate, forward motion, had to dismount three times and drop the bridle at the end. Not "horse agility" like the current trends are for the regular trail class, but more like what you might actually ask a working horse to do.
If you've tried it, what did the judge's really reward? Were they looking for a horse that was more like a reiner?
I think spotnotfarm has tried it. You may want to PM her if she doesn't post here.
I have not done the AQHA ranch pleasure because I have a paint! We show in American Stock Horse and it is all working tack, no bling, and horse that move out. In ASHA we have to show in a collected gait and extended. The judges look for a forward moving horse with a nice self carriage. However, not the totally draped reins like in WP. Look up ASHA and see if they have any shows in your area! http://www.americanstockhorse.org/
AQHA has more of a reining type pattern. My trainer has showed in it twice, once with her reining mare and once with a SUPER nice reined cowhorse she has in training ( and if the stars align he will be mine!!)! She likes stock horse better but if I get a AQHA or if APHA adds it, I will show in it next year.
My best friend has targeted that class for her mare, Lavish Love, and is leading the nation with almost 100 points to date, and is the first AQHA Superior Ranch Pleasure horse. The mare seems to like the class, can move naturally (which was not the case when mare was shown in WP and resorted to a 4,5,or 6 beat canter to go slow enough). Best part about the class here in the Rocky Mountain states from S Dakota to N Mexico, is that the entries are huge, 20 - 40 per class, and my friend is earning points by the dozens per circuit. Watch her mare on the World Show webcast in Nov.
I agree, spotnot, yecch on the WP slow freaky gaits and style. I think I'd call those "Thrown Away Reins", though, rather than draped reins. A properly draped rein can go to contact with a very small move.
I'd love to see pics of your APHA mare.