• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

What wins the Pleasure classes at h/j shows?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • What wins the Pleasure classes at h/j shows?

    I have a little draft cross mare that I'm riding this year and want to take to some shows. She's kind of "pony" looking due to the draft, but has a big stride and very nice, pleasant way of going. She'll probably be more suited to the Pleasure division than hunters, and I plan on taking her to local h/j shows this year. What are the judges looking for? I know I need an extended trot and the horse should be shown on a light contact. She is in a snaffle bit and does not need a martingale. Anyone have video links?
    Man plans. God laughs.

  • #2
    In my experience it is a crap shoot

    One would think that the horse that has great manners, looks pleasurable to ride and is aethetically pleasing size wise with its rider would have a good shot. Not always so in my experience.

    I had a kid rider who lost her confidence in a bad fall one year (pure accident - it happens). She had been doing the children's hunter division previously and some 3' eq. She was scared to jump but still wanted to be a part of the shows we went to which was great so she did the pleasure divisions with one of our lovely, happy, cute, soft, kinda plump, very eyecatching blood bay, good moving Wb's. He was an absolute chicken over fences and had no lead solid change so the flat division was perfect for him too!

    She did three A level shows. The first she got nothing...not one darn ribbon. The classes were surprisingly large at about 18 or so in each. She started the day with a pelham because it was a bit chilly that morning and she just wanted that extra confidence that if all heck broke loose with 18 cantering at once that she would be ok. Horse was a super star - didn't put a foot wrong and wore a I am so cute, happy, soft & pleasurable expression on his face the whole time. Not even a reserve. Hmmm. Ok, let's swap in the big D-ring snaffle now that it is mid morning, warmer and kid knows horse is just fine in a big group. Again, horse performs flawlessly. No placing. And so it was with the third class of that division. Judge just didn't like the horse for whatever reason. It happens.

    Next show, I think there were maybe five or so. Three blues no question.

    Next show maybe 8 or so. Nothing in the first class - wrong lead doh. Then mid ribbons maybe a 5th and 6th? Then, she wanted to do one more class for the day so I had her hop into an under saddle class for haha's even though she hadn't jumped with the division. Very large class of 25 or so. Same judge in the same ring. Back in the pelham for her comfort level and voila! First place. A shock but a very happy one to end the season!

    Good luck and go for the enjoyment of riding at a show. Ribbons will be gravy!


    • #3
      USEF/USHJA does not recognize a "Pleasure" division nationally and USEF A rateds do not offer it.

      Some local shows that may be rated by USEF as B or C do depending on your area...it is more prevalent in areas where breed shows are popular.

      I have never been in an area where they offered it though.
      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


      • #4
        I have seen pleasure classes in schooling (non rated shows).

        What wins both pleasure or Hunters IMHO is consistency. Something I CANNOT get on my fancy horse... uggg.
        Live in the sunshine.
        Swim in the sea.
        Drink the wild air.


        • #5
          The pleasure classes are a toss up. Just enjoy your horse and have fun. Get the correct leads, don't kick anyone and have good transitions. It is a local show class, and all the judges have a different criteria.

          When I judge the hunter pleasure, I often use the horses that wouldn't quite cut it in a true under saddle. I like to see a pleasant fellow I would take hacking with DH or Grandma on a Sunsay afternoon.


          • #6
            Pleasure horses should look like a pleasure to ride-comfortable gaits, easily forward on a loose rein, easy immediate transitions, quiet, relaxed, completely consistent. It shouldn't look like the rider has to work. I've found many judges don't look for super-forward, but rather easy working gaits that would be suitable for an all-day hack out in the country-not sluggish, but not huge either. Bits DO matter-most judges will not place a horse in a strong bit high, but want the horse to go in a plain snaffle. If the horse needs a stronger bit that's noticeable, like a wire snaffle, kimberwicke, or pelham, that's an indication to the judge that the horse is harder to ride than the one in the plain snaffle, and harder to ride=less pleasurable.

            So basically, no matter who the judge is, you want to present a pleasant, happy picture, looking like you are both out for a lovely hack in the park on a quiet, pushbutton pony with both rider and horse enjoying themselves immensely.

            In most other divisions, the rider should make it look easy. In pleasure, it should actually BE easy.


            • #7
              Manymanymany years ago, I used to go to some local shows during the week just to get my QH some show mileage. We did some pleasure classes and almost always won.

              Quiet, but willing hacker shown nearly on the buckle - especially at the trot. Gets along nearby the other horses; especially at line-up. Stands quietly, and looks happy with what he/she is doing. And the rider should look relaxed and look like he/she is having a good time, while still being a good showman.


              • #8
                put it to you this way...I showed a really cute, but forward and "up" TB in the pleasure division this past fall. Did not do well, I think we were like 5th out of 6 and some of those other horses, well let's just say one was dead lame and he placed better than us

                Same horse went in the next division and won the under saddle against several of the very same horses, including the pleasure div champion.

                Have the same exp with pony pleasure, have seen the best, fanciest mover out there, on a nice long rein but a little bit of a sour expression, who would win the under saddle regularly but didn't always pin well in the pleasure.

                SO, In my experience, their way of going is more important than their actual movement. I guess they are taking it literally, the judges want the horse who is most "pleasurable" to ride in that division, not the fanciest, not the best mover etc.

                LONG rein, no contact, easy transitions, nice expression, consistent. That seems to be what they want in our area at least.


                • #9
                  Here are a few pics of some Pleasure horses that usually do well.
                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    Ditto to what others have said. Way of going is definitely important. With bits, less is MORE!

                    A couple years ago I showed a pony named "Remember This" on a local circuit in VA. We won almost every pleasure class we did-- here is a video with some short clips of her.



                    • #11
                      Originally posted by findeight View Post
                      USEF/USHJA does not recognize a "Pleasure" division nationally and USEF A rateds do not offer it.

                      Some local shows that may be rated by USEF as B or C do depending on your area...it is more prevalent in areas where breed shows are popular.

                      I have never been in an area where they offered it though.
                      Hey Findeight..USEF does recognize English Pleasure Hunter Seat. I am very proud to say my horse Medallion, whom I co owned with my sister Shirley, placed THIRD in the Horse of the Year Standings for USEF for 2010, he was in first for most of the year before he passed away. The EP classes are offerred at such "A" shows as Ox Ridge and Fieldstone in New England and this summer some classes will be held in the Vermont "A" shows. In California, it is at the A rated shows at Murieta and Pebble Beach, and the "Let's Show" series. In Florida, it is being held in Jacksonville at the Rush shows, and many, many other shows including Gulfport. There are also pleasure classes at WEF.
                      RIP Triple Take (aka Indiana )


                      • #12
                        also think what has been posted is great advice.

                        My guy wasn't a 10 mover, but looked pleasant. He would keep a frame with a loop in the rein and would halt without me having to touch the rein. He looked pleasant and went around with his ears up alot. To back him up, I could just tighten my thigh without touching the rein and he would back.

                        Some judges like a soft frame others like their nose out. Some like a more forward trot. Some would not mind a steady trot but then wanted a flow to the canter to show flexibilty- not crazy fast, just a little canter.
                        Breed shows- forward trot, sit the canter.
                        H/J- half seat canter.

                        Other than that, its the judges opinion. And you just do what you can to show your horse to the best of his ability.

                        We did local shows as well competing for USEF HOTY points- Just got back from the Massachusetts Horsemen's Council Banquet, where we picked up the Hunter Pleasure Champion of the year and Reserve Champion in Ladies Pleasure.
                        PS I was never asked to extended trot. But when Shirleyand Medallion won the Championship at Ox Ridge, he did Hand Gallop
                        RIP Triple Take (aka Indiana )


                        • #13
                          I was successful in the pleasure division in NJ years ago with my large pony. We won with steady gaits with a nice frame. Looped reins. Pricked ears. It needs to look effortless.

                          Practice backing up, extending the trot, and hand galloping, too. We often had to jump one or two fences as well.


                          • #14
                            Horse capable of primary-colored ribbons in the U/S classes at the same show who can do the whole class on an almost-dropped rein, including transitions. That's how I managed to win it at one of our county championships shows.

                            Many judges simply judge it as an U/S without rewarding the steady, obedient horse who is merely a pleasant mover.
                            The Evil Chem Prof


                            • Original Poster

                              I was looking at my state assoc specs and also some prize lists. The state specs include a few comments about "obstacles commonly encountered on the trail" as part of the hack class and handy classes. Has anyone had to do anything odd such as open a gate, cross water, or such? Most of the prize lists have an u/s, a hack combo (2 jumps) and an o/f. Some have a park hack where you may be asked to extend the trot and hand gallop.
                              Man plans. God laughs.


                              • #16
                                My WB gelding won his pleasure US class more than 90% of the time, provided we had time to switch to a plain snaffle beforehand. The few times we had to go straight back in the ring after an over-fences round, still in his pelham, it was usually the kiss of death, even though I always rode him on the buckle and his transitions were darn near impeccable. He was always really relaxed in the pleasure classes, even when we had idiots deliberately trying to take him out.


                                • #17
                                  Thank you

                                  I want to thank everyone who posted here with such helpful comments and tips. My daughter has had a difficult time going back and forth from U/S to Pleasure.

                                  She has worked so hard to get her U/S technique down that throwing it all out the window to do Pleasure has been a struggle. She normally pins in U/S at local shows but pinning in Pleasure is truly a hit or miss.

                                  We'll be working more on your ideas, especially the bit one as we always leave his full cheek bit in. She also overworks her hands to keep his head down which is definitely not what you'd want if Grandma is riding. Lots of work to do...but she's determined (which of course is also not the look you want lol). Thanks all!!

                                  Good luck to Flash44! Sorry, of the 155 vids my daughter has posted to youtube, none are of her hack classes. p.s. my daughter has not encountered obstacles or jumping but we are only at the local division level. It must vary depending on Pony/Horse and locality. I think she'd actually enjoy the variation you're describing, sounds like fun!
                                  Last edited by tameraj; Apr. 18, 2011, 11:51 AM. Reason: adding p.s. comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Sheila View Post
                                    To back him up, I could just tighten my thigh without touching the rein and he would back.
                                    I would consider that being girth sour. A horse should stand still when you do its girth not suck back.
                                    friend of bar.ka


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by SmileItLooksGoodOnYou View Post
                                      I would consider that being girth sour. A horse should stand still when you do its girth not suck back.
                                      I don't think Sheila mentioned doing her horse's girth anywhere in her post. I call what she wrote about a really well trained horse.
                                      According to the Mayan calendar, the world will not end this week. Please plan your life accordingly.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by findeight View Post
                                        USEF/USHJA does not recognize a "Pleasure" division nationally and USEF A rateds do not offer it.
                                        USEF does have a HOTY Pleasure Division, it is a real rated division...We're going to RMI (A) in Ocala this weekend and they offer the division.